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I have an "old" Ubuntu 11.10 server. I have a new (Amazon EC2) Ubuntu 11.10 server. I can only access them through the command line.

How can I migrate all the installed fonts from the old machine to the new machine?

I assume it is just copying some subdirectories. Is it that easy?

Background: I am running tests on my software, on both machines and it is giving different results, because the available fonts are different. (And the tests are sensitive to changes in pixels.)

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I researched the answer to my own question:

There are three phases required.

  1. Find the font files.
  2. Copy the missing files.
  3. Update the font cache.

Finding the Font Files

Look inside /etc/fonts/fonts.conf. It contains a number of different directories, marked with <dir> and </dir> tags.

In practice, I found 4 directories listed, of which 3 were empty or non-existent. Note: One is probably ~/.fonts, which is on a per-user basis.

Copying the Font Files

Copy the font files from each directory into the corresponding directory on the target.

I only bothered moving the files that were missing at the destination.

Updating the Font Cache

On the destination machine, run:

sudo fc-cache -f -v

(If fc-cache is not available, you need to install fontconfig, e.g. sudo apt-get install fontconfig)

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What do you mean by command line access ?

Do you have ssh access ??? Then you could copy the directories via scp.

scp -r UID1@hist1:/dironhost1 UID2@host2:/dironhost2

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Thanks, but I am afraid you've missed my point. I know how to copy files - I don't (didn't) know which files to copy and whether that was enough (it isn't). – Oddthinking Apr 19 '12 at 10:04
Did you install the fonts via package manager or "manually"? – Ruediger Apr 19 '12 at 10:16
I did not deliberately install any fonts. There were all installed as side-effects of installing other packages (e.g. firefox). – Oddthinking Apr 19 '12 at 10:23

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