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This is how a web page fragment shows on my old 11.04 system:

unicode characters, 11.04

and this is how the same fragment showed on 11.10 and shows on my current 12.04 system:

unicode characters, 12.04

Any idea what's wrong? Of course I have all the same fonts installed (I believe the page uses some kind of Arial, which I installed from the mscorefontstt package IIRC) and I'm running the same version of Firefox. How can I fix things?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The right double parenthesis character (U+2E29) in your example appears in a few fonts only, according to a usually reliable (thought not quite complete) source:

So the 12.04 rendering is what I would expect: it looks like a “missing glyph” indicator constructed by a browser. Presumably it was previously rendered using one of the rare fonts containing the character, a font that was somehow lost (e.g., moved somewhere where Firefox cannot find it). But Arial surely does not contain this character (which was introduced in Unicode 5.1, and Arial is much older).

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According to your link the only font that has that glyph on my old 11.04 is "VL PGothic", and I have no idea why Firefox would pick that one for rendering a piece of text that should be "Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, Sans-serif" according to the css. Besides that glyph is rendered correctly in dialog boxes too (and my whole system is configured with the "Ubuntu" font). – agnul May 10 '12 at 20:55
Firefox would pick it up because none of the specific fonts listed contains a glyph for the character, and either the generic font name sans-serif has been set to refer to VL PGothic or Firefox looks for fallback fonts. Browsers differ in their handling of situations where none of the fonts listed, including the one indirectly mentioned using a generic name, contains the character—browsers may scan through all fonts, or give up. The Ubuntu font, as just downloaded from, does not contain U+2E29. I suppose the dialog boxes use fallback fonts. – Jukka K. Korpela May 11 '12 at 4:30
Ok, just checked my new system and there's no trace of VL PGothic, so this seems to solve the mystery. – agnul May 11 '12 at 8:39

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