I performed a fresh install of Ubuntu 18.04 over 16.04, keeping my /home partition. I use i3 exclusively.

Now there are those new colorful emojis. Looks aside (blerg), unfortunately, the coverage of unicode symbols seems to have been reduced quite a bit. For instance, consider this part of my i3 config:

bindsym $mod+1 workspace 1:🌐
bindsym $mod+2 workspace 2:🖂
bindsym $mod+3 workspace 3:🖉
bindsym $mod+4 workspace 4:📁
bindsym $mod+5 workspace 5:5
bindsym $mod+6 workspace 6:6
bindsym $mod+7 workspace 7:7
bindsym $mod+8 workspace 8:8
bindsym $mod+9 workspace 9:🗫
bindsym $mod+0 workspace 10:🎵

That's a 3/6 ratio -- ugh.
For reference, the one for workspace 2 is Back of Envelope U+1F582 -- nothing too exotic, I think.

Removing fonts-noto-color-emoji as advised by dobey does remove the color emojis in i3 (not in Firefox) but now none of the six unicode characters above show up (in i3bar, vim, ...):

enter image description here

So how can I go back to clean unicode symbols without frills? Can I keep the Ubuntu font or will have I have to change system font completely?


Installing the Symbola font does the trick:

sudo aptitude install fonts-symbola

This seems to be the font I used on 16.04 but it's of course hard to be sure.

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