I've been using (x)Ubuntu for years and have always found the selection of 100+ default fonts to be a bit overwhelming when trying to design a document in e.g. OpenOffice, Inkscape, etc. I've recently been trying to get better at understanding typography in graphic design and one of the first things I tried to do was understand some of the fonts available on my own system before installing new fonts, etc.
I'm a bit perplexed as to why Ubuntu ships with so many fonts installed (it makes it really hard to choose a good one) and why so many of these are seemingly useless pictograms (e.g. dingbats) or foreign scripts which don't seem relevant to my system default language (English). Is the idea to maintain compatibility with a wide range of documents that lack embedded fonts? What are the designers of these systems going for with such font collections?
Am I safe to bulk delete/uninstall such fonts from
usr/share/fonts or will this cause problems for my system? Most of the documentation I can find deals with adding new fonts, but I think there are already too many!
As I learn more about typography, it seems like it would help me to start with a clean slate; could I safely delete most/all of the default fonts and gradually replace these with a smaller collection of my own choosing? Or again, could that cause problems with systems that depend on these default font files?