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Recently, on my Ubuntu 18.04 I have noticed that at least on gnome-calculator and chromium browser the fonts are displayed as squares. I have followed instructions here and here, the calculator is fixed, but the problem on chromium still exists when I open a dialog to search for a file.

Not sure if this happens on other applications as well, I haven't checked all my apps, but File managers nemo and nautilus are working fine.

Also, before few months ago, I have included some windows fonts for my libre office shown here. I used the copy (cp) method, not the link (ln -s). But, was working fine until yesterday. Haven't done any major change or update, at least on my Linux partition (dual boot). But, I don't think that this has anything to do with that.

Any idea how can I fix this issue?

browse dialog.

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  • With this answer the calculator is fixed, but not chromium. Not sure if is only chromium or general issue. I haven't found any other app so far except those two. Also, I don't know what caused this.
    – ioaniatr
    Apr 5, 2020 at 17:08
  • Following askubuntu.com/questions/841706/… I tried rm -rf ~/.cache/fontconfig; sudo fc-cache -r -v; chromium and it worked. Chromium gave the message [9572:1:0406/185207.504191:ERROR:child_process_sandbox_support_impl_linux.cc(79)] FontService unique font name matching request did not receive a response on startup. But then the next time I started it, it was broken again :(
    – unhammer
    Apr 6, 2020 at 17:02
  • I just installed the regular version of chromium-browser shown here: askubuntu.com/questions/1075103/…. Regular version is working fine, but not the snap version. Firefox, Opera, Chrome are working fine as well. Does this has to do because was the snap version that I had installed? Can I fix the snap version?
    – ioaniatr
    Apr 6, 2020 at 19:25

2 Answers 2

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I found the solution, was more simple than I thought.

First, you need to update local cache as described here:

rm -rf ~/.cache/fontconfig 
sudo fc-cache -r -v

Then, you need to find fontconfig folder inside snap, since this is the snap version of chromium.

find ~/snap/chromium/ -name 'fontconfig'

Last, remove this folder inside .cache:

rm -rf ~/snap/chromium/common/.cache/fontconfig/

Afterwards, chromium will recreate this folder automatically by using your local updated fontconfig inside ~/.cache/fontconfig.

Restart chromium browser to take this effect.

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  • Fixed it for me on Firefox with snap. Thank you! Sep 24, 2020 at 22:44
  • 1
    Also works for Opera. Nov 24, 2020 at 15:54
  • Worked with Opera, also had to remove (from my home): snap/opera/common/.cache/fontconfig snap/opera/115/.config/fontconfig snap/opera/114/.config/fontconfig
    – Fanta
    Mar 24, 2021 at 7:38
  • Works for remmina as well. Replace "chromium" with "remmina" for all commands. Aug 9, 2021 at 21:12
  • Fixed it for my Chromium Sep 2, 2021 at 11:27
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(The previous answer is the better but just a note for future readers)

Another way the problem described above happens is when ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini becomes corrupted. Make sure to delete any gtk-font-name and/or other incomplete lines from that file. Apparently, if GTK fails to parse it, you get the same problem as the screenshot shown above.

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