Are the x11 100 and 75 dpi fonts absolutely necessary?

If Ubuntu has TrueType support, (as well as OpenType) why do I need all those bit-mapped fonts hanging around?

Can I delete them? (and/or generate ttf/ot versions for those I want to keep)

If I delete those fonts, will some ancient primitive packages still be looking for them and crash, or will I just get a substituted system default?

I've already read this topic: What fonts are absolutely required?

Answers were not really informative enough and kind of vague. I'm hoping my questions are more specific so I get a more definitive idea of just what the font system requires and does not.

2 Answers 2


The X server requires exactly two fonts, fixed and cursor, both of which are builtin to all recent versions of the libXfont library it uses.

Many older X applications however, may have specified those fonts - generally they'll fallback to using a default like fixed, but that may be missing some characters, and will probably be at a different size, thus leading to a different (sometimes broken) layout of menus, buttons, and other widgets spaced for the expected font/size.

  • At some point we noticed xterm breaking when trying to remove fonts from natty though, however perhaps I got mixed up, and I can't recall exactly which ones we had removed that caused breakage -- maybe it's not really an issue :/ Mar 31, 2011 at 14:06
  • xterm specifies a number of fonts in its Xresources files - since they're bitmapped, different fonts for each size in the menu (unless you use the Xft face support in xterm instead). You'd have to check to make sure you have all the fonts it references to keep it happy.
    – alanc
    Mar 31, 2011 at 21:23

All modern GTK+ applications use Xft for font rendering. Xorg bitmap fonts are installed by default just for the sake of backward compatibility. In other words you can safely uninstall them if you don't use any legacy applications (eg. gitk).

  • When it comes to terminals, GNOME Terminal works out of the box, and you can configure Xterm to use Xft fonts (XTermfaceName and XTermfaceSize) in ~/.Xresources. Apr 1, 2011 at 7:24

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