I installed the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package to gain extra fonts for my system.
Then I noticed that the files are "exe". Why's that?
As much as I know, fonts aren't binaries.

$ sudo apt-get install "ttf-mscorefonts-installer"
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 9 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/27.8 kB of archives.
After this operation, 134 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously unselected package ttf-mscorefonts-installer.
(Reading database ... 298130 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../ttf-mscorefonts-installer_3.4+nmu1ubuntu1_all.deb ...
Unpacking ttf-mscorefonts-installer (3.4+nmu1ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for update-notifier-common (0.154.1ubuntu1) ...
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/andale32.exe
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/arial32.exe
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/arialb32.exe
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/comic32.exe
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/courie32.exe
  • 5
    Because they are installers from Microsoft. Mar 4, 2015 at 19:41
  • 2
    TrueType fonts are definitely binary files; they aren't executable binaries.
    – jamesdlin
    Mar 5, 2015 at 8:23

4 Answers 4


Because the exe's contain the fonts - I don't think they are installed as Window does them, they are extracted (EDIT: on windows they self-extract, thanks @JakeGould)

To see this, you can download one (I did this one), and open it up in file-roller (Archive Manager):

enter image description here

Ubuntu and other people probably can't distribute the fonts directly to licensing things from MS - the exe's probably count as 're-distributable' under the EULA linked in the installer's prompt:

EULA prompt when installing the package

Including this bit and probably other stuff in it:

1. GRANT OF LICENSE. This EULA grants you the following rights:

  • Installation and Use. You may install and use an unlimited number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.
  • Reproduction and Distribution. You may reproduce and distribute an unlimited number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT; provided that each copy shall be a true and complete copy, including all copyright and trademark notices, and shall be accompanied by a copy of this EULA. Copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT may not be distributed for profit either on a standalone basis or included as part of your own product.


  • Limitations on Reverse Engineering, Decompilation, and Disassembly. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, except and only to the extent that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.
  • Restrictions on Alteration. You may not rename, edit or create any derivative works from the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, other than subsetting when embedding them in documents.
  • file-roller failed to open the arial32.exe file. So I used cabextract instead (it worked).
    – Dor
    Mar 4, 2015 at 21:12
  • 7-zip can also view the contents of exe files. Not sure if it shows you the fonts, though.
    – skeggse
    Mar 4, 2015 at 22:43
  • 3
    These types of exe files are typically self-extracting archive files. Meaning they are basically just ZIP archives with a small self-extracting bit of code in them that would work only on Windows. I'm on a Mac and have been able to extract these archives by just unZIPping them from the command line. Mar 5, 2015 at 9:11

MS Office fonts are fonts from Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't make binaries for other OS like Ubuntu, thus ttf-mscorefonts-installer download various MS fonts in exe format and then cabextract extracts fonts from these exe files.


The MS Core Fonts come in a self-extracting zip archive we can open or install without the need to run the Windows executable or the included Windows font installer program.

To install a font simply open the font.exe file with the Archive Manager to view the contents of this archive.

We then install the contained TTF font with a double click on the corresponding file to open it with the Font Viewer. There we will have an Install button on the top right which will install the font to ~/.local/share/fonts without any further questions asked:

enter image description here


After downloading, the fonts you need will be extracted from these exe files. You can see the extracting progress from the output in the console. There is no answer contains the output, so I post it here (please note the package "cabextract" and the content of the license in the middle):

$ sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  cabextract libmspack0 ttf-mscorefonts-installer
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: processing...
ttf-mscorefonts-installer: downloading http://downloads.sourceforge.net/corefonts/andale32.exe

These fonts were provided by Microsoft "in the interest of cross-
platform compatibility".  This is no longer the case, but they are
still available from third parties.

You are free to download these fonts and use them for your own use,
but you may not redistribute them in modified form, including changes
to the file name or packaging format.

Extracting cabinet: /var/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloads/partial/andale32.exe
  extracting fontinst.inf
  extracting andale.inf
  extracting fontinst.exe
  extracting AndaleMo.TTF
  extracting ADVPACK.DLL
  extracting W95INF32.DLL
  extracting W95INF16.DLL

All done, no errors.

All fonts downloaded and installed.
Processing triggers for fontconfig (2.13.1-2ubuntu3) ...

Since "you may not redistribute them in modified form, including changes to the file name or packaging format", package maintainers have to keep them as they are, even though these files are CAB archives ("cabinet" is CAB).


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