Every once in a while (every couple of weeks), letters seem to get scrambled up in Ubuntu. What I mean is that some letters (sometimes more, sometimes less) get replaced by weird symbols. For example now it is the letter x that got replaced by a weird h-like symbol everywhere in Ubuntu that uses this default font, for example in GIMP:

letter x replaced

What could be causing this? Sometimes a lot more letters get messed up. If I log out and log back in it's good again. I have no idea where to start solving this.

Edit: if I highlight (select) the text (for example in a search box) then the correct letter appears, although only if the number of selected characters is small. But when I unselect it again, it's bad again.

Edit2: Now another example came up:

enter image description here

This time it's only in LibreOffice Calc. Very strange.

  • I get a similar issue on my laptop after high memory usage. Does this happen to you randomly or after high memory usage like mine? – Rumesh Apr 28 '15 at 3:10
  • I haven't noticed such a connection. I do get some rare (one fraction of a second about once a week) flickers of a few blackish lines on screen sometimes, which may indicate video card problems. Are the fonts maybe stored in video memory and it gets corrupted? – isarandi Apr 28 '15 at 3:14
  • Also, your text is a somewhat distorted, blurry version of the original, while my characters get replaced by totally unrelated and sharp symbols. – isarandi Apr 28 '15 at 3:18
  • I don't really know about the fonts question. I know that my computer has a different problem but the error seemed kind of similar. Now that you say that it is not related with your memory usage I realize that the problems are different – Rumesh Apr 28 '15 at 3:42

I had this problem on ubuntu 14.04. The letters would get scrambled or invisible almost everyday. In my case it was related to this bug. As you can see there's already a fix but not for utopic. In my case I'm using ubuntu trusty but because of Stack Enablement my xserver drivers were the utopic version.


To fix it all you have to do is remove the utopic drivers and install the trusty ones.

First remove: sudo apt-get purge linux-generic-lts-utopic xserver-xorg-lts-utopic linux-headers-generic-lts-utopic linux-image-generic-lts-utopic libgl1-mesa-glx-lts-utopic libegl1-mesa-drivers-lts-utopic

Then reinstall: sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-input-synaptics libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386

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