helpFree UCS Outline Fonts - Support: sr #109295, Missing 'Right-Pointing Double...


sr #109295: Missing 'Right-Pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark' for FreeSerif

Submitted by:  None
Submitted on:  Tue 11 Apr 2017 09:16:30 AM UTC  
Category:  None Priority:  5 - Normal
Severity:  3 - Normal Status:  Need Info
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  Steve White <Stevan_White>
Originator Email:  -email is unavailable- Open/Closed:  Open
Operating System:  GNU/Linux

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Thu 13 Apr 2017 06:54:12 PM UTC, comment #10: 

THe reason I make that suggestion is that I remember now that it is very easy to inadvertently install two copies of a font at the same time.  If they are not identical, very weird things happen.

If you type
fc-list | grep free
You will see all of them with their paths.

Also... I don't know for sure, but I think there may be system-wide font caches.  So you have to do the fc-cache thing as root after changing system fonts.

Let me know if that helps!

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Thu 13 Apr 2017 12:56:48 PM UTC, comment #9: 

Hi Tony,

Please, install the newer version of FreeFont on your system, and execute

     fc-list | grep free
and post the output here.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Thu 13 Apr 2017 07:22:35 AM UTC, comment #8: 

Hi Steve,

On my system on the PDF generated using the 2008 font I see "«»" whereas on the other I can only see "«". I don't have the problem with any of the other fonts I use (even with FreeSans) that's what led me to think this was a FreeSerif related one.
The only way I could fix it was to downgrade to the 2008 version of the font, but it seems like I'm the only one concerned.


Tony <tsanch3z>
Wed 12 Apr 2017 08:24:04 PM UTC, comment #7: 

Hi Tony,

    • Please execute

     fc-list | grep free
and post the output.

I open the two PDF files you posted using evince.  In each I see a pair of double-angle brackets. 

    • What was I supposed to see? 
    • What do you see?

I don't know reportlab.  I'll install that and see what happens.

The PDF file properties say that FreeSerif is embedded (but curiously, they also refer to a non-embedded Helvetica -- what's that?  I can also look inside the PDF files to see what text and what font glyphs are really there.  But I would like to know what you see on your system first.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Wed 12 Apr 2017 04:36:11 PM UTC, comment #6: 

I've failed to upload the correct version of the script the previous one was looking for FreeSerif20080323.ttf file instead of FreeSerif.ttf but the generated pdf are the good ones. This is the correct script


(file #40379)

Tony <tsanch3z>
Wed 12 Apr 2017 04:31:31 PM UTC, comment #5: 


I'm not trying to export the PDF from LibreOffice as it can not even display the symbol using post march 2008 version of FreeSerif. But you can't reproduce this issue so I might be the only one affected with this strange behavior.

I wrote a basic python script to generate a PDF file using reportlab as the only dependency (easily installable via pip: pip install reportlab).
It works in a really basic way, it expects a 'FreeSerif.ttf' file to be located in the same directory as the script and generate a PDF file named FreeSerif.pdf displaying "«»" using the provided font.

I'll include the script and the two generated PDF files, one with the 20080323 version of the font the other with the 20120503 one.


(file #40376, file #40377, file #40378)

Tony <tsanch3z>
Tue 11 Apr 2017 10:53:46 PM UTC, comment #4: 

I had one idea.

Maybe LO Writer isn't embedding FreeSerif into the document.  This is why I asked about the Export PDF dialog settings.  I'm pretty sure if you click the one to create a PDF/A-1a for Archiving, it will embed whatever fonts are used.  This is the setting I would recommend for most uses.

If the font is not embedded, it is quite possible that the PDF viewer will pick another font to display the text.  That would explain the effect.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Tue 11 Apr 2017 04:03:35 PM UTC, comment #3: 

Hi Tony,

I tried it with the latest SVN FreeSerif on my disk using LO  I attach the resuls.  Looks fine.

Please report the settings of the export dialog in LO Writer.

(file #40360)

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Tue 11 Apr 2017 02:35:12 PM UTC, comment #2: 

I'm generating the PDF using python and reportlab on ubuntu 16.10, but can't provide you any pdf file right now because they contains some data I'm not allowed to share. If I have the time to work on a minimal reproducible case I'll post the resulting PDF here so you can see the problem by yourself. In place of the "right double angle bracket" a square is displayed.

Anyway I've found a way to exhibit the issue without using python nor reportlab, but only LibreOffice. The following have been tested on ubuntu 16.10 and LibreOffice 20m0(Build:2).

  • Backup the currently in use FreeSerif font (/usr/share/fonts/truetype/freefont/FreeSerif* in my case
  • Regenerate font cache using: `sudo fc-cache -f -v`
  • Start LibreOffice and verify that FreeSerif is absent from fonts so that we're sure we backed up the one in use
  • Close LibreOffice
  • Download The 2012 version of FreeSerif here
  • Move the FreeSerif*.ttf files to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/freefont
  • Regenerate font cache
  • Start LibreOffice
  • Select the FreeSerif font and attempt to type '«»' in my case only the '«' is displayed
  • Try to do the same thing with another font (FreeSans for instance) and verify it works

Then I've done the exact same thing with the 20080323 version and everything worked fine. With any more recent versions, LibreOffice failed to output the symbol.


Tony <tsanch3z>
Tue 11 Apr 2017 12:45:27 PM UTC, comment #1: 

Hi Tony,

I can assure you the » character (0xBB, right double anngle bracket) is in all faces of FreeFont for a long time.

The last release was (unfortunately) in 2012.  You can get it here:

But I just looked at the 20080912 release and the 20090104 one as well.  They both definitely have the character.

Where did you get these fonts you're looking at?

What makes you say the symbol isn't correctly rendered?  Can I see a resulting PDF document?  OR the original document?

How exactly are you generating PDF (What operating system, what application program, what versions?)

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Tue 11 Apr 2017 09:16:30 AM UTC, original submission:  


I've been trying to use the FreeSerif font for pdf generation and remarked that the » symbol was not correctly rendered. This does not appear to be an issue with the pdf generation tools I use, for I've been unable to copy and paste the character inside a LibreOffice document using this font.

Upon further investigation it seems that the glyphs was removed starting from the 20080912 release as it's working fine with the 20080312 one.




(Note: upload size limit is set to 16384 kB, after insertion of the required escape characters.)

Attach Files:

Attached Files
file #40379: added by tsanch3z (340B - text/x-python)
file #40376: added by tsanch3z (348B - text/x-python - The python script and the 2 generated pdf files)
file #40377:  FreeSerif20080323.pdf added by tsanch3z (12KiB - application/pdf - The python script and the 2 generated pdf files)
file #40378:  FreeSerif20120503.pdf added by tsanch3z (20KiB - application/pdf - The python script and the 2 generated pdf files)
file #40360:  anglebracket.pdf added by Stevan_White (16KiB - application/pdf)


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    Follow 7 latest changes.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    2017-04-12 tsanch3z Attached File- => Added, #40379
    2017-04-12 tsanch3z Attached File- => Added, #40376
        Attached File- => Added FreeSerif20080323.pdf, #40377
        Attached File- => Added FreeSerif20120503.pdf, #40378
    2017-04-11 Stevan_White Attached File- => Added anglebracket.pdf, #40360
    2017-04-11 Stevan_White StatusNone => Need Info
        Assigned toNone => Stevan_White

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