Marcus and Ivanka in the Canonical Design team sat me down for some words of wisdom a few months ago. “You think you need a logo, but what you really need is a new font. One that sets the standard for both professional design, and embracing the values of Ubuntu in the way it’s produced.”

And how right they were.

Figuring that we wanted to do this once, properly, we said we’d build a complete family: various weights, variable-width and mono, across some of the key language groups of our community. We knew we couldn’t do everything but we figured we could establish a rigorous core upon which everything could be done. We’d fully hint and kern the work too, so it’s good enough to be a default interface font for something we all use all day long. A huge project, one that will take some time to finish. But today we’re publishing the first source for Ubuntu, the font, a milestone worth celebrating.

Marcus introduced Bruno Maag of Dalton Maag, who expressed a willingness to engage around an open font, and we agreed to buy the rights to the work completely, so that it could be licensed freely.

Bruno pulled together a very energetic team of typographers: Lukaz, Amelie, Shiraaz, Malcolm and more, all folks who live and breathe type and typography and keen to explore this rather crazy idea of inviting crowds into the inner sanctum of type design.

We knew at the start we were bringing together two very different worlds. We wanted a process which would ensure participation without drowning out the clear leadership needed for a coherent result. Bruno steered Marcus, Ivanka, me and others through a core initial process where we defined the range and scope of what we wanted to take on, and the values we wanted reflected in the result. I learned that a font is grounded in real values, and fortunately we have a strong expression of the six attributes that we value in Ubuntu and Canonical: collaboration, freedom, precision, reliability, adroitness, accessibility. That small team was best positioned to distill those into the typeface, and shape the broad strokes of the work.

Ubuntu is a global phenomenon, and we knew at the start we didn’t have the breadth of eyeballs close at hand to keep the font on track as it expanded. So we planned a process of expanding consultation. First within Canonical, which has folks from nearly 30 countries, and then within the Ubuntu community. We published the font to Ubuntu Members, because we wanted folks who participate and contribute directly to Ubuntu to have the strongest say in the public process of designing the font. We heard from Greek, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Indian, Chinese and many other cultures. Not everyone has glyphs in this first round, but everyone has had a hand in bringing us to this milestone.

The design team needed help with this outreach program, and it turned out that a longstanding member of the community, Paul Sladen, has a personal interest in typography. We noticed a marked uptick in the pace of bug triage when Paul got involved, and it was going so well we asked him to tackle it semi-professionally. The result has been really fast feedback to people making comments. I’d like to thank Paul for bringing that crucial stewardship to bear on the community engagement process, we would not have made it to the deadline without him.

We also had the benefit of a tool produced by Richard Lee and others in the design team, which lets people identify specific issues in the font, particularly as rendered in various web browsers on various platforms. fonttest.design.canonical.com is very cool: it lets you pick the characters, weight and size, takes a screenshot for you in most browsers, or helps you capture the essential details for the bug report. Fonts are software, but they are not software as we know it, Jim. So the tool helps us keep track of all the tricky details that might help debug a problem someone’s having.

A key open question, of course, was licensing. There are two obvious candidates, among quite a large field: the OFL, from SIL, and the GPLv3 with a font-specific clause added. Digging into this in more detail turned up a tricky situation: both approaches have issues which precluded us from adopting them immediately. We started speaking in some detail with Nicolas Spalinger of SIL, and Dave Crossland, who has done extensive analysis on the libre font process and dynamics. We offered to underwrite an SFLC review of the OFL, and SIL has expressed a willingness to participate in that, with a view to finding common ground that would bring Dave, ourselves, and many others under one common font licence, but we were running out of time. So we came to the compromise of an interim license, which you can find at bzr branch lp:ubuntu-font-licence While licence proliferation sucks, I’m optimistic we’ll converge in due course. James Vasile from the SFLC will help ensure the final result is wiser with the help of all the experience the SFLC gained in stewarding the GPLv3, and SIL and Dave will bring deep typographic industry insight.

Dalton Maag have started talking more widely about their experiences so far in the process. I was worried that they might be put off by the rowdy nature of open commentary, but I would credit them with a sterling constitution and thank them for the way they stepped up once the bug tracker really started to hum. There are few issues that are escalated which don’t get a rapid response and framing. Of course, there are differences of opinion, but in many cases genuine issues have been identified and handled. The team at DM have gotten into a great cadence of weekly iterations, and Paul has been ensuring that work makes it into the hands of Ubuntu users. As of today, *all* Maverick users have it installed by default (I believe this is true for Kubuntu as well, at least I answer questions in support of that goal).

What’s really interesting is that DM have said there is world-wide interest in the project. Many professional typographers are starting to think about open fonts. Now is the time to set a very high standard for what is achievable. There are hard questions to be answered about how the business of typography will evolve in the face of open and free type, but historically, those questions have best been answered by the bold: those who get involved, those who put themselves in the front line.

Going forward?

In due course, we’d like the Ubuntu font to reflect the full, extraordinary diversity of the Ubuntu community. We can’t do it all at once, and so we’re proposing a process for communities and cultures that feel part of the Ubuntu family to participate. If you want the Ubuntu font to speak your language, you need to do a few things to prepare for it. The hard, hard part is that you’ll need to find a qualified, local typographer who is interested in participating and in leading the design of your glyphs. You may need to find several, as we won’t necessarily embrace the first candidate. This is a serious matter: we welcome the crowdsourcing of bugs, glitches, rendering problems, hinting and kerning issues, but we want coherent, professional contributions on the core design. If that sounds exclusive: yes it is. Quality takes time, quality takes precedence. There are other fonts with lots of coverage, we have only one shot to get your glyphs done really beautifully then freeze them, metrically, for all time in the Ubuntu font.

The broader process looks like this.

First, you need to create a wiki page for your language / culture / glyphset (could be Klingon! Phoenician! Elvish ;-)) on wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuFont/Coverage. There, you need to document the glyph set you think is required, and any historical quirks that are peculiar to doing it well, such as OpenType features or alternative approaches.

Second, you need to file a bug on launchpad.net/ubuntu-font-family called “Ubuntu Font should support [Klingon]“. If you want, you can invite members of your community to note that they are affected by the bug. We’ll be looking for ways to prioritise communities for attention.

Third, you need to contact local typographers, and tell them about Ubuntu, open content, open typography. If they are still listening, you have just opened the door on the future for them and given them a big head start :-). They will need to be willing to contribute to the font. They will know how much work that will be. They won’t be paid to do it, unless the local community can find a way to raise the funds, but since there is a genuine sense of excitement in the air about open typography and this project in particular, we think you’ll find bold and insightful typographers who are keen to be part of it. Add their details to the wiki page, especially details of their typographic portfolio. Update the bug with that information.

The tools used for open font design are in a state of flux. There are some exceptional technical pieces, and some dark swampy bits too. Dalton Maag will be leading sessions at UDS with folks from the open typography community, with a view to producing what Dave Crossland described as a “lovely long list” (I’m paraphrasing) of bugs and suggestions. Be there if you want to get a professional typographers insight on the toolchain today and what might be possible in the future. All of the Ubuntu font sources are published, though the license does not require source to be published.

Nevertheless, the process for designing your community glyphs will likely involve a mix of free and proprietary tools, at least for the next months. We’ll ask DM to review the portfolios of candidate typographers, and make recommendations for who should be given the go-ahead to lead the work, language by language. Once core glyphs are designed, we’ll facilitate LoCo-based community feedback, much as we did for the main font. We want local Ubuntu members to have the strongest public voice in feedback to their typographer. And Canonical, with DM, will provide feedback aimed at keeping the whole consistent.

Once the glyph design process is wrapped, the typographer will lead hinting and kerning. That’s the tough, detailed part of the job, but essential for an interface font that will be used on screen, everywhere on screen, all the time. And at that point we’ll start automating feedback, using fonttest, as well as starting to integrate those glyphs into the main Ubuntu font. We’ll publish point releases to the main Ubuntu font, with major releases designating points where we update the set of “fixed and metrically frozen” glyphs, point releases denoting occasions where we add or update beta glyphs in the public test font.

In each point release, we’ll include perhaps one or two new glyph sets for beta testing. We’ll prioritize those communities who have followed the process, and have the most substantial community interest in testing.

Phew. If you got this far, you’re interested :-). This is going to be one of those things that lives a very long time. It will take a long time to get everybody represented. But we’re going to do it, together.

92 comments:

  1. Shane Fagan says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Yeah I remember the session on font selection in the lucid UDS. It was my “aha those new canonical design team people do listen” moment when I heard you guys were making the font after all. It was a fairly interesting session and the outcome was simple that we had to either fix the liberation font so it could cover more languages or make a better cooler font. So im glad that the latter happened.

  2. Jorge Castro says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    I’d just like to leave a comment thanking Paul Sladen for his work in this area.

    Mark, you mention that you were worried that Dalton Maag would be “put off by the rowdy nature of open commentary, but I would credit them with a sterling constitution and thank them for the way they stepped up once the bug tracker really started to hum.”

    I think it would be a nice guest blog from the folks at Dalton Maag on how they dealt with the reception from people and how they adjusted their workflows to deal with delivering a font to an open source community. From my limited knowledge of font foundries they seem to be very closed by default, it seems like there was much confusion on why the font design and execution wasn’t open from the very beginning.

    Surely there are some bits of wisdom in there that we can collectively learn from Dalton Maag’s experience on dealing with an open project, and I am also interested in hearing what things they learned about Ubuntu and OSS in their time working on the font!

  3. Joe R says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    A serious project to develop a free font set aimed at (eventual) coverage of all languages is a basic building block for free culture. Congratulations to Canonical and Ubuntu for taking on the task of leading this.

  4. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    The Ubuntu font is beautiful. I’ve been using it on my machines since the first public betas were made available, and it just looks so right on the Ubuntu desktop.

    The bitstream fonts are quite good but we’ve been stuck with them everywhere for years now so they’re quite boring, the Ubuntu font family is really a breath of fresh air!

    Anyway, congratulations on the “Qapla’” of this project! And I’ll probably end up filing that bug for Klingon because some text on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon_language ends up being blocks :)

  5. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    The Ubuntu font is beautiful. I’ve been using it on my machines since the first public betas were made available, and it just looks so right on the Ubuntu desktop.

    The bitstream fonts are quite good but we’ve been stuck with them everywhere for years now so they’re quite boring, the Ubuntu font family is really a breath of fresh air!

    Anyway, congratulations on the “Qapla’” of this project! And I’ll probably end up filing that bug for Klingon because some text on Wikipedia Klingon Language page ends up being blocks :)

  6. JC says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    The Ubuntu font is beautiful. I’ve been using it on my machines since the first public betas were made available, and it just looks so right on the Ubuntu desktop.

    The bitstream fonts are quite good but we’ve been stuck with them everywhere for years now so they’re quite boring, the Ubuntu font family is really a breath of fresh air!

    Anyway, congratulations on the “Qapla’” of this project! And I’ll probably end up filing that bug for Klingon because some text on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon_language ends up being blocks :)

  7. Awat Saha says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I commend Canonical for doing this and engaging with communities to include as many languages as possible.

    But the biggest problem with community participation are the tools. There’s only one, FontForge, but it lacks polish (a lot), and is a pain to install on other OS. Improving the quality of the tools is essential.

    The alternative, proprietary apps, like Fontographer or FontLab, are expensive and do not work on Linux. Since the work will be done unpaid asking them to incur in such expenses doesn’t seem wise.

    But this is a sector in which proprietary world clearly leads the way, a number of small tools that make repetitive work much easier and in a smaller amount of time exist but are proprietary and/or only available for MacOS.

    I would like to know if there’re any plans for improving existing tools or creating new tools that rival the proprietary ones.

    Google has already commissioned open fonts, first the Droid for the Android OS, and now 3 (three) new fonts for the Chrome OS.

    The number of open fonts is increasing, but the number and the quality of the tools to produce them is not. The barrier to participate in software development is now at all time low. But the barrier to participate in design and creating fonts and typefaces is very very high. Remember that to support more languages we need native speakers and those belong either to small communities and/or poor countries. The barrier is high!

  8. Christopher Culver says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:49 am

    A wider selection of quality, free fonts with wide Unicode coverage is a great thing, but I hope previous commentator Joe R is aware that there’s already been a project to develop a libre font of high quality that covers the languages of the world: DejaVu. Ubuntu is strengthening the community, but they aren’t the first to tackle this challenge.

  9. Ellipsis says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Great work. Love the new font.

  10. Ankit Tulsyan says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Love the new fonts…congratulations to Canonical and Ubuntu for their excellent work.

  11. Nathan Haines says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 2:04 am

    I’m definitely excited to have the font available to all Maverick users. It’s been a lot of fun seeing Bruno Maag so excited about fonts and typography, and I’m really happy to hear the plans for the font from here on out. I know I’ve enjoyed playing with the font for the past couple months.

    The font really is quite beautiful and I’m happy it’s becoming more widely available. :)

  12. Dread Knight says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I LOVE THE NEW FONT! <3

    Great job guys!

  13. Aaron Tinio says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Thanks for leading this daunting task. All your efforts are paying off. The new fonts look great!

  14. Akshat Jain says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 5:03 am

    How about Devanagari?

  15. Matthew says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 5:06 am

    A beautiful font. I am enjoying it as i type!! Congratulations!

  16. Benjamin Lebsanft says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Thanks for the new font. Currently converting all my diploma thesis’ graphics to use the Ubuntu font, looks great!

  17. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Would you consider posting a screenshot of the monospace font as well, if that one exists yet?

  18. Alexander Hunziker says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Using the fonts on my system now, they are great UI fonts!

    Happy to hear that you are planning to release more weights. But pango has a bug where it’s impossible to use fonts which have more than the standard regular and bold weights. If this is not fixed, further widths can only be used in select software, such as Scribus.

  19. Oswald Prucker says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    You know, every time I tell myself: No, I will not upgrade to the next version. Yet every time there is something in the next Ubuntu that I just can’t resist. I think it is this font I want to have about two weeks from now. Gladly, I have a few machines and so I can run a test and take it slowly with the other ones. Giving up on a LTS is somewhat difficult.

    Thanks for the effort, folks. I really love it.

  20. Manuel Bua says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Nice work on the font, definitely my first choice for the system: i too am interested in a screenshot of the mono version, does it exists yet?
    Great job,
    Manuel

  21. Fri13 says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Funny, only Ubuntu die-for fans are allowed to give feedback and development is again done behind the community.

    At least it would be good to take a screenshots of the new font with the basic phrase (brown fox) and show it as example.

  22. oliver says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Nice outcome so far! What would interest me is the reason for “we have only one shot to get your glyphs done really beautifully then freeze them, metrically, for all time in the Ubuntu font.”. Most open source software builds on the concept of allowing lots of changes, with the downside of decreased stability; why does that concept not apply for this font? I’m totally not familiar with the peculiarities of fonts; so I’d be glad if someone could explain in more detail why the font needs to be so stable.

    Thanks,
    Oliver

  23. Eh says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    This is why my next computer will be running Windows 7. Canonical has their priorities in all the wrong places.

  24. Onkar says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Do you really plan to release support for Elvish? If you do then probably games like ‘Battle of Wesnoth’ can use the font to display some cryptic messages in Elvish. :-)

    By the way, do we have a locale for Elvish? On a side note I found this page which lists the fonts already created for Elvish language – http://www.saunalahti.fi/alboin/tengwartutorial.htm

  25. Paul Sladen says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Oliver: if you use the Ubuntu Font Family in your document, and then somebody starts changing the width of the characters in the next font update, your document will reflow. If it’s a slideshow or dissertation where you may have spent hours working on the presentation, or fitting an exact number of pages, then you are likely to be most upset when it all rearranges itself and comes out one page longer! This is problem that is fairly unique to fonts, and not encountered in other parts of Free Software development. Even Donald Knuth was careful about this during updates: http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/cm.html

    Fri13: Anyone (with a Launchpad account) has been able to give feedback at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-font-family/ and this feedback is what has driven the Ubuntu Font Family forward. If you’d like to get involved with future beta development (more weights and more scripts), please join the ‘ubuntu-typeface-interest’ group: instructions are (and have been for a while, as 500+ people have joined) on: http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Ubuntu_Font_Family#Howto

    Your idea of screenshots is an excellent one. I think perhaps we’ll probably want set up a separate sampler-sheet page soon (can you suggest any other test phrases to include, perhaps the equivalents in Russian and Greek?). In the meantime, there’s a little artistic addition based on your recommendation: http://font.ubuntu.com/

  26. George Brooke says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    @Oswald Prucker,
    You can install the fonts in 10.04 by downloading the .deb manually (from http://packages.ubuntu.com/maverick/ttf-ubuntu-font-family) but you won’t get any updates.

    @Mark,
    Have you thought of @font-face embedding the new fonts on your blog? And how about a circle of friends glyph somewhere (in the private use area if I understand what thats for correctly) could used as an easter egg in ubuntu-related websites maybe.

  27. mark says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    @George Brooke

    Yes, we’ll have the Circle of Friends and Canonical O accessible in the font :-)

  28. oliver says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Paul: thanks for the explanation; I hadn’t thought of this influence on the layout of existing documents.

  29. George Brooke says: (permalink)
    September 29th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    @Mark
    :)

    At the moment if one was to @font-face embed the Ubuntu font in a website what would be your preferred way to give credit for the fonts? A link to the launchpad page and a paragraph about Ubuntu in the site’s information somewhere?

    Also perhaps the text on https://launchpad.net/ubuntu-font-family should be updated (particularly the bit about not distributing the font outside ubuntu) now that a version has been released under the interim license?

  30. MANDY SAULS says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    IMwilling to use UbuntuFont. Been using R/A far to long.
    We are free to explore font styles/scripts; Right way to go
    Open Source. Number One requirement is text comfort on
    the eyes of the reader.

  31. MK-82 says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I find that font very hard to read as it does not have good typography endings. It is so smooth and round that it almost hurts to eyes. And I am not only one with this, as for everyone who I shown this it was hard to read. They said it demanded more focusing to the letters instead words.

    It looks fancy, but it really is hard to read. It is like trying to read a text from 1560′s where every font was needed to be handwritten by monks with fancy fonts.

    I still recomenned to use a Liberation fonts or if wanted more fancy (but still readable) font, the Graphite.

  32. Romar says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Mark,

    My complements to Bruno Maag on the new font. And thank you Mark for having this for all Ubuntu users and FOSS users to enjoy.

    Keep up the great work!

    Thank you again.

  33. J Bruni says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Nice to see the Ubuntu spirit shared with the world through a South African cultural presentation in the house of the Avatar: http://twitpic.com/2te975/full

  34. pbis Blog » Blog Archive » Ubuntu-Font says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    [...] Mehr zum Font beim großen Meister. [...]

  35. Ubuntu 10.10 Release Candidate « hashing my weekdays says: (permalink)
    October 1st, 2010 at 7:46 am

    [...] of Maverick Meerkat is available to download here. Beside new features I want to highlight the Ubuntu font, and the new photo manager: Shotwell what will be included instead of F-Spot. The complete list of [...]

  36. freibooter says: (permalink)
    October 1st, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I have to agree with MK-82 on this. It’s a laudable effort, it’s an attractive font that can be used with some impact in small doses.
    But even the very short example text given in the blog entry is surprisingly hard to read!
    I don’t think this font can be used for any form of running text or would fulfill the ergonomic requirements for a standard font.
    The font goes against several common conventions and while that makes it stand out, it simply sacrifices too much readability by doing so.

    I’m sorry to say that making this new font the system font (without some mayor rework of it that would make it borderline unrecognizable) would be a bad example of form over function …

  37. Just Curious says: (permalink)
    October 1st, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Question to the Font Professionals:
    Why is it considered to be obscene in most modern sans serif and mono fonts for the lower case ‘l’ to have its little curve at the bottom and therefor being shamefully dismissed?
    In those very fonts ‘t’ and ‘f’ get one, so why does the ‘l’ have to be deprived of its little curl?
    Just only because it is ‘naked’ and doesn’t have a small horizontal bar to compensate for it?

    In mixed case typing like IllI1 it can often be a major pain in the butt with those fonts to distinguish between capital ‘i’ and ‘l’ and even sometimes the 1 (numeral one). Why does that have to be?
    I never quite got it why some questionable ‘aesthetics’ seems to be valued higher than functionality and ease of recognition.
    Shouldn’t the use of appropriate fonts make live easier rather than harder?

  38. Ubuntu 10.10 llega a su primer RC | NetStorming says: (permalink)
    October 1st, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font agregada a la instalación, con las intenciones de convertirla en la fuente por defecto. [...]

  39. Ubuntu fans, read this says: (permalink)
    October 1st, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    [...] to maverick-changes: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/lis…verick-changes The Ubuntu Font The Ubuntu font has been officially released and added to the install media. We are considering making it the [...]

  40. Ubuntu 10.10 RC dispo ! | BabyGeek says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 9:45 am

    [...] police: Ubuntu Font (qui pourrait devenir la police par défaut si les utilisateurs [...]

  41. kamome says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Hi, great font, and it’s even possible to easily distinguish between l and I – with the ubuntu font, I’m even considering changing to a sans-serif font (just to give it a try, after happy years of LinuxLibertine throughout my system). Still, are you working on / planning a serif version?

  42. Fred says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    - On OCR efficiency -
    I often use OCR to convert pdf documents into text files for translation. Fonts poorly designed for OCR processing will for example show systematic mismatches for “1″, “l”, “I”, “i”, “j”, or for “o”, “O”, “0″, etc.
    A quick glance at Ubuntu font shows that it should be reasonably OCR-proof, except for the lower-case “l” that looks identical to an upper-case “i”.
    Is OCR efficiency a parameter that has been included in the design? Maybe Ubuntu font could take a daring stance and be_very_OCR proof, although this may look a bit surprising at first. This could actually make it a very readable font, reducing fatigue and confusions between similar symbols. It would make it a resolutely modern font, with a technical incentive for wide adoption: it would just work better on computers.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful work
    ___
    Translating since 2006 on Xubuntu and Ubuntu. Linux rocks!

  43. Trent says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I think the new font is beautiful – bravo. It has a bit of an art deco feel, but is simple enough to be readable everyday. The only thing I didn’t like was that the dot on top of the lower case “i” kinda runs into the main part of the “i” when it is bold. Other than that, it’s awesome.

  44. philipps says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Love that new font!

  45. Jonathan Marsden says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for the work on this font so far.

    For a useful set of pangrams to use for sample screenshots, see http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/ucs/examples/quickbrown.txt which includes both Greek and Russian (and Japanese, and Hebrew…)

  46. Claudio says: (permalink)
    October 2nd, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I like a lot the new font, just as I like the new Software Center and the new installation process(however the new slide isn’t smoother as before). Ubuntu is growing and I can not wait to taste the latest news from Natty. Absolutely need a new graphical interface for UbuntuOne. I saw the mock-up that you have prepared and it seems perfect. Ubuntu will not be long before a system can be used in production systems. One thing you can be sure Mark, I will never abandon Ubuntu.

  47. I kissed my blog’s CSS… | Dotting in Red says: (permalink)
    October 3rd, 2010 at 12:09 am

    [...] it’s quite an interesting font. First, I think it has some glyphs and shapes similar to the new Ubuntu font, a typeface I really enjoy (in fact, it’s the font I’m using right now). Second, it [...]

  48. stefan says: (permalink)
    October 3rd, 2010 at 8:41 am

    I am trying the font on ubuntu 10.10 RC right now and it looks okay, not sure if I find it an improvement over Droid (sans) .. but I don’t know how that one is licensed. It looks great in the ubuntu menus and webpage content, but when it gets smaller or bolder (like in titles in chromium tabs) i think it looks a little akward and I prefer Droid sans for those.

    It seems I can’t find a monospaced ubuntu font in 10.10 though.

    But what is wrong with the Liberation font family for example that a new font family has to be introduced?

  49. Ubuntu 10.10 RC发布 | Linux-System says: (permalink)
    October 3rd, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    [...] 为 Ubuntu 设计的 Ubuntu font;正式发布时可能会被用作默认字体。 [...]

  50. wassgha says: (permalink)
    October 3rd, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    @Mark, please I want an iPhone or an iPod touch, I know that you have so much money but am poor… Am a 14 years boy from Tunisia I develop in about 14 programming language but i am poor… I want to develop on an iOS platform but I don’t have money to buy one. Please contact me at wassgha@yahoo.fr or wassgha@gmail.com

  51. Ubuntu-Font unter Windows verwenden says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    [...] Something New and Beautiful: Ubuntu, distilled, in type [...]

  52. HapS says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    adamsın mark koççum benim

  53. BT says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I’m with MK-82. I’m totally sold on this as an interface font, actually — I think it’s got a lovely, strong style — but for longer text it is kind of uncomfortable. If it’s going to be used for anything other than labeling widgets I’d say you guys need a separate text variant. There are certain places in Ubuntu, like the Software Center, where you’re going to want text that blends with the Ubuntu branding, and this just isn’t going to do it.

  54. Nelson Hereveri says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I just put the new RC of Ubuntu 10.10, and several aspects of interface are welcome. Specially the font, is really nice and soft. The working experince on desktop is fluid and spacious. Thanks you very much.

  55. Nelson Hereveri says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    The font is not created for book publishing. Please be care y you use in a long paragraph, but this type of font is usefull in monitors, because are to dificult show a serif font.

  56. Ubuntu 10.10 is on the way | Geeky Thinking says: (permalink)
    October 4th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    [...] font which will now be officially distributed as part of the release and might end up becoming the default font! [...]

  57. Wydanie kandydujące Ubuntu 10.10 says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2010 at 6:25 am

    [...] Własnościowy font projektu Ubuntu, który dla poprawy wyglądu wprowadzono do wersji 10.04, jest teraz gotowym składnikiem dystrybucji. Shotwell pełni rolę menedżera zdjęć, zastępując program F-Spot. Wskaźnik dźwięku w panelu pozwala sterować odtwarzaczem muzyki. Ponadto odświeżono Centrum oprogramowania (Software Center) i poprawiono integrację z Ubuntu One. Program pocztowy Evolution uaktualniono do wersji 2.30, która cechuje się szybszym działaniem i zawiera specjalny interfejs dla mniejszych wyświetlaczy, np. w netbookach. [...]

  58. David says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I swear that t is playing tricks on me. Beautiful work.

  59. Our Favourite New Features In Ubuntu 10.10 | Lifehacker Australia says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font is also a whole typeset family, so it works across different widths, styles, and applications. You can read up on the font, its genesis, and its goals in a detailed post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. [...]

  60. Ubuntu 10.10, noch 5 Tage » Von Gregor Fröhlich » ubuntublog.ch says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font Als Default Font wird nun der neue Ubuntu Font installiert [...]

  61. BloGhigo » E’ uscito il font “made in Ubuntu” – Proviamolo subito! says: (permalink)
    October 5th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    [...] non mancate di leggere il post di Shuttleworth in merito al Font Ubuntu sul suo blog! http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/537 No related post [...]

  62. Stitch says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I like the new font. I use Ubuntu since Dapper and I think this is a great improvement.

    Bravo !

  63. Ubuntu 10.10 RC (« The Maverick Meerkat ») | xGeeks says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    [...] Ubuntu font has been officially released and added to the install media. We are considering making it the [...]

  64. Ubuntu 10.10 RC ( The Maverick Meerkat ) | xGeeks says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    [...] Ubuntu font has been officially released and added to the install media. We are considering making it the [...]

  65. Darence ANG » Blog Archive » Screenshot Tour: Our Favorite New Features in Ubuntu 10.10 says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font is also a whole typeset family, so it works across different widths, styles, and applications. You can read up on the font, its genesis, and its goals in a detailed post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. [...]

  66. hasan adil says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for writing the post. It was an great learning experience from reading it.

  67. Ubuntu 10.10 « News from benaBLOG says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    [...] forget the Ubuntu font, which has been officially released and added to the install media. The Ubuntu community is [...]

  68. Bryce says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    The new font nukes a long-term gripe I’ve had with Ubuntu/Linux clean out of the water. It (the font) is:

    1.) professional, sophisticated
    2.) easy on the eyes
    3.) BEAUTIFUL!

    Excellent job, say I to your developers/designers!

  69. Evan says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I’m all for a good free fonts — but against gratuitous wheel re-invention.

    Why not look at what Red Hat did for its Liberation font set (the Ubuntu package “ttf-liberation”) regarding licensing? Why not consider extending the Liberation Font family rather than starting a new one? This is not the time to play NIH.

    It’s just my opinion, but I think the Ubuntu font will work better for headings and menus than body type.

    As for the conversation with SIL, I really hope that bears fruit. Perhaps Ubuntu should consider officially recommending and supporting the glyphs from SIL’s excellent Gentium font family in those areas where no support (yet) exists in the Ubuntu font. Again, in the interest of reduced wheel re-invention, perhaps the Ubuntu font team could prioritize glyph sets that are missing from Gentium, so the two could be complementary rather than duplications of each other. The use of Ubuntu for headings and Gentium Basic for body type is a very impressive pairing.

  70. kauliukzmogis says: (permalink)
    October 7th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Ok, I am using Windows, but I would like to try Ubuntu font. How can I get it?

  71. David Cuny says: (permalink)
    October 8th, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I’ve got mixed feelings on the typeface. I really like the idea of a clean, usable typeface that says “Ubuntu”, but there are a lot of things in this particular typeface that don’t appeal to me.

    I should note that there are a lot of good things about the typeface – it borrows a lot nice features other popular typefaces.

    In general: the font doesn’t seem to hang together as a unified whole. Instead, it looks like there have been a number of design decisions to make it unique, and these decisions are at odds with each other.

    One immediate design choice is the “missing” left crossbar on letter such as “r”, “i”, “n”, and so forth. It has the feel of the lower case letters in the “Star Trek” (the film) font – one that I’ve never been particularly fond of. It’s absence calls attention to itself – something you don’t want for a font that will be used throughout Ubuntu.

    Without left crossbar, the letters look too thin, especially when placed against letters with large bowls, which is another design decision of this typeface. The left side of these letters look like they’ve been sheared off.

    The crossbar is a simple solid stroke, which doesn’t feel balanced against letters such as “n” which narrow as the shoulder reaches the stem.

    The bowl on the “d” points up, making it look very much like a reversed musical flat (and bad, for that reason). In contrast, the “p” bowl points down. As a result, these letters look like they are sitting on different baselines.

    The “a” looks small and lost against the “e” and “p” with their large bowls.

    The “p” looks much too large, especially when placed against “r” and “t”, which are made more narrow than usual because of the absent left stroke.

    The weight on the “v” (in “have”) is too heavy, and the kerning is wrong.

    I really don’t like the crotch of the “w”. The weight of the letter feels wrong, and the left side is much smaller than the right.

    The shoulder of the “r” is too thin.

    It’s exciting that you’re adding a new typeface, but I hope there can be a good balance found between getting something that looks unique, and something that’s balanced and usable. As the font currently stands, I wouldn’t want to use it as my default font.

  72. coppermine says: (permalink)
    October 8th, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Nice looking font – with right color it immediately hinted me that this is ubuntu look. It is simple enough and easy to read. Great job, guys!

  73. Paul Sladen says: (permalink)
    October 8th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    MK-82: Thank you for trying out the font family. Useful, specific feedback is welcomed on the ubuntu-font-family bug tracker (vague generalisations are very to deal with, or respond to).

  74. Ubuntu 10.10 – noch ganze zwei Tage | Linux, Ubuntu, OpenSuSE, VDR und WoW says: (permalink)
    October 8th, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font Als Default Font wird nun der neue Ubuntu Font installiert [...]

  75. Jean Pierre Rupp says: (permalink)
    October 9th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    You’ve done an excellent job with the Ubuntu font. I’m using it by default. In fact, I configured my Ubuntu Firefox to use it exclusively. It’s sleek, minimalist, novel, and impressively readable.

    I’m usually very eager the days before a new release, and I’m always very pleased with every upgrade, like a child having a birthday party and presents, twice a year.

  76. Ullas says: (permalink)
    October 9th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I have tried it its excellent for laptops with 14 inch screen and smaller because it has ample spacing between letters for better readability. Thanks for the great support.

  77. Le 10.10.10 à 10h10 Ubuntu est de sortie ! says: (permalink)
    October 10th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    [...] du travail sur l’identité visuelle, amorcé depuis 2/3 versions déjà (avec notamment une nouvelle font), un processus d’installation encore simplifié, une logithèque remaniée … [...]

  78. Paul Sladen says: (permalink)
    October 10th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Just Curious: in the Ubuntu Font Family, the lower case ell (‘l’) does have a ‘little curve’ at the bottom, something is important to differiate from upper case eye (‘I’) as kamome notes a little further down.

    Fred: there is already have an issue open from another professional who noted the need to use optical character recongition in their work. Could you add your own experiences to bug #653672 please so that it’s possible to get more concerted feedback.

    Trent: please could you use the ubuntu-font-family/+filebug form on Launchpad to report the issue with the dot (tittle) on the lowercase ‘i’. It may be possible to deal with using hinting. Please include a screenshot, or use the online fonttest form directly so that it’s possible to know exactly at which sizes it is appearing to merge with the stem.

    Jonathan Marsden: the sample text on font.ubuntu.com now includes samples for Cyrillic and Greek, hopefully more can be added as more languages/scripts are supported.

    Claudio: lots of people have already been using Ubuntu (the operating system) in production systems since 2004! And using (with their heritage in Debian) the pieces of the puzzle for twice as long! I hope that the Ubuntu Font Family will see use in lots of system beyond just people using Ubuntu-based machines.

    stefan: producing a font family (a whole typeface) takes a very, very long time and so it is not possible to do everything and for all languages at once. Ubuntu Mono is milestoned for beta testing during early 2011. Instructions for how to join in the phased beta test are available if you would like to help. I think many people who use the terminal alot are eagerly waiting for this part of the family to arrive! The Liberation fonts are excellent and thank yous be sent to Red Hat for supporting their development, hopefully bringing the Ubuntu Font Family to the scene will contribute to the number of libre/open fonts available.

    BT and Nelson: Ubuntu Light and Ubuntu Medium are milestoned and these should be more suitable for body-copy uses.

    Evan: the intent is to push-forward and expand the libre/open font community as a whole, rather than just something short-term. You can read the background to the interium licence on the Ubuntu Font Licence FAQ. If you think a particular area of the FAQ could do with expansion, please file a bug report at on the ubuntu-font-licence/+filebug page on Launchpad.

    David Cuny: there are a lot of good points here, and issues such as the lowercase ‘v’ can hopefully be improved with kerning. The bowls on the ‘bdpq’ are identical. It’s impossible to improve the Ubuntu Font Family if the issues aren’t known about and recorded in the bug tracker. Please file any you find (however) small in the bug-tracker directly or using fonttest (see links above).

  79. Fred says: (permalink)
    October 11th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Paul: I actually opened bug #653672. ‘Left some feedback there this morning. Thanks.

  80. Maverick Meerkat: le novità « Freetime's Blog says: (permalink)
    October 11th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    [...] font di Ubuntu è stato ufficialmente [...]

  81. Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) ir klāt says: (permalink)
    October 12th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    [...] Something New and Beautiful: Ubuntu, distilled, in type [markshuttleworth.com] [...]

  82. swinger says: (permalink)
    October 16th, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Paul: I actually opened bug #653672. ‘Left some feedback there this morning. Thanks.

  83. Ubuntu 10.10 „Maverick Meerkat“ ist erschienen says: (permalink)
    October 16th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    [...] gibt es auf Ubuntu Font Family, auf Ubuntu-Font-Family, auf Pro-Linux und in Mark Shuttleworths Blog [...]

  84. sorcerershell says: (permalink)
    October 26th, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Hey Mark! I love the brand new ubuntu font.. I’ve even use it for my paperwork..

    Could ubuntu include fonts in http://www.theleagueofmoveabletype.com/ ? They publish open source font and the fonts they made are so beautiful..

  85. Byron says: (permalink)
    October 26th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Just another thumbs-up for the new font. Been using 10.10 for a few days now and the font actually makes it pleasurable to use my PC. Amazing what a difference such a seemingly small change makes.

  86. arkadas says: (permalink)
    October 28th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Paul: I actually opened bug #653672. ‘Left some feedback there this morning. Thanks.

  87. Ubuntu 10.10 Released! « AlphaFlockFunnyBiss says: (permalink)
    November 1st, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    [...] Ubuntu Font is also a whole typeset family, so it works across different widths, styles, and applications. You can read up on the font, its genesis, and its goals in adetailed post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. [...]

  88. Išleista „Ubuntu 10.10“ (Maverick Meerkat) | kernel.lt says: (permalink)
    November 17th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    [...] Ubuntu šriftas buvo oficialiai išleistas ir įtrauktas į įdiegimo laikmeną. Planuojama padaryti šį šriftą pagrindiniu, todėl prašome jį išbandyti ir išsakyti savo nuomonę. [...]

  89. Análise: Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat – onde se prova que o 13 continua a ser superstição says: (permalink)
    December 7th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    [...] Esta expansão da fonte contará com a ajuda indispensável de membros da comunidade, conforme o repto de Mark Shuttleworth no seu blog, de modo a que a fonte expresse a identidade multi-cultural do Ubuntu e passe a suportar toda e [...]

  90. Ubuntu 10.10 | benaCOM says: (permalink)
    December 17th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    [...] forget the Ubuntu font, which has been officially released and added to the install media. The Ubuntu community is [...]

  91. Our Favorite New Features in Ubuntu 10.10 says: (permalink)
    January 9th, 2011 at 6:51 am

    [...] Ubuntu Font is also a whole typeset family, so it works across different widths, styles, and applications. You can read up on the font, its genesis, and its goals in adetailed post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. [...]

  92. Womens handbags says: (permalink)
    May 16th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I think it would be a nice guest blog from the folks at Dalton Maag on how they dealt with the reception from people and how they adjusted their workflows to deal with delivering a font to an open source community. From my limited knowledge of font foundries they seem to be very closed by default, it seems like there was much confusion on why the font design and execution wasn’t open from the very beginning.