Fonts For GNU/Linux Documentation

In 1996 Microsoft started a project to develop a standard pack of fonts for the World Wide Web. Once successfully achieving a de-facto standard Microsoft terminated the project. This was down to an effort to undermine GNU/Linux's adoption. These fonts were however initially licensed in such a way that some third parties could continue to freely distribute them. As a result it is possible to install Microsoft's Core Fonts on GNU/Linux today through the mscorefonts installer package.

As Microsoft's Core Fonts can't be legally distributed with major GNU/Linux distributions a distributor of GNU/Linux, Red Hat, contracted with Ascender Corp. to develop a set of fonts called Liberation that are metrically equivalent to these key Microsoft Core fonts. This introduced compatibility between Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux systems. The Liberation fonts come standard on most GNU/Linux distributions today.

There are three sets of fonts, Sans (a substitute for Arial, Albany, Helvetica, Nimbus Sans L, and Bitstream Vera Sans), Serif (a substitute for Times New Roman, Thorndale, Nimbus Roman, and Bitstream Vera Serif) and Mono (a substitute for Courier New, Cumberland, Courier, Nimbus Mono L, and Bitstream Vera Sans Mono).

Installing Additional Fonts

To install any of these fonts open up your distribution's Software Manager, then search for and install one or more of the following packages:


Once installed you will need to reboot the computer for the fonts to show up in your favorite applications.

While the Liberation fonts are compatible with Microsoft's Core Fonts you may not be familiar with the naming schemes. Fortunately there is now a package you can install that will automatically rename the Liberation fonts to match Microsoft equivalent fonts.

To install this package you will need a Debian, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu derived distribution with the liberation fonts installed. fonttools is also another required package (your system will prompt you to install these dependencies with the installation of the renaming package).

Warning: You can't utilize this package alongside the mscorefonts package!

1. Download the package and open it.

2. Click the Install Package button to install