Re: How to get traditional Chinese characters working under Gnome + Debian?

Hello Matthew,

Matthew Exon wrote:


I'm trying to resolve a problem I've had for a long time with my system, which is that traditional Chinese characters turn up as boxes with hex characters in them. Simplified Chinese seems to work fine. For example:

Traditional: 中國 Simplified: 中国

The second character above is a box for me, the others are the real characters. I know that the solution is to install an appropriate font - the question is, which? I installed a bunch of xfonts-intl-* packages, but they didn't seem to make any difference.

However, it looks fine in an xterm. It doesn't work in gnome-terminal, firefox, thunderbird, gedit, or any other application that seems more-or-less Gnomish, which is why I'm hoping I can find the answer in the gnome-list.

My real problem is that I just don't understand how all the fonts fit together - scalable fonts, bitmapped fonts, latex fonts, postscript fonts, and the various conversion systems that all seem to exist on my system. Which of these are available to Gnome apps? How do Gnome apps choose one? And how do I map from a Gnome name like "Sans" to names like "-Misc-Fixed-Medium-R-SemiCondensed--13-120-75-75-C-60-ISO10646-1"? If anyone can point me to some documentation where it's all explained, that'd be really helpful. It's especially confusing with Unicode, where as far as I can tell various different fonts will be used to render a single piece of text, even though it's all "Sans".

I'm running Gnome 2.6, from the unstable Debian distribution.

I know nothing about Chinese fonts, so I can't help you with that. However, if you want to learn about how fonts are configured in GTK2 programs, have a look at Fontconfig documentation ( This is the program that maps names like "Sans" or "Bitstream Vera Sans" to real fonts. Its config files are in /etc/fonts. Don't modify fonts.conf, only make changes to local.conf.

In the default local.conf installed by the fontconfig package in Debian there is a commented section that you have to uncomment in order for fontconfig to "see" bitmapped fonts. Have a look there, maybe uncommenting this will help you with the Chinese characters.

Hope this helps,

andrei badea movzx net # # ICQ: 52641547

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