Periods appear as degree symbols, bug #5805 revisited

From: Michael Shell <>
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 05:48:57 CEST


I recently installed Abiword 2.2.5 (from source) on my Linux system and
I am very impressed with it. Kudos to the Abiword developers.

I did run into a few snags and thought the following information might
be helpful to some other users. My system is originally a Red Hat 6.0
release, but everything has been updated by me over the years from
source to very recent versions of just about everything (gcc 3.4.2,
glibc 2.3.3, kernel, XFree86 4.4.0, etc.). However, sometimes
some of the old files that remain can bite in unexpected ways.

A case in point is that after compiling Abiword 2.2.5, I had a bad
case of bug 5805:
"period (full stop) rendered as degree symbol". That is, when
using the default Times New Roman font, some glyphs such as periods
were rendered as degree symbols. This problem did not occur with
the Nimbus (Ghostscript) fonts.

My investigation revealed that the problem was related to an old (1999)
set of ISO8859-2 Type1 fonts in /usr/share/fonts. These were probably
installed with the initial Red Hat 6.0 installation. The presence of
these fonts is a bit strange as I did not expect any "freeware" Times
type 1 fonts to be in the system as there are copyright issues
associated with the use and distribution of Times (New) Roman.

Indeed, the Red Hat 7.3 (and later) rpm with the ISO8859-2 fonts does
not seem to come with a type 1 version:

There also seems to be an issue with improper resources lists in these
rpms. I do not know if this is related to bug 5805. (Note: One can
unpack an rpm file into the current directory and gain access to its
contents using: rpm2cpio filename.rpm | cpio -i -d and thus do not need
to install it via rpm for test purposes.)

However, I was able to find an rpm that had the type 1 versions which
triggered the problem in Abiword:

Unpacking this rpm and copying its Type1 subdirectory to
/usr/share/fonts/Type1 (be sure to set this copied Type1 directory to
have permissions 755) followed by deleting my fontconfig cache
(rm ~/.fonts.cache-1), starting abiword and selecting Times New Roman,
I was able to reproduce the problem.

I *think* it is a font problem, not a bug in Abiword. However, someone
else will have to verify it. If it is a font problem, there are probably
a lot of Linux systems that are still carrying these defective fonts.

As the only fonts I have on my system, in addition to those supplied
with XFree86 and LaTeX, are those from Ghostscript, I decided to
remove the old fonts from /usr/share/fonts and install a symlink to
the Ghostscript fonts:
mkdir /usr/share/fonts/gs
chmod 755 /usr/share/fonts/gs
ln -s /usr/share/ghostscript/fonts /usr/share/fonts/gs/Type1
rm ~/.fonts.cache-1

And then I could use the URW Nimbus Roman, Sans and Mono in place of
the proprietary Times, Helvetica/Arial and Courier respectively.

Incidently, the Unix version (not Windows) of the URW (Ghostscript)
fonts supplied with Ghostscript (even the current 8.11 [1/2004] font
release used with gs 8.5) have a bug that affects the on-screen
(under Acrobat reader) display hinting of bold Palladio. Users can
find the latest corrected release at:

I do not know if the AbiWord source configurator will select a default
font other than Times New Roman if this font is not present. If not,
I would consider this a bug.

One other annoyance is that the print setup always defaults to color
(I have a BW printer). How can I change this?

Lastly, clicking on help in the print setup yields a:
"The file /usr/local/share/AbiSuite2-2/AbiWord/help/2n-US/interface/dialogprint.html
cannot be found." Indeed, there isn't any
/usr/local/share/AbiSuite2-2/AbiWord/help directory. How do I obtain
these (local) files (e.g., are they included in the source tarball?)

The issues above, IMHO, are candidates for the Abiword knowledge


  Mike Shell
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Received on Tue Apr 5 05:46:05 2005

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