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How To Check and Install Fonts on Ubuntu for Embedded Linux

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In this article, we will guide you through the process of checking and installing fonts on Ubuntu for Embedded Linux systems. This guide will be particularly useful for developers and system administrators working on Ubuntu-based embedded Linux systems such as Beaglebone Black, Raspberry Pi, and others.

Quick Answer

To check installed fonts on Ubuntu for Embedded Linux, use the fc-list command. If the command is not found, install the fontconfig package using sudo apt install fontconfig. To install new fonts, create the directories /usr/share/fonts/ and ~/.local/share/fonts/ if they don’t exist, then copy the font files with the .ttf or .otf extension to these directories. Finally, rebuild the font cache using the fc-cache -fv command.

Checking Installed Fonts

Before installing new fonts, it’s important to know which fonts are already installed on your system. To do this, we use the fc-list command. This command is part of the fontconfig package, which is a library designed to provide system-wide font configuration, customization, and application access.

Here is how you can use it:


This command will list all the fonts available on your system. If you encounter an error like fc-list: command not found, it means the fontconfig package is not installed on your system. You can install it using the following command:

sudo apt install fontconfig

In this command, sudo is used to run the command with root privileges, apt is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, install is the command to install a package, and fontconfig is the name of the package.

Installing New Fonts

To install new fonts on your system, you need to copy the font files to the appropriate directories. The standard locations for font files are /usr/share/fonts/ for all users and ~/.local/share/fonts/ for a specific user.

If the directories do not exist, you can create them manually using the mkdir command:

mkdir -p /usr/share/fonts/
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/fonts/

In these commands, mkdir is used to create a directory, -p is used to create parent directories as needed, and /usr/share/fonts/ and ~/.local/share/fonts/ are the directories to be created.

Once the directories are ready, you can copy the font files to them. Font files usually have the .ttf or .otf extension. You can download these files from various online sources. After downloading, use the cp command to copy the files:

cp /path/to/downloaded/font.ttf /usr/share/fonts/

In this command, cp is used to copy files, /path/to/downloaded/font.ttf is the path to the downloaded font file, and /usr/share/fonts/ is the directory where the font file will be copied.

After copying the font files, you need to rebuild the font cache using the fc-cache command:

fc-cache -fv

In this command, fc-cache is used to build font information cache files, -f is used to force the command to run, and -v is used to run the command in verbose mode, which will display detailed information about what the command is doing.


Checking and installing fonts on Ubuntu for Embedded Linux is a straightforward process, but it requires a good understanding of the command line. By following the steps in this guide, you should be able to manage your fonts effectively. For more information, you can refer to the official Ubuntu documentation or the man pages for the commands used in this guide.

How can I check if the `fontconfig` package is installed on my Ubuntu system?

To check if the fontconfig package is installed on your Ubuntu system, you can run the following command in the terminal: dpkg -s fontconfig. If the package is installed, it will display information about the package. If the package is not installed, it will show an error message.

Can I install fonts for a specific user on Ubuntu?

Yes, you can install fonts for a specific user on Ubuntu by copying the font files to the ~/.local/share/fonts/ directory. This directory is specific to each user and any fonts placed in it will only be available to that user.

How can I download new fonts for Ubuntu?

There are several websites where you can download fonts for Ubuntu. Some popular websites include Google Fonts ( and DaFont ( Once you find a font you want to download, you can usually download it as a .ttf or .otf file.

Do I need to restart my system after installing new fonts?

No, you do not need to restart your system after installing new fonts. After copying the font files to the appropriate directories and rebuilding the font cache, the new fonts should be immediately available for use in applications.

Can I use custom fonts in my embedded Linux application?

Yes, you can use custom fonts in your embedded Linux application. After installing the fonts on your system, you can specify the font family and style in your application’s code or configuration files. The application will then use the specified font when rendering text.

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