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Daily 5: Five Alternative System fonts

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Today’s Daily 5 offers up 5 alternative fonts for use in Ubuntu as the System font (the one that you seen on menu’s, buttons, etc). The default font in Ubuntu ” ‘Sans’ (actually Déjà Vu Sans) ” isn’t the greatest choice ” it’s wide, defaulted at a rather large size &, above all else, not as good as the competition ” Liberation Sans (created by Red Hat and largely based on Microsoft fonts) are an oft-mooted suggested replacement. But what else is there? Let’s take a peek…

System fonts can be easily configured and adjusted in the ‘Fonts’ section of Appearance properties (System > Preferences > Appearance > Fonts)

Aurulent Sans

A humanist sans serif font specifically designed for use with user interfaces. It’s extremely pleasant to look at with crisp readable lines ” a great default system font.

Droid Sans

A font commission by Google for their Android operating system, Droid  is primarily designed for use with smaller screened and mobile devices. Nevertheless it looks beautiful used as a system font. The fonts are free to use and licensed under the Apache license.

UnDotum, derived from Korean LaTeX fonts, is packaged in pretty much every Linux distribution. I have always found it to be an incredibly readable and well proportioned font that works exceptionally well as a System font.

UnDotum is preinstalled in Ubuntu.


One of the most widely used and well known ‘humanist’ Sans-Serif fonts, Verdana is preinstalled with Windows and is one of the standard ‘web’ fonts. It’s popularity is based on solid reasons and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Verdana makes a great system font.


Part of the GNU Freefont package, FreeSans is a free and open-source ‘Sans Serif’ font descended from Helvetica.

FreeSans is preinstalled in Ubuntu