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Ubuntu Mono — The Gamma Travesty

In one of the latest commits, Ubuntu Mono, the monospace variant of the Ubuntu font that has recently been included in the distribution, was added to the repositories.

Ubuntu Mono is a relatively nice looking monospace font that borrows quite a lot from Consolas, but adds its own distinctive touches that make it fit better with the Ubuntu font family. I have been a member of the beta testing group and have seen it for a while now, but I never quite found the time to properly look into it.

Capital Gamma in Ubuntu MonoSadly, while the roman script looks great already, the Greek script suffers from some poor design decisions. Chief among them is Gamma (the capital gamma) which was clearly designed by someone totally unfamiliar with the Greek language and script. Gamma in Ubuntu Mono features a bottom serif that is totally distorting the perception of the character. It is unlike any other modern font I’ve ever seen and I feel is doing Ubuntu Mono a disservice (it has certainly rendered the font unusable by me as long as it looks this bad).

In an effort to remedy this, I have opened a bug in Launchpad, Ubuntu’s bug reporting system. You can find the bug, #867577, here. If you have a Launchpad account, use Ubuntu (and/or the fonts) and would like to see Ubuntu Mono fixed for Greek please subscribe, add your comment and/or contact those responsible to help them realise how their effort is being ruined by a few badly designed characters.

5 Responses to “Ubuntu Mono — The Gamma Travesty”

  1. Paul Sladen says:

    Thank you very much for putting the post up and opening the bug report. My hunch (see report) is that an open ‘Γ’ is probably the solution, following similar back-and-forth over whether to add serifs to the Latin ‘r’.

    Would you been able to arrange a core group of 5-6 Greek daily monospace users so that we can have a close-knit pre-alpha re-check, for the designers trying to find a solution when it comes to fixing it?

  2. cosmix says:

    Hello Paul and thank you for your message. I would very much like to see Ubuntu Mono improved as far as Greek is concerned and I can definitely try communicating the issue to people familiar with the language and using monospace fonts daily (that was my goal with the post anyway; a significant part of the people that regularly read this blog are probably a perfect fit). Alas, I cannot promise anything close to a ‘close-knit’ group of people, given the time constraints of my schedule. At any rate I’ll try my best to get more people to participate.

    I agree that an open Gamma is probably the best choice for Ubuntu Mono. Gamma more than often lacks serifs completely and even when it doesn’t, they are closer to microserifs than ‘traditional’ serifs, even on typefaces with a more traditional feel.

  3. panos says:

    @Paul: As a native Greek myself, I agree with your proposal the open ‘Γ’. I’d be happy to participate in such a group.

  4. vrypan says:

    I may be able to participate too.

  5. cosmix says:

    @vrypan: Great! The best/easiest way for this to get organised is to use Launchpad as the ubuntu font design team probably check it more than anything. Right now I’m the only person on the LP bug that has specified any interest, so by all means, go for it!

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