Missing common proprietary Arabic fonts make some PDF documents unreadable
Reported by a user, Tails, but in fact many Linux OS are missing some Arabic fonts, making unreadable documents like pdfs (e.g. http://18.104.22.168/ar/book/download.php?4+4002).
While it looks like it's un upstream issue, I feel like it wouldn't be enough to just ask upstream to fix it, when it might be a more sensitive issue for Tails.
Then we have basically two options I can think of:
- adding those fonts to Tails
- telling people they have to use .dotfiles feature.
#2 Updated by intrigeri almost 2 years ago
- Subject changed from Tails missing some common Arabic fonts to Missing common proprietary Arabic fonts make some PDF documents unreadable
- Assignee deleted (
- Type of work changed from Discuss to Research
I've had a look at that PDF. The missing fonts are not embedded in the document (usually one wants to embed fonts in PDFs unless they're 100% sure the reader will have them available already); these fonts are included in Windows one can buy them separately. So I don't think we can include these fonts in Tails: sadly there's little we can do directly about documents that require non-free external data to be readable at all.
Now, there might be a workaround: what happens in practice (see Properties → Fonts in Evince) is that fontconfig substitutes the missing font with another one. On my Debian sid system, that's
DejaVu Sans. Apparently that substitute font does not support Arabic chars, hence the unreadable document in Evince. I believe we can configure fontconfig to use different substitute fonts, e.g. one that covers many more scripts (I think that's what the Debian Installer does, see #9956 for details). I don't know if there would be adverse consequences of such a change.