Installing RedHat’s Free “Liberation” Fonts

By | 2007/10/30

On May 9, 2007 RedHat released a set of free fonts called “Liberation” at the RedHat Summit.  This font set includes a Sans, Serif and Mono set, and I have been using these fonts for quite some time.  I realize I enjoy these fonts but have never shared the steps needed to install them for the rest of you.  If you want some new fonts (and these look pretty clean if you ask me!) read on.

Installing RedHat’s Liberation Fonts in Ubuntu

Installing this new font set in Ubuntu can be done two ways.  One method is system wide so any other user on your machine can enjoy them.  The other method is just for your user.  I will break down the two methods below, so while the fonts are downloading in the first step think about which method will be right for you.

  1. Download the Liberation fonts from RedHat.  (For Ubuntu you’ll want the TTF Files .tar.gz option)
  2. Open With… Archive Manager will probably be the simplest method here.
  3. Extract the contents to your /tmp folder.

The following steps are broken down to System Wide and Personal.  Follow just the section you feel would be best for your setting.  If you are the only user on your machine the Personal steps will probably be just fine.  If you share the machine with others, System Wide will allow all users access to the fonts.

System Wide (Graphical Method)

  1. Launch your file browser with admin privileges (ALT-F2 “gksudo “nautilus”).
  2. Navigate to File System > usr > share > fonts.
  3. Create a folder called “liberation”.
  4. Copy your unpacked fonts from step three above into this folder via drag-and-drop.

System Wide (Command Line Method)

  1. sudo mkdir /usr/share/fonts/liberation/
  2. sudo cp /tmp/liberation-fonts-0.2/* /usr/share/fonts/liberation/

Personal (Graphical Method)

  1. Launch your file browser (Places > Home Folder)
  2. Press ctrl-h or select “View > Show Hidden Files”
  3. right-click within the window and select “Create Folder”
  4. Create a folder called “.fonts” (yes, dot fonts)
  5. Copy your unpacked fonts from step three above into this folder via drag-and-drop.

Personal (Command Line Method)

  1. mkdir ~/.fonts
  2. cp /tmp/liberation-fonts-0.2/* ~/.fonts/

I hope between all the options on installation above that everyone can successfully get these fonts installed that is interested.  I really like these fonts and, like I say, wanted to share the steps that I use to get them installed on my systems.  As I am usually the only user on the system I use the command line personal method, but any of the above should work.  You may need to logout and back in again for the new fonts to be available to your applications, or in some cases simply restart the application itself.

14 thoughts on “Installing RedHat’s Free “Liberation” Fonts

  1. Sandip Bhattacharya

    I installed the fonts. However, when I changed the default monospace in Gnome to Liberation mono, the terminal presented a very poor look of the font. I had to change back to monospace.

    Maybe I should try once again after restarting X.

  2. Alberto Ruiz

    Have you tried to browse fonts:// in the nautilus navigation bar? Then, just drag and drop.

  3. Killerkiwi

    Why are these not installed by default? or at least in the ubuntu repos?

  4. perkele

    You can get to your fonts folder by opening



  5. mathew

    ttf-liberation used to be available in Fiesty Synaptic package manager. Why it is not available in Gutsy?

  6. Tom Mann

    I found these in my Adept – I only have medibuntu repos installed on top of ubuntu’s…

  7. Hans

    Nice-looking fonts. But the monospace font failed the 0/O test miserably.

  8. Travis

    ~/.fonts supports subdirectories so you can copy the liberation-fonts-0.2 directory into ~/.fonts.

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  11. JGJones

    For those looking for a decent monotype font – I use the inconsolata font (you can install them in Synaptic) and they are really really nice. The best I’ve had…so far 😉

    For everything else, there’s Liberation.

  12. Jeff Dickey

    Another way to install the fonts (systemwide):

    1. Download the RPM package to /tmp
    2. Open a terminal shell and cd to /tmp
    3. alien –scripts liberation-fonts-0.1.4-noarch.rpm
    4. dpkg -i liberation-fonts_0.1.5_all.deb
    5. rm /tmp/liberation-fonts*

    Note the differences in the package name between the original RPM and alien-generated DEB. Also, I would suspect that any DEB created this way should be for your own local use; distribution could be dicey for any of several reasons.

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