In Linux Mint KDE 17.2 (KDE4) the Google search fonts are different than in other systems.

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In Linux Mint Xfce 17.2 (that is, the same OS, different DE), it is normal one, that is the one that I prefer and have on the other systems that I tested (Ubuntu Unity, Lubuntu, Manjaro KDE5 and Netrunner KDE5, Kubuntu 14.10 (KDE4), Windows 7 and 10, and this no matter the browser (Firefox, Google Chrome):

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So, this is not browser specific. the same happens in Chrome and Firefox, it is system specific. I have tested from live USB different OSes that use KDE, it only happens in Mint 17.2 KDE. Kubuntu 14.10 which also uses KDE4 is not affected.

The most common font, and the one that I prefer to have is Arial I guess, while the other one may be Segoe. I think I have seen the latter in other systems/desktops but trying to check this I couldn't confirm.

I have customized the KDE fonts (FreeSans all around) but the system settings don't seem to affect this.

The place where I see this kind of difference more clearly is Google Search results page. But I expect it to be present in other Google services.


This affects other Google services like Gmail and Google Translate, but not Youtube and Google+.

I have even tried to see if the same difference is present between Firefox for Windows installed under Playonlinux in LMint Xfce and LMint KDE: yes, the same difference!

UPDATE to answer comments:

~/.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini contains:


  • 1
    what browser are you using? – Art Gertner Sep 8 '15 at 8:59
  • @smc - I have updated the question body to be more clear that this is not browser specific. In fact it is not DE specific either, it only affects Mint 17.2 KDE4 (AFAICT) – user162573 Sep 8 '15 at 12:31
  • I feel this is Linux Mint-KDE4-specific and so fits better U&L. - I pasted the question there. I will delete this after a while. – user162573 Sep 8 '15 at 13:28
  • 1
    I wonder if this is due to the fonts being downloaded into your browser. Have you tried launching Chrome from the command line as google-chrome --disable-remote-fonts or going to about:config in Firefox and changing gfx.downloadable_fonts.enabled to false? – Kevin Follstad Sep 11 '15 at 18:46
  • @KevinFollstad - Yes, this is the answer. (If you think this is a Linux issue, post as answer under here, if not, post it below. Or you may post it in both places but I think I should delete one of them. Tell me if you think this is Linux specific or not.) Launching Chrome as you said and making the change in Firefox about:config fixed the problem in both browsers. After changing the about:config back to true, and logging off and on, the problem was still fixed in FF and Chrome launched the normal way is also rid of the problem. – user162573 Sep 11 '15 at 20:13

This is not a Linux specific issue, but rather a behavior that manifests when a webpage author decides to specify that fonts should be used to render their website that are not present on your system.

To facilitate this, some will specify font files that the browser should download and use to render their website. In this case, your browser will download the font files they link to and the browser will use these to render the page.

If they don't include them, they will usually specify the font-family that the browser should fall back on in the CSS so that they browser can render the page as close to what they had intended as possible.

Both browsers allow you to disable downloading the fonts and use your system fonts in their place.

To override in Firefox:

Enter about:config in the address bar. Search for gfx.downloadable_fonts.enabled and change this flag to false. This option will be saved to your ~/.mozilla/firefox/prefs.js file which will then be loaded every time your start your browser.

To override in Chrome:

Launch Chrome from the command line:

google-chrome --disable-remote-fonts
  • But how come the change (back to "normal") is now kept after turning gfx.downloadable_fonts.enabled back to true in Firefox and when launching Chrome only with the command google-chrome? - Using once the settings you mentioned seems to have solved it permanently. – user162573 Sep 11 '15 at 20:37
  • Can you check the contents of ~/.mozilla/firefox/prefs.js and ~/.config/chromium.conf – Kevin Follstad Sep 11 '15 at 21:23
  • Also echo $CHROMIUM_USER_FLAGs and echo $CHROMIUM_FLAGS from the command line? – Kevin Follstad Sep 11 '15 at 21:25
  • I have updated question body with some info. chromium.conf must be in a different place on my system (Linux Mint 17.2 KDE) and I cannot find it. - Maybe I don't know how to run echo $CHROMIUM_USER_FLAGs and echo $CHROMIUM_FLAGS in terminal, but they provide nothing. (I tried echo $CHROMIUM_USER_FLAGs and $CHROMIUM_USER_FLAGs, etc. Nothing. – user162573 Sep 11 '15 at 21:34

A similar problem appeared for me in Opensuse 42.1 with Plasma 5 that was not solved by the other solution.

I fixed it opening Yast-Font configuration ('Fonts - Configuring fonts' in Plasma search or in Kickoff launcher) and there, under 'Rendering details' checked 'Force Autohinting on'.

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