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I sometimes have problems when looking at postings with Hebrew text. For instance this answer to Does Nehemiah 9:14 teach that …? displays like this in my browser:

Hebrew text with many blank rectangles for missing characters.

But if I copy that messed up section from the browser window and paste it into a text window, it displays fine:

Terminal text window showing characters legibly.

It also displays correctly in the Firefox browser.

Obviously the correct fonts are installed, but Chrome seems not to use them.

Does anyone else use Chrome on Linux (specifically Ubuntu 20.4), and do they have the same problem, or did they have to do something to make it work correctly?

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  • Stack Exchange now doesn't use any custom fonts, just standard web fonts. Have you installed the msttcorefonts package, maybe it would help (though I'd expect Chrome to find valid substitutes even without it)?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Dec 29, 2021 at 0:49
  • This is good stuff. Installing fonts is definitely the thing for now. Here is one Hebrew project on fonts: opensiddur.org/help/fonts In Manjaro, I install these packages for all my needs: otf-gfs ttf-mgopen opensiddur-hebrew-fonts culmus Dec 29, 2021 at 1:54
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    FYI, Chrome on Windows 10 showed it correctly. As per the announcement on the font change, the font choice for sites using serif font is still the same: Georgia, Cambria, "Times New Roman", Times, serif; where the serif fallback font can be customized on chrome://settings/fonts.
    – Andrew T.
    Dec 29, 2021 at 2:35
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    Have you checked the following FAQ? 'Which browsers are officially supported, and what else do I need?'
    – Mast
    Dec 29, 2021 at 6:01
  • Chrome on Mac seems to display properly for me as well.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Jan 3 at 16:57

1 Answer 1

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This should be high priority for SE's roadmap

Biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew (and Aramaic if it differs in fontology) is essential for hermeneutics, including a hermeneutics site like this. While it may not be normal to use web fonts or custom fonts on SE sites, BH.SE should be an exception just as much as a site for learning Japanese or Korean.

Browser conflicts

This look like a browser-specific problem. As a web developer myself, I know that the most troublesome browser is often MS Explorer, but all browsers can be temperamental at times and software devs want to know.

Font conflicts

It is possible that a user did research and copy-pasted fonts that are somehow not supported by other web fonts or local fonts for Greek and Hebrew. They may be using a special font specific to certain Bible software. That's a bug software developers would need to track down, eventually. So, they would need examples of posts where fonts render as boxes to find out what is going on.

In the meanwhile: install your own fonts & update your software

As our international world become smaller, operating systems may include more languages natively, but we're not quite there yet. Developing for SE can take time.

Here is an example of an article on Ask Ubuntu SE: How do I install fonts?. Here is a great Hebrew font project, if you're interested: the Open Siddur Project. If such solutions don't solve it, SE also needs to know those specifics.

Also make sure your own software is up to date. If Firefox renders correctly, that's another reason to promote and use Firefox.

I'll also bring this up with other moderators so SE knows. And, I hope other users add other answers. This might also be a good question on Ask Ubuntu, if you want rep there.

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    I now notice that the messed up characters generally involve 3 unicode "combining characters". So perhaps it's not a font issue at all, but a problem with this specific implementation of Chrome. Dec 29, 2021 at 4:39
  • It could be, it is at least something SE should be aware of. Dec 29, 2021 at 4:41

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