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I recently installed a bunch of packages. Now my system fonts look different than what I'm used to. When I run sudo synpatic, the program opens, but I see this output in the terminal.

Fontconfig warning: line 5: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: line 6: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: line 6: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: line 6: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: line 7: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: line 7: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: line 9: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/11-lcdfilter-default.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-generic.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-generic.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 34: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 35: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 35: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 35: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 36: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf", line 36: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf", line 8: unknown element "description"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 4: unknown element "its:rules"
Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 5: unknown element "its:translateRule"
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'translate'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 5: invalid attribute 'selector'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'xmlns:its'
Fontconfig error: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf", line 6: invalid attribute 'version'
Fontconfig error: Cannot load default config file

I'm running Debian 9.4. Why do these font errors happen?

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2 Answers 2

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If you can read the files and they seem like well-formed XML, fontconfig libraries have gotten some bad information and it's time to reboot, maybe fsck, reinstall that library and then log out and back to see whether things improve; or your studies with encryptor malware that only affects typography lib deps has seen a VM escape... Perhaps your ATA control chip is running a temperature? Drive errors going up with temperature and egging for a replacement? Installing Jenkins sometimes does similar bits as a part of getting you running headless, see notes for that package or in general your install logs (/var/log/apt...)

If it hadn't been all those subfiles, either of /etc/fonts/fonts.conf, ~/.config/fonts/fonts.conf or a dotfile in your home directory of the same persuasion may have some missing lines that that turned nice XML into dogfood. Try renaming the file /etc/fonts/fonts.conf to something else, then running appearance preferences or a theme manager for a starter, to generate a working fontconfig config file. From then perhaps you can run

dpkg -S /etc/fonts/font.conf

to get the distro's original.

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  • 1
    Welcome on the Unix SE! :-)
    – peterh
    Jun 30, 2018 at 23:05
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I had this problem on Mint Debian edition, and fixed it by installing fontconfig 2.13.0-5. (The effects won't be seen until you restart the window manager.)

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