xfig is broken

I use xfig a lot to prepare diagrams. Unfortunately it is broken since updating to 15.1. I get the error message below.
I have compiled it from the sources but that didn’t help. Any idea for a workaround?

With best greetings,


Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
Warning: Cannot convert string “-URW-Nimbus Roman No9 L-medium-r-normal–34-------,-kochi-mincho-medium-r-normal–34------jisx0208.1983-0,-baekmukttf-batang-medium-r-normal–34------ksc5601.1987-0,--times-medium-r-normal–34-------,---medium-r-normal–34-------,–34---times-medium-r-normal–16-------,---medium-r-normal–16-------,–16-*” to type FontSet
Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
Warning: Unable to load any usable fontset
Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
Warning: Unable to load any usable fontset
xfig: this input-method doesn’t support OffTheSpot input style
xfig: using ROOT input style instead.
xfig: can’t create input-context
Error: Aborting: no fontset found

What happens when you forcibly reinstall xfig?

  • zypper install --force xfig

Do the following font packages also get replaced as part of the above forced reinstall?

  • xorg-x11-fonts-core
  • ghostscript-fonts-std
  • xorg-x11-fonts
  • efont-unicode
  • intlfonts-euro-bitmap-fonts – According to the ReadMe, the xfig requirement for “ifnteuro” is satisfied by this package …

If they didn’t get replaced, what happens when you forcibly reinstall the above list of fonts packages?

Nothing, still broken. BTW: xfig does start but crashes when I try to save anything.

They were not automatically replaced.
After I replaced them manually, with the exception of “efont-unicode” which is not found, and logged out and in again to restart the X-Server:
No change, still broken.


You may have to check your X11 settings …
There are these rather ancient LinuxQuestions entries: <https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/xfig-aborts-because-no-fontset-found-unable-to-load-any-usable-fontset-883553/> <https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/xfig-unable-to-load-font-set-927226/> but, they mention “~/.Xdefaults” which, is no longer actual …

You may have to refer to this ArchLinux entry: <https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/X_resources>.

On checking the contents of the xfig package it seems that, the “/usr/lib64/X11/xfig/” directory is no longer used … the directory is now “/usr/share/xfig”.

  • Are you certain that, you don’t have any custom X11 settings pointing to the older directories which, are no longer being used?

I don’t have “~/.Xdefaults” any more.
In my .bashrc, .alias and in the output of bash’s ‘set’ I don’t see any suspicious X settings. Where else could they be?

Just guessing, but if you can start xfig and insert some text using different fonts,
That would be curious and could point to something weird… like a conflicting libraries problem?

Point is that if xfig can’t access fonts at all, then you shouldn’t be able to work with any text at all, even before attempting to save.
And, if that’s the case then it likely points to a application coding problem.
Maybe try installing an older xfig version?


Funny indeed. It does find the usual 15 or so fonts, I can add text in different fonts to the canvas, but it
always crashes when I try to save, independent of whether there is text or just straight lines.

Then, I’d recommend you submit an issue to the xfig project, to me that’s very nearly 100% a coding problem.
If an older version of xfig works, then you might install that instead.

Of course, assumes that you’re running the app as a normal User, not with elevated permissions.
In fact, just out of curiosity, you might try actually running it with elevated permissions to see if that’s the problem… Open a console, su to root and then try launching xfig. Maybe some developer could have done all his coding work as root (typical) but forgot to compile targeting a normal User environment.


There was indeed a bug in the Leap 15.1 version of transfig which meant that you could not export to certain formats. However, you could export to svg and then export to other formats from inkscape.
However, there has been an update to transfig and the problem has been resolved.

In my computer, xfig crashes even before opening a file.

xfig is a problematic software. I remember similar irreparable behavior occurring every few years.

This time, I tried version


from 42.3, and xfig works.

Not my experience; I have been using xfig since 2000 and the only bug I can remember is the recent one involving transfig which has now been fixed. During that bug, I was able to export any xfig file I wanted to work on to svg and use Inkscape to provide alternatives to what transfig normally does.