I'm running Emacs 26.3 on Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS in a WSL1 container on a Windows laptop, using MobaXterm's X server to provide the display.

Using "Options > Set Default Font..." I select "DejaVu Sans Mono Book" and the font in my buffers changes, but none of the italic faces show as that - they're all still upright. Furthermore, if I select "DejaVu Sans Mono Italic" as the font then the preview on the "Pick a font" popup shows the slanted font correctly, but everything in my buffers is still upright.

After doing "Options > Save Options", the "custom-set-faces" call in my options file contains

'(default ((t (:family "DejaVu Sans Mono" :foundry "PfEd" :slant normal :weight normal :height 98 :width normal))))

and if I change this to have :family "Courier" :foundry "Adobe" and restart emacs then I do get slanted italics, but the text is a bit small and tweaking the "98" just breaks it.

I do get italics when I select "Nimbus Mono PS" as the font, but that's weird because according to xlsfonts I don't have that one installed!

All I all I'm thoroughly confused. Can anyone shed any light?

1 Answer 1


Turns out that Emacs renders fonts on the client rather than the X Server, and the client machine was at fault. apt list '*dejava*' showed that fonts-dejavu-core was installed but fonts-dejavu-extra wasn't. Running apt install fonts-dejavu to get the meta-package sorted the problem, so now Emacs is showing italics properly and I can get on with my life :-)

  • FYI: You can accept your own answer. That lets readers know that the answer is correct (according to the questioner).
    – Drew
    Feb 11, 2022 at 16:59
  • @Drew true, but only after 2 days :-)
    – kbro
    Feb 11, 2022 at 17:01
  • Oops.......................
    – Drew
    Feb 11, 2022 at 17:03

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