In our list of fonts, we can see the fonts Sans-serif, Serif and
Monospace. These are actually aliases by fontconfig. There are no fonts
actually called "Sans-serif", nor "Serif" or "Monospace".
When you hit "Sans-serif" in the list of font in GIMP, some other will
be used, most likely depending on which computer you are on (not even
just the operating system, it will depend on what you have installed
too, etc.). For instance, on my system, the command "fc-match -s
Sans-serif" tells me that "DejaVu Sans" will be used.
This is very useful for UIs, where you don't know what font exactly
every person who will use your website/software will use, so you just
specify such an alias instead as a default (which the user can later
customize on OS, Desktop or software level).
For GIMP images, it means that when you select "Sans", you don't even
know which font is actually behind. Worse if you send a XCF to someone,
on text edit, the font will change (if another is used under the hood
for the other person).
I definitely prefer to know which font is actually used (and on file
sharing, if the other does not have the right font, get a message
telling you the font name which is missing so that I can search and
In my opinion, these alias could nearly disappear except I still see
some usage of aliases. Let's say I want to create a mockup of UI, I may
want to just use whatever "Sans-serif" is on my system.
Solution could be that when I click an alias, it actually change
directly into the actual font. I want the information of which actual
font was used stored in the XCF. Not only for sharing, but even if I
ever want to edit the file later on another computer.
Any opinion on this?