The font was first introduced in October 2010 with the release of Ubuntu 10.10 in four versions Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic in English. With the release of Ubuntu 11.04 in April, 2011 additional fonts and expanded language coverage were introduced. The final development is intended to include a total of thirteen fonts consisting of:
The monospace version, used in terminals, was initially planned to ship with Ubuntu 11.04. However it was delayed and instead shipped with Ubuntu 11.10 as the default system monospace font.
The font is fully Unicode compliant and contains Latin A and B extended character sets, Greek polytonic, and Cyrillic extended. In addition, it has become the first native operating system font to include the Indian rupee sign. The font has been designed primarily for use on screen displays, and its spacing and kerning is optimised for body copy sizes.
The Ubuntu Font Licence is an "interim" license designed for the Ubuntu Font Family, which has used the license since version 0.68. The license is based on the SIL Open Font License.
The Ubuntu Font Licence allows the fonts to be "used, studied, modified and redistributed freely" given that the license terms are met. The license is copyleft and all derivative works must be distributed under the same license. Documents that use the fonts are not required to be licensed under the Ubuntu Font Licence.