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Installing x48 on Newer Ubuntu Versions

Installing x48 on Newer Ubuntu Versions

Ubuntu removed some fonts from recent (Natty+) implementations of their distro; a side effect of this is breaking x48, an HP48 emulator.

Table of Contents
1. Installation
A. About Me

1. Installation

This is a fairly simple procedure. First, you'll need to download x48. You can download any version you like, but the latest 0.6.4 isn't available in .deb format if that's an issue for you. Install the x48 package.

You'll also need to download a ROM at the bottom of that page. Unzip this ROM in your home directory, it will extract to .hp48/.

If you run x48 now you'll probably get an error message that says it can't find the helvetica connectionFont. Luckily from the command line you can override this with x48 -connFont fixed. You can also specify fonts manually with any font you can find in the output of the xlsfonts command. As an example, using this works just fine on my system:

x48 -connFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 \
  -smallFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 \
  -mediumFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--14-130-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 \
  -largeFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--15-140-75-75-c-90-iso8859-16

You should now be greeted with an old friend.

Figure 1. An x48 Screenshot

If you want to put this in your menu, you can create a file ~/.local/share/applications/x48.desktop with the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=The world's greatest calculator
Exec=x48 -connFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 -smallFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 -mediumFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--14-130-75-75-c-70-iso8859-16 -largeFont -misc-fixed-bold-r-normal--15-140-75-75-c-90-iso8859-16

A. About Me

My name is Jeff Bower, I'm a technology professional with more years of experience in the telecommunications industry than I'd care to admit. I tend to post with the username jdbower on various forums. Writing these documents is a hobby of mine, I hope you find them useful and feel free to browse more at

If you've got any questions or feedback please feel free to email me at or follow me on Google+ or Twitter.