Nimbus Sans L is a version of Nimbus Sans using Adobe font sources. It was designed in 1987. The family includes 17 fonts in 5 weights and 2 widths, with Nimbus Sans L Extra Black only available in condensed roman format.
A subset of Nimbus Sans L, which includes regular and bold weight fonts in all widths and styles, were released under the GPL and AFPL in Type 1 format in 1996 and LPPL in 2009, and is one of several freely licensed fonts offered by URW++.
Although the characters are not exactly the same, Nimbus Sans L has metrics almost identical to Helvetica and Arial. Nimbus Sans L is one of the Ghostscript fonts, a set of free alternatives to the 35 basic PostScript fonts (which include Helvetica).
It is a standard typeface in many GNU/Linux distributions. It was used as default font in OpenOffice.org Calc and Impress in some GNU/Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu - up to version 8.10; since Ubuntu 9.04 the default font was changed to Liberation Sans).