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The following example

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
  \sffamily
  \textbullet
\end{document}

gives me the warning:

LaTeX Font Warning: Font shape `OMS/cmss/m/n' undefined
(Font)              using `OMS/cmsy/m/n' instead
(Font)              for symbol `textbullet' on input line 4.

I believe this warning is because cmss does not define a bullet. The UK TeX FAQ recommends ignoring the warning. Some answers on this site (e.g. TG Schola – missing symbol textbullet) suggest the textcomp package. The documentation of the textcomp package says "Note that there is now a textcomp.sty in the LaTeX distribution, and the original package is now little used (if at all)."

If I want to get rid of the warning is \usepackage{textcomp} the correct way to go? Does that use the "original package" or the one in the LaTeX distribution (I am using TeX Live 2011)

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3  
Excellent question! You really did your "homework" before asking it, way to go! –  doncherry Apr 10 '12 at 21:43
    
@doncherry thank you for the compliment and also for the helpful edits. –  StrongBad Apr 10 '12 at 21:56
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted
\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{textcomp}
\begin{document}
\showoutput
  \sffamily
  \textbullet
\end{document}

Is, as you indicated the right thing. The log file should show something like

(........texmf-dist/tex/latex/base/textcomp.sty
Package: textcomp 2005/09/27 v1.99g Standard LaTeX package

base in the path and Standard LaTeX in the package description both indicating the core distribution

....\hbox(0.0+0.0)x15.0
....\TS1/cmss/m/n/10  

indicating you have a bullet from the extended ss font.

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Could you add a sentence or two on what "the core distribution" is (What else or where else could a package be?) and on what the other two lines mean (in particular TS1, which seems to be a font encoding, but how is it different from T1?)? –  doncherry Apr 10 '12 at 22:06
    
There is a little information about TS1 encoding in this answer tex.stackexchange.com/questions/22550/…. Not enough for me to understand yet, but at least enough to get me started. –  StrongBad Apr 11 '12 at 15:50
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