Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

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Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby dkolak » 2009-09-19 19:31

I've patched Lenny's deb's according to David Turner's guide http://quanli.googlepages.com/davidturner%27slcdcleartype-likepatchesandpackagesfordebiansid, his packages are bit outdated but patches work.

download packages http://rapidshare.com/files/282294048/debs.tar.gz
tar -xvf debs.tar.gz
cd debs/
dpkg -i *.deb
change settings:
System > Preferences > Appearance > Fonts
set Rendering to LCD's > Details
set Resolution: 86 and Hinting: Slight
reboot

RESULT
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deb_before.jpg
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby dbbolton » 2009-09-20 05:44

Why does that require a patch? Didn't Gnome's font configuration tool already have that ability?
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 06:12

Xfce4.6

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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby dkolak » 2009-09-20 10:50

You have to patch it, fonts can't look that good if you do simple reconfiguring, Ubuntu guys have patched it, so if you do patch and configure it fonts will look exactly like those in ubuntu, here is nice interview with David Turner author of Freetype where he explains some things http://www.osnews.com/story/18166/Interview_with_David_Turner_of_Freetype

I don't know if it works in xfce, I haven't tried it , from what I've read, patches are for libcairo2 (Gnome) and libxft2 (KDE)
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 11:10

dkolak wrote:I've patched Lenny's deb's according to David Turner's guide http://quanli.googlepages.com/davidturner%27slcdcleartype-likepatchesandpackagesfordebiansid, his packages are bit outdated but patches work.


I'm confused. Those patches are very old. Freetype is already in Debian by default. What is there to patch? What's supposed to be wrong with these non-patched fonts?

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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby gnudude » 2009-09-20 11:33

dkolak wrote:I've patched Lenny's deb's according to David Turner's guide...

I think the important part of that guide is at the bottom....

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although I prefer greyscale/medium/RGB myself...
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 11:53

That subpixel stuff looks like shit. Do people really think it adds something good? They actually prefer text with colour fringing?

As far as I can tell it's useful for very crappy, very small screens. I tried it on XP but even on my 12.1" 4:3 old low contrast not-glossy laptop screen cleartype introduces obvious colour artefacts around text so I don't use it. It seems to be one of those things that looks good for the first few seconds (oooh! See the high contrast!) and then you notice how crappy it really is.
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby gnudude » 2009-09-20 12:00

I assume it looks good on some peoples screens....???... maybe...

I just meant the important part was to play with the font settings for smoothing/hinting/subpixel stuff. I would think the dpi would also matter although he marked that out.


ps - not to mention that downloading a bunch of debs from rapidshare and installing them is....well....scary.....
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 12:22

I had a look at the linked discussion. 29 posts of people jerking off about stuff they can configure in a few seconds :?

The Xfce config box I posted up above is 1:1 from my screen, though converted from png to jpg for the free image hosting, and I'm still at a loss as to how it could be more legible. It definitely looks better than that sorry looking Gnome preferences box :D

DPI is definitely important, especially for graphics work, and having everything in proportion (icons, text, decoration etc). I was amazed that in Vista I couldn't set a custom DPI smaller than Billy G thinks it should be (even though he is wrong and I am right....usual story), only Stupidly Bigger (Cos It Must Mean Better) is allowed in Vista Land. Bleurgh. XP lets you do it almost as easily as free software. And I just had another play with the MS XP Cleartype Tuner PowerToy (OMG it wuz so pwuful!). I love the fact that the text in the cleartype config box is set to look incredibly bad, much worse than any other text anywhere else on the OS, unless cleartype is switched on :lol:

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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby dkolak » 2009-09-20 13:37

Whenever there's a choice you'll always find few people who think x is better than y.
I came across David Turners guide, applied patches to current packages and it worked. I know patches from rapid are scary and that's why i posted link to David's guide so you can patch it yourself if you don't trust me an you have time and nerve to do it. There are some issues with patents and that's why those patches aren't in current releases of freetype, cairo ... you can read about that in interview I've posted.

I've only wanted to save some time for people who like fonts like those in ubuntu because I know how much time I've invested to find and apply this solution. Other people who are satisfied with current look don't have to apply patches I'm not forcing you :).
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 14:37

OK, but I'm still struggling to see the problem these patches supposedly solve. As I mentioned earlier, can anyone point out or describe the legibility issue in the screenshots I posted, which are 1:1 jpgs from my screen? The Xfce config screenshot is of my actual config by the way, with custom DPI so that 1" on screen does measure 1".

I can't help noticing that the legibility in the Gnome preferences panel used in the example is unquestionably bad, having poor sharpness and contrast. Maybe it's a low res screenshot, though you'd imagine someone writing such patches and promoting them would take the trouble to make decent screenshots and actually show the benefits. The final screenshot he posted looks so poor that my natural reaction is to rub my eyes and clean my glasses..... maybe it's a joke? But on a real system (mine) using only the fonts and Xfce config tool from Debian main there is no such problem.

I do like seeing solutions to problems but I'm wary of solutions being posed when the problem doesn't seem apparent. Maybe it's an issue with Gnome of 2006 and not relevant now?
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby hcgtv » 2009-09-20 14:50

I went through this back in 2006 with Sarge, this is from a blog post I made back then:

Since I purchased my LCD monitor, I've been tweaking the X and Font servers. 48 hours later and I've got my display looking just as good as Cleartype on Windows.

Information is a bit scattered and it doesn't help when you hit a How-To that's years old. Hours of Googling eventually yielded the answers I was looking for, perseverance pays off.

In a nutshell, these are the steps I took for my LCD:

a) Set the correct DPI in X, horizontal resolution divided by monitor screen width in inches.
b) Install some truetype fonts, grab them off your Windows partition.
c) Turn on anti-aliasing, sub-pixel hinting (RGB - medium) - both in KDE and Gnome.
d) In Firefox and Thunderbird set the display resolution to system setting.
e) Now comes the most important step, this is the golden nugget I found today. Turning on the Bytecode Interpreter varies by distribution, in Debian Sarge it was a matter of adding some lines to my .fonts.conf file, you might need to recompile freetype or grab a special RPM.

Once the bytecode interpreter was turned on, all my hard work came to life. KDE and Gnome look awesome, Firefox renders sites like the designer meant them to be seen and Thunderbird looks professional. We've come a long way from the CDE days, Desktop Linux is a reality.
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby julian67 » 2009-09-20 15:11

In Debian the bytcode interpreter has been enabled by default since 2006 :wink:

reference http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=340001

And there are two useful web DPI calculators I've used:

http://members.ping.de/~sven/dpi.html

http://www.le-web.org/dpi-calculator/
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby hcgtv » 2009-09-20 16:48

julian67 wrote:In Debian the bytcode interpreter has been enabled by default since 2006 :wink:

They must of heard my frustrations :)
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Re: Better looking font on LCD's in lenny easy way

Postby EvilGuru » 2009-09-20 22:33

julian67 wrote:OK, but I'm still struggling to see the problem these patches supposedly solve. As I mentioned earlier, can anyone point out or describe the legibility issue in the screenshots I posted, which are 1:1 jpgs from my screen? The Xfce config screenshot is of my actual config by the way, with custom DPI so that 1" on screen does measure 1".

They solve the problem of using subpixel rendering with medium and slight hinting. Without these packages there will be severe colour fringing. The characters, C, D and M in the screenshot you posted would all look much nicer with subpixel rendering.

julian67 wrote:I can't help noticing that the legibility in the Gnome preferences panel used in the example is unquestionably bad, having poor sharpness and contrast. Maybe it's a low res screenshot, though you'd imagine someone writing such patches and promoting them would take the trouble to make decent screenshots and actually show the benefits. The final screenshot he posted looks so poor that my natural reaction is to rub my eyes and clean my glasses..... maybe it's a joke? But on a real system (mine) using only the fonts and Xfce config tool from Debian main there is no such problem.

Agreed. In fact, I am not convinced that it is even subpixel rendered at all. Seems like greyscale AA to me.

julian67 wrote:I do like seeing solutions to problems but I'm wary of solutions being posed when the problem doesn't seem apparent. Maybe it's an issue with Gnome of 2006 and not relevant now?

It is still very much apparent, however only shows itself when using the slight and medium hinting options in FreeType.

julian67 wrote:In Debian the bytcode interpreter has been enabled by default since 2006.

The byte-code interpreter is evil. Now, I am not particularly bothered about software patents, however, I do care about high quality type. The byte-code interpreter encourages the use of highly aggressive font hinting. This is bad for several reasons.

Firstly, it destroys any hope of gaining resolution independence. Aggressive font hinting results in a 'drift' of around 1em for every 10 characters rendered. This means that the actual width of a rendered string will be ±1em from what the font designer intended or the result of printing it. A consequence of this? You can no longer zoom text on your screen as the locations of line breaks becomes dependant on the zoom factor.

This is why PDF documents render differently to other pieces of text. PDF files are by design resolution independent, so the use of any horizontal hinting is out of the question. It also has consequences for WYSIWYG editors, which need to either disable hinting or insert small amounts of space to counteract the drift caused by hinting.

Secondly, only TrueType files have bytecode. The other major font format, Adobe Type 1 (PFB), has virtually no hinting controls. Further, since most OpenType fonts store their outlines in Type 1 format hinting bytecode is not universally available. This means you still need to fall back to the auto-hinter for a lot of fonts.

Finally it is interesting to note that Apple — who own the (questionable) patents on TrueType bytecode — have all but abandoned it in OS X — which as far as I can tell does not make use of font hinting information but instead uses anti-aliasing, subpixel positioning and subpixel rendering.

Since many have asked what the big deal is I've attached a screenshot of my website -- http://freddie.witherden.org -- as rendered by Firefox 3.5 on a Gentoo system with the aforementioned Ubuntu patches. Serif fonts are somewhat more interesting as the results are usually more pronounced than with sans serif fonts. The DPI is 99x98, as reported by xdpyinfo.
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Regards, Freddie.
Last edited by EvilGuru on 2010-08-29 16:54, edited 1 time in total.
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