PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Everything about X, Gnome, KDE, ... and everything running on it

PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-24 08:11

I have just installed Debian 8 (Jessie) and with it revived an old PowerPC, which so far has been a very rewarding albeit tough experience. Unfortunately, my fonts don't seem to work and after searching for hours, I cannot find a solution.
I ran the command
Code: Select all
dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig fontconfig-config

and the tool it starts which improved the system fonts but did not change the fonts for the menus of the LibreOffice applications or Audacious, for example, although the font renderings of the VLC media player work fine. I am attaching a few screenshots, too.
I am running OpenBox, Xorg, and said Debian on a G4 PowerMac. Thanks so much for your help!
PS: this may be of importance but I am also seeing on startup, "Failed to start Load Kernel Modules" as described here https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2326216 but my system starts fine, so I don't think this is issue is related.

EDIT: I changed the image to urls, so it is easier for folks with lower bandwidth to participate. Unfortunately, I could not upload any photos here, due to an 'internal server error' but I hope my current solution works just as much as one can for example only click on one photo instead of having to load the entire post.

https://i.stack.imgur.com/rUW7K.jpg

https://i.stack.imgur.com/ln0n2.jpg

https://i.stack.imgur.com/6mK40.jpg
https://i.stack.imgur.com/QSvWu.jpg
Last edited by hirek on 2018-12-26 09:55, edited 2 times in total.
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-24 10:23

^ Please replace those oversized images with (thumbnail) links, we have forum users with limited bandwidth.

hirek wrote:I am running OpenBox, Xorg, and said Debian on a G4 PowerMac

Do you use a display manager? How are you starting the X session?

I am also seeing on startup, "Failed to start Load Kernel Modules"

Please post the output of
Code: Select all
systemctl --failed

If any units are listed in the output then please also post the output of
Code: Select all
journalctl -u $unit

(Replace $unit with the actual name of the failed unit file.)

Thanks!
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-24 15:52

Hello! Thanks so much.
So, for the first question, I have changed the images to urls only. I could not upload any more images unfortunately due to a 'server error' and had some difficulty with imgur, so hopefully the selective loading will make a difference.

About the first question: I am not sure what counts as the display manager here but I have been following this post http://ppcluddite.blogspot.com/2012/03/installing-debian-linux-on-ppc-part-iii.html pretty much to the letter (save the obligatory g++ compiler and an editor, of course).

which gives the following explanation

    1) Xorg provides the X window server.
    2) Slim is a slim and fast login manager (LightDM is a more popular, but sometimes troublesome, choice).
    3) Openbox, obconf, and obmenu are what you need for Openbox.
    4) menu-xdg provides a Debian applications menu.
    5) The murrine and pixbuf engines are required by many third-party themes.
    6) fonts-freefont-otf and fonts-linuxlibertine provide some extra fonts I like.
    7) LXAppearance manages your themes, fonts, and icons.


The output of
Code: Select all
systemctl --failed
is

UNIT: systemd-modules-load.service LOAD: loaded ACTIVE: failed SUB: failed DESCRIPTION: Load Kernel Modules


with the explanation of LOAD being 'Reflects whether the unit definition was properly loaded. ACTIVE: The high-level unit actication state, i.e. generalization of SUB. SUB = The low-level unit activation state, values depend on unit type.

The output of
Code: Select all
journalctl -u systemd-modules-load.service
is

Code: Select all
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'lp'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Failed to find module 'ppdev'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'parport_pc'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'fuse'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Failed to find module 'apm_emu'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'snd_powermac'
systemd[1]: systemd-modules-load.service: main process exited, code=exited, status=1/failure
systemd[1]: Failed to start Load Kernel Modules.
systemd[1]: Unit systemd-modules-load.service entered failed state.


with relevant timestamps. Thank you very much and kind regards, Hirek
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-24 16:41

hirek wrote:Slim is a slim and fast login manager (LightDM is a more popular, but sometimes troublesome, choice).

^ This is wrong.

SLiM is dead upstream and does not support systemd login sessions correctly.

LightDM is better (it supports systemd-logind) but runs X as root.

GDM(3) will run X as the normal user, as will plain `startx` from a console login, which would be my preferred option.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-24 16:47

hirek wrote:The output of
Code: Select all
journalctl -u systemd-modules-load.service
is

Code: Select all
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'lp'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Failed to find module 'ppdev'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'parport_pc'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'fuse'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Failed to find module 'apm_emu'
systemd-modules-load[134]: Inserted module 'snd_powermac'
systemd[1]: systemd-modules-load.service: main process exited, code=exited, status=1/failure
systemd[1]: Failed to start Load Kernel Modules.
systemd[1]: Unit systemd-modules-load.service entered failed state.

Check any files under /etc/modules-load.d/ and comment out any lines that force those failed modules (ppdev & apm_emu).

Reference: https://askubuntu.com/questions/877245/ ... d-to-start
Last edited by Head_on_a_Stick on 2018-12-24 16:52, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-24 16:51

Thank you so much! So you reckon the font problem and systemd problem as in the output are linked together then? I shall try xstart as per your suggestion and report back from the front lines.
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-24 16:53

hirek wrote:So you reckon the font problem and systemd problem as in the output are linked together then?

Perhaps, a broken login session can cause many strange problems.

I await the results of your investigation with great antici...
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-25 12:37

So, I seem to have solved the load Kernel modules issue and now the command does not reveal any failed modules.
The
apm_emu
is commented out and the mysterious
ppdev
actually comes from
Code: Select all
cups-filters.conf
in
Code: Select all
/etc/modules-load
and is part of the printer server. I have (for now) uninstalled the print server (it was the standard Debian) one and will reinstall another one later.

I have also taken some inspiration from your answers on this thread here: http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=123148.

Now, I will revisit the issue of a print server at some later point, possibly with the help of this gentleman here http://www.alandmoore.com/blog/2013/11/30/reviving-your-old-pc-with-linux-part-vi-building-your-own-lightweight-remix/.

Next up today is the display manager. I think I shall go for your recommended GDM(3) or startx, possibly startx since it is supposed to be a lightweight system.

I shall report back for more.
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-26 00:53

So, after lengthy trial and error I determined Debian's fonts must have gotten messed up somehow.

I uninstalled all the software listed above and tried a different set of them listed here http://www.alandmoore.com/blog/2013/11/30/reviving-your-old-pc-with-linux-part-vi-building-your-own-lightweight-remix/ which still had the font problem. Then I removed the last common overlap, which was OpenBox and tried IceWM, to no avail. I then caved and installed Xfce4, and still had the terrible, unreadable fonts. Then, I figured it must be Debian's system files themselves at fault so I went to square one and found this:
https://www.linuxbabe.com/desktop-linux/improve-font-rendering-on-debian-8-by-install-infinality-and-google-fonts which strikes me as a very blunt tool that surely must have altered more than was necessary but that fixed it for sure.

The commands specifically were adding this to the sources file

Code: Select all
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/no1wantdthisname/ppa/ubuntu trusty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/no1wantdthisname/ppa/ubuntu trusty main
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/no1wantdthisname/ppa/ubuntu trusty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/no1wantdthisname/ppa/ubuntu trusty main


add the key and run updates etc.

Code: Select all
apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys E985B27B
apt-get update
apt-get install fontconfig-infinality

then hit
Code: Select all
sudo bash /etc/fonts/infinality/infctl.sh setstyle
and select the 'Linux' font and put
Code: Select all
USE_STYLE="UBUNTU"
in the file
Code: Select all
 /etc/profile.d/infinality-settings.sh
.

Now, for my own edification, do you think you can point me to where the problem lay? As I said, I think these steps fix more than was broken but as the old adage goes, never touch a running system... but still it would be helpful to know.

Thanks so much!
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-26 09:38

hirek wrote:Debian's fonts must have gotten messed up somehow

Unlikely.

In my (x86) experience, the fonts in the current stable release look better than those in Win10, once configured.


^ This is unwise, Debian is not compatible with Ubuntu and if that repository has a newer libc version then you may have just wrecked your system.

https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian ... nkenDebian

If the Infinality configuration really does fix your problem then re-install from scratch and use the configuration file I linked to earlier, that always works for me.

Otherwise, put "PowerPC" in the thread title to attract the attention of users familiar with the intricacies of that architecture, this may be a graphics problem.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: Fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-26 09:53

Hold on a minute!

Are all of the misbehaving applications Qt-based?

If so, try installing qt5-gtk-platformtheme for the stable release.

For testing/unstable, install qt5ct and add this line to ~/.profile:
Code: Select all
export QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME="qt5ct"

The qt5ct program can then be used to adjust the settings for Qt-based programs.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-26 10:07

Hi!
Are all of the misbehaving applications qt-based

So, I am not really sure about the qt basis. They were all of openbox's system dialogs, Audacious, LibreOffice but not the VLC player, for example. Libre office is gtk if I understood this source https://www.kdab.com/libreoffice-and-plasma/correctly. The VLC player, which always had good fonts, does rely on the qt library, so qt is less likely to be a problem here?


About
In my (x86) experience, the fonts in the current stable release look better than those in Win10, once configured.
, where would I insert this file in the file system?

Thank you so much and kind regards!
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-26 10:15

hirek wrote:So, I am not really sure about the qt basis. They were all of openbox's system dialogs, Audacious, LibreOffice but not the VLC player, for example. Libre office is gtk if I understood this source https://www.kdab.com/libreoffice-and-plasma/correctly. The VLC player, which always had good fonts, does rely on the qt library, so qt is less likely to be a problem here?

OK, perhaps not then.

hirek wrote:About
In my (x86) experience, the fonts in the current stable release look better than those in Win10, once configured.
, where would I insert this file in the file system?

~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf

And I've just noticed that you're trying all this with Debian 8 (jessie), why is that?

Have you tried stretch? The current stable release has improved font rendering compared to the last version.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Re: PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Postby hirek » 2018-12-26 12:41

I shall try these config file this evening and if need be reindtall Debian. My main use is scientific computing on a budget. Unfortunately, the Debian website states
Debian 9 regrettably removes support for the following architecture:

PowerPC (powerpc).


I am thus stuck with Jessie, but so far she has played ball, with CMake, g++, and Emacs :-).
hirek
 
Posts: 11
Joined: 2018-12-24 07:56

Re: PowerPC w/ Debian 8, fonts not rendering

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-12-26 12:51

I think OpenBSD supports your hardware:

https://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/6.4 ... ALL.macppc

The 6.4 release has superb font rendering OOTB, see my scrots in the non-Debian desktop screenshot thread.
User avatar
Head_on_a_Stick
 
Posts: 10377
Joined: 2014-06-01 17:46
Location: /dev/chair

Next

Return to Desktop & Multimedia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

fashionable