You may have noticed many websites use when they want a sans-serif font :
font: arial, helvetica, sans-serif
which is wrong, because sans-serif should be replaced by the default sans serif
font on the client ans as such should be used by default. However, it is not
possible to change millions of websites, while it is possible to change the
browsers not to display helvetica when they asked to, but display the default
sans serif font. This way, the web pages rendering is consistent with the rest
of the desktop, using generally helvetica or FreeSans, and it is quite
noticeable when using antialiasing.
All major browsers for *nix (mozilla, khtml and gtkhtml) currently use
fontconfig/xft2 for rendering, so I guess it is the most convenient place to do
that enhancement. Using an alias helvetica->sans-serif (and another alias
times->serif) in fonts.conf, this is straightforward.
I suggest it (or a more elegant solution leading to the same result) could
become the default configuration for fontconfig. This is quite nit-picking, but
one of the major blames against GNU/Linux I hear frequently is that the fonts
rendering is not nice, especially in browsers.
Do you have any comments about that ?
You can easily set up your configuration to do this. I've added stuff to the
config file to make this a bit easier.