Bug 7662 - Enhance fontconfig to render Microsoft fonts better
Summary: Enhance fontconfig to render Microsoft fonts better
Alias: None
Product: fontconfig
Classification: Unclassified
Component: library (show other bugs)
Version: 2_1
Hardware: x86 (IA32) FreeBSD
: high enhancement
Assignee: fontconfig-bugs
QA Contact: Behdad Esfahbod
URL: http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthrea...
Depends on:
Blocks: 8100
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2006-07-27 16:17 UTC by Charles
Modified: 2018-08-20 21:55 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
i915 platform:
i915 features:

Configuration files (1.90 KB, application/octet-stream)
2009-07-28 13:12 UTC, Charles

Description Charles 2006-07-27 16:17:56 UTC
You could incorporate these enhancements into fontconfig:
Many people have asked for it on the Internet, and these configurations don't
affect regular fonts rendering so that everybody's happy :)
Comment 1 Ben Laenen 2006-09-02 06:20:27 UTC
These enhancements seem to only disable antialiasing at smaller sizes. The MS 
corefonts may not have been hinted with antialiasing in mind, but with it 
enabled it still looks a dozen times better than the bitmaps you get without 
it, IMHO.

Also, applying these patches assumes that the user has the bytecode 
interpreter enabled. For people using without the bytecode interpreter 
compiled in freetype, no antialiasing would certainly look more bad.
Comment 2 Charles 2006-09-02 08:46:25 UTC
> These enhancements seem to only disable antialiasing at smaller sizes.

No, please extract these files: http://www.auriance.com/docs/fonts/
fontconfig.tbz and have a look at the XML files, they have tens of rules. It's 
a lot more complicated than disabling antialiasing at smaller size. This job 
took litterally months until it became a mature project :)

> The MS corefonts may not have been hinted with antialiasing in mind

Yes it does :)

> For people using without the bytecode interpreter compiled in freetype
The only distros that have the BCI disabled are those designed by Red Hat. In 
this case you could add a flag during compilation of fontconfig, such as "--
with-bci-disabled" and Red Hat distro users (RHEL, Centos, Fedora) will be 
happy :)
Comment 3 Behdad Esfahbod 2008-08-12 16:53:24 UTC
The URLs don't exist.  Reopen attaching the relevant configuration (just the addon) and I'll take a look.
Comment 4 Charles 2008-08-13 00:15:51 UTC
The links, addons and screenshots are now gathered under a single web site: http://sharpfonts.com
Comment 5 Khaled Hosny 2009-07-28 08:24:30 UTC
Could you please attach the relevant configuration files here if you want this bug to be resolved?
Comment 6 Charles 2009-07-28 13:12:41 UTC
Created attachment 28130 [details]
Configuration files
Comment 7 Jerry Casiano 2009-10-03 04:46:34 UTC
I wouldn't consider this an "enhancement" at all, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who holds that opinion.

Please don't make fonts look as crappy in linux as they do in a stock Windows install. Unless of course you plan on releasing a "ClearType Tuner", or just want to force some users to quit using MS fonts.

But even then, is it correct to have such a noticeable difference in rendering on by default? 

IMHO this would just make fontconfig, or worse the desktop environment, look broken, as it would render most fonts according to the users desktop settings, but certain fonts would not respect those settings.

Also consider that this particular configuration has some nasty side effects in certain circumstances, such as Tahoma Bold displaying broken characters, since the upstream corefonts includes regular Tahoma but not Tahoma Bold. 

Sure this may not be an issue for Debian users or anyone who sources their fonts from a Windows install, but... yeah.
Comment 8 Charles 2009-10-03 07:48:11 UTC
See if this is not an enhancement: http://sharpfonts.com/images/comparison.png
Comment 9 Jerry Casiano 2009-10-03 19:17:00 UTC
(In reply to comment #8)
> See if this is not an enhancement: http://sharpfonts.com/images/comparison.png

Maybe it wasn't clear from my post that I am familiar with that configuration, but I wouldn't have commented on it without first trying it.

No, I don't consider it an enhancement.

The fact that Microsoft felt the need to provide a way to change it, first with a "powertoy", and most recently with a web interface strongly suggests that a lot of other people agree.

Quoting from Microsoft's website:

"ClearType delivers improved font display quality over traditional forms of font smoothing or anti-aliasing. ClearType improves readability on color LCD displays with a digital interface, such as those in laptops and high-quality flat panel displays. Readability on CRT screens can also be somewhat improved."


So even Microsoft itself would not consider this an enhancement. ;-)

Making this the default is a big mistake, users that want this can easily enable it themselves, which is preferable to forcing other users to mess with system files in order to revert the change.

Having said that, if all you're looking for is an easier way for users to apply these settings, why not provide a simple little app/gui that can apply these settings with a few clicks. Have you considered that?

I'd be happy to help with that effort, something like that wouldn't take very long to whip up. Let me know.

Also, please consider fixing the Tahoma issue I mentioned above, this is as simple as testing for Tahoma bold and replacing it with Arial Bold or whatever is closest.
Comment 10 GitLab Migration User 2018-08-20 21:55:49 UTC
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