[Fontconfig] Font configuration - Debian Sarge.

cga cga2001 at softhome.net
Thu Feb 17 12:44:24 EST 2005

Josselin Mouette wrote:

> cga wrote:
>> What I meant was that the extra features provided by  fontconfig  
>> (aa.. auto-hinting..) add more variables to the text rendering 
>> equation and it has now become almost impossible to tweak fonts w/o 
>> access to an interactive tool such as the one provided by the gnome & 
>> kde desktops.  It's no longer just a matter of installing a decent 
>> screen font and editing a few files to specify the font, font size & 
>> fontstyle to GTK/KDE apps like it w/ older releases of XFree. 
>> Naturally if you already know which /etc/fonts/local.conf settings 
>> are optimal for your display entering the xml is trivial. But the 
>> point I'm arguing is that for someone who does not want/need the 
>> features provided by fontconfig it makes matters a lot more 
>> difficult  - especially if you are not a gnome/KDE user.
> I really don't understand. You complain about being unable to tweak 
> things without a graphical tool, and express your preference of the 
> former situation, when tweaking was impossible.

What's so hard to understand? If "tweaking was impossible" .. then no 
tweaking tool was necessary.. alright?

Before the anti-aliasing craze the only things that were "tweakable" 
were the font "family" and simple variations such as pointsize.. style.. 
You didn't need to be a screen font expert to understand these concepts 
and figure out how to achieve the results you wanted. Granted, you had 
to track down the different files where fonts were referenced and modify 
them one at a time but conceptually the changes were absolutely trivial.

With the added xft/fontconfig layer this tweaking business has become 
considerably more difficult.

If you are a strict kde or gnome user you may be able to obtain optimal 
results fairly quickly..  Actually where gnome is concerned  I'm not 
even too sure about this.. given the large numbers of screenshots that I 
have seen where I can recognize the coyote-ugly smeared outlines of our 
old friend Vera Sans.. Sure.. being such an ugly font to start with it 
looks a bit better after you turn on anti-aliasing.

With cross-utilization - eg. running gtk apps on a kde desktop - things 
become a little more difficult.. Eventually, I found that whenever gnome 
is active a gnome-settings daemon transparently takes care of 
preferences and this adds yet another layer to the font configuration 
riddle.. When gnome is not around GTK apps apparently fall back to 
what's specified in gtkrc files.. Explains why some of the font tweaking 
I was doing in gnome was not propagated to GTK+ apps executing under 
another environment.. :-)

But for those who use another desktop and who happen to find the 
"smudges-by-default" look brought about by Xft etc.. unacceptable.. it 
seems that font configuration in 'X' has become very difficult indeed.

nota bene: I am not complaining. Just reporting. Hope it helps.

More information about the Fontconfig mailing list