[Fontconfig] Font configuration - Debian Sarge.

cga cga2001 at softhome.net
Thu Feb 17 14:03:46 EST 2005

Ciprian Popovici wrote:

>On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 19:25:57 -0500 cga <cga2001 at softhome.net> 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 really not that bad.
You're quite right. Once you know what can be done on your hardware and 
how to do it it's not that hard even without interactive feedback.

otoh.. when I first saw the Window Maker that resulted from my Debian 
install and compared it to what I normally use.. I was in shock.. Giant 
leap backward was my first reaction.

The problem is that I knew little about fonts and next to nothing about 
recent developments in the font rendering area. I could not find any 
high-level introductory document - most of what I know about fonts in X 
is from the O'Reilly manuals that date back to the late 1980's.. last 
revised in 1993.. so I had to learn all this from the ground up.. bits 
and pieces I found online.. obsolete howto's.. README files.. man 
pages.. comments in config files..

Maybe I should have concerned myself more with just the looks of my 
fonts and concluded that since my older system's fonts looked perfectly 
clean on this hardware the newer one could be persuaded to look likewise.

That would probably have been my approach if I had been upgrading from 
Woody to Sarge - eg.

But because I was switching from RedHat to Debian at the same time I was 
upgrading to a more current version of X I was not able to think about 
this in a completely rational way. My reaction was a bit along the 
lines.. "now because of this stupid anti-aliasing crap they have broken 
X badly.. and I'm not going to be able to do anything about it.."

Initially of course.. Then I progressed to ".. now that AA is 
fashionable.. politically correct.. they've made it almost impossible to 
get rid of it without making lots of changes that will probably ruin my 
Debian installation for good".. And since I know so little about 
Debian.. since I did not know how/where to make the changes.. and 
naturally being very slow finding how to make changes in an environment 
I was not familiar with.. not to mention that I was worrying all the 
time that I could not even half guess at the implications of what I was 
changing and hence was probably going to break something..

Well sure enough.. after all the tampering and contortions, everything 
GTK is broken in subtle ways and the gnome desktop in not-so-subtle 
ways. I've removed and reinstalled gnome a couple of times to no or 
little effect and I am now thinking of removing XFree86 completely and 
starting over.

> I don't have the full Gnome, just the lib
>packages needed to make GTK apps work. 
yes.. that was plan 'A'. :-)

>I have KDE because it's monolitic
>and you get everything anyway.
about 300Meg of stuff that I'm never going to use.

>So I didn't do anything with Gnome, except edit my ~/.gtkrc-2.0 and
>~/.gtkrc and specify the font I want (my favorite is also Verdana):
># gtk 2 - ~/.gtkrc-2.0
>style "default" { font_name = "Verdana 10" }
># gtk 1 - ~/.gtkrc
>style "default" { font = "-*-verdana-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-iso8859-2" }
I tried this but for somereason I never got it to work. Maybe there were 
problems with the syntax and I didn't look for possible error messages 
in the right places.. Or maybe it clashed with something else in my 
setup. I'll give this method another shot after I've cleaned up GTK+.. 
Another method when the gnome desktop is installed is to start the 
gnome-settings-daemon when you start you X session. You can even do it 
on the fly - ig. from the command line.. So I've added it to my Window 
Maker autostart file. But since gnome on this system is damaged it has 
some rather unpleasant side-effects.

>For KDE I ran kcontrol, went to font settings, chose Verdana all over the
>place, checked "use antialiasing" and chose a range to exclude.
>Here's my ~/.fonts.conf. It will tweak various hinting and anti-aliasing
>global values, as well as DPI. It will disable anti-aliasing betwen 9-16
>pixels and 8-14 points. Adjust as needed.
Pretty much what I did. Everything KDE looks good. So before I remove 
KDE I must remember to save the kderc (?) files in a safe place.

>After you do the above, the only place you need to keep up anymore is just
>~/.fonts.conf. You can do interesting stuff, like adjust your DPI, tweak
>fonts individually or alias ugly fonts to good looking ones.
I'll look into this. A very good opportunity to learn about the xml way 
of doing things.

Thanks much for comments.

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