[Fontconfig] Font configuration - Debian Sarge.

cga cga2001 at softhome.net
Thu Feb 17 18:34:43 EST 2005

John Thacker wrote:

>On Wed, Feb 16, 2005 at 08:44:24PM -0500, cga wrote:
>>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.
>Except that you were pretty much screwed in the old way if you needed to
>deal with multiple different languages with different scripts simultaneously.
Another essential point I had not thought about yet  :-(

Languages is another hobby of mine but in this instance I was so 
frustrated at not being able to get plain ascii to be rendered to my 
liking that I really had not given other scripts much of a thought. But 
then I only need the stuff from Western Europe at this point so that 
shouldn't be too hard. Pretty much everything I can decipher can be 
represented w/ the latin-1 charset..

>I easily got a *much* better looking desktop without doing anything, simply
>because I don't have to constantly change my font configuration to in 
>order to work with all the different languages I use, and to avoid, e.g.,
>having to use the crappy Latin characters from the font that has the
>best Japanese characters.
I get your point. I had noticed in mozilla for instance that latin 
characters on Japanese, Chinese or Korean pages were barely legible. But 
since my knowledge of these scripts is limited to about a dozen Chinese 
characters I assumed that everything I was not familiar with was of the 
same poor quality as the latin characters. But since they did not make 
much sense to me anyway, obviouslythis did not affect me.. So I took a 
look at wikepedia's Japanese page a minute ago and apart from that 
detestable anti-aliasing it's obvious that the Japanese characters are 
quite legible. With a bit of patience I could make exact copies of any 
of them on a a piece of paper. On the other hand if I did not know from 
the context that the blur between co- and -ents in "if you have any 
co--ents" was most certainly two m's in succession I would be unable to 
replicate those signs or since this is variable-width even determine 
that there are two characters instead of one or three.. Food for thought..

>  I also don't have to run special applications
>and terminals which are worse in most respects and have fewer features,
>but are the only ones which really do internationalization properly.
>Some of the complaints about Vera Sans and the work done with changing
>Debian and others to Verdana and other fonts are mostly complaints about
>the lack of truly free high quality fonts, too.
Maybe the problem is with the user community at large. I find it hard to 
believe the number of screenshots of lovingly crafted desktops with 
layer upon layer of wonderful 3D graphics in 32-bit color whose general 
appearance is ruined by atrocious fonts. If even the more 
artistically-inclined users don't care about the looks of their fonts 
there's little chance anybody anywhere will put any money, time, energy, 
and whatever else it takes into creating a high quality free font 
family. Likewise there doesn't seem to be much demand for hi-res 
displays at a price that the average computer user can afford. Yet at 
300+ dpi I have a feeling that many of the problems concerning font 
rendering on computer screens would evaporate.

>John Thacker
Thanks John.. I'm beginning to understand these aspects a little better. 
And what's more the replies I received in this thread have rather 
whetted my appetite and I'm eager to learn more in this area.

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