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michael7
Titel: Fonts in Linux  BeitragVerfasst am: 07.07.2006, 23:26 Uhr



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This is the new version of the Linux font-howto. It's readable and understandable.

http://avi.alkalay.net/linux/docs/font- ... l#freetype

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 01:53 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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Thanks for th link. But, I'm a bit confused with how the byte code interpreter works.

I decided to give Kanotix another try (it's been a while since I loaded it) this afternoon. I overwrote a Mepis distro I had on my PC (dual boot with XP), since I really could not see the fonts well enough using Firefox in Mepis to use it for long anyway.

After installing Kanotix this afternoon, I've spent over 5 hours so far trying to get fonts that look as good as Windows XP with Firefox with no success.

I can get them better than they are by default, but they still don't render anywhere near as well as they do with Firefox in XP, no matter what I've tried so far.

I've already tried a lot of the steps in another thread on fonts here:

http://www.kanotix.com/PNphpBB2-viewtop ... art-0.html

I've been through this a few times before, too with earlier versions of Kanotix and some other distros I've tried (and I never did get an acceptable solution that I thought I could live with for long).

They're just not rendering well enough for me to stand using Firefox in Linux for very long (XP is borderline with my eyes and anything worse is just not going to be usable).

In the article on fonts you posted a link to, it discusses the byte code interpreter as not being turned on in most distros.

But, it does say that it's turned on by default in Debian Testing and Unstable, and says the package name is libfreetype6

I see libfreetype6 version 2.2.1-2 already installed in Kanotix (I installed 2006-Easter-rc4).

Does that mean the BCI is already enabled (would I be wasting my time trying to figure out where the source is and how to recompile it or not)?

http://avi.alkalay.net/linux/docs/font- ... l#freetype

Thanks in advance.

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bluewater
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 04:09 Uhr
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fix-fonts
a more aggresive cmd is fix-fonts -e

On my P4 i installed a "GTK something" which ends up in the Control Centre>Appearance and does the deed with firefox and Thunderbird, I have forgotten the name of it and as soon as i find it i will post again.

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michael7
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 04:29 Uhr



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@bluewater

You may be referring to:
apt-get install gtk2-engines-gtk-qt

From my notes--
A new module will appear in your KDE Control Center to allow you to set KDE fonts for your GTK2 apps such as firefox. The GTK2 engine allows GTK applications ( Firefox) to use the KDE settings.

@JimC

If I understand the article, Debian fonts are compiled with BCI. I regret that you are having problems. I have my Linux box sitting next to my XP box and the Linux fonts are every bit as good, so I'm puzzled.

I have used just the standard commands:

apt-get install msttcorefonts
fix-fonts
dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
fix-res 1280x1024
fix-dpi-kdm 101
ctrl+alt+backspace

I also use "full" hinting style which I set using the KDE Control Center -> Appearance & Themes -> Fonts and follow the instructions in the article.

Good luck.

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bluewater
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 04:53 Uhr
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micheal7
yep thats it apt-get install gtk2-engines-gtk-qt

On this box its not an issue box, on the P4 the menusfot tbird & ff were so small i neededa magnifying glass .. i think it depends on the resolutions of the box

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 05:10 Uhr



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I've already installed it. But, maybe I'm not understanding the relationship properly. Shouldn't Firefox be using the font settings I've made in it?

I've spent over 8 hours so far messing around with fonts this afternoon, and I still haven't found a solution to get the fonts readable enough on some sites not to drive me nuts. lol

I've spent many an hour over the past couple of years messing with other Linux distros, too (so over 8 hours today alone is a drop in the bucket trying to find a solution to get readable fonts with Firefox).

What's interesting, is even with the identical settings in Firefox under Kanatix and Windows, using the same Truetype Fonts, there is a difference in the font sizes portrayed (they're not scaling the same way in Kantotix.

Some fonts are actually smaller in Firefox running in Kanotix verus Windows, even though the exact same settings are being used in Firofox for fonts. Not all fonts, just some (they're not the same size between them).

When you increase the text size from Normal with Firefox under Kanotix, then some (but not all) fonts become larger than the normal text size in Firefox under Windows (but, that makes the page formatting messed up on some web sites).

There is something "flaky" with the size differences. Some fonts scale properly and some don't compared to the same fonts in Firefox under Windows, and some fonts are "fuzzier" under Firefox in Kantox, making them hard to read. Some fonts are fine though.

I see the same thing with other LInux distors, too (it's not just Kanotix). That's the biggest reason Windows XP is still my primary desktop (I can't find a solution that I can live with for font readaibility under Firefox for some of the web sites I visit frequently).

I ran knxcc and have 96dpi set. Ditto for the settings under Firefox.

I installed msttcorefonts
I installed gtk2-engines-gtk-gt
I set kde style and fonts for GTK applications in Control Centre appearance

The monitor is at 1024x768 and 85Hz refresh rate (and Kanotix recognizes the monitor OK). But, the refresh rate doesn't seem to make a lot of difference as I've playeed around with different vertical and horizontal settings before (ditto for other distros). It's something to do with the way the fonts are being sized, scaled and rendered.

I've installed the Nvidia driver (but it reallly doesn't some to make any differnece as far as font rendering is concerned).

I ran dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config and tried setting it up various ways: (Autohinter, Automatic and Yes (answers to questions).

I've tried configuring KDE Control Center various ways (subpixel hinting on/off, with or without anti-aliasing, with or without an exclude range). Right now, I've got anti-aliasing on, no subpixel hinting, and no exclude range. That seems to work as well as anything.

I've tried adding some lines to /etc/fonts/fonts.conf as discussed in
This Wiki

That really messed it up. I had to remove those lines (made menu text HUGE in Firefox and made it look like it was all Bold Italics or something).

There is a difference in the font sizes and the way the same fonts are scaling between Firefox in Windows and Firefox and Kanotix, and they're being rendered differently.

Maybe I'm missing something obvious. What does installing gtk2-engines-gtk-gt and setting fonts for GTK applications in Control Center have to do with the way Firefox renders fonts?

Do I need to setup fonts in KDE the same way as I have the desktop, etc., setup in Windows for it to work the same way for font sizes and scaling in Firefox? I thought that the font screens in Firefox would handle that part.

This is how Firefox is setup now (in both Windows and Kanotix).

Firefox Font Setup Screen

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bluewater
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 05:19 Uhr
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Pop into the Control Centre>Appearance and Themes>GTK and play with the options. took me a while to get the best combo, (same res as you 1024x768)

Some sites just do not like ff,however it is tough to them, the more visits they get from ff, the more likley the stats will change and then they will take a serious look at their rendering (of course you could fire off an email to them to) have you tried Konqueror?

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 05:26 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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Konquerer does seem to render better than Firefox on some sites. lol

But, I don't understand why there would be a difference between Firefox under Windows and Firefox under Kanotix (or other distros), if I'm using the same fonts (Microsoft Truetype Fonts) with both, with the same Fiefox Font Settings.

Yet, there is a big differnce (sizes, scaling and the way they're being rendered).

That's why I'm wondering if trying to figure out how to recompile freetype with the Byte Code Interpreter turned on is worth pursuing (if it's not already turned on), or if that even has anything to do with it.

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 06:00 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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OK -- Another question...

Since I've got Firefox setup to allow web site to pick their own fonts, could I be seeing missing fonts causing a problem? In other words, could a web site be selecting a font that is not installed, so Firefox is defaulting to a different font instead (causing the size differences I see with some fonts)?

I do see a lot more fonts in the packages that were mentioned in the link the OP posted, compared to what I get when I do apt-get install msttcorefonts

Yet, these same fonts are described as being Microsoft fonts.

WebCore Fonts

I also see a lot more fonts in my Windows XP install comapred to the fonts you get with msttcorefonts

Would some sites be selecting fonts not included in msttcorefonts causing the issues with size differences with some of the fonts I see on screen?

EDIT/ADDED:

i'll answer my last question myself. YES. That is one of the problems.

I just downloaded this file and installed the fonts included using KDE Control Center and ran fix-fonts, and I'm seeing identical font sizes now on one web site where they were different sizes before between Firefox under Kanotix and Firefox under Windows:

http://www.alkalay.net/software/webcore-fonts/webcore-fonts-1.3.tar.gz

So, it appears that web sites may be trying to use some fonts that are not included in msttcorefonts

That's not the entire problem (but, that appeared to be a big part of the difference I'm seeing on at least one site).

I'll check some more sites later, and may just install all of the fonts from my Windows XP install, too.

I'd still like to know if the byte code interpreter may be causing some of the other differences I'm seeing or not, since the rendering still looks different on another site I spend a lot of time on.

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hotloophiker
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 06:21 Uhr



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Hey Jim C, I'm a quick and dirty guy so here is how I make all in FF look as good as it gets. Simply untick "let sites choose their own fonts". I use serif in all of Kanotix and have used all the settings I could find in KDE. My screen is so crisp sometimes it hurts my eyes. This is done strictly with settings and no messing with fonts/software. I personally like seeing the same sharp font always no matter what size. And yes, if I were to revert to defaults, I would see what you are seeing. And to finish off here FF looks identical in Kanotix and Windows!
 
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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 06:34 Uhr



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I think I tried that one time before and ended up with pretty strange results on some web sites I frequent (not letting sites set their own fonts instead of the fonts I have selected).

If I give up on trying to make Firefox under Windows and Kanotix look the same letting web sites set their own fonts overriding my choices (which is the way I've always had Firefox under Windows configured), I may give that another go though. I'm making a little progress (see the edit in my last post).

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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 08:03 Uhr



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JimC

I showed my settings in the previous thread and a screenshot of my display. I can't use Windows because the fonts are so bad compared with Linux (Firefox or Konqueror). One thing I have noticed; if I set let websites choose their own fonts, I assumed all settings were ignored. This isn't the case - I also set minimum font size to 13 with a 72 dpi screen setting. This is the only additional poece of information to the settings I laid out in your previous thread and the fonts are superb . . . particularly compared with Windows.

drb

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Swynndla
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 08:11 Uhr



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JimC ... well done on making some progress, and thanks for the link.

Some thoughts ... from what I've read, the msttcorefonts package definitely doesn't contain all of microsoft's fonts. So it seems that some web sites are using microsoft fonts alright, but a linux user may not be able to view the font as intended. If you own a copy of microsoft windows then you may be able to legally use all the fonts by putting them on your linux install, but if that is the solution for everyone, then that would mean all linux users would have to buy microsoft windows Winken It could be argued, that if those web designers are only catering for microsoft OS's then that's their problem, as they are alienating a small percentage of users (and fonts aside, there are loads of web sites that only work properly under IE regardless of the font). That argument may not convince some people to stick with linux, but then again, for a lot of linux users, it's that very argument that makes them cling on even tighter to linux, because they are fighting against closed-source proprietary software which creates these problems in the first place. I guess it's up to everyone to choose.
 
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slam
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 10:51 Uhr



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1) Byte Code Interpreter on or off when compiling libfreetype6 does not make much difference. I recently tested it with exact same settings and fonts, und you might see a minimal difference with just a hand full of rarely used fonts in extreme size.

2) Be also aware that although graphics drivers from Nvidia do provide pair quality between Win & Linux versions, others may have huge differences in quality and speed (i.e. ATI is famous for that).

3) Besides all the points mentioned above (and yes, there is a lot conflicting settings in X, KDE, GTK and Firefox influencing each other) the most important point are the fonts themselves. Font quality can be very different, therefore you should make sure to use the same fonts when comparing between other operating systems and Kanotix. Best practice is to copy them (or - even cleverer - link them for shared use).

4) There is always a good deal that it might depend on the web site you're viewing. Let me show you an example from the CSS for this site and the default SilverEngine theme:
Code:
.codecontent {
   margin: 0px 5px 10px 5px;
   padding: 5px;
   border-color: #e9e9e9;
   border-width: 0px 1px 1px 1px;
   border-style: solid;
   font-weight: normal;
   color: #006600;
   font-size: 0.85em;
   font-family: Monaco, 'Courier New', monospace;
   background-color: #FAFAFA;
   overflow: auto;       /* allow scroll bar in case of long lines - goes together with white-space: nowrap! */
   white-space: nowrap;    /* prevent line wrapping */
   }

As you can see these are the css-defines for formatting text in code boxes (as the box I used here just now). If you have not set your browser to overwrite the font requests it receives from a web site, it will strictly follow the above. It will check if you have the Monaco font installed, if not it will search for Courier New, if not it will use monospace (which is a general fallback standard, but still depends which font you have defined to repesent it).

As you can learn from this example it makes a difference if you really have all and exactly the same fonts installed on both systems you compare, and hidden settings (i.e. fallback font definitions) need to be the same, too.

You can imagine doing professional web design we compare a lot, and still there are situations where we can't find the reason for differences. But be assured, if everything is really comparable and the same, your fonts should look the same or even better on a Linux system.

Greetings,
Chris

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devil
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 11:17 Uhr
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....and be sure to change that minimal font size from none to 12 or 13.
i spend 10-15 daily in front of the screen and have done no magic to the fonts plus i have old eyes - and no probs at all.

greetz
devil

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hubi
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 12:30 Uhr



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Sometimes hardware is important as well. On my VAIO the defaults were already amazing. Don't know if they sell big screens with that kind of quality as well.

And my Philips 170S4 TTF-Screen is better e.g. than the screen on my HP laptop, although latter has a newer Nvidia-Card than my desktop. Maybe I have to learn if there is a software possibility to calibrate the screen on the HP, there is no button for that.

hubi

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 15:59 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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Thanks for the comments guys.

I don't any problem with the fonts used by Kanotix in most applications or on the desktop.

It's just the way some web sites render in Firefox. Most sites are fine. But, the ones I happen to spend most of my time on weren't.

I think the way the sites are trying to use some Microsoft specific fonts was the biggest issue, and I've solve it with one site I frequent often by installing the WebCore fonts (that have more MS Truetype fonts included).

Is there some kind of movement to standardize fonts between Operating Systems, similar to something like the Open Document Format is trying to standardize Office Documents?

I can imagine that this problem will get worse before it gets better (with some web designers using some proprietary fonts compared to others, depending on the favorite flavour of OS and web design tools).

Come to think of it, I've seen problems with documents my wife has sent me, too. She's using Open Office on her laptop (currently running SimplyMEPIS), and sometimes a document she sends me doesn't format correctly (text outside of margins, etc.) when I try to print it (with errors on missing fonts from time to time when we exchange documents with MS Office and Open Office).

If not, it seems to me that there needs to be some kind of push to standardize fonts used by everyone. Surely, I'm not the only one that's been rather irritated with these kinds of issues. lol

Now I think I know why I got one of the older Kanotix 2005 Release Candidates to work OK. My record so far has been about 3 days using a Linux distro before booting back into XP. That was one of the Kanotix 2005 Release Candidates, and now that I think about it, I did copy all of my Windows XP fonts to it. I almost forgot that I was using Linux versus Windows I got it working so well.

I did that after installing an Image Browser (FastStone) under Wine, and the menus were unreadable. When I messed around with copying all of the fonts and running fixfonts, it started working right (I could read the menus OK). I was able to tweak Firefox after that to work OK with most sites.

But, when I replaced it with a newer Kanotix version later, I never did get it working the same, where I could tolerate the text on some Web Sites I visit. I assumed (probably incorrectly) that it had something to do with changes in Kanotix, since I figured out how to install msttcorefonts instead of getting them from the XP install.

Now that I'm seeing what can happen if you are missing fonts that some web sites appear to be using, it makes more sense why I had problems with later versions. I've still got a copy of the partition containing the Kanotix setup I got working OK, just in case I ever wanted to go back to it (since it was the best I had managed to get a Linux distro working so far).

Thanks for all of the other suggestions (minimum font sizes, etc.). I'm familiar with doing all of that (I've done it in the past to come up with compromise solutions). Using different fonts and doing that kind of thing works fine on most web sites, but not some (where you see a lot of difference in text sizes being portrayed on some pages, apparently becuase of the fonts being selected by the site).

It looks like most sites are working OK now. I've still got one I need to figure out a better solution for. The fonts appear almost like bold text with anti-aliasing turned on, and because they're relaltively small fonts, that makes them harder on the eyes.

Yet, they appear too thin (almost like they're breaking up) if you turn off anti-aliasing. I think it's got something to do with hinting, which is why I'd still like to try playing with the Byte Code Intrepreter (maybe turning it off would work better on that one if it's on by default).

I guess I'll never find a perfect solultion, because of the way web designers appear to be coding these sites, and to be fair, I do see that some sites look better in Firefox under Kanotix compared to the way they do with Firefox under Windows.

The consistency between sites I visit has been what drove me nuts trying to use a Linux distro with Firefox. Get the fonts working great on one web site, and go to another and it's another story entirely. lol

But, installing more Windows fonts seems to solve a big part of that problem.

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Swynndla
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 22:16 Uhr



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I agree with everything you said JimC ... you make soem good points.

JimC hat folgendes geschrieben::
Is there some kind of movement to standardize fonts between Operating Systems, similar to something like the Open Document Format is trying to standardize Office Documents?


I think the open source community would be 100% behind that. It'd make it easier on users and web developers. Unfortunately, I don't think it's in Microsoft's interest to do that (because as you say, the font issue is one of the things that are holding many people back from giving up windows and using linux).

Once again, thanks JimC for figuring out how to solve a large part of the font issue with firefox under linux, and thanks for sharing this back to the community!
 
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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 22:58 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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I'm not sure I gave anything back. lol

michael7 (the poster that started this thread) is the one that posted a link to te a document that discussed the webcore fonts, and it sounds like slam knows about these issues (since it looks like he designs web pages and sees these kinds of issues).

Most Linux users seem like they're fine with other solutions. Maybe I'm just being too picky on how the fonts look. My eyes just aren't what they used to be.

But, having more MS Fonts sure seems to work better for the sites I visit a lot, letting the sites select the fonts. At least that makes the font rendering more consistent between sites I vist (versus trying to make it larger for one, and having it too large for the next, etc.). It was driving me nuts trying to find a solution that I could live with. Lachen

It sure was easier before we had all of these font choices available with computers.

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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 23:26 Uhr



Anmeldung: 03. Jul 2004
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JimC,

Can you put up a link to a screenshot of the worst website you can find for fonts display - also provide the website address, then I/others can put up a comparison to see which solutions look the 'best'

drb

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 08.07.2006, 23:51 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
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The one I had the most difficulty with was dpreview.com

The menus on the left hand side of the page were too hard to read for my eyes, and when I increased the font size, it messed up the page formatting in the forums.

That's not really the biggest problem though. When I got one web site looking fine, the next one I went to may have fonts that were way too big (so, I'd constantly be making changes in settings between them).

Here's an example of how Firefox looked under Kanotix (after a *lot* of tweaking to get them looking better), using the same font settings I was using with Firefox under Windows). Notice how tiny the menus on the left side of the page are?

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/image/63125714

This is the way the screen would look after I increased the text size one notch above normal to be able to read the menus better (which would mess up the forums formatting:

http://www.pbase.com/jcockfield/image/63125725

Then, when I'd change to another site, the text would be too large on it.

Now, with the same WebCore Fonts installed, the text size is identical between Firerfox under Windows and Firefox under Kanotix.

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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 09.07.2006, 00:14 Uhr



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JimC

Link to my snapshot of your website link below. Something on black is always difficult but how does it compare with your page view? You may have to copy/paste the URL to avoid an error page.

drb

http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/guisborough/snapshot8.png

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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 09.07.2006, 00:21 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 219

That looks about like what I was getting before I did the tweaking using a larger text size than normal. The menus would start looking like some of it was messed up (and go one more notch up and you start seeing overlap); with the forum text word wrapping (when I don't have that problem without increasing the text size). My old solution was similar to that look (trying to use Bitstream Vera Sans for most fonts, which did seem to work a little better).

Then, when I'd go to another site, the text would be way too large (so, I'd constantly change text sizes between sites).

I haven't done any screen prints since I've installed more MS fonts via the WebCore fonts link above. But, now, it looks identical to the way it does in Firefox under Windows (much more consistent between sites, with readable text without increasing and decreasing sizes, depending on what site I'm viewing).

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h2
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 09.07.2006, 00:55 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 1005

JimC, re websites and fonts, that's been a problem ever since gui type sites appeared. But the problem isn't actually with linux, mac os, or windows, it's with incompetent web designers. CSS supports font families, and anyone who has any grasp of how to create a website [that means maybe 5% of developers out there] knows that you cascade your fonts down to lowest common denominator, and NEVER make your design depend on a font that only exists on your font filled machine.

So all fonts always go to either serif or sans-serif by design, and will look fine without the fancier first or second choice.

This is also a problem with macs by the way, for example, in windows 'times new roman' is roughly equal to mac 'times' and I can't remember what the default is in various linux distros.

I gave up long ago in trying to 'express my creativity' with fonts on websites, now I just use arial or a serif familia cascading down, and don't think about it. My viewers see what I want them to see in all cases more or less, or at least a reasonable fascimile.

The real problem I have on linux with websites is that most desktops, gnome and kde, handle certain css font sizings differently, and that generally results in unreadably small fonts.

To get around this I change the default sizing in firefox to not allow fonts smaller than x size.

Basically, when it comes to websites, it's not worth worrying about it.

For the truly bad sites, I have a very rough user stylesheet in firefox that will override certain bad habits people have in making websites, and I also use the web developer toolbar, which has an option to turn off site colors, thus making those ridiculous gray on black, orange on gray, pale blue on off white, sites for example actually readable.

I just dragged over all my windows fonts from my windows install to deal with other font issues, and aside from that, I stopped worrying about it. Now website arials look pretty much right, which is really all I care about.
 
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JimC
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 09.07.2006, 01:17 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 219

I was just comparing screens between Firefox and Windows with another web site I spend a lot of time on, that still didn't look "right" after I installed more MS fonts, and was surprised to find out that it's not realy the font rendering in this case.

When I captured both screens and saved them, them viewed them in one OS versus the other, it appears to be the monoitor rendering colors differently between the operating systems (making the fonts appear to almost glow using LInux versus Windows). The screen prints look the same, if you're viewing them in the same OS (but very different in each OS). lol

I'm using an Nvidia driver with both Windows and Kanotix. But, it looks like I may need to tweak it to render the colors the same under Kanotix, and I don't guess it supports ICC profiles.

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