How do I get decent fonts on Linux?
Date: 19 Nov 2005 14:47:29 -0800
How do I get decent fonts on Linux? Anti-aliased or not, true-type or
not, sub-pixel-hinted or not, they only look good if they are big - and
if I wanted big I would not be running at 1920 x 1200. Linux's
medium-sized text is ugly, and the small text makes my eyes hurt if I
read it for more than a few minutes.
Graphics are OK in Linux, and I have no problems with fonts in Windows
XP. I was hoping to give up XP for Linux, but bad fontage makes an OS
un-usable. And - fonts aside - overall I am impressed with Suse. I can
perhaps live with other differences or issues, such as having to
install codecs - or even fonts - because of licencing issues. But I
don't want to harm my eyes as a strain to read things.
Through-out Linux I am using noticeably larger fonts than I would with
Windows XP - and that means things take up a lot more of my
screen-space, while not always looking as good or being as readable.
In XP, I would happily write this in Times New Roman 10. In Linux, I
am using Times New Roman 18. I can read / write this in TNR10 within
Linux, but it is so ugly that I don't want to. Within words the spacing
between letters does not look right, the letters themselves are too
jagged. within a single word, some letters can look like they are in
bold while others look like they are in regular. Within a single
letter one part of the letter can look too light [or thin] while
another looks too heavy [or thick].
TNR18 is readable in Linux, but when I am [e.g.] editing or writing
documents, I should be able to see more of my documents; I should be
able to see more text in a smaller space; and I should be able to see
large chunks of different documents at the same time. That is one of
the reasons for buying a 24" screen, and the need for large fonts
undermines that significantly.
I also want to be able to type my personal correspondence without other
people being able to read it from the other side of the room.
Reading web-pages is another big issue. Pages with perfectly readable
text [at default settings] in IE are a pain in both Firefox and
Konqueror. And when I am researching something on the net, comparing
the information from different sites, I like to be able to have several
different pages visable at the same time. This is harder with large
fonts than with smaller ones, unless I don't want to have much visable
from any one page, which defeats the point of having several pages
visable a the same time.
Reading the Suse help documentation is also an issue. Obviously, the
problem with the fonts gets in the way of resolving it. And an O/S
should not need fixing as soon as its installed; if I wanted that, I
would stick with Microsoft.
The desktop too is affected. My Windows XP icons use Tahoma 7 as their
font. Other items, such as the menu's, use Tahoma 8. In Linux, I can
still make out the labels if my icons / menu's / etc. use Tahoma 8, but
they are clearly not as readable as in Windows; and Tahoma 7 is just
not an option. And bigger fonts for my desktop icons means fewer icons
can fit on my desktop, especially if I want ordered groupings.
I must admit that my friends generally find my settings too small when
they use my XP setup for any length of time. This would perhaps tally
with my optician saying that I have excellent 'reading eyesight' or
short-range vision [I wear glasses for seeing into the distance].
However, when I showed Suse to my friends - none of whom who use Linux
themselves - they all agreed that the fontage is clearly inferior to
XP's. One described them as 'blurry', while another complained that
some letters look heavier than others. One said he didn't mind the
inferior quality, but he did say it was noticible. Everybody else does
Out of curiosity, I dropped to the shell and started typing things in.
I din not know what I was doing, but I was not trying to do anything,
other than see how the font looked. And it looked OK - but is that
because I am not expecting much from white text on black background?
I am running Suse 10, the monitor is a 24" TFT, and the graphics card
is a GeForce 5200. The resolution is a native 1920 x 1200.