Font rendering, 2015

Alex G.S. alxgrtnstrngl at
Tue Jun 9 16:13:19 UTC 2015

This is one of the biggest UI issues I have with Fedora post-install, the
fonts are very jarring versus the whole Ubuntu/Mac/Windows experience.
It's a non-ideal way to present Workstation to new users.  I've actually
filed a bug about this:

What I don't understand is why Ubuntu has great fonts hinting by default
despite these patents being out there.  Do they use a different package or
configuration of the existing patent-free Freetype?

On Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 12:03 PM, Michael Catanzaro <mcatanzaro at>

> On Tue, 2015-06-09 at 10:40 -0400, Matthew Miller wrote:
> > Okay, so, here we go again with this... well, actually, hoping *not*
> > to, but one specific thing keeps coming up. As far as I know,
> > the patents affecting freetype expired, and the "freetype-freeworld"
> > package from third party repositories no longer has any special
> > sauce.
> Subpixel rendering is still disabled in the Fedora freetype package,
> due to patents that have not expired:
> I think we just need to accept that we can't have good font rendering
> until they expire.
> > Yet, I still see people swearing up and down that this makes a big
> > difference, it's included in "making fonts in Fedora look good"
> > guides
> > everywhere — even though that patent expiration was now long ago. And
> > I
> > see that in RPMFusion, the "freetype-freeworld" package still exists
> > and is regularly updated.
> >
> > So, what's going on with this? My uneducated guess is that the
> > "freeworld" package simply enables autohinting that we have off by
> > default and does not contain any magic sauce. Is this correct?
> Fedora supports autohinting without installing anything extra, just
> change hint type to Light (codeword for "autohint") in Tweak Tool.
> Autohinting does not usually work as well as normal hinting, so it's
> good that it's not used by default.
> > (On the other hand "Infinality" is a set of patches to Freetype, and
> > appears specifically tuned for various sets of non-free fonts.)
> The best description of Infinality I've found is
> Highlight: "These modifications essentially cause the Truetype
> interpreter in Freetype to ignore hinting in the X direction, giving a
> Cleartype-like result (unlike many pre-existing so-called "cleartype"
> packages for various distros). The default Truetype interpreter in
> Freetype renders fonts "correctly", in that it follows the instructions
> given to it by the font. For legacy fonts (Arial, Verdana, Times, etc.)
> these instructions were created with the idea that the end
> rasterization of the font would be monochrome, i.e. Black and White
> pixels only."
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