Font rendering in F13

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Tue May 25 16:17:30 UTC 2010

On Sun, 2010-05-23 at 21:51 +0200, drago01 wrote:
> On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 9:11 PM, Gianluca Sforna <giallu at> wrote:
> > On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 6:57 PM, Roberto Ragusa <mail at> wrote:
> >>
> >> I'm well aware that many people have different tastes about font
> >> readability and that I'm probably out of the majority (who
> >> wants "like on Windows" rendering). This awareness was actually
> >> the reason of my post: to have guys remember that not everyone
> >> welcomes the bci.
> >>
> >
> > Actually, one of the first questions I get from users switching from
> > Ubuntu is why our fonts look worse than theirs.
> >
> > As of today, I haven't a good answer, if anyone knows better I'd
> > really love to hear where we differ and if/how we plan to close the
> > gap.
> We neither do have the BCI nor the subpixel hinter enabled.
> The patents for the former expired but apparently some fonts look
> worse with it so we decided to disable it.
> (I have been running with it enabled for years and for me stuff does
> look _way_ better with the bci ... but well this is a subjective
> thing).

AIUI, Microsoft fonts - Arial and the rest - are designed with BCI in
mind and look better that way. Free world fonts - Deja Vu and so on -
were designed with the autohinter in mind, and tend to look better that

That's always been how it's looked to me as well, FWIW. Given that we
default to using free world fonts and can't ship Microsoft's fonts it
would seem sensible to default to the autohinter rather than the BCI, in
my opinion. I definitely prefer the autohinter's interpretation of the
fonts I usually use (Deja Vu / Vera).

I'd say the principle should be that we should use whichever
non-encumbered method gives the closest rendering to that intended by
the font designer of our default font set for any particular release.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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