[Bug 489833] New: Default Font Rendering is Poor

bugzilla at redhat.com bugzilla at redhat.com
Thu Mar 12 05:20:59 UTC 2009

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Summary: Default Font Rendering is Poor


           Summary: Default Font Rendering is Poor
           Product: Fedora
           Version: 10
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: Linux
            Status: NEW
          Severity: high
          Priority: low
         Component: freetype
        AssignedTo: besfahbo at redhat.com
        ReportedBy: cwgarfield12 at yahoo.com
         QAContact: extras-qa at fedoraproject.org
                CC: besfahbo at redhat.com, kevin at tigcc.ticalc.org,
                    fedora-fonts-bugs-list at redhat.com
    Classification: Fedora

Description of Bug:
In Fedora 10, fonts are by default rendered poorly in terms of legibility and

While this problem is in reality systemwide with ALL fonts, it is most
noticeable in Firefox and OpenOffice. In Firefox, fonts are too big
proportionally no matter how font settings are changed in Edit|Preferences.
They look about 1 size bigger or smaller than they should be. 

In OpenOffice, fonts do not appear antialiased at all (regardless of sans serif
or serif or system hinting settings) and the edges of the letters appear very
jagged instead of smooth. One can observe a similar phenomenon in AbiWord as
well. This makes documents difficult to look at for extended periods of time. 

A long time ago, Debian/Ubuntu had similar problems with fonts, but they
patched the font rendering packages and now the problem is fixed in those
distros. Fedora has not done the same and this problem has persisted through
many releases with no action being taken. 

This is most emphatically NOT a bug with Firefox, Abiword, OpenOffice or any
other external program. This has to do with Fedora itself, as one can clearly
see from the descriptions that follow. 

Steps to fix bug:
After much research, packages located at 
http://www.bevenhall.se/jim/fedora-cleartype/ were found to completely fix the

Steps as quoted from http://www.bevenhall.se/jim/fedora-cleartype/
"Tired of crappy and ugly fedora fonts?
Download and replace these rpms for F8 or F10.
'rpm -Uvh --replacepkgs --force cairo-* freetype-* libXft-* msfonts-*' [NOTE:
msfonts-* is COMPLETELY optional, only useful if one wishes to use those fonts.
Restart X to make sure everything is reloaded.
Turn on and adjust antialiasing and subpixel smoothing.
Enjoy "cleartype enabled" fonts.
Thanks to jaganath for the patch tips and thanks to Erik for the 64-bit rpms."

The result of the above fix:
Fonts are now beautiful and easy to read systemwide. 
They antialias well across the system and proportionally scale well in Firefox. 
These packages are freely redistributable as Fedora installs them by default
(albeit the unpatched versions).

Clearly, it is not a problem with the fonts individually. 
Rather the bug concerns the font rendering packages cairo, freetype, and

Steps to Reproduce:
Simply compare the font-rendering quality of a default Fedora 10 install to an
install that was patched with these packages. Simply a matter of before and
To fully see changes, one should be sure to "Turn on and adjust antialiasing
and subpixel smoothing." as mentioned in the steps above after restarting X.

Other bugs that are completely fixed by the patched packages are:

A personal appeal:
I appeal to the community to please make this a priority before the next
I just don't want people to be turned off Fedora because of it's poor default
font rendering.
As one can see from the bug reports above, this problem has lingered for years
now. It is in fact a legitimate bug and it deserves attention. Fedora is a
great distro and this is really the main thing keeping it from realizing it's
true potential from a user perspective.

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