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Paul.G
Titel: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 01:09 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

Hello,
I fix people's infested Windows computers for a living. (No, I don't like Microsoft or any intellectual 'property' monopolies)

I've been looking to offer a Linux alternative to home users. Kanotix and Vector seem to come out the best with Kanotix having better hardware recognition. But the biggest hindrance despite all the technical superiority is as basic as font appearance.

It all boils down to Freetype not enabling the 'ByteCode Interpreter' by default for font rendering. Also a 96dpi monitor setting along with the msttcorefonts.

Here's some details and a how-to: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions ... p?t=257705

One major distro that enables the BCI by default is Suse:
http://en.opensuse.org/Optimal_Use_of_M ... op_on_SuSE
- the font rendering is excellent but Suse is too bloated, slow and takes too long to install. Gentoo also activates BCI by default, I believe.

Kanotix is the only distro I've tried with a simple dpi GUI. But I tried recompiling Freetype with the BCI enabled and just couldn't get it all to work.

My request is to enable the Freetype BCI by default or by an easy option, this would not affect those who like larger anti-aliaised fonts.

The choice should be there for those who like sharp, small, non-AA fonts - and that's a lot of people. Here's one more link about the typography: http://avi.alkalay.net/linux/docs/font- ... html#intro
 
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hubi
Titel: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 01:34 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
Paul.G,
I suppose you have msttcorefonts installed (Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, Verdana et al). So try as root in the console:
# dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config

You will get three options, choose the following (always confirm with enter):
native - always - no

Choose Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman or whatever in the KDE Control-Center, set dpi to 96 in Kanotix-Control-Center (knxcc resp. knxcc-kde) and choose your preferred fonts for your preferred browsers. And: I do not use anti-aliasing.

The result should be, that so called Windows-Fonts look the same as if you would use BCI. Look at my screenshot (there is a picture inside from SuSE showing the effects of BCI, you might not tell the difference):
http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3869 ... use6od.png

Maybe Windows still does a better job rendering those fonts, but for me that's perfect enough.

Greetings
hubi

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Paul.G
Titel: RE: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 17:23 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

Hubi thanks.

I'll uninstall Suse from my test machine and go back to Kanotix. Your fonts look fine. I searched the forum but couldn't find anything like the instructions you gave.

Best,
Paul
 
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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 22:05 Uhr



Anmeldung: 03. Jul 2004
Beiträge: 525

Why do my fonts look so solid / good / bad (delete as appropriate)? I find the image above looks quite 'spindly' - just like my Windows web pages whereas Kanotix with pages "choosing their own fonts" look 'solid'. The 'solid' look is just how I set my webpage fonts (in nvu) so I presume it is what the web page maker wanted?

drb

Screenshot from same website :

http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/guisborough/snapshot6.png

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Zuletzt bearbeitet von drb am 12.06.2006, 22:13 Uhr, insgesamt 2 Male bearbeitet
 
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Paul.G
Titel: RE: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 22:07 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

Hubi

The fonts are now looking great! This is a major step forward for Linux - how come no other distro has it and where can I read up on info about the adjustment? Is it anything to do with Freetype BCI? All fonts actually look better, not just the msttcorefonts.

I've reinstalled Kanotix, the current RC4. Only problem is the Kanotix Display gui with the dpi adjustment won't let me set it above 64 dpi and it freezes - won't let me install nvidia drivers either. I keep manually restarting X but it reverts to 64 dpi anyway.

So I've got razor sharp fonts, but absolutely tiny at normal 10 or 11 point settings on a 1024x768 monitor. Any advice on the dpi adjustment?
 
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hubi
Titel: RE: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 22:50 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
drb,

unfortunatelly your screenshot is not available anymore. I am really keen on seeing other solutions. I had the Kanotix default fonts on my VAIO Notebook, and they were brilliant, just changed them to the ttf-settings, because I have to change documents with MS-Office-Boxes all the time, so TNR and Arial were quite ugly in OpenOffice. Well: OpenOffice is broken at the moment anyway, because it still does not understand Freetype 2.2. But that's another story.

hubi

Edit: the worst grammar mistake, but not the last.

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Zuletzt bearbeitet von hubi am 12.06.2006, 23:01 Uhr, insgesamt ein Mal bearbeitet
 
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hubi
Titel: RE: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 23:00 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
Paul,

that's great news. And as drb stated there are quite a few ways to set up Kanotix to have the way you like. Never had ugly fonts on Kanotix with the correct settings.

[edit]
I suppose there is no BCI in Freetype 2.1 or on dist-upgraded systems in Freetype 2.2. Well, the people of Freetype are quite proud, there's a link in your first post describing that.

Sometimes it depends maybe on hardware as well. On my Sony VAIO with an integrated i815 chip all fonts are about perfect, even the defaults. Here on the desktop with an nvidia card I have to use nvidia technology as well and the auto adjustment of the monitor. The worst is my HP Laptop, only looks good. I wonder if there is sth like auto adjustement through software.

And, the dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config (what a name) is a massive tool (the first time I used it on Ubuntu and was quite surprised, but here on Kanotix/Debian Sid it's massive).
[/edit]

About dpi. I suppose you used the change-res feature. Don't know it exactly.

Have you tried Kanotix-Controlcenter? If you use KDE, open the KDE Controlcenter, and you should see a Kanotix menue. There you can set the dpi. If you do not use KDE, it's knxcc.

In case you do not have the Kanotix-Controlcenter installed, do as root:
# apt-get install knxcc knxcc-kde

Run either in the shell as root:
# knxcc

Or go to the KDE-Controlcenter, to Kanotix - display, and become root there (systemadministration or sth. like that - my system is German).

Give you two screenshots:
http://img162.imageshack.us/img162/418/knxcc2by.jpg
http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/8287/knxcc11im.jpg

Greetings
hubi

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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 12.06.2006, 23:20 Uhr



Anmeldung: 03. Jul 2004
Beiträge: 525

hubi,

The screenshot is still there. I sometimes get the redirected angelfire page as you have done. Just paste the url to see it.

drb

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hubi
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 13.06.2006, 00:23 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
drb,

they look great, like default Fedora. Never got it that way on Debian. I'm sure quite a lot people would be interested in crisp antialiased Linux-fonts. I loved them when I started with Fedora.

Unfortunatelly I might not be able to reengineer them - all of my settings are now optimized for antialiased TTFs. Just played around on my Sony, the first screenshot is ok, Google in Firefox is unreadable:

http://img162.imageshack.us/img162/3734/aa12ig.png
http://img161.imageshack.us/img161/2857/aa25uz.png

So, outside of Fedora or Gnome I'm helpless with your kind of settings. I think Ubuntu was similar to your settings as well, that's why Gnome sticks in my head. Somewhere I still have old Fedora-screenshots Winken

Greetings
hubi

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Paul.G
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 19:17 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

hubi,

Thanks for help.

I did get the 96 dpi using knxcc from konsole - but then it froze my refresh rate at 75hz no matter what I did (1024x768). Then in increasing that everything went wrong again, now knxcc is not setting the 96 dpi even from Konsole. There's definitely some bug in the interaction between knxcc and the other screen adjustments. I've now got 100 hz refresh but I'm frozen at 64 dpi max whatever I do through either Control centre or the console.

My test system screen is a common CRT - Dell 1025he, there seems to be no place in kanotix to set the model number to detect the correct refresh/resolution options.

All display settings in one tabbed menu and fully tested would be a good request for the next release I think!

I'll keep trying, maybe reinstall. Thanks again.
 
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Paul.G
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 19:18 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

drb,

I really like your fonts too - any specific instructions how to get there?

Cheers,
Paul.G
 
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hubi
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 20:04 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
Paul,

unfortunatelly I do not have a clue how you might be able to set your dpi. Hence I did it painlessly on my three boxes, I do not have a clue, what has to be done when something goes wrong.

What do you mean by "frozen at 75hz". Well, I do not get another option here on the desktop either, but here it's ok, my TFT can eat it. But if you use a CRT, that's about the bottom end you might want.

Greetings
hubi

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drb
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 22:13 Uhr



Anmeldung: 03. Jul 2004
Beiträge: 525

Paul.G

Not sure how I've got to where I am but I have a Matrox 550 graphics card with mga driver and started with 2005-04 and have dist-upgraded most days :

installed msttcorefonts
installed gtk2-engines-gtk-gt
set kde style and fonts for GTK applications in Control Centre appearance
1024x768 and 75Hz refresh at 72 dpi on a CRT monitor
KDE settings - 12 pt Sans Serif for everything except fixed width is Monospace 12 pt and Desktop is Sans Serif 10 pt - 'tick' anti-aliasing for fonts - exclude range 8 to 11pt - no sub-pixel hinting
Firefox - Allow pages to choose their own fonts
fix-fonts after every dist-upgrade
dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config 'every now and again' - Autohinter, Automatic, Yes (answers to 3 questions)

. . . and this produces something much better than I've ever seen in Windows for desktop, applications and browser! Even Konqueror looks good!

(I've only tried Easter-RC4 in LiveCD mode - it gives me a much wider range of options for screen resolution and refresh rates (up to 100 Hz compared with 75 Hz max with my d-u 2005-04) - the mga driver appears the same so I don't understand why the difference.)

drb

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Crust
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 23:29 Uhr



Anmeldung: 20. Okt 2005
Beiträge: 278

minor correction for drb's post:
gtk2-engines-gtk-gt -> gtk2-engines-gtk-qt
 
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Paul.G
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 23:39 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

hubi,

I reinstalled and now everything is OK. I'm on 1024x768 at 100Hz refresh and 96 dpi, I'm using Tahoma and it is now looking good.

There were some initial problems though. There are three gui places to change the display. 1) Control Center>Kanotix>Display 2) Control Center>Peripherals>Display 3) K-Menu>Kanotix>Utilities>Change-res. Menu 1) is also available via knxcc in the console.

The knxcc appeared to cause less problems and it seemed to automatically set the refresh to 100 when the res went down from 1600x1200/70Hz to 1024x768. Using them in combination causes major problems for me.

The item 1) gui menu was the most trouble when in the process of changing to 24 bit, 96dpi and 1024x768 from the default 16 bit, 72(or 61?)dpi and 1600x1200. The menu would freeze for a long time and when restarting X it would freeze and I had to power off with the switch. When it did make a change it would appear as 100 dpi instead of 96.

Knxcc did work in the end, thank God. This is now a useable system. I'll try drb's methods later and also investigate if it is possible to build a customized CD of Kanotix with all this built in. It's not too hard anyway thanks to you hubi.
 
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Paul.G
Titel:   BeitragVerfasst am: 14.06.2006, 23:51 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

drb,

Thanks for the instructions, I will definitely try them as soon as I've used hubi's a bit. I'm very impressed with the dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config and how it improves all fonts. If fonts can be thicker, even and sharp all at once, that is excellent.

Best,
Paul
 
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JimC
Titel: Re: Fonts appearance.  BeitragVerfasst am: 04.07.2006, 19:02 Uhr



Anmeldung: 16. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 219

Paul.G hat folgendes geschrieben::
One major distro that enables the BCI by default is Suse:
http://en.opensuse.org/Optimal_Use_of_M ... op_on_SuSE
- the font rendering is excellent but Suse is too bloated, slow and takes too long to install.


OK -- that explains why Suse looks so polished.

But, I never did get all of the media stuff working correctly in browsers with it, even trying to follow "Hacking Open Suse" articles (I'm relatively Linux illiterate).

Rendering of fonts is probably the biggest reason I haven't switched to Linux yet.

I've spent a lot of time playing with font solutions in the past. But, I never did get fonts to look as nice as they render under Windows with any Linux distro (with Suse coming the closest so far). So, the longest I've ever used a Linux distro was about 3 days (that was one of the Kanotix 2004 release candidates), before I just couldn't stand looking at the screens in Firefox anymore.

My graphics card could have something to do with it, too.

You guys can ignore my comments, as I'm basically "bookmarking" this thread for the next time I install Kanotix to give these solutions a try. lol

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Paul.G
Titel: News and Summary...  BeitragVerfasst am: 26.07.2006, 23:48 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

Interesting news on the font front....

According to this changelog:

http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/p ... /changelog
Debian is from now on turning the BCI on as standard.

I discovered Debian in the past have had the BCI enabled in non-US repositories. I'm pretty sure therefore Kanotix actually does have the BCI enabled but the 'dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config' activates it. I have tried updating Kanotix to the latest BCI-activated 2.2.1.2 Freetype and there is no difference I can tell.

There is a bug (which can be fixed with font/gtk package updates), with the GTK2 environment (including firefox) that some text does not appear if anti-aliasing is off. KDE applications work perfectly, though.

SUMMARY FOR BEGINNERS:

As mentioned before I now have very good fonts. Here's a step by step of how I did it after a clean hard disk install of Kanotix RC4:

Log in as root.

Open Konsole and type 'knxcc'. Choose your resolution, probably 1024x768 for a CRT. Choose dpi and set to 96.

Install 'gtk2-engines-gtk-qt' using Start>System>Adept. This puts an entry on Control Center>Appearance&Themes> to make GTK environment fonts the same as KDE. Choose and set this option.

Go to Control Center>System Administration>Font installer. Choose 'Add Fonts' and point to your C:\Windows\Fonts folder (on a CD, USB flash drive, hard drive or via network to a windows computer.) That way you can get the Tahoma font which is not part of the 'msttcorefonts' package from Start/KDE Menu>System>Adept. You want at least Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Tahoma.

Run fix-fonts from Start>Kanotix>Utilities. Restart.

Open Konsole and type: dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config . Answer: native - automatic - no - to the three prompts.

Go to Start>Control Center>Appearance&Themes>Fonts choose Tahoma (or Verdana) 8 or 9 for everything except 'fixed width'. Leave 'Use anti-aliasing..' ticked but choose 'Configure' and set 'Exclude range from 7.0 to 11.0. Untick 'Use sub-pixel hinting'.

There are font preference settings in Firefox (Edit>Pref>Content>fonts>Advanced). I use Arial size 12 as default for 'Sans Serif' and Times New Roman for 'serif'. Allow pages to choose their own fonts is ticked.

As far as I know, OpenOffice is in a font rendering world of its own - if you leave anti-aliasing on with Tahoma for the app and use Arial for documents it is bearable. Go to Tools>Options> 'View' and also 'Fonts'


There is a distro based on Kanotix called Dream Linux that does all the above things for you. Also it's XFCE themes/decorations like 'Piranha' and 'Today' and others are just great. I fixed the GTK font problem (with AA off) here also by using Synaptic to upgrade various font and GTK related packages, it now works well with AA off and just hinting on.
 
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hubi
Titel: Re: News and Summary...  BeitragVerfasst am: 27.07.2006, 00:45 Uhr



Anmeldung: 22. Jan 2006
Beiträge: 1296
Wohnort: Budapest
Paul.G hat folgendes geschrieben::

Open Konsole and type: dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config . Answer: native - automatic - no - to the three prompts.

Leave 'Use anti-aliasing..' ticked but choose 'Configure' and set 'Exclude range from 7.0 to 11.0. Untick 'Use sub-pixel hinting'.


In new days you can even do: native - automatic - yes, and the TTFs stay pretty, and fonts like Helvetica are useable as well. That's really a progress.

I exclude anti-aliasing from 1.0 to 17.0, looks great on all three boxes.

About BCI: I also did not realise any change, although: on the HP fonts are crispyer, and I do not think, it's a placebo. The other two boxes have great screens, so they are perfect anyway.

Open-Office is in a terrible mess with freetype 2.2. Only anti-aliased it's readable.

Thanks about the anti-aliasing tip for gtk-apps. I'll try that one out, on my Sony I experience those missing letters.

Greetings
hubi

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Paul.G
Titel: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 27.07.2006, 09:23 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Jun 2006
Beiträge: 16

Hubi,

Yes, the anti-alias exclude 'to' size is not at all fixed in stone, anything from 11-17 then.

Thanks for the tip on the 'yes' response to the third option on the '...fontconfig..' procedure.

Also, I'm not sure what I did to fix the missing text font rendering bug in Firefox etc. In the XFCE desktop of Kanotix-based DreamLinux it was even worse with font smearing and completely unreadable without anti-aliasing, until I did the updates.

I went to Synaptic (and Adept on Kanotix) and as far as I recall I chose 'reinstall' for libfreetype (Freetype). I think I upgraded something called 'defoma' and also looked for GTK... and updated any likely font related candidates. Basically, I searched for 'font' and/or 'render' and sorted by the column that indicates already installed and then updated or reinstalled.

If you find the specific update that fixes it please let us know. Or, if I find time I might do a clean install again and do the updates one by one until I find out exactly. Hopefully future Kanotix releases will be up to date and make this unnecessary.

By the way, for anyone who wants to experiment, Mac truetype fonts are available here: http://www.osx-e.com/downloads/misc/macfonts.html

The proprietorial mega-corps have ill gotten billions to spend and making things pretty for mass marketing is a priority. I don't see why some Linux designers can't come up with a font hinting or font rendering method that blows these all away though..... I see this as the last technological nut to crack before Linux can make it big time.
 
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Swynndla
Titel: RE: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 13.08.2006, 00:07 Uhr



Anmeldung: 05. Dez 2005
Beiträge: 414
Wohnort: Auckland, New Zealand
It just goes to show, different settings suit different setups ... for me it all looks very blocky (after a dist-upgrade) until I unticked "'Exclude range" !

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h2
Titel: RE: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 13.08.2006, 18:49 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 1005

Zitat:
Install 'gtk2-engines-gtk-qt'


I would strongly advise anyone reading this thread NOT to follow this advice, I had massive problems with that program, and would never use it again, it totally destabilized my system's gtk apps, especially firefox, and would make kde fail in odd and extremely annoying ways.

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markb
Titel: Re: RE: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 14.08.2006, 00:02 Uhr



Anmeldung: 09. Aug 2004
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Wohnort: Brisbane Australia
h2 hat folgendes geschrieben::
Zitat:
Install 'gtk2-engines-gtk-qt'


I would strongly advise anyone reading this thread NOT to follow this advice, I had massive problems with that program, and would never use it again, it totally destabilized my system's gtk apps, especially firefox, and would make kde fail in odd and extremely annoying ways.

That's odd h2? I've always installed gtk2-engines-gtk-qt and it has worked great for me (over many versions of Kanotix and updating constantly). GTK apps look much better using gtk2-engines-gtk-qt than they do natively. I would recommend that the default settings be used however: "Use KDE fonts" and "Use another style: Industrial" as I have seen odd rendering without these settings. Never seen any effect on KDE itself however and certainly never seen any stability issues.
 
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h2
Titel: RE: Re: RE: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 14.08.2006, 00:31 Uhr



Anmeldung: 12. Mar 2005
Beiträge: 1005

I'm not the only person to have noticed this issue, it only manifests with certain user actions, and it may have finally gotten fixed, but the disruption it caused me was not trivial, it was not easy to figure out, and it cost me several weeks of debugging time and headaches, only to find out in the end that most of the kanotix team at that point did not recommend using that program because of the various known, and unfixed, bugs it has.

Each to his own, I'm never using it again, I don't care if my window bars look identical to each other, it has no functional benefit to me, and that library caused me such immense headaches that had I not figured it out, I probably would have gone back to windows, to be honest.

The issues it causes make kde fail completely, x restart is the only solution. I was able to reproduce the issues on 3 machines, at will, so it wasn't a fluke. I do not use bad software if I don't need to, or if I can avoid it.

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titan
Titel: Re: RE: GTK font bug  BeitragVerfasst am: 14.08.2006, 08:44 Uhr



Anmeldung: 07. Mai 2005
Beiträge: 526
Wohnort: Waliser Märze
markb hat folgendes geschrieben::

GTK apps look much better using gtk2-engines-gtk-qt than they do natively. I would recommend that the default settings be used however: "Use KDE fonts" .


I have used the gtk2 engine without problems for some time but removed it when I have had a problem to see if it is the cause and have discovered that gtk applications retain the qt font even with the gtk2-qt engine removed. So now on a new installation I install the Gtk2-qt engine use my kde default font (ms sans comic) then purge remove gtk2-qt engine and I still have my chosen font in Firefox, synaptic etc

Ian
 
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