Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 210491
Ugly fonts on international desktops
Last modified: 2008-05-06 12:27:26 EDT
Description of problem:
Greek fonts are very unpleasant on view with default size settings in fedora
core. They appear in different sizes (for a given size of 10) and they have many
glitches (sorry i can't discribe it with "fonts language")
If i change the size to something bigger than 10 then they getting better but
also they getting bigger :)
This behaviour is not the case with fedora core 5 and dejavu fonts installed
from extras repo. On fedora core 5 everything is looking really good...
I dont know if this a dejavu problem or another's component problem (fontconfig)?
Also i have to mention that there is no problem in rhgb and in gdm. The problem
appears after user's login.
i ve installed all test versions of fc6 and latest devel version and this
behaviour apply to all of them.
i know that i report this to late for Fc6, but i hope we find the problem and
give a solution in an updated package.
Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
Steps to Reproduce:
Created attachment 138333 [details]
see the blue headings...
Created attachment 138334 [details]
compare it with fc5 shot
Created attachment 138335 [details]
compare it with previous fc6devel shot
Do you have the dejavu-lgc-fonts package installed?
Please attach two screenshots, one with good, one with bad. And clearly makr
them as such, with as much explanation as which glyphs are wrong.
And, did you upgrade from FC5, or installed fc6tests directly?
i ve installed clean fc6 test systems.
In fedora core 5 i use dejavu-fonts not dejavu-lgc-fonts.
So i ll try to install dejavu-lgc-fonts and in fc5 to see how they compare with
fc6 and i ll post screenshots.
Created attachment 138517 [details]
this is comparizon between Greek fonts in FC5 and FC6
Both systems use latest Dejavu-lgc-fonts from development repository.
I have underlined some of the differences in quality.
Well i discovered one strange thing:when i change fonts size to 9 then
everything is good again. So the problem is the default size (10).Bigger (11) is
good, smaller (9) is good too. I dont understand why this happens...
Tiny fonts used in graphical boot (rhgb) are also fine...
I confirm the bug, which is very ugly in the FC6 browser splash page.
Please check the Freedesktop relevant bug:
and it's attached screenshots, especially comments #14 and #15 which have shots
of default FC6 installation:
We would really like some help here because we don't understand what's going
wrong and why.
I've opened bug 212226 which looks to be the same or at least connected. Try a
workaround that works for me: rpm -Uvh --force on the FC5 freetype packages and
watch as newly opened programs suddenly look better, at least for Polish characters.
Is it legal to propose downloading BCI-enabled versions to Greeks or does it
count as contributory infrigement and stuff? :)
i dont know if this is BCI problem. You mean that in freetype FC5 package BCI is
enabled and in freetype FC6 is disabled?
We are looking for an "official" solution that every Greek user has an
acceptable desktop font without the need of doing tricky things (like enabling BCI)
Another observation we made is that if a user select "serif" instead of the
default "Sans serif" then fonts getting much better (menus are ok, bold are ok,
but firefox still has some problems with tiny fonts)
No, I'm just saying that with BCI enabled, FC5's freetype produces really nice
looking fonts. The binary shipped with FC5 (which has BCI disabled of course) is
still much better than the one in FC6, which you were already observing in
I'm more than looking for a solution for all of us. I'm just proposing a test
case to nail down the bug (hopefully it's the same bug as mine). Try FC5's
freetype in FC6 and thell Fedora maintainers whether it's sufficient to get good
looking screen fonts.
Let me also propose change of the version of Fedora with this bug to FC6 to make
it easier to find for others.
(In reply to comment #12)
> i dont know if this is BCI problem. You mean that in freetype FC5 package BCI is
> enabled and in freetype FC6 is disabled?
> We are looking for an "official" solution that every Greek user has an
> acceptable desktop font without the need of doing tricky things (like enabling
I do not think that we can get a BCI-enabled built of freetype distributed on
the stock Fedora Core CDs/DVDs.
What I feel is that we have not eliminated the source of this problem.
> Another observation we made is that if a user select "serif" instead of the
> default "Sans serif" then fonts getting much better (menus are ok, bold are ok,
> but firefox still has some problems with tiny fonts)
I have not installed FC6 yet and I am currently downloading FC6.
From the above comment it appears that "serif", "Sans Serif" and probably
"DejaVu Serif" is not the same font. To the best of my understanding of how the
configuration files in FC6 are laid out (/etc/fonts/fonts.conf, etc), it should be
serif = Sans Serif = DejaVu Serif
If you start gucharmap (Applications/Accessories/Character Map), you can select
those fonts and font aliases and can observe if there is difference between
them. There should be no different.
In addition, I would like to add that depending on the type of screen you are
doing the testing (for example, LCD screen of a laptop or CRT monitor), you
would get different results if the DPI value of the display is different. For
example, if you test FC5 on a desktop computer with a CRT monitor and FC6 on a
laptop (with TFT), the results will not be the same; especially if the laptop is
all and has low DPI.
If you have to have FC6 installed on a laptop, you can connect an external CRT
monitor and make sure that the DPI settings of Xorg (or perhaps from the
Preferences in GNOME) is set accordingly.
Created attachment 139677 [details]
Yet another shot, this time with the Bytecode interpreter enabled.
(In reply to comment #13)
The binary shipped with FC5 (which has BCI disabled of course) is
> still much better than the one in FC6, which you were already observing in
> I'm more than looking for a solution for all of us. I'm just proposing a test
> case to nail down the bug (hopefully it's the same bug as mine). Try FC5's
> freetype in FC6 and thell Fedora maintainers whether it's sufficient to get good
> looking screen fonts.
I agree, we are looking a universal solution for all affected languages.
Please try this: System->Preferences-Font select "Details" and change hinting
value to "light". I think you can get slightly better results with this change
but not as good as FC5.
Created attachment 140115 [details]
diffent size between latin and greek in the same sentence
Also, i noticed (in some cases) that when a sentence contains both latin and
greek characters they appear in different size. Look the attachment (this is
from a web page http://vrypan.net/weblog/page/2/).
Created attachment 141012 [details]
examle of some specific characters, that differs in height
I have similar problem with central-European characters (ISO-8859-2). See
I think I may be having the same problem or at least a subset of it, even though
I use 8859-15. The default fonts in firefox look ugly, similar to the upper bar
of 2nd attachment of comment #10
I upgraded from FC5 to FC6 using yum, and FC5 was fine.
i have done some more testing and i realized that:
When a user disables hinting through System->Preferences->Font (button
"Details"->Hinting:None)then Greek fonts get a good shape (a bit bluring appears
though). Also the effect (i mentioned above) of different font sizes disappeared
Created attachment 142869 [details]
Hinting vs no hinting
This is not Greek-specific:
Cyrillic bug 212170.
Polish bug 212226.
I would mark those as duplicates, but more bugs put more pressure to release
freetype 2.2.2 when it is available. The fix is there.
I changed the summary to generalize it outside of greek.
Alexei, do you have in mind any easy way to test the fix?
1) Check out CVS freetype2
% cvs -z3 -d:pserver:email@example.com:/sources/freetype co
2) Build it
% cd freetype2
% sh autogen.sh
3) Replace /usr/lib/libfreetype.so.6.3.10 with the newly build
% mv /usr/lib/libfreetype.so.6.3.10 SOMEWHERE_SAFE
% mv ./objs/.libs/libfreetype.so.6.3.10 /usr/lib/
4) restart X by logging out or whatever
The whole procedure took me like 5 minutes
Freetype2 is actually the problem. I followed Alexei's procedure and everything
is fine. Very nice international desktop even english fonts getting better.
So, is there any chance to backport the fix in stable freetype2 package.
It will help novice users or users that ignore this issue not to get
dissapointed by the fedora core 6 desktop fonts appearance.
I would consider this important enough to produce an update for FC6.
FreeType 2.3.0 has been released (2007-Jan-17)
*** Bug 222851 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I actually like the FC6's look better -- the letters look sharper not blurry
like in FC5. Never the less: the problem here is the vertical elongation.
Behdad, do we want to investigating a freetype update for FC6 ?
I'd recommend a FC6 update asap; it will greatly enhance our image on
A 2.3.1 update looks pretty harmless. Is that what you meant, Matthias?
Yes, please officially update FC6
Anything further on 2.3.1 for FC6? If you follow #24 procedure at this point,
you end up with libfreetype.so.6.3.12. And if you soft-link
/usr/lib/libfreetype.so.6 to THAT, you get a continuously crashing X server on FC6.
After updating to CVS (comment #24) and changing symbolic
links /usr/lib/libfreetype.so.6 and /usr/lib/libfreetype.so accordingly, you'd
better reboot (or do it between init 3 and init 5). The bottom line is that
freetype CVS is still compatible.
yum --enablerepo=development install freetype
does work on Fedora 6 and helps (this problem is gone for Polish - "l" is the
same height as "ł" at last), but introduces new problems (which are probably
bigger for English Fedora desktop) - capital letters are shorter than the normal
ones ("I" is shorter than "l" and "i"). Do I have to update anything more to
make it really work, or is freetype simply broken and I really have to stick
with FC5's version forever?
(In reply to comment #36)
> but introduces new problems (which are probably
> bigger for English Fedora desktop) - capital letters are shorter than the normal
> ones ("I" is shorter than "l" and "i"). Do I have to update anything more to
> make it really work, or is freetype simply broken and I really have to stick
> with FC5's version forever?
can you post a screenshot showing this problem.
Created attachment 150869 [details]
screenshot of OOo under FC6 using freetype-2.3.2-1.fc7
This is a text "Ill łŁ" in just a few Sans 10 fonts. The problem exists in
many other font styles, depending on size (for example, the Monospace 10 I'm
writing this in has the problem as well).
dimensions: 1152x864 pixels (361x270 millimeters)
resolution: 81x81 dots per inch
This is the exact value for this monitor. Can using the real DPI be the
Unless the freetype update is updated on previous desktops, I don't think that
this problem will be solved properly.
Enough of waiting for official updates!
I have built and uploaded freetype-2.3.3 RPMS for Fedora Core 6.
I will be wasting my web space for a month until May 5, 2007
unless there is an official update.
Alexei, your freetype-2.3.3-0 gives me identical results to the 2.3.2-1.fc7 from
rawhide ("l" is taller than "I", "ę" has bigger "hole" than "e" and so on).
I also want to say that enabling BCI fixes the "eę" issue in 2.3.2-1.fc7, but
not the "Ill" issue. Come on, developers, can't it be done right?
2.3.2-1.fc7 from rawhide is semi-broken (trunkated 0...) . I hop this is fixed
before F7 proper
Nicolas, try 2.3.3-2.fc7 in rawhide.
If 2.3.3-2.fc7 fixes the issues in this bug, I'll consider updating fc6 after a
while. For the past few freetype releases, each one has had serious regressions...
(In reply to comment #41)
> Alexei, your freetype-2.3.3-0 gives me identical results to the 2.3.2-1.fc7 from
> rawhide ("l" is taller than "I", "ę" has bigger "hole" than "e" and so on).
You assumption that "I" should be at least as tall as "l" is wrong. A lot of
fonts have it the other way around. You can see it at large magnification. The
same goes for "1" (one), which can also be either taller or smaller. Freetype
just tries to be as faithful as it can to the original proportion, but rounding
off can unavoidably make the difference one pixel too large.
As far as accents go, at least, the main glyph proper is now OK. But you are
right that the details are a bit distorted. Do you know how hard computational
shape recognition is? How would you propose to recognize accents? If you have a
clear robust idea, let the world know.
(In reply to comment #43)
> Nicolas, try 2.3.3-2.fc7 in rawhide.
OK, will do as soon as it hits mirrors
this will fix a lot of issues but not all of them. I think that accented
characters are not fixed, but the original issue with the overall size of
Greek and Cyrillic is fixed. Serif fonts are vastly better. This more than
warrants an update.
This is bugzilla, not successilla - people don't report improvements that
F8 is out, unofficial RPMS are no more... An official update is as always
never. Fedora International support is poop.
Behdad, how come we haven't produced an update for fc6? :/
Because every single freetype release since 2.2 has had its own surprises. It's
not like updating to 2.3.4 fixes all the problems without introducing new ones,
Can we close this bug? AFAIR, F7's packages solved this.
There are no major complains against F7 and F8-devel - 2.3.5 is indeed much
better. This was an FC6 bug, which will soon expire...
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