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  • #31
    so - with all the patents - are you 'subpixel is a must' people even sure that you have that stuff enabled? What about a side by side comparism?

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    • #32
      Originally posted by energyman View Post
      so - with all the patents - are you 'subpixel is a must' people even sure that you have that stuff enabled?
      I am. On Gentoo you have to enable the "cleartype" USE flag to get packages that contain the patches.

      For libXft (older programs use this) I use my own ebuild in the local overlay to apply libXft-2.1.10-lcd-cleartype.diff.

      We aren't clueless, energyman

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      • #33
        well, I just turned it on - and I am disgusted so far...

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        • #34
          I'm disgusted without it.

          Though the results without the bytecode interpreter in freetype are poor ("bindist" USE flag of freetype). Also, the interpreter has to explicitly be enabled. I was tweaking /etc/fonts/local.conf for hours to get the results I wanted. However, if you don't like font rendering that looks like the one in Mac OS X, you will still be disgusted I guess. Me, I can't live without it.

          Edit:
          Just to make sure we're seeing the same thing here:

          http://i28.tinypic.com/ju766h.png

          And of course if you happen to view this on a CRT monitor instead of a TFT (CRTs don't have subpixels), or on a TFT that doesn't use RGB subpixel alignment, the fonts will look like some abomination from hell.
          Last edited by RealNC; 08-15-2009, 07:51 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Ex-Cyber View Post
            If you look up that patent in the USPTO database, it says:
            Good catch, however I'm not sure that can be said on all off the patents. There is also Canadian, UK, and German patents on those items. Until all those are cleared distro's like openSUSE will stay clear of them much like they have with the mpeg codecs and such.

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            • #36
              The best setting I've found is subpixel AA and hinting set to full (everything else left alone) - the default hinting level makes everything blurry.

              I can't stand Windows' cleartype and I don't see why anyone would want to emulate it either.

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              • #37
                I agree on that. Windows' implementation of Cleartype makes fonts jump almost to bold just by increasing size by 1pt. It's heavily annoying.

                (Btw, this happens with full hinting so I wonder why you're using it too even though you claim you hate the Windows behavior.)

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                • #38
                  ~

                  On Ubuntu subpixel seems to be enabled by default. Or is it not the same subpixel?

                  Anyway, I like normal hinting better. It looks good regardless how far from the screen you are; and I've found that close up, subpixel rendering can be seen as colored edges on fonts, which I don't like. And it IS still troublesome to make fonts look alike in all applications, at least in Ubuntu. GTK+ applications follow the settings in Gnome's configuration (duh), and so does OpenOffice, and so does Firefox. However, QT applications give a lot of trouble. Some of them can be fixed by installing the systemsettings package (it's KDE's control panel thing); however, others (Opera for one and some QT3 applications) don't even acknowledge those settings and only submit to ~/.fonts.conf or /etc/fonts/conf.d.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Ant P. View Post
                    The best setting I've found is subpixel AA and hinting set to full (everything else left alone) - the default hinting level makes everything blurry.

                    I can't stand Windows' cleartype and I don't see why anyone would want to emulate it either.
                    Agreed on Windows cleartype - it tends to chew on fonts a bit too much.

                    My personal preference is subpixel AA with slight hinting. Slight hinting is a work of genious, actually: it only hints and grid-aligns the y-direction (where monitor DPI is limited) and leaves the x-direction untouched (where monitor DPI is effectively tripled due to subpixel AA). This is the best compromise between legibility and typographic accuracy: letter forms remain truthfull to their original shape but appear crystal clear on the upper and lower parts (which is where the human brain focuses to recognize letters).

                    As such, slight hinting manages to strike a balance between Mac OS X font rendering (which many find a tad too blurry) and Windows (full hinting, which hurts letter shapes). Add a good font and you are in typographic heaven!

                    Ok, not exactly, but I've managed to wow Mac OS X users with my Linux desktop (what font is this, it's beatiful!) and that's saying a lot.

                    My Arch settings: bytecode interpreter; subpixel AA; slight hinting; font bitmaps forced off; Calibri 11pt as desktop font; FreeType, fontconfig, libxft from AUR with Ubuntu patches. Add a good TFT or CRT monitor (the higher DPI the better) and the result *rocks*.

                    I really can't see how you could prefer grayscale AA - unless you are using a 10year old CRT with convergence problems or low-DPI TFT, eg 15.4'' @1280x800.

                    Edit: indeed, Ubuntu Intrepid+ have the exact settings I described by default. Nice!

                    Edit 2: RealNC, your desktop is beatiful (you are using no hinting - similar to Mac OS X). Starting with KDE 4.2 / Qt4.5 you can actually enable slight hinting without destroying your fonts (Qt had a bug previously that treated sligh as full hinting when subpixel AA was enabled) - have you tested that? It should make text slightly more legible (by taking care of the bluriness above letterforms) without hurting its appearance.
                    Last edited by BlackStar; 08-16-2009, 05:03 AM.

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                    • #40
                      @BlackStar: I prefer grayscale even though I have a 125 DPI LCD monitor which renders subpixels rather nicely I've tried every other alternative (including subpixel + slight hinting and subpixel + strong hinting), and strong hinting + grayscale is what looks most pleasing to my eye. Moreover, I find that some fonts render even better with monochrome (black&white + strong hinting), and those include Redhat's Liberation fonts. However, others look horrible with that setting, so, unless I figure out how to enable monochrome only for select fonts, grayscale strong hinting will have to do.

                      As you said, much depends on the font used, and maybe some fonts are better with subpixel rendering, but grayscale rendering works best with most fonts, so it's a safe default for me. Calibri, as far as I understand, is a proprietary font from Microsoft, so it's definitely not an option. And even if it was, you can't tell web browsers only to use those fonts that render good with subpixel; they use DejaVu and Liberation fonts most of the time.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by loonyphoenix View Post
                        Calibri, as far as I understand, is a proprietary font from Microsoft, so it's definitely not an option. And even if it was, you can't tell web browsers only to use those fonts that render good with subpixel; they use DejaVu and Liberation fonts most of the time.
                        Calibri is a proprietary font by Ascender Corporation, not Microsoft - still not a choice if you'd prefer free fonts, but better than Microsoft I guess.

                        Unfortunately, there are precious few fonts under the SIL or similar open licenses. Droid is a great font (unsure about the license, but you can use it for free) that works good on the desktop. Gentium is also nice, but that's not really meant for the desktop. I never really liked Liberation or Bitstream Vera (DejaVu), though (just a matter of preference, pretty much like saying you don't like the orange color .)

                        That said, you definitely *can* tell a browser to render only the fonts you like. The actual method differs from browser to browser, but I know for a fact that this is possible in Opera (via user CSS) and Firefox (there is a preference, IIRC).

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                        • #42
                          @BlackStar: Okay, technically you might be able to tell the browser which fonts to use, but it's not easy. Moreover, sometimes sites are made with a certain font in mind, and if you substitute it, the site looks ugly (bad practice, in my opinion, but nothing we can do about it). That's what Liberation fonts are for, in my mind: substituting for Arial and Times New Roman and Curier New where you must And in my opinion, these, along with the DejaVu family, are still the best all-purpose fonts you can find in the free software world. I haven't tried Droid, though, and am installing it currently

                          PS: Now I've tried Droid, and I don't like how it's hinted. It's blurred whatever options I use: subpixel, grayscale or black&white rendering; full, slight or no hinting. The best is still grayscale + full, because it looks the least blurred there. But I guess that's a matter of taste, the same as you not liking DejaVu and Liberation
                          Last edited by loonyphoenix; 08-16-2009, 07:36 AM.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by loonyphoenix View Post
                            PS: Now I've tried Droid, and I don't like how it's hinted. It's blurred whatever options I use: subpixel, grayscale or black&white rendering; full, slight or no hinting. The best is still grayscale + full, because it looks the least blurred there. But I guess that's a matter of taste, the same as you not liking DejaVu and Liberation
                            Yep, fonts seem to be a matter of taste (and don't dare challenge someone on his choice of programming fonts!)

                            Droid was designed for the Android platform (think small mobile screens), so it probably looks best there. I don't recall any bluriness on Droid 10pt w/ slight hinting & subpixel, but then again "bluriness" is another subjective matter (cue Mac OS X with its blurry fonts - many people *love* them).

                            I just tried grayscale AA again. Impressions: on my laptop it looks significantly worse (Dell D830 @1680x1050): curves lose definition and become aliased (e.g. letters '(' and ')'), while diagonals become too thick compared to straight lines (e.g. (e.g. letter 'x' or 'κ'). On my CRT the effect is nowhere near as pronounced (Nec FE991SB @1400x1050 with Trinitron grid). Diagonals are still slightly unbalanced, but this fact is offset by the lack of color fringing.

                            Put together, I prefer subpixel AA on the TFT - there is no visible color fringing and text looks significantly better with it. On my CRT I could use either mode without issue, which means I'll stick with subpixel since I tend to connect both monitors in dual head.

                            Damn, now I'll have to go around my house and check every single monitor...

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                              Edit 2: RealNC, your desktop is beatiful (you are using no hinting - similar to Mac OS X). Starting with KDE 4.2 / Qt4.5 you can actually enable slight hinting without destroying your fonts (Qt had a bug previously that treated sligh as full hinting when subpixel AA was enabled) - have you tested that?
                              The fonts in the screenshot *do* use slight hinting actually. It's just that there's a small difference between Gtk/Qt3 apps (Firefox and KDE3 apps) and Qt4. Qt4 renders a bit sharper (I like that). Gtk and Qt 3 (with the cleartype patch applied to libXft) a tiny bit blurrier. Fortunately, I can't easily make out the difference unless I look quite close at the monitor.

                              Of course it also depends on the font used. The DejaVu fonts give good results, but I also have a knack for the MS fonts (Times New Roman, Tahoma and Verdana), designs I like very much though they tend to give less sharp results than DejaVu.

                              Edit:
                              Also let's not forget that this whole "subpixel/cleartype/grayscale" thing is also a matter of what we're used to. If someone used grayscale for several years (or subpixel rendering), he/she simply got used to it and everything else can be perceived as "uglier".
                              Last edited by RealNC; 08-16-2009, 01:05 PM.

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                              • #45
                                AMD and bro

                                I guess that makes AMD really happy.

                                Their 2D acceleration code is completly slow and brolen in fglrx. They don't even provide the most basic XRender acceleration stuff, falling back to software all the time.

                                Maybe this way they can avoid writing descent linux specific drivers at all (the ogl code is shared anyway) :P
                                Anyway with their OGL implementation I would not run more then 10 ogl apps side-by side either

                                - Clemens

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