Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Improving Font Display in Fedora 15

30th May 2011

When I first started to poke around Fedora 15 after upgrading my Fedora machine, the definition of the font display was far from being acceptable to me. Thankfully, it was something that I could resolve and I am writing these words with the letters forming them being shown in a way that was acceptable to me. The main thing that I did to achieve this was to add a file named 99-autohinter-only.conf in the folder /etc/fonts/conf.d. The file contains the following:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM “fonts.dtd”>
<fontconfig>
<match target=”font”>
<edit name=”autohint” mode=”assign”>
<bool>true</bool>
</edit>
</match>
</fontconfig>

This forces autohinting for all fonts so that text looks better than it otherwise would. Apparently, Fedora 15 has seen the incorporation of the TrueType bytecode interpreter (BCI) into FreeType now that its patent has expired. To my eyes, this has worsened font rendering so I incorporated the above from a post by Kevin Kofler and it seems to have done the trick for me. However, I also have added the GNOME Tweak Tool and that allows you to alter the autohinting settings too so it may be a combination of the two actions that has helped. Anything that helps rendering of letters like k only can be a good thing. Another Linux distribution whose font rendering has not satisfied me is openSUSE and I am now set to wondering if the same approach would help there too, albeit without the GNOME Tweak Tool until a GNOME 3 version of that distro comes to fruition.

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