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Forum Font Rendering In Linux

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Yes, I know. Font rendering (particularly sans serif fonts) in Linux is well....notoriously bad compared to Windows. It's true in bouncing back and forth between Windows 10 and Linux Mint I can't help but notice that the fonts in Linux look especially bad in each post of the individual content of each thread. Particularly black fonts on a white background.

While most other aspects of the forum's fonts are not great in Linux, they're still acceptable in comparison.

In Firefox I can turn off a website's ability to control the font, but even this function doesn't improve the quality/aliasing of this particular font to any degree either. And the browser I use equally if not more these days is "Brave". Which does seem to render fonts in general a little better than Firefox, but doesn't allow me to comparatively control a website's fonts.

Too bad y'all couldn't experiment with changing whatever particular font is specified in the style sheet just to see if it would show up as an improvement. But yeah, it's no secret that only a handful of members are using Linux, and they may or may not be concerned with how fonts are anti-aliased. Just though I'd mention it anyways. Just looking at my post makes me cringe. :oops:

I tried copying it as I see it in my browser, but it rescales and reduces the text and anti-aliasing it so that it looks inherently better as a graphics attachment than as actual text. Whether using lossless or compressed file formats. Defeating the whole point of showing how bad it really looks. :rolleyes:

In essence that you have to see it for yourself in Linux to appreciate my post. Otherwise viewed in Windows it would sound like I'm nit-picking. Interestingly enough if you increase the font size in the browser at 110%, they begin to appear much better. But then it feels like I'm reading a children's book. :p

Ugh. Kobyashi-Maru...the no-win scenario. o_O
 
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Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Improved things a tiny bit by using the Ubuntu font (native to Linux) and having the browser use only the fonts I specify (in Firefox). Too bad I can't do this for Brave as well, though it seems to inherently display fonts in Linux Mint a bit better than does Firefox.

"Brave" does offer both versions of their browser in Windows and Linux. Basically it's Chrome without all the Google invasions of privacy. In fact this browser has built-in adblockers and tracker-blocking as well, apart from its "Tor" mode that allows you to cloak your IP address. Worth downloading to check it out.
 

Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
In essence that you have to see it for yourself in Linux to appreciate my post. Otherwise viewed in Windows it would sound like I'm nit-picking. Interestingly enough if you increase the font size in the browser at 110%, they begin to appear much better. But then it feels like I'm reading a children's book. :p

Dear Judge, we use Linux! And we've set the display to 110%. You wait until you need glasses - then that's going to have a whole different slant to it! :tonguewink:

Greetings from the Antipodes
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Dear Judge, we use Linux! And we've set the display to 110%. You wait until you need glasses - then that's going to have a whole different slant to it! :tonguewink:

Greetings from the Antipodes

Thanks for validating my concerns! :cool: I do wear glasses and this makes it all worse. :oops:

It's equally disturbing to switch drives and go back to Windows, when the fonts look good again. But I don't expect anyone to do anything over the paltry number of Linux users here. It's just weird though, that this one font in this one part of the forum looks so bad while everything else looks reasonable in comparison. :confused:

Right now I'm back on Windows, where it all looks fine.
 
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Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
Oh, you already have glasses, @Judge?:) ...we've had the pleasure of this adjustment just in the last few years. Though probably we ought to have gotten glasses before...

I take it you're switching to Windows for unavoidable things? My husband is an IT nerd and I've happily outsourced all that to him. We call our desktop computer "the mainframe" and he runs Windows in a virtual machine only, for those unavoidable things...

And he can talk fonts for hours. Total font connoisseur. Although of course tastes differ. He taught me the word "kerning" and is overjoyed every time I make a comment about the kerning in some text...
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Oh, you already have glasses, @Judge?:) ...we've had the pleasure of this adjustment just in the last few years. Though probably we ought to have gotten glasses before...

I take it you're switching to Windows for unavoidable things? My husband is an IT nerd and I've happily outsourced all that to him. We call our desktop computer "the mainframe" and he runs Windows in a virtual machine only, for those unavoidable things...

And he can talk fonts for hours. Total font connoisseur. Although of course tastes differ. He taught me the word "kerning" and is overjoyed every time I make a comment about the kerning in some text...

Actually I just have removable drives on this computer. Allowing me to quickly switch from one operating system to another. Though it was ultimately Microsoft's policies regarding Windows 11 that pushed me to learn about and install Linux Mint 20.3. It's infuriating that Microsoft is deliberately forcing people to upgrade perfectly good hardware just to meet their unnecessary OS requirements. Especially in a declining economy. Stupid people making stupid decisions for a huge number of users who aren't in the market to buy a new computer.

So in the event I don't build another computer I can simply say "sayonara" to Microsoft in October of 2025 and use Linux if necessary. Though I'm already building a list of components for a new computer, but like everyone else still waiting for the price of video cards to get down around their original MSRP again, if it actually happens between now and the near future.

Running Windows inside a Linux Virtual Machine? Yeah, it's something I've thought about more as I realize the limitations of using Wine 7.0 to run select Windows apps in Linux. Another alternative at least.

When it comes to fonts, for me it's really more a matter of having OCD than anything else. I just can't stand looking at poorly rendered fonts, especially with distros of Linux as opposed to Windows. Those little details that most people never even notice. They make me cringe. Difficult to explain to those who don't have OCD.

Still I wish this particular forum used more proportional font sizes. Without the use of one enormous font compared to other much smaller fonts. It's just that I don't encounter this particular issue on so many other websites. Just this one forum, and this one oversized font in particular. Where globally increasing all font sizes through my browser doesn't really help.

In the meantime, there are plenty of Linux users making similar comments about poorly rendered fonts. Yet this doesn't seem to be a priority fix for Linux Distro developers either. Looks like Microsoft gets us coming and going. Oh the humanity....:rolleyes:
 
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Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
Yep, my husband thinks that about MS and commercial software too. Profit maximisation on their part and disrespectful of users. Hope you find a combo that makes you happy! :)
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Interestingly enough, I just downloaded a Chrome extension for the Brave browser called "Fonts Changer". Rather than play with it in Windows, I'm going to switch to Linux and apply the extension there...and see if the body of text in posting changes.

In Windows while I type this it appears as was intended. Yet when I actually post this response, the font resized a bit smaller. Still the same font though. Hmmm.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
In Linux with Brave now...but the Ubuntu san-serif fonts still looks bad. Scaled down a bit, but they just don't alias well. Maddening...in Linux the fonts look like crap. In windows, they are quite pristine in comparison. :(

Frustrating as serif fonts present themselves better in Linux, but they are still more difficult to read. Funny though, you're right that at 110% all the fonts appear a little better. Just too big for me though...:oops:
 
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s3_gunzel

Keep on training, Sydney.
V.I.P Member
Font rendering (particularly sans serif fonts) in Linux is well....notoriously bad compared to Windows.

Windows offers a thing called 'Truetype' Fonts which is why the text generally looks smoother on Windows as opposed to something else.

I don't know (mostly because I can't be bothered to find out for how little I use a desktop in Linux) if there is a way to introduce a truetype-ish thing to *nix using a package. You'd have to look into that.

I'm actually surprised it isn't a thing out of the box.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Windows offers a thing called 'Truetype' Fonts which is why the text generally looks smoother on Windows as opposed to something else.

I don't know (mostly because I can't be bothered to find out for how little I use a desktop in Linux) if there is a way to introduce a truetype-ish thing to *nix using a package. You'd have to look into that.

I'm actually surprised it isn't a thing out of the box.

Virtually all the fonts I use in Linux Mint 20.3 are True-Type fonts. Not to mention that I also installed MS Core TT fonts directly through the terminal. They're essentially interchangeable in both operating systems. However those same fonts simply do not render as well in a Linux browser as well as they render in Windows. Even stranger, the text on menus and toolbars within the browsers also look fine.

It's just the text within the body of the browsers that render poorly in this website.

What I've really discovered only in the last few hours is that other websites using both large and small fonts just don't seem to render them as poorly as this site. Really tiny font sizes are bound not to alias very well, but the larger fonts like this post seem to look pretty good in other websites. Which is why I cannot help but wonder that if they changed this one font assignment that another font may well render better.

Right now I'm using Microsoft's Trebuchet font. It looks better than others, but it still doesn't alias all that well in Linux Mint. There are plenty of articles out there about Linux and poor font rendering, but I still can't ignore that this issue I have seems relative only to this website in one area with a single offending font, or with some CSS issue.

Very frustrating...Linux is starting to really get on my nerves. :confused:
 
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Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
This extension called "Fonts Changer" I found at the Chrome Store is interesting. It doesn't inherently enhance the appearance of fonts, but in the Brave browser (based on Chrome) it does allow me to both override the fonts and control their relative sizes. So I lowered the size of the largest fonts and raised the size of the smaller fonts. Best of all, this extension allows me to limit these changes to this URL only. So I only need to monkey around with the sites that need it.

Note: The graphic below enhances the look of the fonts, so they look somewhat better than they actually appear in the browser.

Fonts Changer.jpg
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Found another helpful link for Linux Firefox users:

How to improve Firefox font rendering on Linux

It does seem to somewhat improvement the appearance of fonts at least in Firefox. Provided of course you turn off the feature that says "Allow pages to choose their own fonts". Linux Mint's native Ubuntu or Roboto fonts look a bit better. Certainly better than whatever font the forum uses relative to individual posts.

But again, this is all confined to the use of Linux distros- not Microsoft Windows.
 
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Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Yep, my husband thinks that about MS and commercial software too. Profit maximisation on their part and disrespectful of users. Hope you find a combo that makes you happy! :)

Ultimately the best solution was what you already stated. To increase the site's overall font size to 110%. Making this site appear much like a children's book, but somewhat improving the raggedy look of the fonts. Fine and well particularly with anyone with vision problems, but then it doesn't explain why such disproportionately smaller fonts are used as well. Something I ran into on occasion as a website designer. Where designers and developers did not always see eye-to-eye.

Though in the course of this quest I have discovered that font appearance in Linux remains a real issue, particularly as it does not have access to proprietary subpixel technology (ClearType) that makes Microsoft fonts look so much better in Windows. Even though you can still download all the MS core fonts into Linux. The price for open-source...<sigh>.

But dayim....the individual thread content section of this particular website looks particularly bad. Yet it's not an uncommon font style either. Go figure. Though I don't expect the host to change the point/pixel size just for us Linux users.

I mean really....what 98% majority pays any attention to a 2% minority? Sound familiar? :oops:
 
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Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Still, the really weird part is that all the fonts seem to render excellently that are part of the client side of the web browsers. Tabs, URL, menus...all look great. But anything displayed on the server side is another matter. o_O
 

Callistemon

Part-Time Space Alien
V.I.P Member
While I think you are more sensitive to the font issues than me, I always had to have the right pen when writing on paper, not any old pen! Were you like that too, as a teenager, always test driving the pens at stationery shops? :)
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
While I think you are more sensitive to the font issues than me, I always had to have the right pen when writing on paper, not any old pen! Were you like that too, as a teenager, always test driving the pens at stationery shops? :)

You could say that. I think I was the only kid in school using a fountain pen. The kids thought I was nuts. Not sure about my teachers though...lol.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
An interesting observation. Perusing news sites in Linux Mint using the "Brave" browser. With this particular browser I chose to turn off "hardware acceleration". Still not sure if it really did anything to improve the look of fonts overall.

However that said, MSN News, Google News, Irish Times, NPR....their fonts all look good in comparison to this site and some others. Oddly enough, Amazon's fonts are not so good.

With so many different fonts used I wonder if there is also some kind of server-side font engine optimization being employed, apart from perhaps a better choice of some very specific fonts as well as how each browser renders them. Technology that came after my time as a web designer many years ago. But that was also indicative of an era where the default resolution of most monitors was no more than 800x600.

Finally found a website that somewhat graphically reflects some of the issues I'm talking about. Showing a combination of both superior and inferior font rendering. I've tried before to do screen captures to show this, but recreating them in rasterized images automatically anti-aliases the fonts to make them appear better than how they appear in my browsers using Linux.

Font Smoothing in Edge
 
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