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linux fonts distribution

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#1 migo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:17

The fonts more than anything else have driven me away from Linux. Once I get through the hassles of everything else working (less of a problem now that I have an external optical drive for installs), the poor font implementation kills the experience for me. Incidentally, fonts on OSX are deal killers too, so I realise I might just have too high standards for this to work, but I figure it's worth trying.

The other criteria, is I'll be looking at this for my Netbook, which has a 1024x576 screen resolution, so it'll need to have efficient vertical space use. I like what I saw from Easy Peasy screenshots, but I wasn't satisfied with Ubuntu fonts last time I used it.

If you can think of a couple good font implementations with a DE that conserves screen space, please suggest more than one. Hardware compatibility is finicky. For some reason my netbook would boot openSuSE but not Fedora, and for my brother's netbook it was the other way around, so a suggested option might just not work because I can't install it (I have no idea how this is a problem btw - Intel provides open source drivers, and it doesn't get more standard than an Atom netbook...).


#2 javagreen

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:17

I don't have experience with any other distro apart from Ubuntu [I've used RedHat for a couple of years, but that was a long time ago]. However, font smoothing has greatly improved in Ubuntu, it's noticeable. I'll definitely recommend Ubuntu alongwith the Gnome DE (NOT Unity) and you can install your preferred font(s) and set them as the System default with gnome tweak tool, which is what I've done. I'm completely satisfied with it.

To get an idea of how the font smoothing currently is, take a look at 2 of my screenies here :

http://fc07.devianta...vda-d55anj4.png
http://fc06.devianta...vda-d572alm.png

That's why I suppose Gnome 2/3 in it's current state will work for you at 1024*576 too, and the gnome tweak tool also lets you play with font smoothing/hinting options.

#3 farmeunit

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 05:33

You can install the MS True Type fonts if you like those. That's about all I know. Seems to be a fairly common complaint, but it doesn't bother me much when I use Linux. I use Linux Mint, but like I said, I don't really notice.

#4 OP migo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 07:59

I don't have experience with any other distro apart from Ubuntu [I've used RedHat for a couple of years, but that was a long time ago]. However, font smoothing has greatly improved in Ubuntu, it's noticeable. I'll definitely recommend Ubuntu alongwith the Gnome DE (NOT Unity) and you can install your preferred font(s) and set them as the System default with gnome tweak tool, which is what I've done. I'm completely satisfied with it.

To get an idea of how the font smoothing currently is, take a look at 2 of my screenies here :

http://fc07.devianta...vda-d55anj4.png
http://fc06.devianta...vda-d572alm.png

That's why I suppose Gnome 2/3 in it's current state will work for you at 1024*576 too, and the gnome tweak tool also lets you play with font smoothing/hinting options.


Those screen shots certainly do look as if they'd be acceptable. Any idea if Ubuntu based distros would have the same font smoothing?

#5 OP migo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:00

You can install the MS True Type fonts if you like those. That's about all I know. Seems to be a fairly common complaint, but it doesn't bother me much when I use Linux. I use Linux Mint, but like I said, I don't really notice.


I tried that about 6 months ago, Calibri on Linux looked way worse than Calibri on Windows. ClearType really offers something other platforms can't quite match, because it adjusts the font rendering to whatever you happen to like best.

#6 javagreen

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:14

Those screen shots certainly do look as if they'd be acceptable. Any idea if Ubuntu based distros would have the same font smoothing?


I would assume so, unless they change the font rendering engine drastically, which seems unlikely. Is there any particular distro you're looking at/considering?

#7 Glassed Silver

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:55

Maybe try Elementary OS?
I'm a font fetishist, too, but better looking fonts than on a Mac might be hard to find as the presentation of fonts is one of OS X's core strengths. :/

Good luck! :)

Glassed Silver:ios

#8 OP migo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:50

I would assume so, unless they change the font rendering engine drastically, which seems unlikely. Is there any particular distro you're looking at/considering?


Nothing in particular. Poor use of screen real estate and poor font rendering are deal killers, along with hardware incompatibility, so given that I'll try anything that works. Although what I'd really like is a UI paradigm that doesn't follow Windows. Whenever Linux chases after Windows it's never as good, or at least not the current version. By the looks of it, KDE and LXDE are now better than Vista, but still don't match up to 7 (rather like OpenOffice is better than Office 2003 but still has problems stacking up to 2010). So if the UI ends up being something just totally different so there isn't even a comparison I'd like that.

#9 OP migo

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:51

Maybe try Elementary OS?
I'm a font fetishist, too, but better looking fonts than on a Mac might be hard to find as the presentation of fonts is one of OS X's core strengths. :/

Good luck! :)

Glassed Silver:ios


OSX's on screen font rendering isn't that great for my eyes. It seems to be targeted more for printing, which I accept as a valid implementation, but that doesn't help me when I haven't used a printer in years.

Edit: I just took a look at Elementary, and I'm definitely intrigued. Obvious OSX clone, but with Luna the application launcher in the top left corner is a really nice throwback to Classic with app aliases in the Apple Menu. The inability to place the application folder on the edge of the dock (nor Launchpad) and the elimination of the apple menu has irked me about OSX since well... 10.0...

The full screen window element intrigues me, but not a single video shows how it's used. Does it work similar to Lion? Ie, double swipe at the bottom to bring up the dock, or something similarly useful for easy multitasking while full screen?

#10 08993

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:53

http://www.fuduntu.org concentrates on the aesthetic side, however linux is linux and time permitting, what you can achieve in one distro should be replicable in all.

#11 MidnightDevil

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:57

http://www.fuduntu.org concentrates on the aesthetic side, however linux is linux and time permitting, what you can achieve in one distro should be replicable in all.


Still coming out of the shell eh? There's no much info on their website :-)

#12 simplezz

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:21

I think this is what you're after. It does improve font rendering quite a bit. Although my eyes probably aren't the best judge as my eyesight is admittedly quite poor.

On Arch, it's in the AUR I believe.

#13 n_K

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:47

There's the dejavu font set, there's google's fontset too (which is MASSIVE), you can legally use the XP fonts with linux if you own XP and you're legally allowed to extract the windows 7 fonts and use them too if you own an ISO/DVD/CD of windows 7.

#14 javagreen

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 13:23

Nothing in particular. Poor use of screen real estate and poor font rendering are deal killers, along with hardware incompatibility, so given that I'll try anything that works. Although what I'd really like is a UI paradigm that doesn't follow Windows. Whenever Linux chases after Windows it's never as good, or at least not the current version. By the looks of it, KDE and LXDE are now better than Vista, but still don't match up to 7 (rather like OpenOffice is better than Office 2003 but still has problems stacking up to 2010). So if the UI ends up being something just totally different so there isn't even a comparison I'd like that.


I know where you're coming from. You can give Arch Linux a shot if you'd like *absolute* control over what goes in there and how it's set up. Else I can recommend Ubuntu 12.04 with Gnome 2/3. It's pretty minimal (with Gnome, that is) screen estate usage wise, and you can install AWN to have a dock @ the bottom with your most used apps. The dock can be set to 'Intellihide' mode, which hides it whenever you're running any app fullscreen and pops up when you move your cursor to the bottom.

If you want, I'll link you up to the Gnome shell theme + GTK 3 I'musing so you can achieve the same clean and uncluttered aesthetic. That, and gnome-tweak-tool will get the job done for you with whichever custom fonts you settle for.

And finally, I agree with 08993, what you can achieve in one distro can be had on any other distro as well.

#15 nfiniti9

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 13:35

I don't have experience with any other distro apart from Ubuntu [I've used RedHat for a couple of years, but that was a long time ago]. However, font smoothing has greatly improved in Ubuntu, it's noticeable. I'll definitely recommend Ubuntu alongwith the Gnome DE (NOT Unity) and you can install your preferred font(s) and set them as the System default with gnome tweak tool, which is what I've done. I'm completely satisfied with it.

To get an idea of how the font smoothing currently is, take a look at 2 of my screenies here :

http://fc07.devianta...vda-d55anj4.png
http://fc06.devianta...vda-d572alm.png

That's why I suppose Gnome 2/3 in it's current state will work for you at 1024*576 too, and the gnome tweak tool also lets you play with font smoothing/hinting options.


Now where have I seen that look before? ...