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#1 2010-01-23 15:55:17

kourosh
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From: England
Registered: 2009-03-10
Posts: 241
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Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

It seem to me, that using text in Linux is much harder to read than in Windows, and causes a lot more eye-strain. I have anti-aliasing enabled full sub-pixel rendering enabled, and I believe the correct DPI (the same as Windows anyway - 96).

But still, fonts looks too light, not bold as they are in Windows, and they are a lot harder to focus on.

I use contact lenses too, so I know my eyes will be strained more than if I use glasses, but why is Linux rendering inferior?

Any advice welcome smile

EDIT: My main font is DejaVu Sans (Book/Regular) 8 and I use the Ubuntu LCD patched font packages

Last edited by kourosh (2010-01-23 16:03:33)

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#2 2010-01-23 16:18:33

moljac024
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From: Serbia
Registered: 2008-01-29
Posts: 2,676

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

Linux is just an inferior OS when it comes to usability tongue


The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck, is the day they make a vacuum cleaner.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But if they tell you that I've lost my mind, maybe it's not gone just a little hard to find...

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#3 2010-01-23 16:24:53

linkmaster03
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Registered: 2008-12-27
Posts: 269

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

It would help if you provided screenshots of a sample page from Linux and Windows.

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#4 2010-01-23 16:30:46

JohannesSM64
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From: Norway
Registered: 2009-10-11
Posts: 623
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

moljac024 wrote:

Linux is just an inferior OS when it comes to usability tongue

You're joking, right?
This is a concern of X, not Linux.
And yes, I agree Windows has overall superior handling of fonts, compared to X.

Last edited by JohannesSM64 (2010-01-23 16:34:27)

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#5 2010-01-23 16:58:22

benob
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Registered: 2008-11-11
Posts: 187

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

I usually disable hinting and install ttf-ms-fonts (and other font packages listed in the wiki).

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#6 2010-01-23 16:58:27

Anikom15
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

To me, windows font rendering is garbage. It makes all the fonts look the same. Post a screenshot, so I can compare my beautiful fonts with yours.


Personally, I'd rather be back in Hobbiton.

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#7 2010-01-23 17:47:35

szymon_g
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Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 36

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

/me will never understand why people think that font-rendering in Windows is better than Linux.

For me- fonts under linux are more readible (especially with my favourite font- Terminus) than under windows. I always disable sub-pixel-rendering-and-hinting-and-other-nice-but-useless-for-me-features. I have AA torn on, but not for urxvt (only for 'normal' gui applications)

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#8 2010-01-23 19:19:04

Shapeshifter
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Registered: 2008-03-11
Posts: 217

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

well, first of all, it's a hassle to get windows to properly do light on dark theming. I want white/lightgrey on black/darkgrey. This alone makes for much reduced strain. Apart from that, windows fonts don't seem to look any different to me than linux fonts. just tweak your font config until you like it.

(chromium has really squishy font rendering for some reason...)

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#9 2010-01-23 19:20:24

kourosh
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From: England
Registered: 2009-03-10
Posts: 241
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

I don't use AA/Hinting for fonts such as Terminus when I'm using the command line, but generally, for readability, I prefer those features, since it makes text look more like printed text.

Unhinted/non AA fonts in Linux and Windows look pretty much identical if I'm not mistaken?

I was commenting on how ClearType seems to prevail over Freetype, in the sense of eye strain.

I'll post a comparison later (next time I reboot) between them both...

Last edited by kourosh (2010-01-23 19:20:46)

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#10 2010-01-23 19:55:27

pointone
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From: Waterloo, ON
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 379

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows


M*cr*s*ft: Who needs quality when you have marketing?

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#11 2010-01-23 19:57:28

anonymous_user
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Registered: 2009-08-28
Posts: 3,058

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

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#12 2010-01-23 19:58:50

Anikom15
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Posts: 836
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

A bad LCD can also effect font readabilty. Especially when brightness and contrast levels are too high.


Personally, I'd rather be back in Hobbiton.

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#13 2010-01-24 01:47:51

skottish
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Registered: 2006-06-16
Posts: 7,931

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

This is a heavily subjective thing and can be amazingly divisive. I personally think that sub-pixel font rendering is awful. I work on multiple Windows machines every day with ClearType enabled and find it very difficult on the eyes. On all of my Linux boxes I only have anti-aliasing enabled. I like crisp fonts with high contrast (usually black on white).

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#14 2010-01-24 01:57:58

Themaister
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From: Horten, Norway
Registered: 2008-07-21
Posts: 647
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

This smells like bad configuration. If you're using DejaVu, the best setup for that is full hinting, 96 dpi, size 9, book style. If you still have problems after that, post some screens.

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#15 2010-01-24 05:16:25

3])
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From: Netherlands
Registered: 2009-10-12
Posts: 215

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

Not to act mean, but I can't see the difference in fonts. My linux fonts are as beautiful as my Windows[gamer...here] fonts.


“There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.”-- C.A.R. Hoare

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#16 2010-01-24 05:58:52

res
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Registered: 2010-01-14
Posts: 55

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

I think that this guy: www.sharpfonts.com, is a freaking genius.

I can't go back to anti-aliased fonts because of that site. Disabling it instantly improved my eye-sore.

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#17 2010-01-24 06:41:23

skottish
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Posts: 7,931

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

res wrote:

I think that this guy: www.sharpfonts.com, is a freaking genius.

I can't go back to anti-aliased fonts because of that site. Disabling it instantly improved my eye-sore.

Yikes! Sharp fonts are good, but jaggy fonts... barf!

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#18 2010-01-24 14:42:05

kourosh
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From: England
Registered: 2009-03-10
Posts: 241
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

Apparently, according to the fonts article on the wiki, most things should already be enabled (/autodetected) if I don't have a ~/.fonts.conf...any attempt at removing this results in KDE generating another, regardless of that I tell it to use system settings.

Anyhow, now using the cleartype patched font packages, and have been changing settings to no end, this is my current result:
http://www.kourosh.net/wp-content/uploa … -Fonts.png
for some reason Chromium's rendering seems different:
http://www.kourosh.net/wp-content/uploa … -Fonts.png

These are both using the cleartype patched font packages, DejaVu Sans Regular 9

~/.fonts.conf:

<?xml version='1.0'?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM 'fonts.dtd'>
<fontconfig>
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="rgba" >
   <const>rgb</const>
  </edit>
 </match>
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="hinting" >
   <bool>true</bool>
  </edit>
 </match>
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle" >
   <const>hintfull</const>
  </edit>
 </match>
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="antialias" >
   <bool>true</bool>
  </edit>
 </match>
</fontconfig>

/etc/fonts/conf.d is default.

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#19 2010-01-24 15:13:21

res
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Registered: 2010-01-14
Posts: 55

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

According to man fonts.conf, 'hintstyle' doesn't apply to 'hinting'; it affects 'autohint' only.

This is easily verifiable by adjusting hintstyle and seeing how it does absolutely nothing.

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#20 2010-01-24 15:43:40

kourosh
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From: England
Registered: 2009-03-10
Posts: 241
Website

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

Running without a ~/.fonts.conf now results in Qt and GTK apps having entirely different font rendering to eachother *sigh* now I'm confused...

And disabling anti-aliasing and everything in KDE control panel, then regretting it and deleting ~/.fonts.conf results in all apps not falling back to the default font rendering...

Oh dear...back to the way posted up there ^^

Last edited by kourosh (2010-01-24 16:05:42)

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#21 2010-02-27 18:42:57

Marcel-
Member
From: Utrecht, NL
Registered: 2006-12-03
Posts: 259

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

kourosh wrote:

for some reason Chromium's rendering seems different

That's probably due to the fact that Chromium doesn't honor fontconfig settings.

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#22 2010-02-27 20:36:37

brebs
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Registered: 2007-04-03
Posts: 3,456

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

kourosh wrote:

why is Linux rendering inferior?

Because distros tend to be scared of the potential patent issues. Ubuntu is big enough to make a stand.

Yes, we already know this sucks big-time.

The good news is that you can apply patches (especially Ubuntu's) to make Linux font-rendering much, much better.

Enlighten yourself on the huge fonts thread.

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#23 2010-02-27 21:42:34

Gen2ly
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From: Sevierville, TN
Registered: 2009-03-06
Posts: 1,529
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Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

res wrote:

According to man fonts.conf, 'hintstyle' doesn't apply to 'hinting'; it affects 'autohint' only.

Gen2ly wrote:

You know what, that's wrong.  Autohinting uses the dpi and adjusts accordingly with some defined defaults.  I have NOT tried 'hintsytle' through autohint, so don't know if there is an effect there.  Not a big fan of autohinting because it can produce slightly different results depending on the system.  When hinting is enabled and autohinting is not, hintstyle definitely DOES take effect.  Gonna fix, Who broke it? tongue

Ooops, was wrong about that, 'hintstlye' is for 'autohinting' (though I have noticed a bit of difference if just using regular hinting.  Apologize about the confusion.  Cleaning up the article a bit, should be better now.

Last edited by Gen2ly (2010-02-28 04:55:41)


Setting Up a Scripting Environment | Proud donor to wikipedia - link

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#24 2010-02-27 21:50:27

Anikom15
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From: United States
Registered: 2009-04-30
Posts: 836
Website

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

What annoys me is sub-pixel hinting, what a hideous technology! It has absolutely no benefit other than making slightly better shapes, but the subtraction of contrast and the usage of hinting in the first place completely destroys any good it has on fonts. What also annoys me is people who set their DPI to 96 thinking it's some kind of standard!


Personally, I'd rather be back in Hobbiton.

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#25 2010-02-27 23:58:45

brebs
Member
Registered: 2007-04-03
Posts: 3,456

Re: Eye Strain and Font Rendering in Linux compared to Windows

Anikom15 wrote:

but the subtraction of contrast and the usage of hinting in the first place completely destroys any good it has on fonts.

"Completely"? That's ridiculously harsh. The hinting rules, with Ubuntu's several hinting methods, are highly customizable via fontconfig's config files - example.

The main problem is that no-one can agree on the best hinting rules to use, because people's eyes and monitors are different, as I said in the first post in the Fedora thread.

Last edited by brebs (2010-02-28 00:01:04)

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