Better font rendering

February 20, 2008

One of my first impression on Ubuntu is their ugly fonts. It turns out to be my ignorance, there are tons of way to improve the font rendering. First of all I want fonts rendered like what I see in OS X so I followed this quick start. I got marked improvement following simple steps there. A good reference is here if you are new to ubuntu.

If you are in love with fonts available from Microsoft of course you could install msttcorefonts at command line or simply add fonts from fonts folder in your Windows partition.

From Ubuntu guide you could also add extra fonts repositories

deb http://www.telemail.fi/mlind/ubuntu feisty fonts
deb-src http://www.telemail.fi/mlind/ubuntu feisty fonts

to /etc/apt/sources.list then

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libfreetype6 libcairo2 libxft2
then reconfigure the fonts by

gksudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
gksudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

my selections were ‘Native’, ‘Automatic’, ‘No bitmapped fonts’ during the interactive configuration. After that reboot the system or press Ctrl+Alt+Back Space.

I have also added some fonts from my Windows XP installations.

If you are really hungry for more fonts you could add 3rd party fonts by

sudo apt-get install cabextract gsfonts-other msttcorefonts
t1-xfree86-nonfree ttf-f500 ttf-isabella
sudo apt-get install ttf-larabie-deco ttf-larabie-straight
ttf-larabie-uncommon ttf-staypuft ttf-summersby
sudo apt-get install ttf-ubuntu-title ttf-xfree86-nonfree
xfonts-artwiz xfonts-intl-european

At the end I jumped from 102 to 496 fonts available to me. I would say fonts look 95% like OS X now.

Last but not least the font size still looks odd in firefox they are just too thick and bold. From this thread it seems it has nothing to do with system font, I guess tweaking firefox config is a solution.

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