Smoother fonts

27/05/2009

Sub pixel rendering can improve the apparent sharpness of text on LCD screens, and ‘hinting’ of fonts – adding lines that stay the same width when the font is shrunk in size – can improve readability of fonts at small sizes.

To switch on sub-pixel rendering and to add hinting to ‘drawn’ fonts on Debian with no desktop manager, use the command

dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config

You are rewarded with a ‘dos box’ style application in the terminal window, a bit like the Debian text based installer. You select NO to the question about using bitmapped fonts, and then you select Autohinting from a set of choices about font rendering. Then you select ‘Always’ or ‘Automatic’ in the choice about subpixel rendering.

Restart X (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace) and admire the smoothness of the fonts…

Information from an old Ubuntu thread about rendering. I remembered that there was such a command, and that you don’t need to use a GUI configuration box for this.

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