LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

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LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby tpprynn on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:23 pm

I was interested in whether the 'Ubuntu quality' fonts are at this stage present in Debian Testing (and therefore hopefully in the Debian 7-to-be) or whether this is achieved by the Mint team. I drift about between distros and Windows these days and don't feel any loyalties except to the potential of Linux and am trying Mint 12 KDE tonight, but where some people have a recurring dream of being naked in public I have one where Debian 7 comes out with Clearlooks and grim font rendering. I wake up in a cold sweat and have to have a small whisky.

Joking aside I am sincerely interested in the question I began with if anyone can say. (If there was a Debian Testing live CD I'd look myself.)

Thanks.
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby GeneC on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:41 pm

Yes, they are thoughtfully provided by Clem and he provides them in the Mint repo.
He patched the Ubuntu files (libcairo and fontconfig) for Debian and put them in the Mint repo under 'upstream'
:arrow: http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php? ... n#upstream.

It doesn't matter what debian repo you track, Stable, Testing, SID or stick with the Mint update packs, and 'incoming' or 'latest'. They come from the Mint repo! :wink:

EDIT:
Just to be clear they are NOT provided by Debian itself.

EDIT 2: :lol:

Just a PS. Debian itself must have done some work recently on font quality, as in an experiment last week, I added Cinnamon (compiled debs) to my LMDE/SID/Gnome 3.2 installtion. In doing so, I had to install the later Debian font files, which over wrote Mint's. Surprisingly the fonts were 98% as good as the patched Mint files. The ONLY place I saw not so good fonts was in Chromium/Chrome browsers. Everywhere else the fonts were no different.
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby tpprynn on Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:31 pm

Thanks for that, and for the details of your experiment. Though it's primarily a practical thing for me I'm fascinated by all this stuff, for better or more likely for worse, but could not for the life of me understand or carry out the patching tasks when I was using naked Debian no matter how many people chipped in with would-be clarification...

'98%', well that's what Fedora fonts are once patched in a far simpler and automated way and they looked fine to me. I tried Trisquel, Parsix and Pear OS at the weekend and oddly all three had 'greyscale' chosen in the settings instead of 'rgba' as a version of the kludge I used to use with Debian.
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby Bobbo on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:23 pm

Ah how wonderful that I found this thread! I was curious with the xorg-updates I keep seeing being held back by apt-get. They would not install with dist-upgrade so I tried editing the etc/apt/preferences file and make some changes so the new xorg-packages would install.

When I did apt-get update anew, a few more packages appeared. They all had something to do with fonts. libcairo and fontconfig etc. I never did any dist-upgrade after seeing that, because I know the fonts are all perfectly rendered as it is now, with my LMDE.

Will installing the new packages hurt my font rendering in any way, and if so would it help if I first backup the /etc/fonts folder and restore it after upgrading? or maybe there are compiled changes in fontconfig that will ruin it? I wonder if I could install just the xorg-packages and not the font packages. Or maybe xorg depends on the new font-related packages?

This is how it looks with the original /etc/apt/preferences file
The following packages have been kept back:
xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-evdev xserver-xorg-input-synaptics
xserver-xorg-input-wacom xserver-xorg-video-apm xserver-xorg-video-ark
xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-chips xserver-xorg-video-cirrus
xserver-xorg-video-fbdev xserver-xorg-video-i128 xserver-xorg-video-i740
xserver-xorg-video-intel xserver-xorg-video-mach64 xserver-xorg-video-mga
xserver-xorg-video-neomagic xserver-xorg-video-nouveau xserver-xorg-video-openchrome
xserver-xorg-video-r128 xserver-xorg-video-radeon xserver-xorg-video-rendition
xserver-xorg-video-s3 xserver-xorg-video-s3virge xserver-xorg-video-savage
xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion xserver-xorg-video-sis xserver-xorg-video-sisusb
xserver-xorg-video-tdfx xserver-xorg-video-trident xserver-xorg-video-tseng
xserver-xorg-video-vesa xserver-xorg-video-vmware xserver-xorg-video-voodoo
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 34 not upgraded.


This is how it looks when I change pin-prios in /etc/apt/preferences
The following packages will be upgraded:
fontconfig fontconfig-config libcairo-gobject2 libcairo2 libfontconfig1 libpixman-1-0
xchat-common xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-evdev
xserver-xorg-input-synaptics xserver-xorg-input-wacom xserver-xorg-video-apm
xserver-xorg-video-ark xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-chips
xserver-xorg-video-cirrus xserver-xorg-video-fbdev xserver-xorg-video-i128
xserver-xorg-video-i740 xserver-xorg-video-intel xserver-xorg-video-mach64
xserver-xorg-video-mga xserver-xorg-video-neomagic xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
xserver-xorg-video-openchrome xserver-xorg-video-r128 xserver-xorg-video-radeon
xserver-xorg-video-rendition xserver-xorg-video-s3 xserver-xorg-video-s3virge
xserver-xorg-video-savage xserver-xorg-video-siliconmotion xserver-xorg-video-sis
xserver-xorg-video-sisusb xserver-xorg-video-tdfx xserver-xorg-video-trident
xserver-xorg-video-tseng xserver-xorg-video-vesa xserver-xorg-video-vmware
xserver-xorg-video-voodoo
41 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.


I'm afraid the new packages will bring horrible font rendering, and I will not be able to sleep at nights.. :mrgreen:
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby rhodry on Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:20 pm

I'm afraid the new packages will bring horrible font rendering, and I will not be able to sleep at nights..


Learn to use Clonezilla. Backup or restore whole LMDE partition: 10-15 minutes max. Perfect for 'major' type experimentation.

cheers,
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby Bobbo on Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:54 pm

rhodry wrote:
I'm afraid the new packages will bring horrible font rendering, and I will not be able to sleep at nights..


Learn to use Clonezilla. Backup or restore whole LMDE partition: 10-15 minutes max. Perfect for 'major' type experimentation.

cheers,
rhodry


Hmm that is, although not an answer to my question, a perfectly fine solution. If I find a spare disk to clone to. I'm actually very happy with my system at the moment so wouldn't hurt to make a clone anyway just in case :mrgreen: Thanks for the tip! :D
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby zerozero on Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:36 pm

Bobbo,
the bigger question is:
- as-is (with all those pkgs held back) your system will have serious issues in the future (you just can't keep getting new kernels, new drivers with the same old xorg stack, something is gonna break eventually)
- all this issue (this xorg held back) is/was caused exactly because of the font rendering: wanting to give the best fonts possible to lmde, the devs patched some ubuntu lib. and shipped them in lmde, one of them is now causing all this havoc (libpixman) you can read more here here and here

good luck
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby GeneC on Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:15 am

Just a follow up to 'zz's post. :)
I took a little different approach to the xorg update problems.

(Not wanting to loose Clems font fixes).

I commented out Mint repo temporarily (like above), but did not do a FULL DU. I just updated xorg and libpixman, then re-enabled mint repo. That was 3 months or so ago, and everything has been fine. Nothing witheld, full DU's daily, and still have the best possible (for Debian :roll: ) fonts.
Again, I will say the ONLY place I noticed bad fonts with the pure Debian font packages was in either Chromium or Chrome browsers, but since I use them exclusivly I wanted to keep Clem's font packages.
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby Bobbo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:02 am

GeneC wrote:Just a follow up to 'zz's post. :)
I took a little different approach to the xorg update problems.

(Not wanting to loose Clems font fixes).

I commented out Mint repo temporarily (like above), but did not do a FULL DU. I just updated xorg and libpixman, then re-enabled mint repo. That was 3 months or so ago, and everything has been fine. Nothing witheld, full DU's daily, and still have the best possible (for Debian :roll: ) fonts.
Again, I will say the ONLY place I noticed bad fonts with the pure Debian font packages was in either Chromium or Chrome browsers, but since I use them exclusivly I wanted to keep Clem's font packages.


I'm gonna do that I think. So you kept all the font-related packages with with ubuntu-name to them?
fontconfig fontconfig-config libcairo-gobject2 libcairo2 libfontconfig1

Think I'll give that a shot! But first I'm making a clonezilla backup of my current setup! :mrgreen:

zerozero has a point though.. maybe not in 3 months from now, but 4.. it'll all break :|
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby GeneC on Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:31 am

Hi Bobbo

Yes, kept the packages with ubuntu tags.

zerozero has a point though.. maybe not in 3 months from now, but 4.. it'll all break


I am thinking that Clem will not abandon his good work with the fonts. I am looking for new packages to come from him, perhaps when all this Cinnamon thing gets worked out, and he works on UP4 for the folks tracking LMDE "incoming' or "latest'. No doubt this will fix the xorg problems for those folks as well.
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby Bobbo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:01 pm

GeneC wrote:Hi Bobbo

Yes, kept the packages with ubuntu tags.

zerozero has a point though.. maybe not in 3 months from now, but 4.. it'll all break


I am thinking that Clem will not abandon his good work with the fonts. I am looking for new packages to come from him, perhaps when all this Cinnamon thing gets worked out, and he works on UP4 for the folks tracking LMDE "incoming' or "latest'. No doubt this will fix the xorg problems for those folks as well.


I did the update and sure enough there are some changes with the fonts. The changes are very subtle but there seem to be a different interpretation of hinting data. (Maybe suggesting that the previous packages from mint had byte code interpretation enabled. Which these from debian does not?) It's not a very huge difference, except with chrome that looks very much different. And except very small fonts they are not as readable. Hinting seem to be more aggressive now. I'm gonna see if I can reverse the update of the font packages.. but first I'm gonna replace the /etc/fonts folder and it's content with the content of the same folder before the update! I'll let you know how that turns out soon :)


EDIT: Alright just replacing the new /etc/fonts folder with my old one seem to have solved all the problems with chrome and small fonts. I've looked VERY close at my monitor trying to spot a difference now, but I cant see any, not like before where it was quite obvious. (got screenshot to compare with :) ) Now there's no difference. Hurray! :mrgreen:

The difference with the old /etc/fonts folder and the new one are five links in /etc/fonts/conf.d/ pointing to ../conf.avant/ it's these links:
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 31 Feb 19 20:57 10-antialias.conf -> ../conf.avail/10-antialias.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 29 Feb 19 20:57 10-hinting.conf -> ../conf.avail/10-hinting.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 36 Feb 19 20:57 10-hinting-slight.conf -> ../conf.avail/10-hinting-slight.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 43 Feb 19 20:57 11-lcd-filter-lcddefault.conf -> ../conf.avail/11-lcd-filter-lcddefault.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 42 Feb 19 20:57 53-monospace-lcd-filter.conf -> ../conf.avail/53-monospace-lcd-filter.conf


Now that they're back, everything looks alright once again :)

If anyone's thinking about doing these upgrades. Backup your /etc/fonts directory and then it's all good to go! It was for me atleast :mrgreen:
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby rhodry on Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:29 pm

@Bobbo said:

But first I'm making a clonezilla backup of my current setup!


Aaahhhh wise man! Another disciple recruited!! :)

@GeneC said:

I commented out Mint repo temporarily (like above), but did not do a FULL DU. I just updated xorg and libpixman, then re-enabled mint repo. That was 3 months or so ago, and everything has been


This is pretty much equivalent to apt pinning individual packages. Being a Sid user, I do this fairly regularly if I find particular packages I do not want to update at a particular time. This is the case with some of the original Linuxmint packages that were there from original install and that I want to keep. I pin packages I want, then turn off Mint repo and only do dist-upgrades. Apt-pinning really is worth learning.

Debian has got these font packages looking pretty good in Sid such that minor alterations in the config files is all that I sometimes need to get really nice fonts. I don't use Chrome though?!

FWIW,
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Re: LMDE/ Debian Testing and font rendering

Postby squeezy on Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:48 pm

Here is a simple way to restore the beautiful font rendering if an update to wheezy/sid/UP4 whacks it. It's pretty much exactly what Bobbo did.

http://noz3001.wordpress.com/2011/07/01 ... an-wheezy/

You can retrieve the "good" fontconfig-config file from Mint's Debian repo here:

http://packages.linuxmint.com/pool/upst ... u3_all.deb

It's working beautifully on my Debian Sid install.
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