Author Topic: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11  (Read 16114 times)

forest

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Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« on: March 06, 2007, 11:52:12 pm »
I just installed the SlickEdit 11 demo for Linux.  I was excited to read about the Xft support, but greatly disappointed when I saw it in action.  All of the TrueType fonts that look beautiful in every other application look terrible in SlickEdit.

Here is an example of what SlickEdit 11 shows:


Here is what the same font (Courier New 10 point) looks like in every other app:


My system has freetype anti-aliasing disabled, auto-hinter disabled, and bytecode interpreter enabled.  This makes my Microsoft fonts look exactly the same for Linux and Windows, in all of my applications (including both gtk and Qt apps) except SlickEdit, which looks as though it is somehow disabling freetype's hinting mechanism.  Can anyone confirm this, and/or provide a fix?

« Last Edit: May 22, 2007, 12:52:29 am by forest »

natros

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 08:51:11 pm »
I know what you mean. With bytecode enabled all my applications looks ugly and that's why my freetype has aa disabled and bytecode disabled.
My guess is that slickedit has its own version of freetype built-in with bytecode enabled.

My solution to this problem is to use fonts in the old fashion way. I'm using the Tahoma font for user interface. The font list has two versions, one called "Tahoma" (installed with font-config) and the other "microsoft-tahoma". The last is what I'm using. For the code I'm using alias-6x13


Clark

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 01:29:43 pm »
It turns out I made a fix for this that got put in AFTER version 11.02 got sent out.  Either, contact support and we can send you a new executable or if you upgrade/buy SlickEdit 20007 (V12) you won't have this problem.  If you contact support, let them know that I said you need a new Linux 11.02 executable to fix this problem.  The fix for this problem was to turn Anti-Aliasing on.

Clark

Tim Kemp

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 05:04:28 pm »
I want SlickEdit 20007!   ;D

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2007, 05:53:00 pm »
It turns out I made a fix for this that got put in AFTER version 11.02 got sent out.  Either, contact support and we can send you a new executable or if you upgrade/buy SlickEdit 20007 (V12) you won't have this problem.  If you contact support, let them know that I said you need a new Linux 11.02 executable to fix this problem.  The fix for this problem was to turn Anti-Aliasing on.

Clark

Thanks for the response, Clark.  Sadly, that is not the correct fix.  I tried the v12 demo, and saw that anti-aliased fonts looked less sloppy than in v11, but anti-aliasing itself is a problem.  It makes the fonts look blurry, which causes eye strain.  Forcing the user to look at anti-aliased fonts is a deal breaker for users like me.

What I really want is for Slick Edit to use the same font rendering that every other application on my desktop uses.  I have a perfectly good freetype installation, with correct truetype hinting enabled, and no anti-aliasing.  The correct fix would be for Slick Edit to use my existing xft/freetype installation, and honor the existing preferences.

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2007, 06:17:21 pm »
Here's what the fonts look like in the Slick Edit 12 trial:

Notice how the anti-aliasing makes lots of letters look blurry?  This gives me a headache after a fairly short period of use.


Here's what the same font looks like in every other app on my desktop:



I have now seen two different versions of Slick Edit do two different kinds of TrueType font rendering, neither of which follow the settings I have configured in my linux installation.  It seems pretty clear that Slick Edit has either found a way to circumvent my system's font settings, or is using its own private copy of freetype (perhaps linked into the Slick Edit executable).  Either way, it breaks true integration with linux, and makes Slick Edit look terrible.

Clark

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 02:30:31 pm »
I suspect that the difference is either because SlickEdit is using the wrong settings or it's font size calculations are different.

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v11
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2007, 08:21:13 pm »
Can you fix it, please?

Clark

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2007, 03:41:14 pm »
How do you enable correct TrueType hinting?  What Linux distribution are you using.  Are you running on a notebook or desktop machine?  I did some searching and all I came up with was a lot of references to an alternate patented TrueType hinting algorithm.

I can't reproduce the above problems.

Clark

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2007, 05:25:28 pm »
How do you enable correct TrueType hinting?
I can't tell you how to write the code, since I haven't done it myself, but I don't think you "enable correct" hinting so much as let the libraries (which are already installed on the system) do their thing.

Quote
What Linux distribution are you using.
When I first encountered the problem, I was using Fedora Core 5.  I am now using Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty) and see exactly the same problem.  All my usual applications render fonts according to the UI preferences I set.  This includes both gtk and qt apps, such as firefox, openoffice, and p4v (the perforce gui).  Slick Edit does its own thing.

Quote
Are you running on a notebook or desktop machine?
A desktop.

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2007, 05:47:43 pm »
I can't reproduce the above problems.

From memory, I think this is how you can reproduce the problem:

  • Install Ubuntu 7.04 Desktop Edition.  (link)
  • Log in using the gnome desktop.
  • Install the msttcorefonts package.  (It might be easiest to find as "Microsoft Core Fonts" in the Add/Remove Applications utility.
  • Restart your X server (control + alt + backspace) or reboot your computer.
  • Log back in.
  • Go to the System -> Preferences -> Font dialog.
  • Change your fonts from Sans and Mono to Arial and Courier New, respectively.
  • Click the Details button.
  • Change Smoothing: to None.
  • Click the Close button.

At this point, you should be able to open a text editor, select the Courier New font, and type away with very crisp font rendering, as in my screen shots above.

To get Firefox using the new fonts, the easiest way:
  • Open firefox.
  • Go to Edit -> Preferences.
  • In the Content section, under Fonts & Colors, click Advanced.
  • Select Fonts for: Western
  • Change Serif, Sans-serif, and Monospace to Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New, respectively.  (I use size 16 for the first two and 13 for the last one.)
  • Click OK, then Close.

Assuming your X server was configured with the screen dimensions that actually match your monitor, firefox should now render pages exactly like it does in Windows with font smoothing (anti-aliasing) disabled.

Clark

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2007, 02:25:36 am »
I'm on vacation until Monday.  I'll try this when I get back.  RedHat has an option for smoothing too.  I don't think my X server is configured with the same settings as my monitor.

thanks
Clark

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2007, 05:10:33 am »
RedHat has an option for smoothing too.
Okay, but I recommend using the specific version of Ubuntu that I described, because the instructions I posted are not likely to work for other linux distributions.  Red Hat probably didn't build the freetype library with the same options, so it might not yield the results you're trying to reproduce.

Thanks, and have a great vacation!


Clark

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2007, 03:47:08 pm »
I'm still working on this.  The first thing I noticed in your sample text was that the base lines were not the same. It turns out that it is possible to reproduce that problem on Windows too.  You need just the right font and font size.  It occurs when the font heights for normal,bold, etc. are the same BUT the ascents are different.  I'm currently testing a fix for this on Linux and Windows.  After that I'll be looking into the other Linux only problem.

forest

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Re: Ugly unhinted TrueType fonts in SlickEdit v12 & v11
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2007, 04:16:14 pm »
The first thing I noticed in your sample text was that the base lines were not the same. It turns out that it is possible to reproduce that problem on Windows too.

Good catch.  I'm so distracted by the glyph rendering problem that I didn't even notice the offset baselines.