Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Jan 2007 15:00 UTC, submitted by editingwhiz
Linux "The OSDL's Desktop Linux Working Group has published its first year-end report on the state of the overall desktop Linux ecosystem. The report provides insight into the year's key accomplishments in terms of functionality, standards, applications, distributions, market penetration, and more."
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Before it gets an alternative
by Invincible Cow on Fri 26th Jan 2007 16:41 UTC
Invincible Cow
Member since:
2006-06-24

Linux needs better fonts before it will take off as a desktop OS. Seriously, the fonts are downright ugly, and what's worse, ugly and incosistently so. Even the goals of "pretty fonts in linux"-howtos are ridiculously bad.

Solution: Shuttleworth should buy T2K and make it GPL.

Reply Score: -1

RE: Before it gets an alternative
by ubit on Fri 26th Jan 2007 17:02 in reply to "Before it gets an alternative"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

You just have to adjust some font settings (GUI). In Gnome, I set "hinting" to "None" and they look like Mac OS X fonts. But I agree--the DEFAULTS are bad.

(but we have to remember that's apparently due to Apple's patents)

Reply Parent Score: 3

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, better fonts would be nice, but the current state of the fonts in Linux will hardly be a show stopper for Linux on the desktop. Most people will not complain or even notice.

The problem is lack of well known applications. It doesn't matter if there are Linux equivalents that are as good as what people are used to from windows.

Many more advanced apps have a long learning curve, and people are not willing to relearn a Linux replacemet app that only is as good as the windows app the currently know. To make people switch, they need the apps they know ported, or the Linux equivalent need to be significantly better making it worth while learning it.

In a sense this means that the future of the Linux desktop very much is in the hands of Adobe. Among the 10 most wanted Linux ports (According to Novell) four of them comes from Adobe. If the Adobe application suite got ported to Linux I expect that we would see the same kind of growth in Linux desktop use as when OpenOffice.org became available.

Unforturnately Adobe is not known to embrace new platforms quickly. It took a very long time before Photoshop was something to count on for other platfrorms than MacOS even if windows was a much larger market, so I doubt that the Linux community can expect much help from them.

So, whats left is to make apps that beats the Adobe offerings and not just barely having the same functionality.

Another way to make the Linux desktop more likely would be to port the best Linux apps to Windows. That way we increase the chance that the app somebody have learned in Windows also is available in Linux making it easier to switch.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Lack of known applications didn't stop me from switching to a Mac. I have all new applications now that I had to all re-learn. Where I had SmartFTP, I have Transmit, where I had my own HTML editor I coded in VB6, I now have TextMate. Where I had Trillian, I have Adium. Only iTunes and Firefox have stayed the same.

The problem isn't a lack of applications, it's a lack of benefits. I switched from Windows to Mac OS to /reduce/ the amount of anal retentive maintenance and tweaking over my system. If I switched to Linux, that would only have to increase to cope with Xorg config files, and terminal commands and driver issues. I'd spend forever in Google trying to solve simple problems, like the scrollwheel not working, or not knowing how to quit the x-server so I can install my graphics drivers.

Linux isn't /significantly/ faster than Windows. It boots in about the same time as my well tweaked, much loved custom XP install. My Mac boots faster than I can get Windows to boot. Linux needs to be faster, /much/ faster. Like BeOS or Amiga /fast/ to convince people to switch.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Dmitry K Member since:
2006-03-23

I agree with your remark on the need of the proprietory apps developed for Linux by majors like Adobe.
BTW, where the heck is their long-developed Flash plugin for 64 bit arch?!

I would add to your considerations that EA Games is the next major player here ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

You don't often see this kind of sense displayed at OS News. Shame I can't mod you up more than 1 point.

Reply Parent Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I'm getting tired of that lame excuse.

Font rendering have been beautiful on Linux for more than 3 years. And installing extra fonts are no issue. We have the MS corefonts, Bitstream Vera fonts (very good), Nimbus fonts (very good too) and so on.

I don't know what you're doing wrong, but you are obviously doing something REALLY wrong (or perhaps using a binary distribution with a FreeType2 compiled without patented technology). With Gnome on Gentoo I don't have to mess around with any settings at all, and fonts are beautiful. The only thing I had to do was modifying .fonts.conf to substitute Helvetica for Nimbus Sans L, and Times for Times New Roman.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

- Well, he's an os news reader, it's pretty safe to assume that he's got some experience with computers and he's still has these problems. Last time I tried Linux was in 2002, I had the same problems... and it seems it still exists. As someone trying Linux then I couldn't care what the reasons were for this, I just wanted the fonts to work.

' don't know what you're doing wrong, but you are obviously doing something REALLY wrong '

- What's wrong with wanting readable smoothed fonts?

'The only thing I had to do was modifying .fonts.conf to substitute Helvetica for Nimbus Sans L, and Times for Times New Roman.'

- Why did you have to do this? Because it wasn't done already? Because without it you'd have crappy fonts too? Wouldn't it be better to just have font's working like under windows or macos? If it's as easy as you suggest why can't it be done automatically?

Edited 2007-01-26 21:55

Reply Parent Score: 3

Invincible Cow Member since:
2006-06-24

> I'm getting tired of that lame excuse.
It's not a lame excuse, I want to be able to read what's on screen, I don't see how that is lame.

> Font rendering have been beautiful on Linux for more than 3 years.
Absolutely not true. The default settings looks reasonably ok, but the fonts are WAY too large. And on sensible sizes the fonts gets mushy and unreadable.
See this screenshot from Windows (Opera): http://img15.imgspot.com/?u=/u/07/26/07/nox1169902472.png
Compare it with this screenshot from Fedora Core 6 (Firefox): http://img15.imgspot.com/?u=/u/07/26/08/test1169902824.png

Completely honestly, do you think that is acceptable? On Ubuntu it's much worse. Larger fonts are of course very good looking, but I don't want a menu font with size 12, that's just insane.

Apart from the problem that sensible font sizes looks like crap Firefox also picks the _wrong_ sizes. Of the same font, the small version is too small compared to Windows/Mac and the large version is too large. Setting the font size obviously doesn't help since that makes the smallest even smaller or largest larger as well.

Edit: Just so you don't blame it on Firefox, I'm not bothering to put up a screenshot of Firefox under Windows since it can't be distinguished from Opera's rendering.

Edited 2007-01-27 12:13

Reply Parent Score: 1

rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Yuck. T2K (now Font Fusion) generates ugly overly-hinted fonts like Windows. With "light" hinting and the bytecode interpreter disabled, FreeType's rendering is excellent. Between FreeType and OS X's renderer, which looks better comes down to the fonts you use and taste.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

The gift of bitstream charter true-type fonts made linux one of the most beautiful desktops out there, your X server is probably misconfigured and using Type-1 bitmaps instead.

Reply Parent Score: 5