David Chester has hacked through the Xft library and he achieved an incredibly good quality on antialias rendering under XFree86. With this “hack”, at last, XFree can deliver similar aesthetic results with the MacOSX or Windows rendering engines. Check the two screenshots “before” and “after” at his page.
Xft Hack Results to High Quality Antialias Rendering on XFree
Submitted by David Chester 2002-03-06 X11 23 Comments
really something nice there, good work!
If I’m a good XFree86 programmer I’ll hack the entire code to produce a smaller and faster GUI system. Unluckily I am currently in the learning curve to know XFree86 in details. Please bless me so that I learn very fast.
Well, it’s a step in the right direction. But, how much use is incredibly good visual quality, when the User Interface still leeves much to desire ?
Agreed. Antialiasing doesn’t make up for the fact that there is little to no consistancy on the Linux desktop. But that isn’t Dave’s fault so congrats are due.
…seems to be down or does it work for you?
I hereby bless you with the power of learning the intimacies of XFree86 very quickly
First a low latency kernel hack, and now this. And all this time I thought X was already perfect.
According to all the slashdotters and Weenix Unies that like to post here, Explorer, Tracker and/or Finder is already sub-par to XFree, so whats the point?
Everytime somebody makes it possible for Linux to do something that Windows/MacOS/BeOS has been doing for years, all the Stallman drones act like its revolutionary.
as david says on his site “I disabled a process that the freetype library uses called ‘hinting'”. Hinting is used to make anti-aliased fonts ‘fit’ better on the screen, especially at low resolutions. on david’s screenshots you can quite clearly see the very small fonts and thin letters like ‘l’ are nearly impossible to read.
the freetype library includes the standard hinting used by microsoft and apple, but it is encumbered, so its not enabled by default. if your concience can handle it, you can enable it at compile-time. it looks great, even at low resolutions.
What’s so great about antialiased fonts? Why are so many people so crazy about it? I lived so many years without antialiased fonts and I never wished “If I had antialiased fonts….”. If you’re not able to read text without it, let a doctor check your eyes.
Yes, I have it enabled on my system. Yes, it looks better. No, I wouldn’t cry if I wouldn’t have it anymore.
If antialiased fonts mean so little to you and your incredible eyesight, why are you bothering to use them? Why aren’t you squeezing out that teeny-tiny bit of extra performance by using regular fonts on your system? By all means, go with chunky, jaggedy, raggedy looking text.
A decent antialiased font system for X is just another step in the right direction for giving people a good alternative to the other OS GUIs out there. More power to them and congratulations on a great job Dave Chester!
Sorry to play the devil’s advocate here, but I do think that the default rendering is quite clearer.
The really nice thing about this hack is that it provides definitely more “consistent” results accross the various font sizes.
I’m quite sick about that stuff.
if you want consticency just STICK on ONE toolkit, if you want more app use ALL the apps no matter they use different toolkits, plain and simple.
Antialiasing font is just a matter of taste and a matter of video board.
I have an ATi Radeon I’m using e16 as window manager and I use both QT and GTK application, I have nothing to complain about fonts.
I have a friend of mine that has Geforce III , he uses GNOME+sawfish, maybe is just my impression but many of his apps fonts just look worser than mine… Poor 2d quality strikes again?
I would like to emphasize a point I make on the website: <p>Again, please note that my changes consisted only of two lines of code worth of changes: setting some flags in freetype glyph structs, and adjusting the rendering resolution. Any praise should generally be directed to the folks at freetype and the author of Xft and XRender, Keith Packard.
You know, I’m pretty sure it was an earlier OS News article–or comments–that talked about how “primitive” OS X’s anti-aliasing was, and one of the arguments cited as proof for its nastiness was the fact that it ignored font hinting.
Hey I just wanted to say thanks — the tweaks you made look really nice and I’m looking forward to trying it out when I get home. Don’t let the trolls get you down
>Agreed. Antialiasing doesn’t make up for the fact that there is
>little to no consistancy on the Linux desktop. But that isn’t
>Dave’s fault so congrats are due.
Windows Desktops don’t have consistency either. There is a growing number of themed applications, especially in graphics. Or take the Windows Media Player. Take old applications from Windows NT 3.5 and new ones written for .NET — they are not consistent neither by look nor by feel.
Iit’s the applications, stupid! (not implying that you are stupid). If they offer the functionality you are expecting, forget about look and feel, as long as they are accessible.
I wonder why the screenshots look so incredibly blurry
on a decent TFT monitor.
>>>With this “hack”, at last, XFree can deliver similar aesthetic results with the MacOSX or Windows rendering engines.
Sure! At last! Hehehehe! Nope. The latest OSnews headlines make me laugh, this site used to be a serious one. Anything goes here now, from posting D. Coursey’s ZD trolls (“Hey, Desktop Linux Fans: Buy a Mac!”) to applauding useless amateurish “hacks” (this one). Showbusiness?
I don’t think the news qualitiy diminished from the averange OSNews from the past 4 months. Yes some are probably not interesting to you, but they provies _OS_ news, points to articles and other interesting tidbits.
I’d rather see more news like this X hacks and less news about Quake 2 source code released (and yes, I loved Doom and its successors).
While the step is small, and some of you do complain about how far behind X is, it won’t be anywhere further than the other if it doesn’t catch up on some basic issues, like font anti-aliasing.
Mars: if you don’t like Osnews anymore, just don’t come.
You seem to be an intelligent person as the principal developer of the UUU project. Be so kind NOT to tell me where I ought to go, I’ll go and post where I mind obviously, and I’ll come here if I do like some of the real news even if I don’t like this other kind of trashy satiric “news”. You can get off also. I couldn’t care less for Quake. The basic issue with X is forgeting about it.
Take a look at the Sans Serif examples through a magnifier application. On BeOS with NetPositive, I’m comparing the 10 pt font samples with the text in NetPositive’s URL window. Left is what I would call anti-aliased, though not as accurately. Right adds a half tone blur all the way around the glyph, to where ijk run together as a continuous blur. Since all this occurs on one image, I have to assume the blur on the right is no artifact and is actually how the font is rendered, but it’s so awful I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.
Anyone here using MacOS or Windows? I suppose they must have magnifier applications like BeOS Magnify – how do these samples compare with 10 pt Sans Serif on your platform?
So keep out of the news you don’t like… why click and post bullshit to a thread that obiously (seen to the number of posts) is interesting to people.
I read on Slashdot (though I haven’t had the chance to confirm) that the reason the hinting on FreeType isn’t up to par with other systems is that Apple had some crazy font patents on hinting and they were forced to remove it. Someone said that while this hack will give you some good results (which it does) it will NEVER be as good as MacOS, Windows, or even BeOS because of this. <BR><BR>However (and here’s the interesting twist): supposedly it is possible to get the code for freetype, download the the code for the patented effects from a country that doesn’t recognize software patents (much the same way we do for MP3 and GIF) and reincorporate it into Freetype for some truly juicy effects. <BR><BR> Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to confirm. To tell you the truth, I just started using Linux. (I’m starting off with Slackware because it’s the only distribution that doesn’t piss me off with bloat) I just finished recompiling the kernel to play nice with my parts, and am now working on getting X to work the way I like. (By the way, I installed Gnome+Sawfish and no KDE because KDE really irritates me and I honestly believe that it looks nicer (despite what other people say). I’ve only had limited use with Gnome, but I have to say that I’ve really not seen any software that was so radically different from the rest of the system to make me think that there was a lack of consistency. At least, no more than other OSes. I haven’t had a chance to run MacOS X yet, but my experience with MacOS showed me that even that operating system didn’t have consistency with many applications. Quicktime certainly didn’t integrate properly. Windows, like someone already mentioned, has a plethora of software like WMP, The Playa, and WinAMP. (anyone else notice that the media-playing software, in general, are the inconsistant ones?) Anyway, thats the end of my rant.