Thursday, 18 February 2016

Re: Font weirdness with today's dist-upgrade on Xenial

On Feb 18, 2016, at 12:46 PM, Marc Deslauriers wrote:

>That's probably because I finally removed the precise-era
>revert_scalable_fonts_metric.patch patch. Upstream freetype says it's wrong,
>and other distros don't carry it.

That's definitely it. If I hold back libfreetype6 and upgrade everything
else, I see the claws fonts I want. Upgrading those two gives the
squished-but-spread-out fonts.

On IRC, Seb pointed out this bug:

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=636776

and since it was originally reported on Emacs, I took a closer look.

With the patch in place (i.e. the older, held back freetype) I get fewer lines
of text in a screenful because there's a tiny bit of extra spacing between
lines. Without the patch (i.e. the current freetype), I get about 4 more
lines of text in an full screen Emacs. I don't notice any difference
horizontally. My standard Emacs font is:

xft:-unknown-Ubuntu Mono-normal-normal-normal-*-18-*-*-*-m-0-iso10646-1

a.k.a.

(set-face-attribute 'default nil
:family "Ubuntu Mono"
:height 120)

This jives with what I see in the summary window of claws, where I'm using
Sans 10 font. The lines are a little more squished together vertically, but
whereas in Emacs, it's not really noticeable unless I side-by-side the screen
caps, in claws it's much more evident. Unlike with Emacs, in claws, the
letters themselves look squished vertically, and thus less readable.

More troubling though is the message window in claws, where I'm using Ubuntu
Mono 14. Again, without the patch (current freetype) there's a little less
space between lines, so I get a few more on the screen.

The real problem is the space *between* characters in the horizontal
direction. Here the current freetype seems to put more space between
characters, so it looks too spread out and at least to me uncomfortable to
read, especially with a full-screened window.

I'm not sure what to do. Clearly apt-mark holding freetype isn't
sustainable. I don't want to have to maintain my own PPA. I don't even know
if claws would consider it a bug, and if they did, what the fix would be.
I can appreciate why you removed the Ubuntu patch, but I don't know what
options I have other than living with it. :(

Cheers,
-Barry

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