Default fonts in Firefox

Ming Hua minghua-list at
Tue Sep 27 21:28:16 CDT 2005

> > On Tue, Sep 27, 2005 at 05:25:56PM -0400, Tom von Schwerdtner wrote:
> > > On my breezy Colony 4 install:
> > > 
> > > [ ~ ]
> > > tvon at lorax > fc-match serif
> > > VeraSe.ttf: "Bitstream Vera Serif" "Roman"
> > > [ ~ ]
> > > tvon at lorax > fc-match sans-serif
> > > Vera.ttf: "Bitstream Vera Sans" "Roman"
> > > [ ~ ]
> > > tvon at lorax > fc-match monospace
> > > VeraMono.ttf: "Bitstream Vera Sans Mono" "Roman"
> > > 
> > > (and fc-match came with fontconfig)
> > 
> Am Dienstag, den 27.09.2005, 14:37 -0700 schrieb Matt Zimmerman:
> > Likewise for every Breezy system I can lay my hands on right now.
On Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 12:12:20AM +0200, Oliver Grawert wrote:
> so obvoiusly firefox has a bug here, since its not what i see, i can
> confirm that the output of fc-match is the same here, but i have the
> blurry Nimbus fonts in my browser window in any default install.
> (no matter if LCD or CRT)

Is this by any chance the same problem as Debian bug #299697 [1]?  It
bit Debian users hard when fontconfig 2.3 hit unstable, and I'm
surprised that no one on this list remembers it.  Seeing that hoary has
fontconfig 2.2.3 while breezy has 2.3.2, I quite suspect what we are
talking about is this bug (or feature, depends on the POV).

The link in the bug report about Robert McQueen's blog doesn't work any
more.  The new link is in [2].

Briefly, the problem is not in firefox, but in fontconfig.  And looking
at the sans-serif and serif fonts is looking at the wrong place.  The
situation is that many (broken, in my opinion) webpages explicitly claim
that they need Times, Helvetica, or Courier fonts.  In fontconfig 2.2,
there are no fonts match to them (unless the MS TrueType core fonts are
installed on the system), so firefox will fall back to default fonts,
which are sans-serif, sans, and monospace with the default firefox
configuration, and these will be Vera fonts in a hoary system.

However in fontconfig 2.3, the default configuration shipped by upstream
(in /etc/fonts/fonts.conf) added the mapping from URW Nimbus Type 1
fonts to Times, Helvetica, and Courier (and AMT fonts to Times New
Roman, Arial, and Courier New).  The reason, according to upstream
author Keith Packard, is that these Nimbus fonts have the same metrics
and shapes as the ones they are mapped to (while Vera fonts have
different metrics).  So now in breezy, when a web page ask for Times
font, it will get Nimbus Roman No9 L font from fontconfig, instead of
Vera Serif in hoary.  Unfortunately, Nimbus fonts are Type 1 fonts
targetted for printing use, and look ugly on screen.

I believe if one do "fc-match {times,helvetica,courier}" on hoary and
breezy systems, they'll get different results (sorry I don't have them
at hand).  If so, the fix would be quite simple - just remove the
mappings for Times/Helvetica/Courier fonts in /etc/fonts/fonts.conf and
we should go back to the behavior in hoary.

And I would vote for fixing this before 5.10 release.



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