Subpixel font rendering in gutsy

Scott James Remnant scott at
Thu Sep 20 23:45:12 BST 2007

For the gutsy beta release, we will be experimenting with some changes
to our font rendering that is believed to produce significantly better
results on LCD screens.  Obviously fonts are a very subjective issue, so
we're using the beta to get feedback about whether to enable it
permanently or perhaps have it as an option.

Please use the thread on the Ubuntu Forums to follow up and express your

First you need to have an LCD screen, this applies to all laptops and
most modern desktops too.  Next you need to be running gutsy, and up to
date.  If you haven't logged out since you updated, probably a good idea
to do that and log back in again so that everything is using the new

Now go to System -> Preferences -> Appearance and select the Fonts tab,
check the "Subpixel smoothing (LCDs)" option if it is not already.

Compare with "Best shapes" and "Best contrast", you should notice a
significant difference.

Click the "Details..." button, make sure the "Subpixel (LCDs)" Smoothing
option is set, and set the "Full" Hinting option.

  Compare with the "Slight" Hinting option, which is better?

If you find that there's significant "ghosting" of the text, try
adjusting the "Subpixel Order".

Very small (12px in height and less) Monospace fonts (such as those used
by gnome-terminal) will not be rendered this way because several users
have expressed dislike of the effect; if you want to see whether you
prefer them with the effect, remove
the /etc/fonts/conf.d/53-monospace-lcd-filter.conf symbolic link and
restart gnome-terminal (you need to close them all to do this).

If you prefer terminal fonts without subpixel rendering, the symbolic
link can be replaced by linking back to the file of the same name
in /etc/fonts/conf.avail

Scott James Remnant
scott at
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