Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

January 21, 2009

My new font rendering technique is unstoppable

You know it’s time to call it a day and write your talk tomorrow when…

I just upgraded Gtk+, Cairo and Pango to the versions in Debian experimental while I was upgrading some Telepathy packages, and got this the next time I loaded OO.o. Magic. But seriously, anyone got any ideas what’s going on?

Update: I switched my Debian mirror to .au and downloaded 3.0.1~rc2, and installed the Gtk+ and GNOME stuff too, and not only did the fonts came back, but it no longer looks like the 80s. Score! Thanks for the tips. Back to my talk…

posted by ramcq @ 7:29 am
Comments (18) .:. Trackback .:. Permalink

18 responses to “My new font rendering technique is unstoppable”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Wow, those fonts are so clear!

  2. Giacomo says:

    There was a bug with a recent version of Cairo and Openoffice who caused this problem and required patching Openoffice.
    I can’t tell you exactly which version were affected or when all of this happened (at work now) but IIRC it was sometimes around march-june 2008 and should’ve been fixed in openoffice 2.4.1

  3. LaHaine says:

    This is a bug in Openoffice:

    It is fixed in Openoffice 3, at least in the version in Mandriva 2009.0.

  4. Petr Kr?má? says:

    Hi Robert, I saw this in combination with Compiz. You can try to disable it.

  5. Hongli Lai says:

    I believe that this problem occurs when one compiles against a wrong Xft library or something. I’m not sure why the build system can’t prevent this from happening.

  6. Søren says:

    I have sort of the same problem in open office on ubuntu, the font shows, but when I move the cursor over for example the top menu or the right-click menu elements it disappears at times, pretty annoying. I am using the standard version of GTK, etc.

  7. API changes or regressions in Pango/freetype. I had this issue also at one point. A newer version of will surely have the support for the new API and fix your issue

  8. non7top says:

    This looks similar to the recent issue with intel driver. Vesa driver should work fine

  9. I recall a similar problem with bad fonts on the oo.o UI in ubuntu. The solution was to edit .fonts.conf to say i wanted to use an specific lcdfilter.

  10. I’m using the same versions that you are and everything seems to be working okay for me. Try installing openoffice-gnome?

  11. Jonathan says:

    And so readable!

  12. Hi.

    It has something to do with OO.o trying to use anti-aliased fonts in combination with certain graphics cards.

    Try this:

    Start OO.o
    Click the 4th menu from the left.
    Click the 4th menu point in that menu.
    A new window should open showing a treeview to the left.
    Click the 5th line in the treeview from the top.
    The “view” should now contain some checkboxes.
    Uncheck the 4 checkboxes to the right.
    Click the 1st button from the left in the bottom of the window.
    Restart OO.o

  13. Smells awfully like
    At least that’s how I had it in Qt apps if I used a certain font. Underscores visible, nothing else as far as those glyphs go.

  14. Eric Anholt says:

    You sure you didn’t upgrade your graphics driver while you were at it? It feels weird not getting the blame. (Also, this is a pretty common failure mode for graphics drivers.)

  15. Benjamin Otte says:

    It’s pretty awesome what one starts to do if one should prepare a talk: update distros, blog again after half a year, … 😉

  16. Sam Hardwick says:

    Ahh yess, thank you heaps for this, I’d been mystified for some time why Openoffice was so different (even in behaviour) across my two two Gnome installations of Etch.

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