Infinality - freetype and fontconfig updates

As bohoomil’s repo hasn’t been updated since months, the freetype and fontconfig infinality packages are outdated, upstream already moved on to 2.7 and 2.12 respectively.

Fortunately, archfan published updated PKGBUILDs and patches so that infinality can be built upon the new freetype2 and fontconfig releases: https://github.com/archfan/infinality_bundle

As freetype 2.7 uses a new truetype interpreter, it’s possible that infinality is not needed anymore to get nicely looking fonts. Haven’t tested yet.
Would be great to have some feedback from infinality users. Thanks!

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Freetype 2.7-2 is currently in the official Manjaro repo. Why would you be looking to aquire it from another repository?

Sry I don’t use infinality, but I was under the impression the latest build brought large (~20%) performance and rendering improvements but feedback from the forums seems to indicate otherwise.

It would be interesting to know if freetype is currently configured properly to make use of these new improvements or if the user has to configure something.

I’m speaking of the infinality patched freetype2, not the vanilla one.

Just tested the new vanilla freetype2 (instead of infinality’s) in a test KDE install.
With the interpreter set to 38, fonts resemble infinality’s quite a lot. My first impression is that we do not necessarily need infinality anymore, since you can now choose which interpreter you want.

Thanks for the heads up! I downloaded compiled and installed…very nice! I Set the interpreter to infinality 38 seems very nice.

Edit: Well I’ve had a chance to play around with the settings and I think the new interpreter #40 works well, better than using #38 infinality. So I’ve uninstalled the infinality files and have been tweeking the fontconfig files to optimize for my system. Thanks again for this post.

@Odysseus I’ve read various posts of you related to Freetype spread around these forums.
And I wonder how much of your mini tutorial post for Freetype2 configuration is still relevant to Freetype2 2.7.x ?

Background/Reason :
I’m looking for razor sharp text, without it being “subpixeled to death”. (I don’t have Gimp installed yet, but I see the same “subpixeled to death” effect in small type in editors and browsers.)
Those are the 2 symptoms my new Manjaro+Gnome installation suffers from right now : blurry text and “subpixeling to death”.

The new freetype 2.7 has one important parameter: you can change the truetype interpreter, of which there are 3 settings: 35 (old style), 38 (infinality style), and 40 (new style). Maybe you can try to experiment with these settings (in /etc/profile.d/freetype), while making sure your fonts config is correctly set up.

Personally I think that fonts without subpixel rendering look just awful. It’s a matter of taste and a matter of your monitor, and of course a matter of the fonts used.
Also try different hinting settings, slight hinting looks best here. Same goes for the subpixel rendering methods, should be RGB on most monitors. YMMV.

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Thanks for the tips. I’ll give them a try when I’m home from work. Combined with Odysseus mini tut.

If it matters I have a Dell UP2516D monitor. It’s about 5 months young. At the Lagom website I already determined that it has RGB pixel ordering, and when in portrait mode it’s of course VRGB ordering.

And I also want subpixel rendering. After all the “subpixeled to death” effect that I see is only with small and tiny font sizes.

(removed) I confused subpixel rendering with hinting, I’m sorry.
Alternatively, you can change the fonts.conf or create symlinks in /etc/fonts/conf.d, or use a different LCD filter.
More info in the Arch wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Font_configuration#Subpixel_rendering
Technical freetype2 documentation: https://www.freetype.org/freetype2/docs/documentation.html

I’ve seen the Freetype docs. But they are more geared towards coders. I’m only interested in configuring.
I’m having a go at configuring when I’m back home. See what it brings.

Right now I can install and tweak however I like because this is only a test installation. I take notes of how I install and what I configure and also determine what I want to keep. Then I do a fresh install and make a backup right after that.

[off-topic]
You mention KDE. I have one question about KDE. The window buttons (e.g. close, resize, minimise, etc) and bar at the bottom of the screen look very tiny on screenshots. Is it possible to make them bigger with the shipped (not a 3rd party) KDE settings app ?
[/off-topic]

Sorry, I don’t use KDE on a regular basis. The task bar on the bottom can be made bigger, yes. For the window buttons, I’m not sure.

[on-topic]
Getting good looking fonts isn’t easy. That’s because everyone has different views on what looks good and what doesn’t. I used the infinality patch for many years which gave me subjectively the best fonts, but some people don’t like it at all. I’m now back to stock freetype with the “38” interpreter.
I still need to test the “40”. I’m using mostly Oxygen fonts, with a bit of Noto dropped in.

Yeah, I’m going to try and stick to vector/outline fonts this time (with or without embedded bitmaps for the tiny font sizes).

Check out the excellent tutorials over at the Arch Wiki. The higher the definition of your monitor (more DPI) the less you need subpixel-rendering especially for smaller fonts. Conversely, the lower your monitor DPI the more important it becomes. You have a large monitor with a very high DPI (QHD). So the first thing to do is make sure that Xorg recognizes this, and if not manually configure it for the dense pixel count on your screen. Then once it’s properly configured, then experiment adjusting subpixel rendering below a certain point size. More than likely you need to set up your configuration files so that fonts below a set size aren’t subpixel rendered at all and those above a set size aren’t either. Experiment with the configs until you find what works best.

This experimentation is easier in KDE because the plasma font Control Panel applet allows you to this and changes take place instantly on all newly opened apps. Then when you find what works best, you can modify your system’s font config files to reflect this, revert the applet to system defaults, and have these modifications apply system-wide regardless of your DM or whether they’re QT or Gnome.

I hope this helps.

Ciao

I thought it was hinting for small fonts, not subpixel rendering that can be changed in the CP?
I’m certainly wrong though :slight_smile:

As I have a dual monitor setup, with different DPI for each monitor (24" @ 1920x1200 and 27" @ 2560x1440), I have to choose a compromise for DPI and SPR. I don’t think it’s possible to change DPI/SPR separately on each screen, or is it?

I just went back and looked, you can adjust subpixel rendering in the KDE applet, but not based on size. My bad :frowning: Sorry about that. :frowning: However, you can adjust anti-aliasing by pt size. Still though, you can turn off subpixel rendering there and see what it does to different font sizes. In that case you could go to one of the many font test sites on the net and see how they look. Then modify or write a config file in /etc/fonts/conf.d to have it be effective system-wide, or you can create a font.conf add it to ~/.config/fontconfig/ for your user.

I’m not knowledgeable about setting up the different pixel density monitors independently in Xorg… I’ve never owned such a setup. The only time I ever ran dual monitors was years ago, and both were CRTs with the same resolution. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

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