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Improve the appearance of X11 fonts Apps
As a former linux nut, I have a lot of X11 apps that I use on a regular basis. I was disappointed in Apple's X11 font rendering. After dealing with the jagged eyesores for a year, I happened across a bit of information (on the website) that radically improved the font appearance. It seems obvious, but it wasn't to me at first.

Launch X11 and open the Preferences section. On the Output tab, change the Colors pull-down to 'Millions' instead of 'From Display.' Restart X11.

That's it. It wasn't obvious to me, because I assumed that 'From Display' would set the color depth to something large.

[robg adds: I couldn't see any difference in the OpenOffice test document that I used (I run my OS X display in millions of colors). I then tried X11 with my display set to Thousands and the 'From Display' setting in X11. Yech! The fonts were pixelated, and the anti-aliasing was odd colors -- it was borderline unreadable. I can't contact the original hint author to confirm, but perhaps their display was similarly set. If you run in Millions mode on your normal display, this hint may not have any effect for you.]
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Improve the appearance of X11 fonts | 3 comments | Create New Account
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Improve the appearance of X11 fonts
Authored by: paperwings on Jun 02, '06 08:19:49AM

I was the person who submitted the hint (didn't realize I was logged out). My display is set to millions, and I can recreate the pixellated fonts on X11 by returning the X11 preference to "From Display" and relaunching X11. For some reason, on my computer, "Millions" isn't being communicated between the system settings and the X11 prefs. I would guess I'm not alone, given that this hint is detailed in's installation instructions.

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Improve the appearance of X11 fonts
Authored by: robg on Jun 02, '06 09:50:59AM
OK, the hint is now yours :).

I tried this again, and took a few screenshots. Below is a zoomed-in version of what I saw in one line (click the image for a larger zoom without any scaling artifacts):

The lines are as follows:
  1. X11 in "From Screen" and display in millions
  2. X11 in "Millions" and display in millions
  3. X11 in "From Screen" and display in thousands
It seems I was a bit incorrect -- the first two lines are not quite identical, at least when zoomed in. As you can see, the font spacing is slightly off in the "millions-millions" mode (line two), where the "A" and the apostrophe are taking more space than they are in the "from screen-millions" mode (line 1).

I assume, however, that you were seeing much worse distortion of your fonts, more like what's shown in line number three?


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Improve the appearance of X11 fonts
Authored by: vogunaescht on Jun 02, '06 01:24:12PM
If you want to improve the rendering of fonts even further, recompile freetype with this hack from David Chester.
The cvs Hack on this site works up to freetype 2.1.9 although you might have to apply it by hand (with an editor) instead of just using patch.
See Marc Liyanage's page under "Replacing libfreetype (optional)" for details.

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