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| X11 configuration
FreeType in low resolution
These notes are old: this setting should not be necessary on newer
GNU/Linux machines, which in any event are likely to require high DPI settings
instead of X11 hardware magnification
I'm leaving this page up in case anyone still has an older environment.
Modern X11 applications tend to use the FreeType
This is fine in high resolutions because you can set the screen DPI to a large value and have all the fonts enlarged instantly.
However, in low resolutions,
some versions of FreeType do not render fonts so well.
If you find yourself in that situation,
it can be better to use the largest fixed-size fonts instead
and adjust the display resolution rather than the font size.
If you often work in low resolutions
(perhaps because some of your applications don't use
FreeType, or they have graphical controls that won't
enlarge, or you need the scrollable desktop estate)
then you might want to get FreeType to use the older fonts too.
- Make the fixed size fonts available in
FreeType. In most cases you can do this by
creating a symbolic link to the top of the X
fontpath, like this:
ln -s $(xset q |
grep /fonts/ |
head -1 |
sed -e "s|fonts/.*|fonts|") .fonts/fontpath
- Download my .fonts.conf
and customise as necessary (this one asks for
- Edit your .Xresources and check the
setting of Xft.dpi. Add a line if
it isn't there already; it should look like this:
The ideal DPI setting is probably 7.2 times the
pixel size of your bitmap fonts
(so 144 for 20-pixel) but it seems that some
installations of FreeType work better if you
reduce it a little; you may need to experiment
to get the best size.
Some versions of FreeType contain a bug that
prevents it from loading the bitmap fonts.
You can check by running fc-list : file | grep dpi
after making the above changes; if there is no output then
your system has the bug.
If you find yourself on such a system then undo the
first two steps (rm -rf ~/.fonts*
) and try
to find some fonts that FreeType doesn't render too badly.
You can try installing
the Debian package msttcorefonts
results are still likely to be less readable than
It may help to add the following to your Xresources
(it's already there in the ones on this site) :
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