Fixing fonts..

I use all the time on my Debian server box, most of the time through a VNC connection. Problem is, the fonts have always looked horrible. ISTR that they weren’t always bad, but they’ve certainly been bad for awhile. Well, today I finally sat down and fixed it.

It all started out when I upgraded the system (which I hadn’t done in forever) to get some updated packages. I was hoping that would fix my OO.o font problems, but it didn’t, so I dug a little deeper…

Basically, there are two issues I was seeing:

  1. The menu font was cartoonishly large in proportion to all of my other apps; and
  2. It appeared that anti-aliasing was not working or something, because all of the fonts had a very crude, blocky scaled look to them.

None of this prevented me from using the system, but it sure didn’t make it enjoyable. Anyhow, first I tackled the ugly-scaled-fonts problem. I noticed that I didn’t have the problem when I started OO.o directly on an display. The problem was limited to the VNC server. The solution turned out to be starting Xvnc with a depth of 24 bits instead of 16. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does. It remains to be seen if the increased resolution will cause any performance degradation over my slow DSL uplink. I’ve not noticed any difference over our 100mbps LAN at home.

I solved the second issue by adding the following line to my $HOME/.Xresources file:

Xft.dpi: 85

So there you have it. As always, Google was extremely helpful in tracking down this info. References here and here.