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QT 2.3, With Anti-Aliased Fonts 168

Hazzl noted the announcement that the New version of QT is out. While normally a release of a GUI toolkit isn't that big of a deal, but this release is significant since it is the first Open Source toolkit to make a non-beta release with X-Render support for Anti-Aliased Fonts. Congrats to all the Developers involved.
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QT 2.3, With Anti-Aliased Fonts

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  • by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @10:44AM (#378445)
    I had AA fonts working for a while with KDE 2.0 and X4.0.2. Worked great when my card's DRI module was loaded, but without the hardware acceleration it was super slow.

    I eventually reverted to my standard setup, cause all the different alpha/beta/gamma/dela libraries and such were causing my machine to freak out. I'll try it again when its stable.

    On a related note, I upgraded to KDE 2.1 yesterday, and got-DAMN does it whoop ass. Faster, more polished, more solid, better looking, and has lots of cool new gizmos to play with. Konqueror has made great strides. It's on par with Internet Explorer 4.x right now, and if it keeps up the momentum, will catch up to IE 5.5 in no time. No need to complain any longer about Linux not having a world class browser. It's here now, or at least very, very close. Kmail 1.2 is also a really nice email client.

    Can't wait to see the final GNOME 1.4. I keep waffling between the two environments. It's nice to see both of them progressing so well.

    That was a long-ass, train-of-consciousness ramble, for which I make no apologies.

  • Ok, what are the options out there for open-source outlined fonts. Are you saying that the AA libraries on Linux are doing a poorer job of actually rendering the fonts, or are you saying that there simply aren't any open true type fonts out there?

    Or both?
  • Hey, who said that all OSs aren't in the dumps? Linux's core is very sound, but all of the GUI stuff is in its toddler stages (and slow, very very slow). BeOS's GUI is sound, but the core is quirky. Nothing in Windows is sound, but DirectX saves it, as does hardware support. QNX has the neatest networking, but its filesystem is trash. The OS market these days is just one big comprimise, there IS no certifiably best OS out there, even if you constrain your market to something small like video or audio workstations. BeOS has the MediaKit, Linux has the insanely fast filesytem (XFS).
  • Check your facts, dude.

    Of course the smoothed screen fonts are bitmaps, your whole screen is a bitmap.

    Windows renders to the screen context to view e.g. a web page, and since it's a color device, it takes advantage of that by anti-aliasing the fonts.

    When you go to print, it re-renders the fonts to the printer context, which is probably mono, and of a significantly higher resolution than the screen, anyway, so it's a good idea to re-render.

    After rendering (in either case) the result is a bitmap.

    How can you be so wrong and yet so convinced of your correctness that you had to make an epmhatic statement like that? Feel stupid?
  • Also, as long as we're at it, how would you compare BeOS's font rendering engine with Linux's (which I guess in OpenType), MacOS's and Window's? Since I use laptops exclusively, I can't wait until sub-pixel rendering is easy to do under at least Linux, then BeOS then Windows.

  • Don't get me wrong, as I said, I didn't mean anything bad by it. I admire all the people who have worked so hard on the OSS movement. I just find it funny some of the things Linux users get excited about. (And yes, I get excited too. I'm excited about KDE 2.1, the upcoming accelerated NVIDIA XRender drivers, KDevelop, and an i686-optimized version of Gentoo Linux.)
  • It is off by default you have to set an environmental variable to turn it on for QT.

  • I think he was talking printing of screenshots. To tell the truth, ANY OS will have this problem, so I have no idea WTF he is talking about. And who prints screenshots anyway?
  • Linux is now easy enough for an old mainframe COBOL plodder like me. Not long before the home market now :-)
  • by Azza ( 35304 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @01:05PM (#378454)
    If you print screenshots, what do you expect? And who would print screenshots full of text to get a readable hardcopy of that text anyway?

    Why don't you just choose the 'Print' option from the application, rather than capturing the screen and then printing it? That way you'll get output correctly formatted for the device you're writing to (e.g. the printer).
  • by Gendou ( 234091 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @04:48PM (#378455) Homepage
    My friend and I have spent weekends hacking away at this. Here's what we've come up with:

    1. Get X 4.0.2 source or the snapshot. 4.0.2 has the rendering extention necessary for AA'ed and RGB decimated fonts. Also get all the other software - KDE 2.1, Qt 2.3.0, etc. You get the picture. Also, you MUST get Freetype 2.0 source!

    2. Build Freetype2. There's a little hack you must do here on some systems for X to compile properly. In your /usr/local/include/freetype2 directory (which is the default location for Ft2's headers), symlink ft2build.h to freetype/config/ft2build.h. This many not be necessary on all systems... it was for me. Minor problem.

    3. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT (HARD) PART! X configures itself rather stupidly in most cases as far as we have seen. hosts.def overrides all these annoying settings and lets you tweak precisely for your needs... so, let's make sure it does it right. Create a new config/cf/hosts.def file in your XFree86 source directory (commonly /usr/src/xc) - note that commented out items are detected at compile time specifically for your platform:

    #define DebuggableLibraries NO
    #define SharedLibXdmGreet YES
    #define LinkGLToUsrInclude YES
    #define LinkGLToUsrLib YES
    #define SharedLibFont YES
    #define SharedLibXft YES
    #define SharedLibXrender YES
    #define HasZlib YES
    /*#define SharedLibGlu NO*/
    /*#define NormalLibGlu NO*/
    /*#define FSUseSyslog YES */
    /*#define HasKatmaiSupport NO */
    #define HasAgpGart YES
    #define HasMMXSupport YES
    #define Has3DNowSupport YES
    #define BuildGLULibrary YES
    #define BuildXF86DRM YES
    /* Tweak for your system or remove altogether.*/
    #define DefaultGcc2i386Opt -O2 -fno-strength-reduce -mpentiumpro
    #define JoystickSupport NO /* this appears to be broken */
    #define XF86XAA YES
    #define BuildFontServer YES
    #define BuildFreeType YES
    #define BuildXTrueType YES
    #define BuildGlxExt YES
    /*#define BuildDebug NO */
    /*#define BuildXF86DRI NO*/
    /*#define BuildXF86DRIDriverSupport NO*/
    # define BuildRender YES
    # define BuildGLXLibrary YES
    # define BuildXvLibrary YES
    # define BuildXF86DGALibrary YES
    # define BuildXF86DGA YES
    # define BuildXvExt YES
    # define UsbMouseSupport NO /* this seems to be broken too */
    /* Use this if we're going to use external Freetype2 libs instead..*/
    #define Freetype2Dir /usr/local

    4. Build X using a make World and make install (you can make logs of course if you want). You may have some problems... they're usually pretty easy to iron out - and I won't go into how here. Make sure you back up your existing X11 binary tree.

    5. Configure X... do the whole thing. Try starting X with the bare basics. (Duh-step. :-)

    6. If X is working, download this file... []
    ...and extract it in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts

    7. Download this file... []
    ...edit it and copy it to /usr/X11R6/lib/X11

    8. Start X again... this time, try to open an Xterm with the command:
    xterm -fa courier
    If the font is AA'ed... then BINGO! It works!

    9. If you succeeded at 8, build Qt 2.3.0 and KDE 2.1 as you normally would. Read the docs. And there you go! Have fun! AA'ed fonts. :-)

  • That is sweeeeet! I use grip on WindowMaker. After seeing all these new goodies, I may pull down KDE in order to run Konqueror. I just wish konq came as a seperate package.
  • video codec ... Sorensen ... Apple

    You're thinking of QuickTime [], rather than the communist-looking Qt toolkit [] used as KDE []'s widget set.

    textual display information imbedded into movies now?

    <OT>This has been in quicktime for a while (since at least 3.0).</OT>

    Back on topic: will qt free edition (or xfree86) ever be ported to windows 9x?

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • It may very well be that I just don't "get" antialiasing...but I thought I understood the basic concept. That being the case, this question sounds funny to me.

    Isn't "antialiasing" (to oversimplify) a form of "intelligent blurring"? (In this case, blurring the fonts corners a bit so that they blend a little smoother with the background).

    If so...don't you LOSE detail (while improving the actual appearance) when you antialias?

    Yes and no, depending on the implementation. A simple anti-aliasing of a given bit of text at a given resolution will decrease the detail of the font. A form of supersampling, using a higher resolution bitmap to generate an antialiased smaller version will add detail, at the expense of losing background detail. Luckily the background we're talking about is usually a solid color, so detail, schmetail...

  • Okay. And how exactly does any of this demonstrate the "fallacies of OOP"?

    -- Brian
  • It's free for any Open Source application. You are not limited to the GPL (what kind of freedom would that be?). You can choose BSD, MPL, QPL, MIT, Artistic, or any other Free Source license.
  • ...but is it sub-pixel antialiased? That was on CmdrTaco's GUI wish list.
  • I agree with you on KDE 2.1 100% (if not 120%). I hadn't tried it in years (didn't really use X and when I did whatever lightwieght wm was fine) and I was astonished at how much it has improved. It is a completely different beast - extremely usable, looks good, feels good, works good. There are still a few annoyances but they are very minor. If you haven't tried KDE recently check out 2.1!
  • by cyberdonny ( 46462 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @10:49AM (#378463)
    ...will it support dead keys (accented characters, where you first press the accent, then the letter)? So far, this has been on and off for a while. 2.2.2 botched it, 2.2.3 fixed it, 2.2.4 botched it again... Somewhat hard to type French text, if the accents don't work properly.
  • After using Windows ME and Windows 2000, I must say that Microsoft OSs crash far more often than Linux does. My LFS build only crashed one time and it was while I was installing Wine! (What a coincidence) Windows crashes AT LEAST 1 time an hour. (And that's when I'm not using Windows Media Player or some shits like this.) And, that's on a clean install! So, windows users, you can continue to let microsoft owners laugh of you and make billions of dollars. I will not support a crappy corporation which will soon possess the whole planet in its quest of power. In fact, it represents everything I hate in this world.
  • Excellent post! Thank you! It made me realize that it's not really worth it. You saved me many hours. :-)
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @05:14PM (#378466) Homepage Journal
    Mature products are somewhat better, but not dramatically so than their predecessors. IE 5 is perhaps better than 4, but not so dramatically better than 4 was than 3. MS will have a hell of a time making sure IE 6 isn't worse than 5.5.

    The impressive thing about KDE an Gnome is how dramatically and rapidly better they are getting. This suggests that they haven't neared anything like a plateau, and that the commercial GUI vendors may find themselves lapped in the next eighteen months. It's easy to criticize these desktops since they are evolving in the open and all their early awkwardness is exposed for all to see.

    Already they are at or near the magic boiling point of usability for most people. If you are much better than your predecessor but not good enough you're still not good enough. But good enough and rapidly getting better is a different story.

  • You'll notice that it's also under the LGPL. Sheesh.
  • i noticed you also left the "linux" aliased, and italized to boot (makes aliased fonts look even worse), while you used a bold, AA "Microsoft". Going for subliminal messages, hmm ... ? Read 'em and weep, Linux people. MS people use dirty tricks (just like the company they promote). Hiss!
  • I'd like to see how they define UNIX platform. Does NT's POSIX count as a UNIX platform? Does BeOS count as a UNIX platform? This UNIX bigotry has got to stop! Making it free for OSS and pay for commercial is one thing. Doing the same for UNIX and Windows is just punishing a developer for not liking *NIX.
  • It is supposed to do so, but an overapplication of smoothing can make things look fuzzy, which will have your eyes trying to focus better. Of course, this is impossible as the original is blurry (by definition of AA).

    This is where clear type and sub-pixel AA on LCDs kicks ass, as it doesn't suffer from the blur problem of CRTs.

    There is an art to choosing good convolution kernels for AA, and judging from these comments, it seems that different people on different output devices have different optimal kernels. I hope the final product has this as a configuration option.
  • Full lyrics and MP3 available [] on the TrollTech site! ;-)

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • Hello. How do I turn sub-pixel rendering on? I'm running on a laptop (toshiba sattelite if that makes any difference). I'm running KDE 2.1 with qt 2.3.0 (and the anti-aliasing looks great! Or at least, better than without it)

  • Quality?

    Just a guess though.

  • I used a beta of Qt for a while with KDE 2.1 and while the anti-aliasing looks very good it seems to create more eyestrain than the anti-aliasing in Windows (2000 at the moment). Too much of a good thing...
  • Believe me, it makes a big difference and it gives you a lot of time that you can spend working on something other than you PC. :-)
  • Iirc, you can turn off AA fonts in the XftConfig for certain point sizes, if that's what you want.

    When I tried an AAed KDE beta, I found that I wanted smaller fonts AAed, and it let me work with smaller point sizes than otherwise. Part of this is surely due to the fact that I had subpixel rendering on (yes, I have an LCD screen), and part is due to my own preferences/tolerance/whatever.
  • You forget. The majority of computers run an OS that is not case sensitive. Thus, there is a very good chance that at the trademark office, ==
  • where can we find some screenshots?? i wish i knew c++ to code apps for it
  • by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @01:34PM (#378479) Homepage Journal
    powerful bindings for languages of all sorts--C++, java, python, perl, etc. The Gnome framework, IMHO, is extremely powerful, flexible,

    Yes, Gnome is nice, but did you know that there are KDE bindings for C++, java, python and perl? Python is also the common scripting language built into most major apps. If you want to, you can even access all exposed internal functions in KDE apps at the command line (via dcop), allowing things like bash scripting of GUI programs.

    I'm not saying Gnome is bad at all -- but since you're saying "First time I started using C++, I thought what a hideous hack!", I figured you might be under the assumption that you have to use C++ to develop KDE apps. Yes, KDE itself is written in C++, but its apps are open to several languages.

    In fact, KDevelop also has templates and good support for building Gnome and commandline apps. So you can even use KDE while developing Gnome apps, if you'd like.


  • Obviously we're not scientists here with little measurements for blood shot eyes, fatigue, and general wasting away. It's all just supposition and personal experience. If you can't deal with that then don't worry about it. The rest of the reasonable folks will continue on with life.

    If you aren't trolling then simply don't worry about our fatigure/eye strain and go play with KDE w/ AA and see how it feels to you.

  • Yes, Qt supports unicode on all supported platforms. And, unlike under MFC, you use the same API for everything, even Win95 vs NT/2000.
  • True enough. Ideally users should be able to open a "tuning wizard" that would be able to help you tune the system for speed vs glitz, and slimness vs bloat.

    But in the meantime, there's no reason why elite users like yourself can't figure out how to turn stuff like this off, is there?
  • Ummm...I thought QT was used in KDE, GTK in gnome....

  • Is it possible to program for KDE using plain old C?

    - - - - -
  • No offense, but you should really check to make sure anti-aliasing is working before you post that it causes more eyestrain than W2K.


    Why, because nvidia's X server does not currently support the render extension and so anti-aliased fonts will not work with it.
  • I hate anti-aliased fonts, they always look blurry to me. Mucho eyestrain.
  • >Back on topic: will qt free edition (or xfree86) >ever be ported to windows 9x? Probably not in this lifetime. Tolltech is interested in making a profit. They gain visibility through KDE, which they can then use to market their "write one, run anywhere" widget set. You can't blame them for wanting to turn a profit from their work. I'm just happy that KDE users benefit from their work. I love KDE2!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    AA simply modifies the colour of the pixel based on what percentage of the 'line' passes through it. have a 1pt (.72in) thick line, from 0.5,0.5 to 30.8,20.12

    the line's area - here, a 'line' is really a transformed rectangle (or polygon in the case of a line with a more complex style), will cover some pixels almost entirely, and only partially cover other pixels.

    So we simply colour any pixel that the line intersects with a grey value proportional to the area of the pixel covered by the line.

    This does require a fair bit more work, since our line drawing algorithm is now more complex than simple bresenhams.

    Compositing is also an issue, since handling the intersections of multiple antialiased lines can produce annoying visual artifacts due to additive alpha values etc.

  • Well, does matter that Debian had Qt Xft AA two weeks ago? For your information, I have had Qt Xft since 3 months ago. But I'm not going to go about bragging that my distro got it before all the others. I'm not a Debian user. I use Linux, but I don't even use a distro. All I had to to was to get qt-copy from KDE [] CVS (i.e. cvs -d co qt-copy) and replace my current Qt with that. qt-copy will always have the latest Qt with fresh bugfixes and such, and was previously the only source for Xft AA in the latest Qt as th only other Xft source was the original 2.2.2 patch released by Keith Packard [].

  • Read 'em and weep, Linux people. Read 'em and weep.

    Oooh, you're right! I'm swiching back to windoze right now! Hey, it's no big secret that Linux doesn't do AA as well as windows. Nobody's going to be shocked about this.

  • I've been running KDE 2.1 on QT 2.2.4 and XFree86 4.0.2 just fine. (It's BEAUTIFUL, by the way!) Now I want to try anti-aliased fonts.

    Firstly - I have the current CVS for the DRI drivers, which includes the Xft, Xrender, etc. library sections. I managed to get freetype2 built and installed (I think! There were some problems...), and configured the hosts.def file accordingly. I managed to get everything to build and install...but then KDE wouldn't start. (KSplash complaining about undefined symbols in the Xft library).

    I figured maybe I needed to rebuild KDE (at least KDELIBS) against the new X stuff, so I tried. Firstly, the 2.1 configure script complains about 2.3.0 not being "QT >= 2.2.3", but I got around THAT. Trying to build, it errors out with similar complaints about undefined symbols in Xft...

    So (to finally get to the point)...I figure either I need to rebuild QT (my next try), or I didn't actually successfully build freetype2, or I have to build all of X from scratch...

    Anybody know any good "shortcuts" for me to add support for this feature? (I'm running on a "Slackware-Post-7.1" based distribution if it matters...)

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • >>Back on topic: will qt free edition (or xfree86)
    >>ever be ported to windows 9x?
    >Probably not in this lifetime.

    YM "not by Trolltech." Qt Free is GPL and can be ported. XFree has already been ported to NT, and there's a good shareware X server from Microimages [] called MI/X. I don't think it would be that hard to get Qt Free running under Win32, or does Qt have some technical issues I'm not aware of that one of its biggest competitors [] that has been ported to Win32 [] doesn't?

    "write one, run anywhere" widget set

    Java Swing [], Tcl/Tk [], GTK+ [], Allegro []... The field is already crowded.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • Anyone know when similar improvements to GTK are coming out?

    AFAIK, The font handling in gtk+ 1.2 makes implementing the new scheme painful (although there are some hacks around if you really want it...). Gtk+ 2.0 will have AA support supposedly, with much better font handling all round.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @10:58AM (#378498)
    It is just as good everywhere - provided you don't forget to compile in Unicode support on Windows (otherwise you won't be able to cut and past Unicode text between Qt and other Windows applications). I've written a large application with Python and Qt that depends extensively on Unicode support:, and I was very glad to see that my app worked equally well on Windows as on Linux.
  • It uses the XRender extentions which uses X to do the AA work.
    If you'd have bothered to read about this at all you'd realize that, yes, X does do sub-pixel AA if you want it to.

  • Microsoft has released a set of high quality TrueType web fonts: Times, Courier, Arial, Comic, Impact under a license that allows free use and redistribution.

    Get it Here [].

    The extension is .exe but it's a self-extracting zipfile. You can open it with unzip.

    Someone has also packaged it as an RPM []

  • When you do your homework and make actual screen fonts, like, oh, say, Microsoft does, you don't end up with a badly anti-aliased page but with a page that can be read without getting a splitting headache.

    Unfortunately Microsoft's "anti-aliasing" still isn't as good as existed on home machines in 1987... an interesting comparison of RISC OS vs. Windows' font renders [] contains these two examples:

    Down at the bottom of the first page is an example from a reimplementation of RISC OS' font manager on Linux, which does look nice! ;-)

  • > I am using QT 2.2.4 here and it supports accented characters perfectly. Maybe you should check your configs but don't blame QT.

    Could your post your config please? I used the qt-2.2.4 rpm that came with the kde 2.1 download for Redhat 6.x . What config files do I need to change to make dead keys work?

    > See:éóáû Got it?

    Proves nothing. Could have been typed in from another version of qt, or from a non-qt app (such as ... netscape)


  • While I can't confirm this right now I think you are over-thinking this upgrade. AFAIK all you need to do is upgrade the library to 2.3.0 (rpm -U, apt-get) and set an environment variable (QT_XFT, or something). If your XFree 4.0.2 was compiled with XRender (xdpyinfo to make sure) then it should "Just Work"(tm).

  • You shouldn't drop a working feature only because you don't like those who need it. It is like removing the ability to spoof messages from LICQ just because you believe it's immoral.

    In the free software world, if you let someone down, the project can just fork. Get used to it.

  • I'd like to see how they define UNIX platform.

    You mean for licensing purposes? Qt Free is GPL, so you can port it to any platform.

    Does NT's POSIX count as a UNIX platform? Does BeOS count as a UNIX platform?

    Currently, Qt Free requires a working POSIX subsystem (NT's is subpar but Red Hat Cygwin [] is good) and an X11 server. XFree86 works on Windows NT/2K [] but not on 9x because of stupid assumptions in the design of Windows 9x's USER and GDI servers. (Why oh why didn't Microsoft just release NT 4 as Windows 95?)

    free for OSS and pay for commercial is one thing. Doing the same for UNIX and Windows is just punishing a developer for not liking *NIX.

    It's not punishing but instead "not wasting effort on porting a free software package to an environment that's thought to be hostile to free software."

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @11:53AM (#378519) Homepage
    It's not as simple as that. I know on my LinuxPPC system, the fonts look like hell. And that's even the TrueType fonts that I, um, ripped off from the Mac OS and serve using xfstt.

    The fonts under Linux are fairly legible -- provided you find the one or two point sizes that actually look good, so the loops aren't closing up, etc. But under the Mac OS, ALL the point sizes look fine!

    Maybe it has something to do with the fonts for the Mac being designed for a 72 dpi screen resolution, while X11 is designed at 75 dpi? But I thought TrueType was supposed to solve the resolution-dependence problem...

    Truly perplexing, this rotten X fonts thing.
  • Take a look here. []

  • Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but isn't some of the enhanced detail provided by antialiasing lost in a jpeg bitmap?

  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:02PM (#378524) Homepage
    I think I see the problem. (Er, no pun intended.)

    On my desk as I type this, I have a laptop with a nice, crisp (but jaggy) non-anti-aliased display, and another machine running an older version of Linux and X displayed on a cheap 14" monitor that achieves anti-aliasing but the simple method of having a slightly out-of-focus display. (Dang cheap magnet coils, or something). I can read either at length without bother.

    However, when I look at a screen shot of an antialiased display on this nice crisp LCD, it bugs me. I think the problem is that because the rest of the screen has sharp lines and text, my eyes keep trying to bring the AA'd text into focus -- obviously without success. On the CRT, however, the whole screen is "soft focus" so my eyes just give up and go with the flow.

    Shrug. As long as it's something I can turn off (by font, perhaps?), I like the idea. Maybe its just that my eyes burned out long ago reading dot-matrix printouts and 80x25 character dumb terminal screens. They expect anything on a monitor to be jaggy :)
  • by anaZ ( 917 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:09PM (#378525)
    Here's a screenshot for konqueror showing an arabic webpage [] :-)
    Without anti-aliasing, arabic letters look very bad...


  • Have you checked out the XFree86 Font Deuglification Mini HOWTO []?

    It helped me make my X-windows usable!


  • I was indeed aware of KDE's language bindings. It's very good to see Gnome and KDE embrace language flexibility and choice. I haven't played around with KDevelop much--didn't know it could be used for Gnome development. I'll have to give it a shot. I'm a fan of using a combination of tools to get the job done. I use gdb and vim for the most part while in UNIX and at work I'm a Visual C++ developer.
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @02:31PM (#378532) Homepage Journal
    The Trolltech copy of the 2.3.0 source is really slow, so I have mirrored it in Freenet [] for those who want it. Freenet users can find it at freenet:KSK@qt-x11-2.3.0.tar.gz [].


  • If your XFree 4.0.2 was compiled with XRender (xdpyinfo to make sure) then it should "Just Work"(tm)

    The catch is (I THINK!) that Xfree86 support for freetype2 is optional, and not compiled by default. RENDER is in my xdpyinfo list, but I don't recall compiling it with freetype2 support - hence all of the recompiling I just tried...

    The "undefined symbol" errors looked like they were all related to the truetype aliasing and such, which is what makes me wonder if my build of freetype2 was incomplete...

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • Heh. One more reason for the LINE project to succeed. ;)

  • Okay, I didn't realize it'd require a port. However, I take offense to your "hostile to free software" comment. Windows has an extensive freeward community, and just because a person prefers to work in Windows rather than deal with the POS that is POSIX and X (its entirely a matter of preference, I can't stand non-OO GUI environments and four letter function call names offend my sense of cleanliness) doesn't make that person in any way hostile to free software. OSS software does not need to run on an OSSOS.
  • Interesting find. Perhaps straight anti aliasing isn't the best solution. I haven't used QT or seen this anti-aliasing is action, but perhaps it would be best to increase the pixels intensity after anti aliasing them so that the brightness of the source colour would be visible in the most intense part of the destination anti aliased text.

  • Never mind, just found the reference to Free Edition []. Just what I was looking for...
  • by Skeezix ( 14602 ) <> on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:12PM (#378543) Homepage
    Actually, the Gnome codebase is quite well maintained. It's not perfect, but we're working on it. Perhaps you could list specific hard-core facts, rather than making assertions with no basis. If you do have a basis for saying that Gnome will collapse under its own weight in a few months, I'd love to hear it. As someone who has spent significant time looking at the Gnome framework, and being both a C and C++ developer, I can attest to the flexibility of the core C-based architecture with powerful bindings for languages of all sorts--C++, java, python, perl, etc. The Gnome framework, IMHO, is extremely powerful, flexible, and getting even better all the time. Now of course, if you're not used to something you may find it confusing at first. :) First time I started using C++, I thought what a hideous hack! With time I've come to appreciate the advantages of both C and C++. It's great to be able to use both.
  • by FonkiE ( 28352 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:15PM (#378546)

    With anti-aliased fonts printing of screenshots is nearly impossible, because of the anti-aliasing: the printer can't re-aliase and then do it's own anti-aliasing. It anti-aliases the fonts again, therefore you can read a 1280x1024 screen with a small font (aliased or not), but you can't read the printout if aliased ...

    It would be nice to rerender for a printout - without aliasing ;-)

    Windows has this problem too.
  • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @11:34AM (#378547) Journal
    Perhaps it isn't the anti-aliasing as much as the fonts. All the fonts I've seen used in screenshots of AA QT looked pretty ugly. In general, Windows has higher-quality fonts than Linux.

    In fact, as I look over this page in Internet Explorer 5.5 on Win98, I notice that while there are fonts drawn all over the screen (menus, address bar, window title bar, text on webpage, status bar, Start menu, etc) there are only two places on the entire screen using AA fonts: The two large bold headers on the comment I'm replying to. Every other font on the screen is NOT AA! When you use a windows machine, you're only looking at AA fonts perhaps 10% of the time. No system fonts are anti-aliased. They just have better quality fonts.

    Someone needs to start a Open Fonts project. Well, probably someone has already. Someone needs to promote existing Open Fonts projects, then, becuase X is in need of some better fonts (that look good and are readable at ALL sizes).

    [me@localhost]$ prolog
    | ?- god.
    ! Existence error in god/0
  • Mandrake does what you're looking for. You can simply copy a truetype font to /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/drakfont, or use their DrakFont utility. If you have Windows installed, it will auto import all your windows fonts.
    signature smigmature
  • Font anti-aliasing is not just averaging the rendered font pixels with the background. When you do that, vertical and horizontal strokes will look blurry, and details like serifs and whatnot disappear.
    A good font smoother -- like the one in Microsoft OSes ever since Win95 Plus Pack (over five years ago, folks!) -- only anti-aliases problem areas in diagonals and curves. Furthermore, it should only be applied to text above a certain type size.

    For more details, see Microsoft Typgraphy []. For an example of how not to do things, see TN 1149: Smoothing Fonts [] at Apple [].

  • One of the main reasons GNOME is using C as opposed to C++ is that C is more portable and far more supported across platforms. If you are stuck on an AIX RS6000 machine with a "quirky" compiler you'll understand how this goes.

    And another thing, just because something is written in C automatically means no "object oriented" code. You can accomplish OOP in C by various mechanisms that all work even though C itself doesn't naitively support OOP. X (which KDE depends on anyway) and Gnome and Win32 all work on the concept of a modifying a "black box object". It is interesting to note that there are C++ bindings built on these toolkits!

    And let us not forget that OOP code doesn't automatically mean better written code. Some of the neatest code I've seen (in Perl btw) doesn't require OOP. :-)

    Does Gnome need to be written in C++? No because they found that the extra synax was just sugar. I have no problem with Gnome and GTK being written in C because others will come along and implement C++ wrapping around it(just like MFC).
  • isn't some of the enhanced detail provided by antialiasing lost in a jpeg bitmap?

    It may very well be that I just don't "get" antialiasing...but I thought I understood the basic concept. That being the case, this question sounds funny to me.

    Isn't "antialiasing" (to oversimplify) a form of "intelligent blurring"? (In this case, blurring the fonts corners a bit so that they blend a little smoother with the background).

    If so...don't you LOSE detail (while improving the actual appearance) when you antialias?

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • Sort of like Microsofties getting excited about Microsoft finally producing a stable OS after only 22 years of trying.
  • by MSBob ( 307239 )
    What is the QT's support for internationalization on all platforms. I know that KDE runs in 33 languages and that QT is Unicode based. What I'd like to find out (because I'm selecting a GUI toolkit for my company) is whether Unicode is this good on all platforms that QT supports including Win95/98? Anyone with some experience with QT on these particular OSes?
  • First bit is right, second bits all wrong. Sorry.

    Firstly, the MS Font Smoother is not an antialiaser, and never has been. Secondly, there's no point in smoothing large text, as the aliasing artifacts you're trying to get rid of have a tiny impact on the letterform.

    Antialiasing (as practiced by Acrobat, Acorn RISCOS, gv and the like) isn't available for general use on the Windows desktop. This will turn up in XP with the advent of ClearCase - which looked nice, but made my eyes tired surprisingly quickly.

    The current Windows font smoothing technology ruins letterforms; a true antialiasing technology preserves *the visual appearance* of letterforms - look at the difference between 12pt bold arial in an Acrobat document (antialiased) and in a Word document (smoothed).

  • In general, Windows has higher-quality fonts than Linux.

    Ehm... Linux has no quality fonts -- there is really nothing to compare with.

    Someone needs to start a Open Fonts project. Well, probably someone has already.

    Yes, me. But, to make Free fonts, you have to have tools! Currently there are only tools to make bitmap fonts, so I am making those. Bitmap fonts are sufficent in most cases anyway, something MS hinted fonts prove. Of course, TrueType and OpenType technologies are much more sophisticated (especially in terms of print press), but there are no Free tools to make such fonts. Linux wouldn't be without GNU tools -- same holds for fonts.

    Currently there are more or less no useful/readable Free fonts available that would benefit from font anti-aliasing. The only fonts that do, are from Microsoft! It takes 5 minutes to install them with APT, but that's not really a solution.

    It's not. Microsoft fonts are good, some of them, at least, but none of them are perfect. Especially the hinted sizes aren't. Well, perhaps it's the renderer's fault... but I have no way to find out without the tools. I could make them better. Anyone could. But we can't.

    But, as I said, for now I am making bitmap fonts. And I find some of those fonts more readable than Microsoft's, but of course, I haven't done *that* much progress to be able to totaly substitute all Microsoft fonts, mainly because I work alone... I suppose. Which leads me to your last comment.

    Someone needs to promote existing Open Fonts projects, then, becuase X is in need of some better fonts (that look good and are readable at ALL sizes).

    Bitmap fonts have existed for more than 30 fucking years! And in those 30 years no one have made good, readable bitmap fonts (something that isn't impossible) exect for Lucida font family which is okay, on the *NIX platform. I am not only talking about X, but console too. The standard VGA font is a big failure, mainly because of serifs. Please prove me wrong if I am mistaken! People nowadays deserve better. Think about it.

    Font anti-aliasing isn't a (the) solution! People keep complaining about different renderers, but it's the fonts! It's the fucking, stinking fonts that are the problem. And the solution is Free fonts, neither AA magic nor high resolution monitors!

    So yes, Free font projects should be promoted. You can begin today by visiting my Linux Font Project [] and look around. Visit other sites (none that related come to mind, hehe) by doing some research. But font makers still need the tools. This is getting silly.


  • Oh, well then, you are right and truly screwed. Looks like you are going to have to recompile XFree86 or install a binary package with freetype2 support in it. You still shouldn't have to recomple Qt and I am certain that you won't have to recompile KDE as it knows nothing about the anti-aliasing happening in Qt/XRender

  • You can't help but get excited when a group of dedicated people, coding free for glory and the ability to use a non Microsoft product, manage to accomplish what they have. I think that fact that people DO get excited about stuff like this shows how dedicated Linux users really are.

    I'd rather use Linux and contribute what I can while I wait for certain features, vs using Micro$quish products that crash all the time and cost a fortune.


  • BeOS uses a BitStream renderer, but an older one. FontFusion looks a little bit better and (more importantly) has more support for foreign languages.
  • Pretty much what the other poster replied to you said... Part of it is that the AA font setup in KDE 2.1 is a bit of a crapper. I'm sure it'll improve drastically. It was basically sitting there comparing browsing the net in KDE/Qt Anti-Aliased compared to Windows 2000. My eyes just didn't get as tired in the evil OS. This was over multiple days too so no 15 minute comparision :).

    For those wanting to play with AA fonts in KDE make sure you grab the truetype font package from here: []

    Without that font pack all my truetype fonts where bold when => 8 point size. Yes I did setup all the font.scale/alias crap... Probably occurred because I was missing the Xft* doc in the font archive mentioned above (not the config, a file that goes in the font dir).

    This was all with the "nvidia" X server so perhaps the problem is there and not Qt/KDE...

  • Sometimes this is not possible ????!!!! And printing a screenshot is my last resort ...

    (Not all people are too stupid to find the 'Print' option, the applications are too stupid to give you one.)
  • Okay, I didn't realize it'd require a port. However, I take offense to your "hostile to free software" comment. Windows has an extensive freeward community

    I assume "freeward" is a misspelling for "freeware." In that case, I know about all roy []alty []-fre []e bi []nari []es, but most of them are not free software. There's a difference [].

    OSS software does not need to run on an OSSOS.

    But copylefted free software can never be written in Visual Basic, as that would require providing the source code of the MS Visual Basic runtime and releasing it under a compatible license []. Tough luck getting Microsoft to comply there. (Or is the VB runtime covered by the operating system exception to the common licenses?)

    And there isn't that large of a library of GPL'd Windows software to infect Windows programs with GPL either.

    All your hallucinogen [] are belong to us.
  • by Adnans ( 2862 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @03:11PM (#378592) Homepage Journal
    XRender will be supported in the upcoming 0.9-7 release. Full hardware support for XRender should make it in 0.9-8. When that happens the NVidia cards will probably be the fastest and most feature rich you can get for Linux. Given, this will be for x86 only for now, but as an AMD x86 user I can't complain.

    This info comes from a reliable [] source. And since NVidia has hired this X guru, I can only conclude that they're very serious about Linux/XFree support (Think SGI []).

    Posted from an AA'd konqueror browser (driver "nv" for now :)

  • Wow! It's amazing that a volunteers and weekend warriors can do all this stuff when it took all the other systems acres of cubicles and herds of managers to get it done.

    Check to see how long Internet Explorer has been around. Now compare that to Konqueror. If that doesn't knock your socks off then you aren't wearing any.
  • how did you fix the 'configure saying QT > 2.2.3 is not found' thingy?

    In my case, I "cheated" - I've been putting the QT libraries in /usr/local/qt-[version] (e.g. /usr/local/qt-2.2.4 /usr/local/qt-2.3.0) and just making a symbolic link /usr/local/qt to whichever one I'm using. When I want to try a new one, I put it in a new directory, compile it, change where /usr/local/qt points to, and go.

    Having just installed qt-2.3.0 earlier today, I hadn't yet deleted qt-2.2.4, so I pointed the qt symbolic link to that, ran the ./configure script, then re-pointed the qt link back to qt-2.3.0.

    Not a real elegant solution - I imagine the "current" KDE sources (i.e. CVS and/or beta versions coming soon) will have that fixed. Maybe if we're lucky they'll fix the current kde-2.1 scripts to realize that 2.3.0 is greater than 2.2.3....

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • I have hardware fullscreen anti-aliasing built into my old 20" monitor!

    That's nothing, I've got a screensaver built into my monitor's hardware. I just push the little button with the "circle with a line through it" symbol and up comes this screensaver. It appears to be a 3D animation of being lost inside of a coal mine without a light source. Neat! :-)

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • by mvuijlst ( 134514 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:54PM (#378601) Homepage
    Actually an Arabic letter benefits from good screen fonts as much as the next glyph. When you do your homework and make actual screen fonts, like, oh, say, Microsoft does, you don't end up with a badly anti-aliased page but with a page that can be read without getting a splitting headache. I put a simple side-to side comparison of Arabic in Linux and Windows [] on-line for anyone who cares to look at the actual facts before putting Microsoft down. The sample on the far right is the same text as the two previous ones, but this time in larger size where Microsoft's font smoothing does kick in.

    Read 'em and weep, Linux people. Read 'em and weep.

  • by Anonymous Colin ( 69389 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @12:56PM (#378602)
    Interpolation is an avaraging pixel values. When e.g. a texture in a 3-d model is enlarged (or shrunk) to fit a surface, the pixel values are calculated with interpolation.

    Anti-aliasing is any technique that makes edges look sharper to the human eye. Note that this applies to object edges in 3-D models every bit as much as in text.

    In practice, if you use interpolation to calculate the pixel values along the representation of a line, only thoes pixels that wholly or partially contain the line will be affected. With AA, pixels that do not contain any part of the line, but are "near" the line, may be drawn in a subtly different colour to fool the eye into seeing a smoother edge.

    Take a screen capture of some AA text and blow it up in the gimp so that you can see the pixels, then take a look around the text edges - it's quite enlightening.

    P.s., although I could easily give formulas for interpolation (it's simple linear interpolation), I don't offhand know what the calculations for AA are - but you can look them up with Google as easily as me, so its left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Maybe the Mac truetype renderer is just better? Either way, the best truetype renderer out there seems to BitStream's FontFusion. QNX RtP's text looks AMAZING.
  • But copylefted free software can never be written in Visual Basic, as that would require providing the source code of the MS Visual Basic runtime and releasing it under a compatible license.
    So, according to your logic, I couldn't license a Perl program under the BSD license, since it would conflict with the GPL? I doubt it.

    And there isn't that large of a library of GPL'd Windows software to infect Windows programs with GPL either.
    There wasn't a large library of free software on UNIX either, until GNU came along. Don't tell me the same can't be done on Windows.

    Your arguement doesn't hold water. OSS software can be written perfectly well on a non-OSS system. BeOS is proprietory, and I use OSS software all the time. It might be true that OSS developers are more inclined to support an OSSOS, but that's not exactly a hard and fast limitation.
  • One more thing. You must add the line to the [KDE] section of your ~/.kde/share/config/global...

  • by Frag-A-Muffin ( 5490 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2001 @10:43AM (#378608) Homepage
    "I can see clearly now two-three has come,
    I can see all the objects on the page
    Gone are the dark fonts that made my head ache
    Thanks to those bright, bright Trolls, hacking away"

    I think EVERY release of any software should come with a song! :)

  • There are two types of libraries that can be linked into a GPL'd program: (a) GPL compatible libraries and (b) libraries that are included with the operating system distribution and are distributed separately from the program. BeOS programs use the latter, but the MS Visual Basic runtime is neither.
    In that case, a lot of WIndows could be considered not part of the OS. Thus, on Windows 95, a GPL program could not link to DirectX (which isn't a part of the OS proper). I just think some of the symantics of the GPL are ridiculous. For example, is it wrong to port an OSS driver to a close source OS? Stallman discourages it. Plus, how does the license of the language one uses in any way related to the license of the software? It just seems that some parts of the GPL change from being a "good for the whole community" license to "let's screw closed source developers, even if it hurts the user community."

    This seems to imply that a "critical mass" of free software will be achieved much faster on free operating systems.
    Does this mean that it isn't morally wrong to make a developer pay for a toolkit just because the OSS community doesn't like his preferred OS? Does a GPL program on Windows count any less than a GPL program on Linux?

    Go spread the word about Wine (a free clone of Windows that runs on top of POSIX+X11).
    Why would I do that? I like Windows (NT4) better!
  • The Windows version of Qt that Trolltech sells may contain GPL incompatible code licensed from other
    entities; it costs money to develop GPL compatible code. This is part of why Mozilla took so long to replace
    some of the features of older Netscape releases. But Qt Free Edition is under GPL; you are free to start a
    project to port it to whatever platform you choose. According to QT's README, "If you want to port Qt to a
    new platform, please read the PORTING file.
    You're hedging. I can understand Qt's position, but in general, is it morally right to charge OSS Windows developers for toolkits that *NIX guys get for free?

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.