Getting Fedora 20 to not look like ass

It’s been a while since I monkeyed around with Fedora. 10 years ago, I was all about SuSE; then I bought a PowerBook G4, which was immune to Linux for the most part, but I ran Debian on it a couple of times just to see what PowerPC Linux was looking like. Around 2005, I started using Fedora Core, and actually liked it quite a bit.

When I was toiling away at Red Hat, starting in 2007, I tried to use RHEL on the desktop. This lasted about 2 hours, at which point I blew it away and put Fedora 7 on it and never looked back. I never actually looked forward, either, and wound up running Fedora 7 until I left the company in 2010. This turned out to be a running gag with the team, who scoffed at my old-man-on-the-porch attitude towards newer releases, with their “features” and “SVGA displays”.

Once I left Red Hat and started working for Canonical, I put Ubuntu on my MacBook Air; it was enjoyable for the most part. Ubuntu’s a nice desktop distribution, and a good match for the MacBook Air’s SSD and compact display. By the time Precise came out last year, installation was painless and the hardware support pretty top-notch.

Leaving Canonical, I figured it was time to revisit Fedora. I tore down my Precise installation and went about trying to get Fedora 19 installed. This resulted in gigantic failure, mainly because of this bug. Don’t bother trying to install this version, it won’t work and you’ll just be beating your head against a wall. Go for either Fedora 18 or the Fedora 20 beta.


When you’re done installing Fedora 20, you’ll notice the fonts look like ASS compared to Ubuntu or Mac OS X. This appears to be due, in part, to the version of Freetype that Fedora uses.

This is taken from here.

  1. Install the ‘nonfree’ version of freetype-freeworld from rpmfusion
  2. Set the Xft.lcdfilter property in your Xresources file:
    $ cat ~/.Resources
    Xft.lcdfilter: lcddefault
  3. Set up the hinting and antialising styles in gsettings:
    $ gsettings "set" "org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.xsettings" "hinting" "slight"
    $ gsettings "set" "org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.xsettings" "antialiasing" "rgba"

    $ xrdb -query
    Xft.antialias: 1
    Xft.dpi: 96
    Xft.hinting: 1
    Xft.hintstyle: hintslight
    Xft.lcdfilter: lcddefault
    Xft.rgba: rgb

Now, I don’t know why one has to do that, but one does.
After this, you’ll notice that the standard fonts start looking great. Even in Terminator.

Missing Fonts

I did find on occasion that I’d run across web pages, emails, etc. that included fonts that, once again, looked like 1997 Linux. Figuring this was because of shit font substitution, I installed the following:

  • Microsoft ttf core fonts
    • Arial
    • Times New Roman
    • Tahoma
    • etc
  • The Ubuntu font collection
  • Mac OS X Fonts
    • Lucida Grande
    • Apple Garamond

Even after doing all of this, though, I still have to put put up with font horridness. DejaVu Sans, specifically. It is jaggy and horrible, and unfortunately it can’t be uninstalled because of LibreOffice’s ill-advised package dependency on it. It basically just means that whenever I go to Fedora Project sites, I get eye-raped by unreadable fonts.


Despite the eye-rape, I quite like GNOME Shell, and GNOME 3.10 in general. It’s a nice, productive desktop, and very attractive to look at. With natural scrolling turned on and apps running full-screen, it’s a great match with the MacBook Air.

I do think that it makes inefficient use of my 11-inch screen, though. The title bars in application windows are gigantic, for example, with a big gray stripe that does nothing except waste my pixels and remind you that yes, you are running GNOME 3.

I quite like the fact that when I setup online accounts in the control panel, they actually do something. In Ubuntu, the underlying GNOME infrastructure does less and less, but they don’t bother taking out the user interface bits that make you think that when you configure something, it will actually be used somewhere.


Xbox One: November 22

Xbox One to Launch on November 22, 2013 for all the markets that matter (and many that don’t).

I just upgraded my work PC a couple of weeks ago; despite its Ubuntu handicap, it’s still quite capable of playing games at MEGAGODRESO U LOS3RS, so I don’t feel the need for a new console at the moment.

Man, I do love my 360, though; wondering just what sort of stuff we can expect on the One that will change my mind and make me spend £500 on games and hardware.

My wife is going to kill me.


More English, Less Pulpo

I just spent the weekend in Spain. An ex-colleague got married, and I'd never been to a Spanish wedding before. In fact, I'd only spent a few days in Spain, despite living on this side of the Atlantic for about 15 years now. The last time I was there was back in 2003, when I visited Barcelona and Montserrat, two beautiful and very different areas.

This time around I was in Santiago de Compostela. This is in the northwestern area of Spain, Galicia. They don't speak Spanish by default in Galicia, they speak Galician. It doesn't seem that anybody speaks Spanish in Spain. In Barcelona they speak Catalan, in the middle they speak Castellano, and who knows what the Basques speak. It's sort of like China, where you've got Mandarin, Cantonese, and who knows what else. Going to different countries requires a week of studying their Wikipedia pages just to know what to call their savage tongues.

Spain is a beautiful country. As different to the United Kingdom as two neighboring countries could be. Hardly anyone speaks English, for example. They also have a fascination with eating octopuses. In the UK, you'll need to go to secret, back-alley sources for your octopus. In Galicia, every bar and sidewalk food stall seems to offer pulpo at rock-bottom prices. I'm surprised that there are that many pulpo to eat, to be honest. I've always thought that the octopus was at least a little bit exotic; judging by the vast quantities of dead ones that I saw for sale in Spain, I can only assume their shorelines are positively writhing with them. Or maybe there are vast farms of these Cthulhoids, feeding the hunger. Both of these possibilities fill me with loathing, and I don't think I could go swimming in Spain without getting a serious case of the heebie jeebies.