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Will they ever fix font rendering in firefox 4?

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Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted May 7th, 2011, 2:40 pm

avada wrote:No it shouldn't follow whatever others do. One of the problems of current ff development is that it follows every whim of Chrome. Its not a bug its a choice

It should, if it's better. It shouldn't, if is not.
Simple.

IE render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Chrome render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Opera render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
So why not also Firefox ?

avada wrote:Wrong about this too. A small group of people keep whining that it doesn't look the same.

Bugzilla isn't for whining. See whining in google as I told you before or even on Mozilla forums...

small group of people ](*,)


EDIT:

avada wrote:nd the default is different (arguably better).

It's not better. If it was, everyone including M$ will be using it in system as default for GDI

avada
 
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Post Posted May 7th, 2011, 3:31 pm

Virtual_ManPL wrote:It should, if it's better. It shouldn't, if is not.
Simple.

IE render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Chrome render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Opera render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
So why not also Firefox ?

Just because you say so, it doesn't make it "proper".
Virtual_ManPL wrote:EDIT:
It's not better. If it was, everyone including M$ will be using it in system as default for GDI

That's just empty reasoning.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:Bugzilla isn't for whining. See whining in google as I told you before or even on Mozilla forums...

small group of people ](*,)

Still don't strike me that its a significant portion of people. There a few relevant results 50 up. But I can do the same kind of shallow reasoning: If it was a significant group of people it would be a primary concern for Mozilla to "fix" it, because of the large number of complaints

a;skdjfajf;ak

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Post Posted May 7th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Virtual_manPL wrote:IE render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Chrome render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc
Opera render properly (clear and sharp) with HW Acc


IE does not use HW acc full time, if the page is not IE9 full compliant HW acc is not used
Chrome does not use the MS API DirectWrite for HW acc - their sandbox model in the browser cannot hook into the API
Opera - no idea never used it.. but I'm guessing its very likely the same as Chrome - not using the DirectWrite API

The DirectWrite API is what's making fonts look bad, and yes I've seen the same pages display exactly the same in both IE9 & Firefox.

Firefox has at least provided a pref that can be changed to fall back to GDI and still use HW acc by setting it to '2' - fixes the issue for me, no more font problems. The rest of the fix will as has been stated many times over will have to come from MS in fixing the DirectWrite API font problem.

Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted May 8th, 2011, 3:41 am

avada wrote:Just because you say so, it doesn't make it "proper".

But don't you understand, that for most people fonts look worst in Firefox 4, compared to version 3.6 ?

avada wrote:
Virtual_ManPL wrote:EDIT:
It's not better. If it was, everyone including M$ will be using it in system as default for GDI

That's just empty reasoning.

Empty ? If it will be better, it will be used by others. Simple. No need to add any deep arguments.

avada wrote:Still don't strike me that its a significant portion of people. There a few relevant results 50 up. But I can do the same kind of shallow reasoning: If it was a significant group of people it would be a primary concern for Mozilla to "fix" it, because of the large number of complaints

So you want some thousands or millions to go and whine?
Nope, most of users just will disable HW Acc like google told them to get sharp and clear fonts, than wasting time for IRC, Bugzilla, forum or NewsGroup.
Even if bug get about 200-300+ votes, it still can be unfixed by 10+ years in Mozilla cease. Bugs like this are over 100.



@ Littlemutt - just remember that, the end users doesn't care what is used. If it looks right and works the same it's better. Chrome like also Opera is faster in tests, so why bother using DW if it's bugged and not used even by competitors or with some hack like in IE like you said.

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Post Posted May 8th, 2011, 5:32 am

Virtual_ManPL wrote:But don't you understand, that for most people fonts look worst in Firefox 4, compared to version 3.6 ?

That's nothing more than an assumption.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:Empty ? If it will be better, it will be used by others. Simple. No need to add any deep arguments.

Just because you write something as a statement doesn't make it true.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:So you want some thousands or millions to go and whine?
Nope, most of users just will disable HW Acc like google told them to get sharp and clear fonts, than wasting time for IRC, Bugzilla, forum or NewsGroup.
Even if bug get about 200-300+ votes, it still can be unfixed by 10+ years in Mozilla cease. Bugs like this are over 100.

I'd prefer, if no-one whined pointlessly. Especially about something that's not a bug. You again you assume what users do. If anything the relatively small number of complaint suggests that most users simply don't give much crap which rendering is used.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:If it looks right and works the same it's better.

Again. To be the same is not necessary better, or even good. A number of people just tend prefer whatever they got used to, no matter what. "looks right" is everything but universal.
Littlemutt wrote:The DirectWrite API is what's making fonts look bad, and yes I've seen the same pages display exactly the same in both IE9 & Firefox.

Firefox has at least provided a pref that can be changed to fall back to GDI and still use HW acc by setting it to '2' - fixes the issue for me, no more font problems. The rest of the fix will as has been stated many times over will have to come from MS in fixing the DirectWrite API font problem.

I'm not sure what you mean. I seem to remember a dx bug that was fixed a few months ago. The fact that firefox and I guess DW too defaults to natural symmetric is not a bug.

Virtual_ManPL

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Post Posted May 8th, 2011, 6:01 am

avada wrote:
Virtual_ManPL wrote:But don't you understand, that for most people fonts look worst in Firefox 4, compared to version 3.6 ?

That's nothing more than an assumption.

Assumption ?
Just go to my bug and see screenshots. If you still think that default setting looks the best you got something with you sight or you simply autosuggesting yourself that it is.


avada wrote:
Virtual_ManPL wrote:Empty ? If it will be better, it will be used by others. Simple. No need to add any deep arguments.

Just because you write something as a statement doesn't make it true.

But it is. If you think otherwise add arguments that make it false.


avada wrote:I'd prefer, if no-one whined pointlessly. Especially about something that's not a bug. You again you assume what users do. If anything the relatively small number of complaint suggests that most users simply don't give much crap which rendering is used.

I not assume. I'm just looking into google or local Firefox forum and I see people got problem with "odd" fonts
You just assume that now rendering is the better.

"relatively small number of complaint" ](*,)
51 pages in this thread
many threads in Support area about it, in days when Firefox 4 was released
over 1 million pages in google when you search blur font Firefox


avada wrote:I'm not sure what you mean. I seem to remember a dx bug that was fixed a few months ago. The fact that firefox and I guess DW too defaults to natural symmetric is not a bug.

Patch fixes problem with blur when you use anisotropic filtering as far I remember. Natural Symmetric isn't used as default. Natural is.

asquithea

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Post Posted May 8th, 2011, 6:56 am

51 pages in a thread that dates back to last year, before:
- some bugs that caused grey-scale AA and colour-fringing were fixed
- MS released patches for DW that further improved rendering
- settings and addons were made available to tweak the appearance
- people realised that cleartype tuning makes a significant difference
- manufacturers updated their video drivers to further mitigate problems

By all means tweak your own settings to suit yourself, but I've seen no evidence that many people care that much about the changes in font rendering in Fx4 final.

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 4:25 am

Virtual_ManPL wrote:Assumption ?
Just go to my bug and see screenshots. If you still think that default setting looks the best you got something with you sight or you simply autosuggesting yourself that it is.

Well then I suggest you visit a neurologist, or maybe a psychiatrist. Since you fail to comprehend that what you think is not an absolute truth. And I actually tried all variants with AA tuner. I prefer natural symmetric because fonts have a better shape, and doesn't look attached sometimes as it looks with GDI.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:But it is. If you think otherwise add arguments that make it false.

Now this is funny. :) You give the superb argument "but it is", and complain about my lack of arguments. All you give is assumptions and generalized personal opinions... You were the one who should have supported that 1. GDI rendering is better 2. If something is used by most is perfection (which is blatantly wrong).
Virtual_ManPL wrote:I not assume. I'm just looking into google or local Firefox forum and I see people got problem with "odd" fonts
You just assume that now rendering is the better.

So you see a couple of complaints and you assume that everyone is suffering because of the font rendering. That's... genius. Interesting, you're the one who stubbornly reiterates that GDI rendering is better and then accuse me of assumptions, but I never said that. Stop projecting your flaws on me.
Virtual_ManPL wrote:"relatively small number of complaint" ](*,)
51 pages in this thread
many threads in Support area about it, in days when Firefox 4 was released
over 1 million pages in google when you search blur font Firefox

51 pages of discussion. Also there was a bug in DW that was fixed early this year. Google gives millions of results for almost every existing word...
Virtual_ManPL wrote:Patch fixes problem with blur when you use anisotropic filtering as far I remember. Natural Symmetric isn't used as default. Natural is.

I remember that rendering also changed with an updated version of DW that also SP1 of win7 has.
Last edited by avada on May 10th, 2011, 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

scratchee
 
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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 6:30 am

to clear up some misunderstandings (whether mine or other's, I don't know):

I was under the impression that the bugs in DW were minor and have already been fixed? and that how it looks now is how it was always intended to look? and that the reason it appears more blurry is that it's designed to accurately represent the font first and foremost, even at the cost of crossing pixel boundaries (ie, blurriness) at times (plus sub-pixel positioning is likely involved).

Lots of miscommunication (FUD) seems to be going on in this thread, is it a bug? is DW broken? The only people ive heard that can be assumed to know what they are talking about are the Mozilla devs, who i think have been misinterpreted when stating side issues are MS bugs (or Mozilla bugs) as meaning the entire blurriness thing is a bug by someone or other...

Anyway, I think that there is some good arguments for both sides, but the gist is: DW is better from a Mozilla perspective, it means fonts will look ok in all circumstances, they don't have to do any special work to make curved/angled text look good, they are mid-push getting more font-aware websites (which means having more true-to-the-font text is a good thing) and its faster. That said, gdi is easier for reading, due to it aligning very well with the pixels of the screen, allowing the pixel boundaries to offer sharper edges.

From what I've read, there is quite a lot of flexibility in DW, potentially allowing you to enable some features and not others, that could be a better option, if they find the features that causes the blurriness (partially sub-pixel positioning?) they could disable them for text that is not desperately in need of them.

The problem being that this will take lots of effort, so we really need someone not biased to come in and perform lots of experiments and submit patches, until then, we're probably stuck with what we've got.

That is still all hacks though, DW isn't as readable but gdi is fundamentally broken for many tasks (rotated text, some font features, large text), the only "clean" solution is getting everyone in the world screens with twice the resolution, so that ordinary text has 2 pixel thick lines, thus making the importance of gdi's ability to line up text with the pixel grid a much smaller concern.


BTW: please nobody take this as suggesting there are no bugs in Firefox DW rendering, there are definately some edge cases where rendering goes bad that really need to be fixed, I'm just saying it is working correctly for the most part (URL bar being one edge case).
Last edited by scratchee on May 9th, 2011, 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

_Dexter_

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 7:02 am

My 2 cents worth.

1. I've never had a problem with blurry fonts with HWA on or off.
2. The only renderer that makes everything look good for me is natural symmetric. All the others screw up some fonts.
3. I've found that Arial is a problem font on my system. So I substituted it with a free lookalike font.

My 2 cents is up.
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scratchee
 
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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 7:30 am

as this thread shows, despite all the technical issues, 90% of this problem is subjective, if directwrite had been around for ages, and gdi came along now, we'd be having just as much complaining (well, we wouldn't, since Mozilla wouldn't switch from DW to gdi :D) those who liked gdi would be mocked due to its technical inadequacies despite their continued insistence that is "looks better" (and despite their perfectly valid arguments of *why* it looks better). My point is there are people who like both, so the best approach is to offer both (which they now do :))


My experiance is similar to Dexter's, I find the DW rendering equally good for the most part, I can see the argument against it, I can see why its called blurry, but without staring very carefully, I can't see any differences that make DW worse except in the cases where a bug is causing problems (e.g. URL bar), and I can definitely see the flaws in gdi when they come up (and staring very carefully, I can see the flaws in ordinary text too, with the irregular positioning).

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 7:47 am

i highly doubt firefox can sidestep ie9 setting in regedit!so you might have to use the regedit setting if you want access to various setting since firefox is doing some setting in about:config and other setting are in regedit there could be some fight ()corruption between the two ,as for ie9 accele i can be forced on and might help with this issue .but for the text mm might need to default firefox to ie9 or w7 setting.ya it is a mess of a thing.probably why chrome default a lot of setting to w7 ie setting (for simplification sake)

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 7:51 am

I just installed 4.0.1 this morning and the fonts stink. I've read dozens of posts here, but I don't have the time or interest in trying to learn all of these possible workarounds. I disabled the hardware accelerator but it didn't change anything.

Can anyone tell me, in layman's terms, if the font problem will get fixed? I've been using FF for about 7 years and don't want to switch, but if there is a better browser I will. Any recommendations?

T0morrow

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 8:39 am

Bruce L. wrote:Can anyone tell me, in layman's terms, if the font problem will get fixed?

"Fixed" in Firefox 6 in august :)

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Post Posted May 9th, 2011, 10:32 am

My goodness, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding in this thread!

Typeface rendering 101: Discrete vs. Continuous

If you've ever designed a typeface, you'll know that it's just a bunch of equations describing a bunch of curves. These are continuous equations that deal with real numbers. But the world of computers is fundamentally discrete, not continuous, dealing with integers, not real numbers.

So you've got a problem here: A typeface might, for example, call for a line that's 0.8634 pixels wide, positioned at 47.74 pixels and that isn't perfectly straight: it has a very slight curve. But the pixels on your monitor are a rigid grid of pixels. And the fundamental question behind all of these font rendering discussions is, how do you draw that line, which is less than a pixel wide, positioned at a fraction of a pixel, and that isn't perfectly straight, on a screen that is made up of a straight, rigid grid of pixels?

Whole Pixel vs. Natural

There are two fundamentally different ways to answer that question:

Whole pixel: Alignment to the pixel grid is paramount, so you widen that line to 1 pixel wide, you change its position from 47.74 pixels to 48 pixels so that the line falls neatly within a column of pixels instead of straddling two columns of pixels. And you eliminate that slight curve and make the line straight. By hammering the text into the pixel grid, you ensure clarity and crispness at small and medium sizes, but you sacrifice typeface fidelity: the shape, size, and position of the text becomes slightly distorted (though if you've never seen the "correct" rendering, it's easy to think that the distorted version is in fact correct). Also, at extremely small sizes (e.g., 4 points), blowing up line widths to pixel sizes will lead to things jumbling up.

Natural: Screw the pixel grid, typeface fidelity is paramount. You get the most precise and correct text, but because you now have lines that straddle pixel channels and whatnot, you lose crispness and clarity.

Historically, Microsoft has favored the utilitarian whole pixel approach. Its text renderer, which is a part of the GDI component in Windows has long been very aggressive about pixel grid conformity. Historically, Apple has favored the natural approach and that's part of the reason why publishers and designers have liked Apple.

In recent years, Microsoft has started to favor the natural approach. Their GDI renderer still uses whole pixels, but their new WPF and DirectWrite renderers now have the option to use natural rendering.

It's Whole Pixel vs. Natural, NOT GDI vs. DirectWrite!

Since GDI has always exclusively been in the whole pixel camp, it has become synonymous with "whole pixel". And since DirectWrite uses natural by default, it has become synonymous with "natural". However, DirectWrite can use either whole pixel or natural. When you set the text rendering to "GDI Classic", you are not actually using GDI. You're still using DirectWrite, except that it's in whole pixel mode (this confusion is Microsoft's fault; they should have named it "whole pixel" instead of "GDI Classic" (which is what whole pixel looks like)).

To summarize:
* HWA on, default settings: using DirectWrite in natural mode
* HWA on, mode=2 ("GDI Classic"): using DirectWrite in whole pixel mode (the "GDI Natural" option is an icky combination wherein the rendering is whole pixel, but the positioning is natural, and it's just a bad combination: either go all whole or all natural)
* HWA off, using the legacy GDI in whole pixel mode (the only mode that GDI supports)

(BTW, whole pixel mode using DirectWrite is better than whole pixel mode using the legacy GDI: you get HWA and things like rotated text looks much better with DW's WP. Look at a CSS text transform/rotation demo, and you can see that with HWA on and mode set to 2, you really are using DirectWrite and not GDI.)

In fact, DirectWrite is not the only (nor first) Microsoft renderer that uses natural. When Vista was released, the Windows Presentation Foundation used natural (DW wasn't introduced until Win7), and WPF had (and still has) the exact same blurriness issues. This is because the "problem" is with non-whole-pixel rendering, not with WPF or DW per se. Like DW, WPF has the option to use whole pixel rendering (Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 uses WPF with WP after feedback during the VS2010 beta indicated that the majority of users did not like WPF with natural.)

Whole pixel vs. natural represents an unavoidable tradeoff: there is nothing to "fix"!

Whole pixel will always look sharper and crisper than natural. Period. End of story. You can't play with fractions of pixels straddling pixel boundaries and expect it to look as crisp as whole pixels. The blurriness is not because "DirectWrite sucks". It is because this in the inherent, fundamental, unavoidable tradeoff of natural rendering.

That having been said, you can play with contrast settings and tweak the natural rendering to try to mask or mitigate some of that tradeoff. Different graphics drivers handle the contrast and gamma slightly differently, and I suspect that updates to Windows DW may have added some tweaks to fine tune the appearance. So you can improve it somewhat, but that fundamental tradeoff is still there and will never go away.

As for whole pixel vs. natural, well, I'm a big fan of whole pixel, but at the end of the day, it's subjective, though it seems that more people would prefer whole pixel over natural. Can we please cut it out with the "I prefer (WP/Nat) so you (Nat/WP) fans are wrong"?

Finally, note that whole pixel makes a difference only when the lines are a certain size. When you are looking at big text, where the lines are several pixels wide, it doesn't matter if you align that to a pixel grid. That pixel grid alignment matters the most when the lines are about a pixel in width, so it matters the most for small and medium text. This means that high DPI users will see less benefit from whole pixel rendering, and the benefits of the natural rendering's correctness and fidelity could outweigh the diminished benefit of pixel-grid conformity for high DPI users.

What Firefox 6 brings

Firefox 6's "fix" is that it now gives you the option to use whole pixel rendering with DirectWrite. So you get the benefits of HWA without being forced to use natural rendering. Ideally, in the future, Firefox will be "smarter" and will default to whole pixel rendering for just those certain text sizes (DPI-adjusted) that would actually benefit from whole pixel rendering and use natural rendering for all other cases.

Update: With the landing of bug 661471 for Firefox 7, certain typefaces (Microsoft's "core" web fonts) below a certain size (there is no lower bound, however) will now default to "GDI Classic" (whole-pixel) rendering mode. There is talk about possibly getting this backported to Firefox 6 and possibly even backporting it (along with the new Firefox 6 options) to Firefox 5.
Last edited by kliu0x52 on June 5th, 2011, 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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