March 26, 2019

.comment: Ain't Anti-Aliasing Amazing? - page 2

The Kindness of Strangers

  • December 27, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

There is no single, simple set of instructions on how text anti-aliasing can be brought to your KDE desktop. I've gone through the various documents, the mailing lists, and a lot of private email to produce the recipe. This is supposed to work. There are those who claim that it does work. The results here, as you will see in the screenshots, have been marginal at best, and as soon as I have time to recompile about two days' worth of stuff, I'll be returned to where I was before all this started. But in case you have a spare machine and want to experiment, or have reason to believe that the source is with you, I'll provide the instructions here.

-- Download the source code for XFree86-4.02 and open the archives in an appropriate place (/usr/local/src is popular; I made a /XF86402 directory in my home directory, because I like to spend a minimum amount of time su root). In a terminal, change to [source directory]/xc/extras/freetype2/ and type

make setup

and of course hit enter. (Hitting enter after commands shall hereinafter be assumed.) After configure has done its work, type


and after make has made, su root if you're not already and

make install

-- Create a text file in [source directory]/xc/config/cf/ named host.def. (This assumes Linux on an x86 system.) This file should contain this line:

#define Freetype2Dir/usr/local

Then, after doing anything else you customarily do when preparing to compile XFree86, change to the /xc directory and do


make World >& world.log

and find something else to do for the hour or two until the command prompt is returned to you. When it is, start something like Midnight Commander to make a backup of your existing /usr/X11R6. (Never upgrade XFree without backing up the old one that works.) Having done this (and in that you had to be su root to back up XFree to anyplace other than ~/, assuming that you are already root) do


make install>& install.log

and in a minute or two your XFree86-4.02 is installed, text anti-aliasing enabled.

--Acquire and install some TrueType typefaces and a /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XftConfig file, both of which are offered by Keith Packard (who wrote much of the anti-aliasing code, maybe all of it). All you need to do is unpack the typefaces file into >/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts, and copy the configuration file to /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/.

-- Acquire the qt-copy from the KDE head branch CVS tree, or get the qt-2.2.3 source, dig up the patches, and apply them. The former is preferred. Then compile it with the -xft configure option, having backed up your existing qt.

An aside. My qt configure line has now gotten ridiculously long. Here is is, followed by an explanation:


CXXFLAGS=' -march=k6' ./configure -sm
-gif -xft -system-jpeg -system-libpng -thread -no-g++-exceptions

(to which I foolishly added, now, -no-opengl, about which more in due course).

The CXXFLAGS parameter is to tell the compiler (gcc-2.95.2) that I'm using an AMD K6-2 processor. The -sm means I want qt's session management; the -gif enables .gif support, which isn't enabled by default due to some real or imagined patent dispute; -xft means I want the anti-aliasing support, as mentioned; -system-jpeg and -system-libpng covers support for .jpg and .png graphics. The elimination of g++ exceptions is said to provide enhanced performance at no cost. You'll actually want all of this except for the CXXFLAGS if you're not running a K6 chip.

After configuration is done, do make. If you have built in-place, as I do, you're done. (My qt environment variable is set to /usr/lib/qt, which is a symbolic link to wherever the qt du jour lives.)

-- Restart KDE2 and bask in all the glory of anti-aliased screen fonts.

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