Suggestion: Use Liberation fonts as default in Firefox 3

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at
Mon Jan 28 17:37:10 UTC 2008

Le Lun 28 janvier 2008 17:01, Felix Miata a écrit :
> On 2008/01/28 16:13 (GMT+0100) Nicolas Mailhot apparently typed:

>> I'm afraid that "looking better" is largely subjective when talking
>> about fonts.
> If the goal in selecting particular default Firefox fonts is

You're redefining the question

> to match the ubiquitous platform's font metrics

The ubiquitous platform fonts engine is very different from our font
engine and does not give the same result with the same fonts, let
alone clones (there are studies on the net about this, and there are
legal reasons it is so).

The ubiquitous platform's fonts were Arial, then Verdana, then
something else again in Vista. And that's ignoring differences between
ubiquitous platform on different locales.

Which particular version of the ubiquitous platform do you want us to
emulate for what locale and why will it achieve the "looking better"
goal of the original poster?

> so that web pages viewed in Firefox
> on
> Fedora look as much as possible like the very same pages viewed in
> Firefox on
> doz, then Liberation does a far better job than DejaVu, as that was
> the
> precise goal of the Liberation Fonts project.

If you redefine the goal as looking like Arial, yes Liberation looks
more like Arial (in latin). That's about the only hard fact everyone
agrees on. Web sites authors that specify Arial or TNR will get
Liberation now. Only sites that specify the platform default in their
CSS rules will get the platform default.

Given that the biggest factor in font appreciation is the exposure one
had to this particular font having the browser default be the same as
the platform default other apps use makes a lot of sense (even if this
platform default is not the same as another platform default).

Is Liberation a better font? Will users be better served by a
different font default in the browser than in the UI? If not, do we
gain more by changing the general UI font than we lose? On what
locales? Who will extend which font long term? These are all the
questions that need to be considered before hastily making changes


All press releases have an hot air component, Redhat press releases
like others (IIRC this particular PR states Liberation will replace
every common FLOSS font out there). Many people have stated that Linux
was aimed at world domination. Is it ready for world domination yet?

>> So the only thing you've proved is you're used to a style similar to
>> Liberation Sans, probably Arial.
> I believed he proved the goal of the Liberation project was achieved.
> Liberation Sans is the GPL metric equivalent of Arial.

So what?

> DejaVu Sans is an excellent substitute for Verdana, but the doz
> default in Firefox is Arial, not Verdana.

Unfortunately, any close look at Firefox font defaults reveals they're
a pile of historic crap so that's not a particularly strong
endorsement. The Mozilla foundation has turned a blind eye to font
problems for years and its browser settings reflect this fact. It is
sad to say that Microsoft did more for free fonts with its proprietary
Core Web Fonts initiative than Mozilla ever did. Unfortunately for us
Microsoft has moved to the next stage and we've got no clones for its
new fonts so targetting core fonts is a dead end. Better to create our
own solid font set than continue chasing the Microsoft tail
indefinitely - it has the financial means to move way faster than us
on the font creation front anyway.

Also fontconfig substitution means the same defaults will have vastly
different effects on Linux than on Windows.

Nicolas Mailhot

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