Suggestion: Use Liberation fonts as default in Firefox 3

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at
Tue Jan 29 09:08:08 UTC 2008

Le Mar 29 janvier 2008 07:24, Felix Miata a écrit :

> Regardless about legal ramifications and distro preferences about the
> best fonts to use on the desktop,

We can't disregard those.

> if it means anything at all to have web browsers
> render pages designed by authors designing exclusively on Windows to
> look as much as possible on Linux like they do on Windows,

That's a big if. We don't emulate windows windows widget style and
size in Firefox, and Firefox 3 new full page zooming means there will
be huge differences between our rendering and the rendering of most
windows browsers even if we had the very same fonts with the very same
font rendering libs (which we don't and can't).

> the priority fallbacks should be to whatever GPL
> fonts most closely match Times New Roman for serif,

As was already explained Times New Roman metrics are terrible for
screen viewing, because it was designed for very different use.

> Arial for sans-serif,

Liberation Sans is certainly the best of the lot and someone could
make a case for it¹. Though if this case was only "do like Windows" it
would open a huge can of worms because Arial is not the default Sans
Serif for every script, we don't have clones of all the other
defaults, and the rules we follow to match scripts and fonts are not
the same as on this platform

> and Courier New for monospace.

Courier New is so bad none of the clones even tried to emulate its
style. And discussing Monospace metrics when we don't even use a
sensible Monospace size baseline size strikes me as deeply futile.

Lastly we do use the Liberation family when the site author
explicitely asks for Arial, Times New Roman or Courier New. For other
fonts to be used the site author has to declare its design does not
care about the particular font used to render it.

¹ But likewise DejaVu Sans is the best of the DejaVu lot which only
underlines the utter stupidity of having Serif the browser default.

Nicolas Mailhot

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