[PD] fonts on GNU/Linux

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Fri May 18 04:45:58 CEST 2007

On May 17, 2007, at 7:07 PM, Frank Barknecht wrote:

> Hallo,
> Hans-Christoph Steiner hat gesagt: // Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
>> I did a survey of applications on GNOME/Debian, GNOME/Ubuntu, Windows
>> and Mac OS X.  Bold fonts are only used for highlights everywhere
>> that I looked.
> Pd doesn't have different font weights anyway.
>> I think it is important that Pd also follow these  established
>> standards, so that's why I went with a normal weight  font.  Max/MSP
>> and jMax also use a normal weight font.  So in effect,  I feel I am
>> not making this decision, instead I found it quite  difficult to
>> continue using a bold font when nothing else did.
> The IMO well designed Ableton Live uses bold a lot, most prominently
> in their grid boxes. On stage normal weight is not easy to read at
> all.
>> That is not to discount your issue with the font.  Ideally, each user
>> could set their own font to their needs.  That will take more work,
>> but it's within reach.
> I don't want to force everyone to use the same font weights that I
> prefer either.
> But what I don't understand: Why not let the default for now be bold
> like in the past years and make normal weight optional for later?
> While many people complained about the Courier font sizes, I've never
> heard anyone complain about the bold weight. To me it seems dropping
> bold is like fixing something that wasn't broken[*], and doing it just
> because so far Pd dared to be different from Max, jMax or Gnome IMO is
> not convincing enough. That's probably the crucial point where we
> disagree.

AFAIK, it's well known that bold text is bad for reading.  Having  
paragraphs of text in bold makes for slow reading, IMHO.  Pd help  
patches should have text in them.  That's what started this for me.

Many newbies think that Pd looks very strange.  Many people have  
expressed gratitude for the switch to the normal weight font.

>> One easy thing that might help you is using a bigger font.
> Font size is a completely different issue. I don't have a problem with
> size 10 in the Pd I'm currently using, and I use 11 normally in xterm
> and Vim. (Font size 12 in Pd/Linux is a problem for other reasons as
> well, as it takes away too much patching area.)

One thing you might have overlooked is that Bitstream Vera Sans Mono  
is actually a bit smaller than Courier.  Plus Vera Sans Mono reads  
lighter than other similar fonts, like Courier.  I did not choose  
this font purely because of its looks, the Lucida fonts looked  
better.  But it has to be free, and Lucida fonts are not free.  If  
anyone finds a better font option, I am open to suggestions.

This all would makes 10 point Vera text harder to read.  It also  
makes 12 point more acceptable.  For example, measuring this message  
box: [courier10(

Bitstream Vera Sans Mono        12       71x20 (Pd-0.39.2-extended-rc2)
Courier                         10       69x17 (Pd-0.40.2)

That's not such a big difference.  Plus now that I got everything  
rendering the same size on all platforms, I think it's possible to  
shave off a pixel from the width.

> [*] (I'm ignoring here that pd-extended now is broken for me.)

Sorry to hear that.  If you want to use it, you could compile it with  
the bold font, or help make a font preference so that everyone can  
choose their own font.


> Ciao
> -- 
>  Frank Barknecht                 _ ______footils.org_ __goto10.org__
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