Saturday, 30 July 2011

Fedora 16 Verne Wallpaper

Update: test and give karma to KDE side of things so that KDE won't be left out for Alpha when it comes to default ;-) Thanks to Jaroslav "Rezza" Reznik for doing the quick work!

Alpha release of next Fedora installment codenamed Verne is nearing and so is its Alpha freeze. Hence the Fedora Design Team selected a winning wallpaper design and I packaged it for F16 onward. It's currently pending pushing to stable. If you're on F16 or rawhide you'll be able to install these with # yum install verne-backgrounds-gnome for GNOME, # yum install verne-backgrounds-kde for KDE and # yum install verne-backgrounds-xfce for XFCE. At the same time as the new package hits repos an updated desktop-backgrounds that sets is as default for GNOME, XFCE and LXDE-and-alike (e.g. LXDM) will also appear and so in Alpha this should be default everywhere except KDE (these need some more work first and sadly we didn't realized that when creating a design team schedule for F16).

And for those wondering what is the winning picture, here's a screenshot of it in my F15 XFCE desktop ;-)

As usual, the Fedora Design Team is looking for feedback on this via the usual channels:
  • You can comment under this blog post and I'll summarize your opinions to the Design Team.
  • Fedora Design Team mailing list
  • at #fedora-design on, supposing you catch one of the Design Team members there.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Font Rendering in Fedora

Shortly said, it's not very impressive. But what are the options we have? Can we improve it? Well, there are some font settings that are available. See e.g. this blogpost about making fedora fonts look Ubuntu-like. Although I personally see that as making things worse, there are people who think otherwise. What I decided to do was to skim through most of the hinting options we have and decide for myself what looks best. And of course, provide my readers with some images so that they could decide for themselves.

So, I decided to do screenshots of some simple highlighted html code to showcase more than black-one white ;-) Initially I decided to make 9pt versions (which is what I use) and 12pt versions (which is standard text size on A4 paper) both for the "gui" variant (white background) and "tui" variant (black background). Halfway I got lazy, so I fully completed only the 9pt variant as you can see in the next two images (click on them to see unscaled). The sorting is this: on left side there are renderings without freetype-freeworld, on the right side there are renderings with freetype-freeworld (and thus with subpixel hinting). From top to bottom: none hinting, slight hinting and full hinting. For some reason, medium and full hinting looks exactly the same on my laptop which is probably a bug (it didn't used to), that's why I hadn't included it.

From these few images I believe I can confidently say this:
  • increasing amount of hinting increases crispness of the characters (can be seen especially for horizontal lines that are often "smudged")
  • Freetype-freeworld tends to produce better results than freetype for smaller amount of hinting.
  • Freetype-freeworld introduces colour halo around the strokes.
  • Japanese is unhinted (I sense problems with autohinter)
  • Freetype-freeworld has better shapes, more smooth curves and better antialiasing, however it sacrifices crispness of the strokes (especially seen with full hinting)
  • Freetype-freeworld gives nicer results for e.g. orange on white, yellow on black or dark green black, while freetype gives nicer results for green on white, blue on white or red on black. At this size. I noticed that increasing the size is more favourable for freetype-freeworld.

I also include two shots with 12pt. Both with full hinting, both include whole geany window (app font is 9pt big), the first one is freetype (save xfwm which uses freetype-freeworld in both cases), the second one freetype-freeworld.

Well, decide for yourself what's best for you, but since the blurriness bugs me more than slight aliasing, I'll probably stay without freetype-freeworld and with full hinting.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Nerd Likes And Dislikes

I've grown up with windows (and Windows) yet, command line in linux became a irreplaceable companion to me and I've grown to like (and dislike) lots of things that probably aren't that common in to like or dislike (for "normal people"). Here's the short, and maybe interesting list.


  • C macro preprocessor (I really love this one)
  • C programming language
  • Ruby programming language
  • bash
  • Autotools
  • RPM packaging system
  • Plain TeX
  • XFCE
  • midori
  • mplayer2
  • PulseAudio
  • NetworkManager
  • Fedora
  • Matroska video container
  • FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)
  • IBus input system


  • C++ programming language
  • C# programming language
  • Java programming language
  • CMake
  • PHP
  • Flash
  • Firefox
  • Gnome Shell
  • WYSIWYG HTML editors
  • LaTeX
  • Symbolic Icons (the new hit in GTK3 based apps)
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn (I move invitations to these to my SPAM folder no matter who sends them)
  • DEB packaging system
  • Pointless limitations of choices exposed in UI (*cough* *cough* g-p-m, gnome-shell, …)
  • Too complex UIs (*cough* *cough* KDE)

What about you?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

T-shirt? Erm, what?

So, after seeing nicu's t-shirt meme I felt a strong urge to join it. However, I don't have any other t-shirts than plain black (or at most dark blue) :-D But an idea sprang to my mind – does it have to be t-shirt? Isn't any piece of cloth good? Why not aikidō-gi? And while I am at it, why not add my complete weaponry? Well, here's the result:

Included weapons are: jō (the one I'm doing tsuki with), bokken (wooden sword; well maybe bokutō – what the hell is the difference between those two words?) and tantō (knife). From anime and various samurai films I picked up that tantō should be kept inside the upper part of kimono, but it wouldn't be on the photo then, right? So I put it where samurais used to put their shōto (short version of katana).

Monday, 4 July 2011

Who the heck are modern desktops for?

This question has been bugging me for a while since GNOME 3. Nowadays in advanced countries, computer education is part of regular school curriculum. Children are taught what is CPU, what is graphics card, what is memory, how to turn on/off computer, how to behave on the net, how to use word processor, tabular calculator, presentation maker, sometimes even databases or easy programming. Unless in really rich school they are taught usually on something like Windows XP, they know the classical desktop. And they are confused by interfaces like Windows 7 and Gnome shell.

I am 24, my first desktop was Windows 3.11 (at school), then I grow up on Windows 95/98/2000 and Windows XP after finally switched to linux. I'm not that old to not be able to adapt, yet after years spent with linux I find the old Windows ineffective (just find something it the long non-categorized menu of theirs or try to run a few apps at once) and just recently I had to navigate Windows 7 with a touchpad. Let me tell you, it was a major pain in the ass. In my family everyone except me now uses Windows 7 on regular basis and they always complain about it. I haven't heard them ever complain about user interface when in Win XP or Gnome 2.

So why do the heck do we need the change that makes an assumption that presenting user with huge icons of every app installed instead of neat two-level categorized menu is more easy to use (it does not take a very bright person to tell that Movie Player would be categorized under Sound&Video)? Why do we need a change that makes an assumption that customization is a bad thing (I believe that different people have different needs and customizing a desktop to certain level can make it more effective to use for them)? Why do we need a change that effectively tells you that having more terminal windows open at once is a bad thing (yes, even though most common terminal emulators have tabs, I still find it more effective in certain cases to have three or four windows of terminal opened at once and nicely tilted on the desktop)? Why do we need a change that hides your favourite apps when not in "Activities" overview?

Who the heck is the modern desktop designed for? Honestly saying, not for me and not for anyone I know personally either.