Sunday, August 28, 2011

Improve font rendering in Fedora 15 KDE

Font rendering is a touchy subject for some, something completely irrelevant for others. It happens to be an important thing for me, for I find poor font rendering distracting, sometimes even demotivating.

When I tested Fedora in the past, I usually found font rendering different, poor when compared to Ubuntu's. That's obviously subjective, but I find Ubuntu font rendering smooth and good looking, while Fedora's is certainly not as smooth. In fact, this issue with font rendering was not limited to Fedora, for many other KDE distros apparently had the same problem.

In this particular case, I was testing Fedora 15 KDE for my King of KDistros article. I happen to love "Lovelock", so it kinda bugged me that font rendering was not up to par with the great overall quality of this last official Fedora release. As a result, I decided to do some research on the matter to make Lovelock look even better.


I quickly found that there are loads of resources available on the topic, often going into huge levels of detail. While I was finding those reads interesting, I didn't want to put that much time and effort into something like that, so I found a somewhat simple solution that provided a good enough result. Having said so, those interested may find the following two blog entries from Andreas Haerter particularly interesting:

How to change Fedora's font rendering to get an Ubuntu-like result

Ubuntu fonts installation for Fedora 15 Lovelock (and above)

Now, like I just said, I didn't go that far. Here are the steps I followed:

1.- In Fedora, install RPM Fusion (FREE and NON FREE) repositories (find more on this on RPM Fusion's own SITE).

2.- Install the freetype-freeworld font package.

NOTE: This package is not free (as in speech), so legal regulations may apply in your country.

su -c 'yum install freetype-freeworld'

3.- Install Droid Sans Fonts.(if you want to achieve the results shown in the screenshots below)

su -c 'yum install google-droid-sans-fonts'

4.- Create a backup for your fonts config file.

cp .fonts.conf .fonts.bak

5.- Edit your fonts config file:

kwrite .fonts.conf

6.- Change the hinting from hintmedium (as used in Fedora) to hintslight (as used in Ubuntu).

7.- Logout and then log back in.


That should do it, here are a couple screenshots showing the difference after applying the changes I just explained. First off, in a web browsing environment:

Now, in a desktop environment:


So there you have it, a quick and easy way to make your fonts look a bit better in Fedora. As you can imagine, the same or similar steps would apply in other KDE distros with similar issues, only the freetype-freeworld package name may differ.

Have fun!


  1. (superior to ubuntu's font rendering IMO)

  2. I do very much appreciate your article. I mainly use terminal mode for software development and it is courrier based text. But, I do like the after images somewhat better. I do not work in page layouts or anything that would make a difference to me. My graphics interfacing is with emails and occasionally some pictures. Never-the-less, I will give it a try and report back to you.

  3. Awesome! Rendering is not perfect, but much better than standard. You saved me an hour of work with this post, thanks for that! :D

  4. where is the .fonts.conf?

  5. Thanks for sharing. Hope I can use this for Scientific Linux as its font rendering is pathetic in web pages

  6. Where can I find the .fonts.conf so I can edit it?

  7. Anonymous, if you are on Fedora, you will find it under your own folder, as in


    Good Luck

  8. Chema, Ypu are the man. Bravo Buddy.