Kurt Granroth has taken the plunge and compiled KDE and X with a number of the cutting-edge extensions which Keith Packard has been working on. The result of hours of compiling and following a few simple instructions: a fully anti-aliased KDE session, with a screenshot to show how it looks. It's not production-quality yet, but it's darn close! His report follows.
Using Anti-Aliased Fonts with KDE
I was recently able to compile and use KDE with fully anti-aliased
fonts. This was due to the excellent work by Keith Packard and his
Xft extension to XFree86. This was the result:
click to enlarge. 1024x768 (~136K)
I'd like to say that the screenshot doesn't do justice to just
how much better the everything looks with anti-aliased fonts.
In particular, words can't easily describe just how much better web
sites looks in Konqueror. It's like the difference between viewing
text in a book and viewing text on an old Apple II+
The best part of this all is that we didn't have to do
anything with KDE. All that it takes is the XFree86 changes
and a patch to Qt and magically, all KDE applications use anti-aliased
fonts! And I do mean all of them. If you look at the screenshot,
you'll notice that even the menus, icon labels, and dialog text are
The only bad thing to report is that it doesn't seem to be ready for
prime-time, yet. For instance, KDesktop flickers madly every time I
move the mouse. Other KDE apps flicker huge amounts as well. Also,
the fonts in konsole are completely and totally unusable. Finally,
some web pages doen't display any text at all in Konqueror. These are
all fixable problems, though, so by the time the Xft extension is
released, I'm sure everything will work great.
For the record, here is the basic steps I took to get this all to
- Got freetype2 snapshot from
freetype.org. Compiled and
installed it. I had to edit the ft2build.h file and make an extra
symlink.. but other then that, it went smoothly.
- Got XFree86 from CVS. It's huge and takes hours to
- Edited config/cf/host.def and added this line: #define Freetype2Dir /usr/local
- Compiled and installed with make World; make install
- Got Qt hacks from Keith
- Got updated XftConfig (also from Keith): http://keithp.com/~keithp/fonts/XftConfig
There were some other steps, but I don't remember them. I also had to
recompile KDE since it appears that the Qt change makes Qt binary
incompatible (my guess) and the KDE apps all seg-faulted.