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Linux hints and tips

Adjust the default fonts in openSUSE

Linux is sometimes not very good at displaying crisp and clear text on the screen and it is occasionally slightly blurred compared to a Windows screen, leaving you with a headache after several hours use and wondering if you need to visit an optician and get your eyes tested. It could be argued that the anti-aliasing used makes the characters more accurate, but given a choice between pin-sharp text and fuzzy text most people will choose the former.

Why is it that text doesn't look as good as it should be on the screen? One reason could be that the default settings aren't quite right for your monitor you are using and a few tweaks to the system could improve the font rendering and improve it a little.

In openSUSE, click the menu button and then find and run Configure Desktop (using KDE). Open Appearance in the Look and Feel section and then select Fonts on the left. You can choose which fonts you want to use for the desktop, taskbar, menus and so on, and set the size. There's a useful option labelled Use anti-aliasing. Click the drop-down menu and select Enabled. Click Configure and then set the degree of hinting - none, slight, medium, full. You can also set the Force Fonts DPI setting to 96 dpi., which is the usual setting.

After making these changes you should restart openSUSE to see the difference. The display should look a bit better.

Get the web fonts

There are certain fonts that are essential for both the web and for documents that you share with Windows users. Many websites are optimised for Windows because so many people use it and they rely on certain fonts being available. People who create documents on Windows computers also rely on certain fonts. These include Arial, Comic Sans, Impact, Vedana and others. It's very useful to add these to your linux distro so that web pages and documents are displayed correctly.

In openSUSE you'll find that they are an optional install using the update tool. Right click the icon in the panel at the bottom of the screen and select Check Now. If you haven't already installed Microsoft web fonts you'll see it listed and you can select it.

There's lots of useful information about web fonts here, including additional information about installing in different versions of openSUSE.

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