My thanks to all of you. I now have quite nice fonts setup. During this little struggle with fonts, we have learned that fonts are affected, and can be controlled from many places.
1. The X settings that affect DPI are the most fundamental, and scale the size of everything, fonts included. /etc/X11/xorg.conf can be given sets of definitions for monitor profiles, and within those, set of definitions for exactly how the video will be clocked out for various standard display resolutions. You go here at your peril. Usually, when you install your distro, this is where you set the highest, and various other lower resolutions your GUI can have available. There are very detailed descriptions on how to turn a xorg.conf.example into what suits you in the excellent Gentoo documentation, (even if we don't use Gentoo!), and of course from x.org.
2. At the next level, how the display manager (kdm, xdm, whatever), deals with fonts and DPI is more selective. With KDE, if one uses the Menu -> Control Center -> Appearance and Themes -> Fonts
route, then there is the opportunity to select "Force fonts DPI" to be 96 or 120. it requires a complete logout, and re-login for the effect to reach everywhere. My apologies that this text is "KDE-centric", but I am sure others can contribute gdm and gconf equivalent descriptions. I know Gnome can grow on one, and has some attractive features, but I never gave it a fair chance (so far!)
3. Then there are the ways a user gets to overide these, and have desktop fonts to his choice. For KDE, in /root, and in every /home/username folder, there is a hidden .kde/share/config/startupconfig
shell script, and also a .kde/share/config/startupconfigkeys
The text file has the few lines ..
kcminputrc Mouse cursorTheme ''
kcminputrc Mouse cursorSize ''
kpersonalizerrc General FirstLogin true
ksplashrc KSplash Theme Default
kcmrandrrc Display ApplyOnStartup false
kcmfonts General forceFontDPI 0
The last line seems important, but any attempt to edit it is not permanent
, because of the effect of the nearby shell script..
"startupconfig" #! /bin/sh
# kcminputrc Mouse cursorTheme ''
# kcminputrc Mouse cursorSize ''
# kpersonalizerrc General FirstLogin true
# ksplashrc KSplash Theme Default
# kcmrandrrc Display ApplyOnStartup false
# kcmrandrrc [Screen0]
# kcmrandrrc [Screen1]
# kcmrandrrc [Screen2]
# kcmrandrrc [Screen3]
# kcmfonts General forceFontDPI 0
This time, editing the last line does
work. It will set the default DPI. In the past, in FireFox preferences, there was a little tool that would present a horizontal line to measure with a ruler, and entering the value, it would calculate the DPI for that screen, and use it. On my 19" CRT monitor, at 1600x1200, the DPI is about 112. In practice, setting the DPI to 96 or 120, and then working on the application's own control of font size as used within them, is a workable approach.
4. Then we come to what happens in applications. After messing with DPI, the chosen fonts in Konsole and similar edit-type applications may need attention. A very common one is the Synaptic package manager. After you have finished tweaking the DPI, and settled for a comfortable font size for the desktop, you can find the fonts in Synaptic very tiny small. From within Synaptic, choose Settings -> Preferences -> Columns and Fonts
and tick the box "Use custom application font
", and then click the "Application Font
" option and fix it up to suit yourself.
has two kinds of fonts you will be interested in. One is the whole set of fonts that web pages will use, and the other kind is the font in the toolbars and menu. The web pages fonts is straightforward to meddle with using Iceweasel -> Edit -> Preferences -> Content and then click the "Advanced" button in the "Fonts and Colours" section. Getting the rest of the application fonts to a nice size requires to meddle with the user's .mozilla/firefox/adk36las.default/chrome directory. You use the supplied file userChrome-example.css, and save a copy as userChrome.css. Then edit it by adding the end lines to force your font choice for Toolbars, Menus, etc. thus:-
font-size: 11pt !important;
The asterisk is not a mistake, and not to be confused with asterisks used in many nearby C-style comment lines.
It seems that exactly the same thing can be achieved by simply typing "about
:config" into the URL entry line. and then seeking the right line to edit (trying not to get distracted). Right click and choose "Modify". The edited line comes up bold. I tried this, but it did not seem to "stick". Maybe I missed some save step, but anyway, I settled for editing the file directly.
has three aspects to setting fonts. One is what appears in the Toolbar Menus and related boxes. This it seems to pick up automatically to be the same as was chosen for the desktop. The next is the fonts under the folder icons when Konqueror is being a file manager
. This is done with Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror -> Appearance
. Finally, the group of fonts that will apply to web page contents
is further down the list under "Aa Fonts" selection. Even after you have selected them all, Konqueror provides a special separate "Font size adjustment for this encoding" to shift the whole lot larger or smaller at will.
While I am sure that most applications will have some way of tweaking the fonts that may be involved in its display or use, the methods do vary, and can get obscure. While all the above may be just plain obvious to some, it took me quite a while to uncover it all, and may not be the best or slickest setup. I did not elaborate on xorg.conf because I hate the thing. It is easily the file I am most prone to mess up, and the effects can be so catastrophic.
I hope some will find this useful