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Old 01-05-2012, 12:50 PM   #1
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Question Fonts in all Mozilla software suddenly bigger and fuzzy after a reboot

I've actually been a Linux user for several years, but today I have been faced with a problem that makes me feel like I've never used the system before.

Across a reboot, all of the fonts in Mozilla software changed very slightly and subtly for no apparent reason. I mean, WTF?!?!

All the fonts seem to be a tiny bit bigger than they were (making me half wonder if I am going nuts, as the difference is minuscule, but makes the whole browser look "wrong"). The text is noticeably less sharp than any other parts of my desktop in any Mozilla software - Firefox, Seamonkey, and Thunderbird.

Oh, Tilda (a Quake-style console terminal) also seems to have fuzzier fonts than earlier too. There might be other programs too, but haven't noticed.

I happened to take a screenshot a few weeks back so I hope I can illustrate the problem. I captured what Facebook looks like inside the Firefox window on my computer to show someone the heavy filtering I do, and what FB serves to you if you have no Facebook account:

The 2nd screenshot is now (with the Firefox window details). "File Edit View..." also looking wrong compared to how they did just before one reboot (as they do in Seamonkey and Thunderbird too).

Where do I start to try and troubleshoot this? I have tried was a fresh Firefox profile, but that made no difference (no surprise though, seeing as all Mozilla software seems to be affected). I haven't made any system changes recently either, so I am at a loss as to why all this software would mess up in a similar (and annoying) way all at once.

Slackware 12.2 with kernel (can't go any higher because the proprietary ATI driver will not work with my Radeon X200M and a higher kernel version). X.Org X Server 1.4.2 and XFCE 4.6.1.
Old 01-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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The old xfs (X font server) has been replaced on many newer systems by fontconfig. Check Mozilla's about:buildconfig page to see if it is built for fontconfig (--enable-xft). More info here.
Old 01-05-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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Cheers Smallpond, had a look at that and yeah, it's built for fontconfig.

I think I have got to the bottom of this though with a bit of a look at what you linked to, and a lucky Googling. This blog post pointed me in the right direction:

It looks like a few days ago I did or used something that modified ~/.fonts.conf, and I probably hadn't restarted browsers until I also rebooted my laptop today - so the problem appeared to materialise across a reboot, when it had likely been sitting about unnoticed for a few days.

This page contains some info on the content of ~/.fonts.conf:

I replicated in ~/.fonts.conf the settings from XFCE's Settings/Appearance/Fonts GUI, and things look much better now in Mozilla products, and in Tilda and XFCE's Terminal.

For completeness, here's my ~/.fonts.conf file:

<?xml version="1.0"?><!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="rgba" >
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="hinting" >
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle" >
 <match target="font" >
  <edit mode="assign" name="antialias" >


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