liberation fonts

May 10th, 2007

One of the areas Mac OS X has a clear advantage over Windows or linux is in the area of fonts, to the degree where it’s simply not disputable. The bundled fonts Mac OS X comes with are a better selection of fonts that come standard with Windows and linux, and the way the operating system renders the fonts on screen is simply superior as well. These are not opinions, these are facts — give me a slide rule and a pencil and I can prove it.

One of the small heartbreaks of Ubuntu is that no matter what you do, font rendering doesn’t get quite as good as in Mac OS X. Sure, you can enable smooth fonts but the preloaded selection of fonts kind of stinks — they’re pretty much all variants of Arial and Georgia — and Bitstream’s Vera Sans as a system font? Please. It’s too spindly and weak looking.

Luckily, Red Hat has stepped up to the plate and released some free fonts, released under the GPL, specially made for linux: Liberation Serif, Sans, and Mono (local download here).They all look great, and Liberation Sans Bold 10 is a fantastic system font, forceful yet shapely. Place them in your .fonts directory in your home to have them show up, and if you like them, let the Ubuntu art team know that they’d make great default fonts in the next release.

And of course, they look great in Mac OS X too.


4 Responses to “liberation fonts”

  1. cubeXpert says: » liberation fonts

  2. Denis says:

    Making Liberation Sans the default screen font would not be a good thing for internationalization. The current Ubuntu default font, DejaVu Sans, has many more internation characters and doesn’t have similar metrics as Liberation Sans. This means fallback glyphs will be offsized when they are not in Liberation Sans. So this is not a good idea, at least not for now. The fonts should be installed by default tho’ they are a great alternative to MS fonts, and a great new addition to any font collection.

  3. Jeff says:

    Really insightful point, Denis. Thanks.

  4. Gene says:

    “Apple lost the lead as far as print goes years ago.”


    I think that the vast majority of print designers would beg to differ there. I don’t know any designers in my circle who use anything other than a Mac.

    That said, it is worth noting that it is print itself that seems to have lost the lead to web. Sadly.