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OS X default font selection very poor




16 years ago
13 years ago


(Reporter: Niklas Dougherty, Assigned: nhottanscp)


({fonts, intl})

Mac OS X
fonts, intl

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)



(3 attachments)



16 years ago
The default preferences for fonts need a major revision. While the defaults for
Western encodings are way too big and with a perhaps unoptimal font choice (I
would go for Lucida Grande at 13px, the system default, rather than Times at
overbig 16px, making sans-serif the default), things are pretty much worse for
other encodings.

Simplified Chinese currently comes with defaults of 15px (why use px?), and with
a mix of poor font choices (Song, Hei, the _bitmap_ font Beijing). All of these
display pretty poor at 15 (Beijing always displays poor), and it doesn't get
much better at 16. Not only are they unantialiased (probably wrong threshold in
Mozilla), the glyphs also squeeze into each other. Just load a Google search
page to see this in action.

Mac OS X comes with the dfonts Song, Fangsong, Kai (serif), Hei (sans-serif) and
Beijing (bitmap). All of these (except Beijing) display fine at 18px or larger.
Mac OS X also comes with equivalent TrueType fonts that render much better:
STSong, STFangsong, STKaiti (serif) and STHeiti (sans-serif). These display well
at 16px, although that would be considered the absolute minimal size (it
corresponds to 12 px for the Western glyphs).

I would suggest the following default set of preferences for Simplified Chinese:

Default: serif
Sans-serif: STHeiti (华文细黑) 18px
Serif: STKaiti (华文楷体) 18px
Cursive, Fantasy: STFangsong (华文仿宋) 18px
Monospace: same as sans-serif.

This would reflect a true Mac OS X experience with wholly antialiased type for
those who install the Asian Font extras. For those who don't, well... just go
with whatever exists, but make it 18px.

For Western, I suggest the following:

Default: sans-serif
Serif: Times 13px (unfortunately there are no other good serif fonts shipped
with Mac OS X; Times is a horrible typeface)
Sans-serif: Lucida Grande 13px (default system font, very legible)
Cursive, Fantasy: whatever
Monospace: Courier (not New Courier) 12px

13px is already considered way too big by many, so it would be a good       
standard choice. Why Mozilla feel the urge to set 16px as default is way beyond
me, especially when Chinese fonts are set at 15px. There is no coherence at all
in this.

Similar thoughts apply to other encodings, many of which aren't even enabled
currently. This is a good starting point.

Comment 1

16 years ago
Created attachment 103513 [details]
Google search test page

Stripped from styles and font tags. This could be used to see some various font
settings in a ction on a realworld example.

Comment 2

16 years ago
Created attachment 103514 [details]
Dump of test page with default font settings

This is what will be seen on a virgin Mozilla after download. Antialiased,
jaggy, ugly text reminiscent of the Wintel/Lunix PC experience... we don't want
that on Mac OS X, thank you very much.

Comment 3

16 years ago
Created attachment 103515 [details]
Dump of test page with STKaiti 18 set as default font

Here, with STKaiti 18px set as default font, it looks as it should on a Mac.
Antialiased and beautifully rendered text all the way. Any ST font would do
(these have Chinese glyphs in the font file names on Mac OS X).

It could be set at 15px or 16px as well, but then the discrepancy between
Chinese and Western sizes comes in play. The default size for Western should
reflect the default size in other encodings as well (and vice versa). Somewhat
bigger default to counterstrike against the <font size="-1"> sites is
desirable. (Default should really be to turn minimum fontsize on at 15px or
Assignee: ben → yokoyama
Component: Preferences → Internationalization
Ever confirmed: true
QA Contact: sairuh → ruixu
Keywords: fonts


16 years ago
Keywords: intl
QA Contact: ruixu → ylong

Comment 5

16 years ago
mac default font selection issue.
over to ftang and cc nhotta
Assignee: yokoyama → ftang

Comment 6

16 years ago
reassign to nhotta
Assignee: ftang → nhotta

Comment 7

16 years ago
Any thoughts? This kind of bug shouldn't take too much time to resolve.

Lemme give you some numbers, in addition to the self-evident aestethics shown in
the attachments:

Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar comes with a set of very elegant GB18030 fonts for
Simplifed Chinese, each containing 30946 glyphs, including the full sets of
20902 glyphs in CJK Unified Ideographs and 6582 glyphs in CJK Unified Ideographs
Extension A. These are STKaiti, STFangsong, STSong and STHeiti. They are
installed by default.

The Mac OS Classic Language Pack equivalents (Kai, Hei, Song, Fang Song), also
used in Mac OS X 10.0-10.1.5, have only 7591 glyphs in total, of which 6763 are
CJK Unified Ideographs.

The current Mozilla default font for Simplifed Chinese, Beijing, is a _bitmap_
font containing 6763 glyphs in CJK Unified Ideographs. Why on earth is this?

For Western encodings we have Lucida Grande with 1753 glyphs (including Greek,
Arabic, Cyrillic and Latin Extended A and B), although Helvetica with its measly
384 glyphs is set as default.

The list can go on, but it is most pathetic concerning Simplified Chinese. Most
users never change these settings, and I think it is paramount that Mozilla
displays as good as it can to win the hearts of the crowd.


15 years ago
Severity: normal → enhancement
Summary: Default font selection very poor → OS X default font selection very poor

Comment 8

15 years ago
*** Bug 159557 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***


15 years ago
Blocks: 126912

Comment 9

15 years ago
I would suggest that the summary be changed to that of my bug "Change default OS
X font set to anti-aliasing friendly fonts" however this might not be a good
idea seeing no one noticed it...
There's currently work underway on addressing Mac OS X default fonts in bug
159809 (per Pinkerton/Josh, kept as a Camino bug so it doesn't languish or get

*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of 159809 ***
Last Resolved: 13 years ago
Resolution: --- → DUPLICATE


13 years ago
No longer blocks: 126912
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