Font rendering (was: Re: Flash player no longer supported, what happens to media9 and Skim?)

Jim Diamond Jim.Diamond at
Sun Aug 2 17:39:33 CEST 2020

Hi everyone who cares,

Attached find
(1) a PDF file which looks (to my eyes) much better with Acroread than
    with evince (and various other PDF viewers)
(2) Two screen captures of the 30 pt / 20 pt / 10 pt text,
    one for Acroread and one for evince.  Both of them claimed to be
    showing the text at 100% scale.  I am using a 163 DPI screen, FWIW.
(3) Two captures of xmag showing the 20 pt / 10 pt text.

I will say that I am happy (happy enough, anyway) with how larger
sizes get rendered by evince.  However, you can clearly see
differences with the 10pt font.  The bottom of the '0' as seen in the
xmag image is very weak, the top is weak as well.  And the general
brightness of the 10 point text is reduced, which does nothing for its

The xmag images show that Acroread is doing sub-pixel rendering, but
evince is not.  (No-one has commented on this... does evince to SPR
for anyone?  Perhaps I have something configured incorrectly on my

Anyway, perhaps people can chime in with how all these things look to
them.  Maybe its my eyes.



On Sat, Aug  1, 2020 at 17:45 (-0700), Paulo Ney de Souza wrote:

> Jim,

> Please send me small PDF files showing these examples you bring about and
> we will start a discussion. Without the PDF examples it is very hard.

> Paulo Ney

> On Sat, Aug 1, 2020 at 4:36 PM Jim Diamond via texhax <texhax at<mailto:texhax at>> wrote:
> On Sat, Aug  1, 2020 at 15:45 (-0700), Paulo Ney de Souza wrote:

>> They do not have any experience making software for Unix and the
>> versions they put out for Linux, Solaris, AIX, ...  were all lacking
>> pretty seriously... it was never a contender for anything useful.

>> OpenSource and other vendors did a much better job with readers for
>> Linux and Adobe did not want to be compared to any of them.

> I can't agree.  I have found no Linux PDF viewer which renders fonts
> and thin lines anywhere near as well as Acroread.  (Well, maybe not
> completely true... the PDF renderer in Opera at least knows how to do
> sub-pixel rendering, unlike any stand-alone PDF viewers I've tried.)

> I've also found that the stand-alone viewers I've tried on Linux don't
> do a good job of rendering white fonts on coloured backgrounds.  For
> example, I use white text on a dark blue background for data projector
> slides, and I put the page number in a fairly small font (12 pt?), and
> that is fairly illegible in a number of PDF viewers I've tried, even
> though in Acroread it is nice and crisp.  I don't know how much of
> this is due to SPR and how much is due to other algorithms.

> The other benefit of Acroread is that it can read oms PDF docs that
> none of the open-source readers I've tried can handle.  And sometimes
> I have no real choice about using those documents.  (Government forms;
> I've tried arguing with people in the government, and I may as well go
> down to the ocean and try to keep the tide from coming in.)

> I am not an Adobe fan, but credit where credit is due.  Even if it is
> only a tiny amount of credit.

> Perhaps your experience is different, or you have found better PDF
> viewers than I have.  If you have a recommendation, I'd be happy to
> hear it, because having to mess around to get a 32-bit executable
> (Acroread 9.5.5) to run on a 64-bit only system is a nuisance.

> Cheers.

> Jim

Dr. Jim Diamond       "Convenio ergo sum"      |                        /"\
Jodrey School of Computer Science              | ASCII Ribbon Campaign  \ /
Acadia University, Wolfville NS Canada B4P 2R6 |    x
Voice: (902) 585-1402    Fax: (902) 585-1067   |                        / \
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