Difference in rendering xft fonts in xorg-server and XQuartz.app

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at macports.org
Tue May 28 12:11:34 UTC 2019

On May 28, 2019, at 02:55, Chris Jones wrote:

> On 28/05/2019 1:25 am, Richard Cobbe wrote:
>> I just got a new MacBook and I'm setting up macports on it as part of the
>> initial configuration.  I've been using macports with XQuartz for many
>> years, but I gather that XQuartz is no longer actively maintained, so I
>> figured I'd try xorg-server instead.  Everything installed fine and I'm
>> able to open and use clients, but using xft fonts in urxvt (also installed
>> via macports) doesn't produce the same results on screen under xorg-server
>> as it does under XQuartz.
>> I've put screen shots of the results at <https://imgur.com/a/TTNFx8b>.  The
>> first image contains the results under XQuartz, and the second under
>> xorg-server.  This is urxvt from the rxvt-unicode port, v9.22, on MacOS
>> 10.14.5 started with the command
>>         LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 urxvt -fn xft:Consolas:pixelsize=16
>> I prefer the first rendering quite strongly.  Is there a way (installing
>> a missing package, perhaps?) for me to get this rendering in xorg-server?
> Honestly, I cannot see any difference between those two screen shots. What exactly is it about the [first] you say is different and you prefer ?

The font appears to be different. Look at the lowercase "i" which has a bottom serif in the first screenshot, while it doesn't in the second screenshot. I see subtle differences in other letters as well, like the lowercase "l" which is more curved in the first screenshot than in the second and the capital "Q" which has a straight tail in the first screenshot but a curved one in the second. Overall the text in the first screenshot has a slightly heavier weight as well.

It appears to me that the first (i.e. liked) font is Menlo 13 while the second (disliked) font is Andale Mono 13. I too like Menlo a lot and have been using it in my Terminal since Apple started shipping it with macOS.

I don't know where X11 or its terminal stores its font settings...

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