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Hlidskjalf
Strollin' around
Status: New idea

Firefox 68.0 was the last version to support Cairo font rendering as far as I'm concerned (pardon me if I'm not using the right technical names/terms and so on), and it looked so smooth and gorgeous. I have bad eye sight, and Cairo was the best and most pleasing for my poor vision. I just cannot understand why it was removed in the first place?

Right now I'm forced to sit on such an old version (no security patches!). Would it be technically difficult to bring Cairo back? DirectWrite just doesn't cut it.

Thanks for reading.

17 Comments
Hlidskjalf
Strollin' around

direct2d_skia.jpgmactype_cairo.jpg

monoblaine
New member

I need this desperately. And yes, I'm using MacType. We need GDI font rendering back until Microsoft fixes problems with DirectWrite.

Hlidskjalf
Strollin' around

@monoblaine

Thank you for chiming in! We need as many voices as we can possibly get for this.

greatquux
New member

While I've updated this, something which might help a good deal in the short term is this extension:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/font-contrast-fix/

Hlidskjalf
Strollin' around

@greatquux 

Thank you for the suggestion, a nice and neat attempt using a Firefox addon. Is it normal behaviour that you have to click the icon for it to display bolder fonts? It also changed colours (of fonts) on certain websites. However MacType isn't necessarily just "bolder" fonts, you have very high control over anything regarding fonts' smoothness/anti-aliasing, color, sharpness, even shadows and font replacement/substitutes.

I would very much prefer having central control over fonts using MacType (and for that to happen we would need Cairo backend in Firefox. If Mozilla doesn't do it, I'd be very happy to even see a fork of Firefox being able to do this.

jfkthame
Employee
Employee

Sorry, but I don't think there's any realistic prospect of bringing back an obsolete rendering backend in Firefox. Among other things, I believe using GDI would be incompatible with modern security features ("win32k lockdown").

Something worth experimenting with, if you haven't already, would be the about:config settings that can adjust the DirectWrite font rendering behavior. There are several ClearType-related settings listed at https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/31f5847a4494b3646edabbdd7ea39cb88509afe2/modules/libpref/i... that may be relevant. In particular, try gfx.font_rendering.cleartype_params.rendering_mode=2 or maybe 3 for a more GDI-like rendering, and gfx.font_rendering.cleartype_params.enhanced_contrast=1000 for stronger contrast (darker/heavier fonts, in general). Be sure to quit and relaunch the browser after adjusting these settings, as they may not fully take effect until after restart.

Hlidskjalf
Strollin' around

@jfkthame 

So that's that. Disappointing - but expected, I guess.

I've already experimented tons with the font related settings in about:config for a long time (since Firefox 68.x.x) and I cannot achieve a result I like at all. Regarding gfx.font_rendering.cleartype_params.rendering_mode I found that the value of 5 is the best of them all, so that's what I've been using. I also desperately tried all the Firefox forks I could find, and Pale Moon, Basilisk, and Waterfox Classic all have Cairo backend available still, the thing is that they quickly lag behind in everything else. I guess I need to find a developer that is willing and capable to fork latest Firefox and add Cairo and hope for the best it's not a hard feat - but I doubt it's do-able.

Pity. Such a pity...