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Marnen Laibow-Koser

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Chrome and fonts [Mar. 19th, 2014|03:01 pm]
Marnen Laibow-Koser
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One of the first things I did after setting up the Elementary OS VM was to install Google Chrome, my favorite Web browser. As I would have expected from Google, installation was a snap: the Download link on the website downloaded a .deb package file, which opened in Software Center and automatically started installing like any other self-respecting Ubuntu/Debian package, creating an icon in the Applications menu when it was done.

Neither of the supplied themes looked that good, though, so I went looking for others. I eventually found the eGTK Chrome/ium Theme, which is designed for Elementary OS and looks pretty good.

But there was still the problem of fonts. Elementary OS Luna, like every other Linux distribution I've seen, comes with a strange selection of fonts, and many Web pages look terrible as a result (Liberation Sans and Mono are especially ugly). As a first step, I thought I'd see about installing the Microsoft Core Fonts for the Web.

As a zeroth step, though, I realized that I wasn't sure what fonts I had. Luna doesn't appear to come with a GUI font management utility, so I installed Fontmatrix from the Software Center. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had more fonts installed with the OS than I thought, including some nice script and display fonts.

Anyway, the Core Fonts are available as the ttf-mscorefonts-installer package, and so I tried to install them through Software Center. The package hung about 2/3 of the way through, though, and Software Center became unresponsive. When I right-clicked on the Dock icon for Software Center, I got asked if I wanted to force-quit it, so I did.

When I relaunched Software Center, it took longer than usual to be ready for input (I assume it was recovering from an inconsistent state), but then surprised me by saying that the package had actually been installed. Turns out that package is only the installer for the Core Fonts, and it doesn't create an icon in the Applications menu, so I attempted to run it from the command line. But there was no executable in my path called ttf-mscorefonts-installer.

I removed and reinstalled the package. This time it appeared to work, but Fontmatrix didn't show the fonts. From some of the reviews, I believe that the package requires acceptance of a license agreement, but I can't find a way to do that in Software Center (so why did it say that the package installed?).

I tried removing and reinstalling from the command line (after editing the sudoers file to let me run sudo) and that worked. I was going to take a before-and-after pair of screenshots, but here I ran into an interesting problem.

You see, Luna has a lot of useful keyboard shortcuts, but they're not all that well documented. I finally found out that PrtSc will take a screensshot on Luna, but I'm using a Mac keyboard without a PrtSc key. I searched through the forums and asked on IRC to find out if there was another way. It looks like someone suggested Cmd-P as an alternate key, but I don't think this was ever actualy implemented.

However, it looks like the Keyboard pane in System Settings will do the trick. I remapped all the screenshot keys to various combinations involving Cmd-P: Elementary keybindings

And so now I can make screenshots before Before Core Fonts and after After Core Fonts installing the Core Fonts. Looks much better, no?


[User Picture]From: chocorua
2014-03-23 11:37 am (UTC)
It does look better. But this touches on the idle new computer I've had sitting around since last year, waiting for a time when "2 days of often-frustrating sysadmin work" is both near the top of my priorities and something I feel like doing.
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