Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cantarell Sucks

Why any designer with any mote of sense would choose Cantarell as a font is beyond me, let alone a system-wide default one. I know it was trendy - nearly 30 fucking years ago - to create a distinctively unique system font; but that was mostly about cost anyway and now there are plenty of decent free fonts available using a number of common formats.

When I re-installed my workstation with a minimal fedora 15, Cantarell was about the only font that came along for the ride by the time I had XFCE up. Which made for a particularly unpleasant experience in Terminal and emacs - until I installed xterm and 'fixed'. Apart from being a disastrously ugly and unreadable font; it decided to use the proportional one as well; so it didn't even work.

Apart from many of the letter forms being simply ugly and out of balance, the kerning and hinting is abysmal (although TBH I think hinting has more than had its day, and we're better off with blurry aa text, even on screens 1024 pixels wide). It is just one fugly font and the only reason I can see that anyone would like it is that their favourite hero endorsed it and the group-think around the hero's heroish aura is suppressing their mind's own ability to reason. I suppose having someone working on free software as a hero is better than worshipping some money grubbing greedy pig-fucker like the late Jobs, or Gates (however, being a brainless sheep is nothing to be proud of); although those money grubbing greedy pig-fucker's are often the inspiration in the first place. Not a fan of the ubuntu font either; which again seems to gain its popularity solely from celebrity endorsement.

(As an aside: people seem to be trained more and more these days not to think. Not to make a stir. To go along with the crowd. Even the wild frontier of the internets has been tamed, flame-wars seem to be banned from most forums and minority views are blatantly suppressed as a matter of open forum policing. As if suppressing and censoring dissenting views somehow makes them go away or is a valid long-term solution ...).

So ... although i've resolved not to go whine on other people's personal blogs (it's like going into someone's house and abusing them), i let my guard slip a bit this morning and posted a long dissenting (but mostly polite) view on a post about GNOME. I really wanted to sleep in but was awake before 6, so I wasn't in the best mood.

Anyway, it ties in with my last rant about 'tabbed desktop'; some of the suggestions are just stupid. Most of the suggestions are just a straight-up rip-off of an iphone, and then the group-think fanbois have the audacity to turn around and accuse people of stifling experimentation if they don't like it or don't think they'll work on a desktop computer? Nothing innovative or experimental about copying an apple interface (which seems to have been the sole `raison d'ĂȘtre' for GNOME ever since Apple's Mac OSX came out). The thought that one application can cater to every possible device is as inane as it is nonsensical. Even less so is the suggestion that one stern style guide can cope with every possible application and user class ...

I'm not sure why I even care; I haven't even used GNOME for years, I didn't even start using GNOME for years even when I was working on GNOME software (iirc until Novell bought ximian and I dropped RedHat 9 and amiwm for development ...); so I never really liked it. I thought gnome2 was bloated, slow, ugly and too limited so my less-than-gold standard of GNOME goodness pre-dates even that.

However, now I think about it, I know why I care: I know how this shit works. It becomes trendy and then everyone starts doing it and suddenly there's no-where else to go and you've got some fugly font installed by default. Or systemd, or networkmanager, or pulseaudio. Thankfully the font is easy to fix and pulse audio is easy to blacklist (although yum seems to ignore that sometimes), and networkmanager easy enough to bin as well. But it still makes it more difficult to get a working system set up every time and there's always a chance some snot like systemd (whose whole purpose seems to be to enable gui tools to poke into areas they shouldn't be involved with in the first place) which weaves itself so tightly into the system it simply cannot be removed.

(Aside again: It would help if systemd wasn't written by an author who clearly doesn't have a clue with system software, and adding such a complex and horribly nasty implementation behind it. And it would help if fedora didn't let pricks like this bully their way into such a core system service as init.)

The counter-argument is that it must be a good idea if it's popular and people are using it ... which if course is crap. We all saw how microsoft illegally forced its crapware onto everyone; popularity is not a technical metric, it's a political one. And people are easily manipulated, particularly if they're proud of their inability to think independently.

Although there's one thing that the GNOME developers and I agree on, even if they might not admit it: hacking is fun, and users suck. I wouldn't want to listen to whiney know-it-all's either. Then again, i'm not working on anything that the public relies on for their day to day computing experience ...

I just wish i'd had a good night's sleep now. Headed for an unpleasantly hot (39) and unpleasantly windy (30km/hr+) day today, i'm too tired to think about hacking, bored with tv, movies, and games, and my eyes are really tired from reading the screen too much this week; best hope is to water the garden a bit and maybe have a nap later followed by a couple of cold beers.

No comments: