Re: AA with potato (strictly)
I don't know if this is any help, but this is what I did to get AA working
under potato with my Riva TNT. Also, this is just based on my incomplete
memory if the long and painful process, so anyone has a clue feel free to
Firstly, I got the XFree86 4.0.2 potato debs from
The sources.list lines that I have are:
deb http://people.debian.org/~cpbotha/ xf402_potato/i386/
deb http://people.debian.org/~cpbotha/ xf402_potato/all/
While you're there, install a new version of freetype. I'm not sure if this
new version of freetype is strictly necessary, and I don't want to break my
system finding out right now.
Also, read the READ.THIS files!
When installing, you might have to put a bunch of packages on hold, but in
the end apt-get check should not give you any problems.
Then, you have to setup your XF86Config-4 settings, font paths and XftConfig
You need to have at least the following modules listed in your XF86Config-4
My font paths from XF86Config-4 are as follows:
(Basically, put any directory that has truetype or type1 fonts in it at the
top of the section, so they are used in preference to your bitmap fonts)
Don't forget to run ttfmkdir or mktffdir in each directory containing
truetype fonts and mkfontdir in all the others.
Finally, you need to setup your XftConfig file. Mine is below, it consists
of lines stolen from the following: a)the Xfree86 sample file, b) the example
file from task-anti-aliasing, c) my own fiddling, and d) whoever else I've
# XftConfig from http://keithp.com/~keithp/fonts/XftConfig
# Use with Type1 and TrueType fonts
# alias 'fixed' for 'mono'
match any family == "fixed" edit family =+ "mono";
#Check users config file
# Substitute TrueType fonts for Type1 versions
match any family == "Times" edit family += "Times New Roman";
match any family == "Helvetica" edit family += "Verdana";
match any family == "Courier" edit family += "Courier New";
# Use TrueType fonts for defaults
match any family == "serif" edit family += "Times New Roman";
Also, this may not work, since I have a large collection of truetype fonts
from:freefonts,sharefonts,cp /mnt/win/windows/fonts/*.ttf /usr/share/fonts/,
and from a bunch of other places. On the other hand, they are all fairly
free, so you might want to get them just to make your life easier.
Then, once this was working, I got the (binary-only) NVidia drivers from
their site (can't find the link right now), and installed them. Don't forget
to change the 'nv' in XF86Config-4 to nvidia (it is in the instructions tho;).
Once you have have this all working properly, you can test to see if
AA is going to happen at all. Start up one xterm, and type xterm -fa
courier. This should take a while to start up, and when it does it will
(hopefully!) be an xterm with anti-aliasing. If you have crap eyes like me,
run xmag and zoom in one some of the text within the xterm. If there are
gray pixels surrounding each letter, then you have AA working, otherwise,
start again from the beginning...
If you've got this far, then you've found out two things: one, you're
hardware supports AA, and two, you know how to make X believe your hardware
I'm not sure if this is actually true or not but:
THE QT DEBS FOR POTATO FROM KDE.DEBIAN.NET DO NOT SUPPORT AA.
Or, I'm to stupid to figure out how to make them do it. What I ended up
doing was getting the source from sid and compiling it myself to make my own
packages. Unfortunately, I had never made a .deb before, so it took a long
time just to figure out how to do that, but once I did, it all went fine.
The reason that the potato debs don't support AA is because potato only
includes XFree86 3.3.6, which does not support the Xft extension that AA
Ok, now you'll have to install your freshly made little qt debs, replacing
the ones you got from kde.debian.net. Now, you'll want to restart KDE, by
logging out or ctrl-alt-bkspc or whatever you normally do. Start it up
again, and go to the control center. In the Look&Feel/Style section, choose
'Use Anti-Aliasing for fonts and icons' and click apply. Log out again,
start it up again, and you should now have a beautifully AA'd desktop. Oops,
make sure you have KDE2.1.1 before you start, or the option to enable it
won't show up in the Control Center.
Of course, even if you get this far, there are still a few hitches.
Apparently, every app that starts has to scan the directories listed in
XftConfig. This means that every AA'd app WILL take ages longer to start,
especially if you have a large number of fonts installed, like I seem to do.
Also, maybe it's just my dodgy NVidia closed-source-it's-not-our-problem
drivers, but the selection rectangles in list boxes are drawn funny, ie
without one of the corners...
Also, KDE seems to take up a bit more memory than before.
As well, all your font settings will be screwed. You'll only be able to
select from AA'able fonts, ie TrueType and Type1, so make sure you have
enough of them that you can get everything working all pretty like.
Also, you're apps will only be AA'd if the environment variable QT_XFT is set
in the context that they are started in. This is independent of the setting
in the control center, so, if you wanted to, you could leave it unselected
and just start up individual apps from an xterm or whatever with QT_XFT=1
APP_NAME. Some apps look absolutely crap with AA fonts, like konsole, so
you'll want to take advantage of this.
Overall, using AA makes your desktop look absolutely gorgeous, so if you can
take the memory/performance hit, and can be bothered to get it working, it is
well worth it.
Okie-dokie folks, its 5am and I have to be at uni in two and a half hours, so
there you go....feel free to email me with suggestions, flames, abuse or even
some praise if this is useful at all.