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gnome panel fonts on startup

  what controls the display of the fonts in the gnome-panel
when it first starts up?

  i'm running current unstable versions of gnome, gnome-panel, 
gnome-shell, up to date on graphics drivers, tried different 
kernels, tried creating new user, etc. all same result.

  the whole thing is blank other than the letter "m"
(which is the first letter of the user name "me") but
as time goes on the clock gets digits as they change.

  if i click the icon space where the accessibility
icon is it will bring up a menu (with many items
missing letters).  if i click on the "large text"
item twice (making the text bigger and then smaller
again) then it corrects the problem.  the top menu
is then looking right, but if for some reason the
gnome desktop resets (oom killer) or i sign out again
or reboot then it goes back to the blank/missing 
letters in the font state until i redouble click the
text size again.

  i'm, digging into gnome-panel code now to see if
i can spot the problem, but no luck as of yet.

  in reading through bug reports on the gnome site
i see some that sound similar and refer to it being
a graphics driver problem, but that doesn't make
sense to me that a graphics driver would not work for
a font display at first, but then work after i refresh
something via the accessiblity menu...

  but then what do i know.  thus i ask here.  :)



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