How to fix the TrueType font rendering

December 18, 2019

I was cleaning up my configuration for ZSH the other day—which is probably a story for another time—it lead me to ‘break’ the font rendering by reverting it back to the defaults, which is if you ask me broken and hideous.

The mistake I did was to remove this line from my ~/.zshrc:

export FREETYPE_PROPERTIES="truetype:interpreter-version=35"

It’s an option that I added years ago and I didn’t even remember what it did. When I cleaned my configuration for ZSH I decided to uncomment everything that I wasn’t sure if I needed or not. I thought that if it’s something important I will notice it eventually. Which I did, but not in the way I intended.. It took me a couple of days before figuring out what broke the font rendering and this was it.

What does it even do?

A couple of years ago, FreeType decided to change the default rendering for the fonts, to something way more ugly if you ask me. They call it the “v40 TrueType” and I don’t like it at all. I prefer the older v35 method and the export enables this by default.


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