Default Lumina font


I struggle with the Default Lumina English language font [DeJa Vu Sans].
I loathe that a lowercase letter L and uppercase letter I appear indistinguishable. It adds a layer of cognitive effort to comprehension that doesn’t really need to be there in an IT age.
Many other commonly favoured fonts are similarly at fault - Ariel, yuk!

Yes, I figured out how to install a font [verdana in the webfonts pkg, and also Noto Sans] and apply them to the Lumina theme > Font settings to mitigate the issue; but perhaps we shouldn’t have to in the first place is the question I’m asking?

I get that screen fonts don’t necessarily want serifs cluttering up the dialogue boxes etc, but wasn’t Verdana, Trebuchet and similar humanist sans fonts designed to attend to issues like this.

“Humanist sans-serif designs can (if appropriately proportioned and spaced) be particularly suitable for use on screen or at distance, since their designs can be given wide apertures or separation between strokes, which is not a conventional feature on grotesque and neo-grotesque designs.” []

A little experimentation leads me to offer a non-microsoft font, Noto Sans, as an alternative to DeJa Vu Sans. Perhaps Droid Sans will do?

Why these two? I think the compromise of a capital I having serifs in a sans font is actually necessary for clarity. The alternative is for the lowercase L to have a curl like Trebuchet or Fira Sans.

So, is this default font issue of the word Ill looking like a barcode in Deja Vu Sans a bugbear to remedy, or are you happy with the status quo?
If I’m being a pedant… c’est la vie. If my prosaic alternatives lack finess suggest better ones.
Anyhow, before being so rash as to suggest an enhancement on our github page, I thought I’d throw the topic out there.


PS: Licencing of fonts (which I admit I know little about) is a requirement of any distribution, so alternatives would need to be practicable.



it comes down to to license issues,and how they look on the system. In addition to personal preference.



Talking about personal preference.

When writing down by hand on paper, a capital I and a lowercase L are identical. The same works with a capital O and a zero. Distinguishing between them has been working for centuries. Having electronic media making a visual distinction is a convenience, not a requirement, in my opinion.

(That’s not the case when such distinction is critical, such as software development; but then I would not be talking about default UI font.)



FWIW, Fira Sans was designed specifically as a UI font, and it uses the SIL Open Font License. So, it should be compatible with Project Trident. FiraGo, the successor to Fira Sans, is used by HERE maps and has good support for many languages and writing systems. Both are a good UI font at HiDPI and lower resolutions, and Mac users were hacking their system to use it over San Francisco.

It’s easy to install as a port, and I use it as my UI font on any system I can. However, I’m currently the port maintainer for x11-fonts/fira and x11-fonts/firaGO. So, I’m biased. But there are other choices like IBM Plex. It’s Sans Serif font works well as a UI font on high and low resolution screens, has the same Open Font License and is used in all of IBM materials, so they have some faith in it.

It would be nice to have a sensible default font. I believe in the past, Lumina used Noto Sans, but that was big (of course Fira or any font that has lots of different language support has this issue too). It may feel to some a bike shed argument, but this is something that typographers and designers do care about. That being said, there are at least some good GUI’s that use the fonts I named above. I’m unsure for DejaVu Sans.

Happily, at least individuals can change the font if they don’t like it! (Try that on other modern systems!) I used to have a set up of how to get all the font settings correct on Lumina (and everything else I used like the GTK and Qt applications). But I’m afraid that code has bitrotted as I’m not using Lumina at the moment. I may try to post it if there is any interest in such things?

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