More on Firefox and Ubuntu

It looks like at least some of the Firefox font issues are fixed in Ubuntu 8.10. The fonts are comparable in size to Opera now, but Opera's fonts still look slightly better. They also seem to have fixed the "use system proxy settings" so that it actually works, which is neat. The thing is, Opera does have a lot of nice features that I do like about it, like the fact that it groups popups in a per-tab basis, and you can configure things like popup blocking and whatnot on a per site basis. If it wasn't for the fact that it seems to have weird issues with flash performance (today I was watching Zero Punctuation, and the audio kept on going fine, but the video would stop and then run really fast and then stop and then run really fast.), and I have had flash actually lock up the browser, so that only one tab locking up thing must have been a fluke. It's really too bad that I actually want to use web content that needs flash, since my life would be so much easier without that plugin. Anyways, I'm contemplating switching back to Firefox, for reasons that are completely not even remotely the fault of Opera. We'll see where this goes.

Linux Firefox Fonts

Firefox on Linux has never felt quite right to me, and I've recently
discovered what it was. There's something different about the way
Firefox renders fonts for webpages and the way all my other (GTK+ and
Qt) applications render fonts. It's especially strange, since the
buttons and other form widgets render fonts like the rest of the GUI,
but the web page text is different somehow, and thus seems a bit

I actually discovered this because the laptop that I've been provided by
work has an insane native resolution of 1920x1200 on a 15" screen. Thus,
in order to actually be able to read all my fonts, I've raised the DPI
to 120. This works great in everything, except Firefox, which
stubbornly refuses to use the systemwide DPI setting for anything other
than UI elements. This wouldn't be too bad, because I could just zoom
the pages or raise the font size for webpages, but since form elements
use the system fonts/dpi, they are a completely different size font than
the rest of the webpages, causing no end of rendering weirdness.
Searching for ways to solve this problem was fruitless, since it seems
that there is no way to set the DPI for the web page text, and trying to
customize fontsizes to match everything else via CSS seems to be an
exercise in futility (and pain).

In desperation, I installed Konqueror, and found that it properly
respected my DPI settings, but didn't quite feel enough like a dedicated
web browser for my tastes. So I remembered that Opera exists, and I've
installed that. So far, it's as polished and fast as I remember, and it
seems to work on more sites than it used to. They also removed all the
ads, so I'm a happy camper so far. It's amazing what consistent text
rendering across the entire UI can do for a person. (As an aside, I
think this may be why Evolution feels better than Thunderbird for
reading mail, despite Evolution's somewhat fragile network layer and
lack of proxy support)

Anyways, we'll see how this Opera experiment holds out. We'll see how
long it is until I miss the plugin and Firebug.