Firefox 3 Font Rendering

I’ve been playing with the latest pre-release version of Firefox 3 and overall it’s excellent. It’s fast, much more memory-efficient and has some nice new features. There is, however, one major problem. The font rendering is quite simply atrocious. It’s eye-wateringly ugly and nothing I’ve tried so far has improved it to the point where it’s usable.

I should mention here that I’m talking only about the Linux version – from what I’ve seen online, the Windows and Mac versions are fine. I’ve also seen screenshots of it on Linux that look fine, so clearly the problem depends on your precise set up. For the record, I’m using KDE 3.5.7 on OpenSUSE 10.3. I’ve tried Gnome and found that it makes no difference, and I don’t think I would switch to Gnome just so that my browser looked prettier anyway. I love KDE way too much.

I’m sure there’s a solution out there that will work for me. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that when OpenSUSE’s official version of the final release comes out it’ll work beautifully and I’ll be a happy man. It’d be kinda nice to be reassured that all will be well before then, though.

Update: I finally managed to get it sorted, after much messing around. I’m now ready for the launch on Tuesday.

Google Desktop

I’m currently having a bit of a play with Google Desktop for Linux, and so far I’m suitably impressed. It installed on my computer without a hitch and is now busily indexing everything.

I tried the Windows version on my work computer when it first came out, way back in the mists it seems now, and the way the Linux version works is pretty similar, although it doesn’t have all the desktop crud like weather reports and news feeds. No loss there, quite honestly, I can live without all that. Besides, I can understand that it’d be hard work to get it to play nicely on KDE, Gnome and all the other desktops that are available for Linux.

Anyway, using it is simplicity itself. Configuration is done via the browser, and then it’s just a question of hitting the Ctrl key twice to summon and dismiss a simple search box, which will pull together results from the web and your local machine. It seems to work very well indeed, although it’d be nice to see it also indexing Google Reader and Google Documents. I suspect that that’ll happen in the future.

If you’re a Linux user and you’re after an application like this, give it a try. I reckon it’s better than Beagle, although these things always come down to personal preference, of course. Some people may have privacy concerns, which is entirely understandable, but I’m happy that my information isn’t going beyond my home PC. Famous last words? I hope not.