wqy font problem on Fedora 9 and Nvidia card

Today I upgraded my system from Fedora 8 to the new Fedora 9. The process went fine... but I ran into a small problem with the bitmap font I use in Gnome.

One of the things I dislike about current Linux desktops (in comparison to 1998-2001 linux) is the use of anti-aliased fonts. If you try to disable antialiasing, fonts look dead ugly. Long lost are the simple looking helvetica or arial fonts on Linux. (if anyone knows how to get them back, please do let me know).

The only bitmap font I've found on Fedora distributions is "wqy-bitmap-fonts", which is actually a Chinese font, but which works fine for latin characterset as well.

However, after upgrading to Fedora 9, this font began to display funny (artifacts showing on top of the text, making it unreadable). I thought it to be a problem with Fedora 9... but after posting the issue on redhat's bugzilla, I found out it is an issue with the video driver I am using.

My system has a nVidia Corporation NV44A [GeForce 6200] rev a1. On Fedora 9 I installed driver version NVIDIA-Linux-x86-173.14.05, and this causes a problem. If I use the "nv" driver that comes with Fedora, the problem goes away.

Here's a picture showing the font problem I had:

So one solution is to use the "nv" driver instead of the "nvidia" one on X11.
In the mean time I will continue to use "nvidia", however... and then I will try new nVidia drivers when they come out.

Here's the bugzilla page covering this issue.

So this concludes the first post of this blog... (I hope it helps others who run into the same problem).


  1. This problem seems to happen with any non-antialiased font. Today I experienced the same problem when using LucidaTypewriter and MiscFixed. Other fonts, whether fixed width or not, which are antialiased, are displayed correctly.

    Today there's still no new nVidia driver for linux... will have to wait a bit longer to find out if the driver is indeed the problem.

  2. Nvidia has released an updated driver that fixes the problem. They report that there was a problem between the new Xorg 1.5 and nVidia linux driver 173.14.05.

    Aliased fonts display correctly with driver version 173.14.09.