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ugly fonts reading messages in linux since upgrade to 60.0

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  • 1 has this problem
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  • Last reply by JJMCC

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Using Thunderbird 60.0 under ArchLinux/XFCE.

Everything was working fine until the recent update to 60.0. Now when I open a message the fonts are sometimes very ugly – thin and washed out with occasional bold-looking appearance (for example the combinations “ti” and “tt” look almost bold face). It’s difficult to pin down exactly when the fonts are ugly, but sometimes messages look fine, sometimes the entire message is ugly, and sometimes only quoted previous messages are ugly. I’ve tried the following:

More→View Source: look for strange or specific encodings. Nothing unusual here, sometimes Content-Type: text/plain; charset=“utf-8” displays fine, sometimes it doesn’t. Couldn’t really find a correlation with charset.

Preferences→Display→ Fonts and Colors → Advanced: Check that legitimate fonts are chosen for the various options (serif, sans serif and monospace); tried switching to other fonts and that didn’t make a difference. Problem happens whether “Allow messages to use other fonts” is checked or not; some OK text reverts to the bad font when it is unchecked though.

On googling, I found this issue http://z-issue.com/wp/ugly-fonts-in-mozilla-firefox-and-thunderbird-under-linux-skia-and-cairo/ and had high hopes, but when I checked, my config file was already set to cairo.

Any suggestions out there?

Chosen solution

I found a solution. Part of my problem was I was not getting the fonts to change in some messages. The reason for this is it is necessary in Thunderbird to set fonts not only for Latin encoding, but also for “Other writing systems”. I guess when Thunderbird gets a message that doesn’t have a language explicitly stated, it uses the settings for “Other writing systems”. So some messages look OK while others don't. Once I got the fonts to change I was able to choose a different font that works. But the root of the problem was that I was using Calibri font, which I had added to my ArchLinux system some time ago. Turns out it's necessary to disable bitmap font display for Calibri to avoid the ugliness. The ArchWiki explains how: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Font_configuration#Disable_bitmap_fonts

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Make sure your system meets the requirements for v60. https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/60.0/system-requirements/

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OK, thanks for replying. ArchLinux is rolling release and I upgraded Thunderbird to 60.0 via pacman. One would hope the dependencies would be correctly in place before they released 60.0 for installation. But maybe there is a problem there...?

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I upgraded Thunderbird to 60.0 via pacman.

I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds like you're using a Thunderbird package either provided by your distribution or a 3rd-party repository. You should therefore ask in an ArchLinux support forum.

Alternatively you can try the vanilla Thunderbird version from https://www.thunderbird.net/

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Yes, that's correct. Pacman is the ArchLinux package manager which is supposed to take care of all dependencies. I will post on ArchLinux support too. Just hoping someone here might have a solution if this problem is seen by others. Thanks.

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Chosen Solution

I found a solution. Part of my problem was I was not getting the fonts to change in some messages. The reason for this is it is necessary in Thunderbird to set fonts not only for Latin encoding, but also for “Other writing systems”. I guess when Thunderbird gets a message that doesn’t have a language explicitly stated, it uses the settings for “Other writing systems”. So some messages look OK while others don't. Once I got the fonts to change I was able to choose a different font that works. But the root of the problem was that I was using Calibri font, which I had added to my ArchLinux system some time ago. Turns out it's necessary to disable bitmap font display for Calibri to avoid the ugliness. The ArchWiki explains how: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Font_configuration#Disable_bitmap_fonts