Font rendering problems

I am seeing problems with font rendering in opensuse 12.3 RC1.  I doubt that this is opensuse specific.  I mostly see it in firefox, and a google search shows that many people have been seeing font rendering problems in firefox.

Here’s what the “liferea” page looks like with messed up fonts:


However, that is nothing, compared to the way that firefox renders my last post to this blog.


That’s pretty much unreadable.

I have only seen this problem with firefox and liferea.  The font rendering by konqueror has been fine, even for the same page that gave firefox problems.

If I logout of KDE, then log back in, all is fine for a while.  Then it gets worse over time.  I have not noticed this on other computers, but perhaps I have not been logged into other computers for long enough for the problem to develop.

Right now, I am posting this with firefox.  I did just logout, then login again, hoping that rendering is okay for at least the time it takes me to post.

This could be a graphic card problem.  The computer where I am seeing the problem uses Intel G33 graphics.

According to firefox (visit the “about:support” page), graphic acceleration is not being used.  I am not using desktop effects in KDE.  I have set Gnome to forced fallback mode.

Since I am only seeing this in firefox and liferea, this suggests that it might be a problem in gnome libraries.  However, that’s slim evidence at present.



About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

8 responses to “Font rendering problems”

  1. Caes says :

    I’ve installed opensuse 12.3 RC1 using KDE livecd and later added fluxbox (non-official repo).

    Just to share , did notice the same when i fluxbox uisng firefox.


    • Neil Rickert says :

      Thanks for confirming.

      What graphic card do you have? (I’m still not sure whether this is a driver problem or a library problem).


      • Cae says :

        Graphics Card : NVIDIA Quadro NVS 3100M
        Using : nouveau instead of nvidia in openSUSE

        may not be a fair comparision as I am NOT using the default repo – fluxbox is only available from


        • Neil Rickert says :


          That makes it unlikely that the graphics driver is the problem. My system uses i915, and yours uses nouveau.

          I have fired up my older 32 bit system with radeon graphics. I’ll try to use that for most activity today, to see if it develops the same font rendering problem. I am using that box to write this reply.

          I doubt that your use of fluxbox is related to the problem. It is more likely that the problem comes from a library linked with firefox and other gtk applications, and the fluxbox repo probably doesn’t provide those libraries itself.


  2. Cae says :

    By the way, since you are using mainly KDE , would like to share with you something that I’ve discovered and come to like.

    On older computers, you can actually install KDE and add Fluxbox as the window manager.

    KDE will provide the applications
    – systemsettings
    – dolphin
    – kwrite
    – konquerer, etc believe you get the point.

    while Fluxbox can be (quite easily) configured to behave like KDE. After all, most configurations can still be done in systemsettings and YAST.

    You will be surprised on how fast the system can be and how straight forward it is to setup Fluxbox.


  3. John says :

    I trawled the web for this problem which plagued my Dell Optiplex 755 (with Intel 82Q35 Express Graphics Controller) that had worked flawlessly until I upgraded to Opensuse 12.3. The clue to identifying / resolving the problem was a line in
    /var/log/Xorg.0.log that read:

    “(EE) intel(0): Failed to submit batch buffer, expect rendering corruption or even a frozen display: Resource deadlock avoided”

    Turns out that the xf86-video-intel Vn 2.20.19 has a bug which is a problem with the type of acceleration used by the i915 driver. It defaults to UXA but there is an alternative (newer I believe) SNA which can be simply enabled by creating the file:


    and then editing it to contain the following lines:

    Section “Device”
    Identifier “i915”
    Driver “intel”
    Option “AccelMethod” “sna”

    An alternative solution apparently is to downgrade xf86-video-intel to 2.20.17

    Solutions derived from: see “Choose Acceleration”

    Hope this helps others save time – I was just about to rebuild my system when I found it because the problem was making Thunderbird, Firefox & Libre Office unusable. Now everything works beautifully and I’m back in love with openSuse!


    • Neil Rickert says :

      Interesting. Thanks.

      The computer where I was having trouble has died, so I cannot test your suggestion. (The power supply failed, and the computer is old enough that it isn’t worth fixing).


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