Firebird on Linux

Album Cover: The Downward Spiral

"Everything's blue in this world...the deepest shade of mushroom blue."
NIN / The Downward Spiral

Posted on January 26, 2004 8:40 PM in Browsers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I got to play around with Firebird on Linux today, and I have to say that I am very impressed with how well the GUI translates from Windows to Linux, and vice versa. It's hardly even noticeable that you are working on a completely different operating system than Windows, other than the fact that all of the cool web fonts you're used to seeing are shown using the lackluster "Helvetica" font.

The font issue is an operating system-specific one, though, and should not reflect negatively on the Linux version of Firebird. I'm a little surprised that running an application like Firebird (or more realistically, the Mozilla suite) out of the box on a Red Hat distribution provides such a lacking display of some of the most rudimentary web fonts (e.g. Verdana and Arial). For the most part, my blog shows up just fine as far as readability goes, but the font I chose for presentation (Verdana at the time of writing) was not used. Not being a font guru, I can't say whether this is due to issues with TrueType or Microsoft licenses, but it sure would make a user's switch to Linux that much smoother if the same fonts they were used to seeing on the web showed up on the otherwise quite astonishing OS.

While I may not be the right person to talk about fonts and how they pertain to Linux and/or Linux versions of Mozilla and Firebird, there are some good resources out there:

To get back to the main topic of my post, though, I should restate that Firebird on Linux is as excellent as it is on Windows. Anyone who's new to Linux and doesn't need the full power of the Mozilla Application Suite (i.e. Mail, News, Composer, etc.) should definitely consider Firebird as an alternative.

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