Thank you for your quick feedback. Indeed, it seems that the first
picture is using FreeSans, which is used as fallback for Hebrew in
Ubuntu Edgy. It's a pity I cannot use it directly, because its Latin
script looks quite bad.
So, I am no font expert, but I will list my problems with the Hebrew
DejaVu sans font. This is going to be a bit long...
General main problem:
- Generally, the line used to draw the fonts is too thin. This makes
pixelisation inevitable, especially in rounded straight angles like in
the letters כ, ר, ח, ב, פ and so on. It also puts strain on the eyes.
- In bold mode, the bottom of the letters are boldified upward, and the
upper downward (instead of spreading it more or less equally)). This
distorts the original proportions of the inner white space contained
within the characters. I also have the impression that the "bolding" is
too strong, especially since the original is too thin.
Problems with specific letters:
- The Letters א, מ: the right "foot" is flat, but the left "foot" is
rounded. This makes the impression that the left foot doesn't reach the
"floor", making the letters look limping.
- The letter נ: This is the worst case of flat letter, because it makes
it look almost identical to כ. Also, one of the important features of נ
in many fonts is that the upper horizontal line is slightly shorter than
the lower one, exactly to avoid that problem.
The letter ת: The small horizontal line going left at the bottom must be
longer, and exceed the "square" of the letter.
- The letter ט and ס are unreasonably narrower than the rest of the
letters, while they are supposed to be of standard width. The letter ע,
on the other hand, is supposed to be narrower than the rest of the
regular letters, but is wide.
- In the letter ק, the left tip of the upper horizontal line is rounded.
This makes the impression that the separate vertical line is not below
the upper horizontal line, but slightly to the left of it. This is
wrong: this vertical line should not "get out of the box".
- In the letter ז, the horizontal line on top is too long to the both
ways, making it easily mistaken for ד.
Generally, the spacing problems are different with different font sizes
so I am afraid I can't help with specific pairs. For example, in size 12
the space after כ and other square letters is way too small (this is
especially problematic when the following letter is ג, like in עג), but
in size 14 it is way too large; The letters י and ו are too close to
the letters before them and too far away from the letters after them in
size 12, but are alright in size 14.
- One problem recurring in all sizes is too wide spacing after ז and ק.
I am afraid that this is just the tip of the iceberg, because, as I told
you, I have no experience with font design. I'm afraid that the current
Hebrew implementation is highly problematic, and I would like you to
consider seriously replacing the entire Hebrew font with something more
professional, giving it the extra touch you give to your (beautiful)
Latin fonts. Two free examples for good Hebrew implementations are
Nachlieli CLM (from Culmus project) and the aforementioned FreeSans.
> Hebrew was added to DejaVu Sans in version 2.9 and hinted in Sans Book in 2.11.
> The "new versions" in your last two screenshots are DejaVu but the
> first one  is not DejaVu. I don't know what font fontconfig fell
> back to but it's not a font hinted for screen display, i.e. it's
> borders are blurry. From the screenshot with DejaVu I'd say ע needs to
> be rehinted.
> Anti-aliasing isn't broken, it's just used when needed. Straight
> vertical or horizontal line don't need much anti-aliasing. That's why
> they look sharper and you might not be used to that if you use a font
> that is not hinted.
> But let us know which character you think need work.
> Could you tell us which characters should have proportions with width
> not exceeding height? I can only see ש, מ, ס which are either a bit
> too close to these proportions or beyond.
> Sans Bold has most Hebrew glyphs not respecting that ratio.
> As far as spacing is concerned, we need to know which character pairs
> are to tight and which are too spacious although we can probably fix
> the obvious ones.
> Denis Moyogo Jacquerye