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Linux Chromium has legibility bug

Dev unearths optimizeLegibility issue, and reminds to test more

Developer Brent Simmons has unearthed a problem with Chromium on Linux. In a post on his blog, he states that text rendering on his site was compromised when people visited using the Linux version of Chromium.

After some digging around, Simmons discovered that the problem was down to use of the optimizeLegibility value, which greatly improves the appearance of kerning pairs and ligatures in compatible web browsers. However, in Chromium for Linux, use of 'text-rendering: optimizeLegibility' caused text to overlap, a problem that went away on a page refresh. That the issue is not more widely noticed is probably down to optimizeLegibility not being widely used and most sites redrawing and reflowing, thinks Simmons.

The main reason for Simmons's post, however, was to argue that if you use optimizeLegibility, you should also test in the Linux version of Chromium. It's also a stark warning, once again, that designers and developers shouldn't be complacent when testing; just because a site looks fine in a web browser on one operating system, that's no guarantee it will render similarly successfully on another.

Chromium is the open source project that Google Chrome is drawn from. As reported on Ars Technica, Google's browser continues to gain marketshare and its worldwide share is now in the high teens. If trends continue it's likely that Chrome will overtake Firefox some time in 2012, at which point it will be second only to Internet Explorer. Robust testing of sites in the browser across platforms will therefore be of increasing importance as its share grows.

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