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For a few months I'm experience strange font rendering issue on an Ubuntu 14.04 system. When I login for the first time after the system is booted, something is wrong with the font rendering. Examples:

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All GTK dialogs do not seem to use the Ubuntu font any more, the font size is wrong and hinting seems to be broken.

If I log out and log back in, everything looks nice and exactly as it used to be:

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I'm using the default Ambience theme, with the default Ubuntu font -- the only thing I have changed is to slightly decrease the default font size using unity-tweak-tool. I have verified that the font settings does not change in unity-tweak-tool when the font looks wrong: The setting for "Default font" is always "Ubuntu 8", but is apparently not applied in the first login.

Any ideas what could be causing this issue? How can I find out what changes during the log-out/log-in procedure in terms of GTK state?

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