"Font smoothing, anti-aliasing, and sub-pixel rendering" - Joel on Software

Well, after reading this post, and since I couldn't find a way to comment on that, I opted for the easy comment option: blog about it! :)

In fact, not much to say here, rather than in this particular aspect, I do favor Microsoft's call rather than Apple's one. Why? Well, surely being used to it also helps making that call, but I'd like to believe that reasoning has something to do with it too! :)

When you spend so much time staring at a computer screen (12+ hours a day), which one would you favor: readability (read: clear, crisp, non-eye-straining text), or paper-similarity (read: fuzzier but more truer to print text)?

If only one to choose from, I go with readability, the way MSFT did (hey! I'm actually sticking on MSFT's side on something! :)); It could be nice to have an option to have a more paper-like preview, but for the most part, and for a programmer who spends a lot of time staring at code, paper similarity is nothing compared to the ease on his eyes from reading crisper text...

If I were to do a vote, I believe most people would agree with me for two reasons alone: most readers of my blog are Windows users and most are programmers, so they would easily go for the MSFT way in this particular context.

Of course, when we get to the insanely high DPI displays, affordable displays that can show 300+ DPI, then this question could be raised again. Until then, I'll stick with MSFT's way...


Xepol said...

Prior to Vista, I hated MS's cleartype. I still prefer no cleartype for development tho.

After seeing Apple's idea of anti-aliasing text in the Win32 Safari browers, I gotta say that I find it very, very muddy - I would hate to use an interface that looked like that all day long.

Fernando Madruga said...

MSFT's cleartype is very good, but you need a reasonable sized display: my laptop's 15.4 inch display has 1680x1050 pixels which, if used with normal sized text (96 DPI) with no anti-aliasing is a bit harsh to read.
I use 120 DPI text with ClearType (fine-tuned with the ClearType PowerToy), and I can now work more comfortably.

But, on lower resolution displays (say, 1024x768), it's probably best to stick with the standard non-anti-aliased text!

efortier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
efortier said...

I find font smoothing in Delphi under Vista to be extremely tiring to look at for extended period of time, even on my brand new 19 inches LCD monitor.

And disabling font smoothing in Vista makes the whole UI one ugly mess, so disabling it is not really an option unless you want to remap all fonts.

(deleting my previous post by mistake ;)

Fernando Madruga said...

Efortier: I don't use Vista, and hope I can skip it altogether! I don't know if the Cleartype Powertoys will work there or if they'll improve your experience, but it doesn't hurt to try!

You can find the powertoys here.

Just download and try the one named "Cleartype Tuner".

Davy Landman said...

Those complaining about the bad experiences with programming while cleartype is enabled should try switching to a font which was not created in 1950 (Courier New)...

start the search of a new font here:

Myself have switch to microsofts consolas, which makes the full use of cleartype... try watching the consolas without cleartyping is just awfull!

download: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=22e69ae4-7e40-4807-8a86-b3d36fab68d3&displaylang=en

welcome to the modern world ;)

Davy Landman said...

> welcome to the modern world ;)
:| and I should have used the link tag....
Consolas and ClearType
Progamming Fonts

Programming Fonts

Consolas is an excellent programming font.

Download consolas