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Monday 18 June 2007

About fonts again

Heh, the Safari/Windows font smoothing thing seems to have stirred somewhat of a storm-in-a-teacup-blogosphere again. So lets comment on it again; this time, with a few more comparisons from my favorite free operating system:

Font rendering; the Windows emulation way (FreeType on high contrast setting):

The Apple emulation way (FreeType on preserve shapes setting):

The ClearType way (FreeType with subpixel decimation):

And finally my favorite, subpixel rendering with lower hinting strength:

Best of both worlds - more contrast than Mac OS X, prettier shapes than Windows, and word spacing which matches closely with what would be printed. Those closed operating systems look worse by the second.

All four settings available from the same GNOME font dialog.

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Font rendering Mac OS X vs Windows vs Linux

A topic which I've run tests with before (long time before), apparently has come back with Apple's Safari for Windows release. Jeff Atwood finds Mac OS X fonts wonky - well, they're certainly soft. Apple has never been too keen on strong hinting, perhaps because it messes inter-glyph metrics in favor of contrast. Windows is wonky in its own way - ClearType has good contrast, but letter spacing is sometimes a bit annoying.

Just for kicks, here's what Fedora 7 with FreeType autohinting and subpixel rendering (equivalent of ClearType) looks like. This is just one of the modes, but the one I personally prefer:

Comparing at 200% rendering to Jeff's examples; Safari/Windows, IE7/Windows, and Firefox/Fedora

I guess it's up to everyone's preferences, but I think Fedora wins this one. Spacing isn't perfect here either (in particular "b est" looks a bit ugly), but overall, contrast is excellent and paragraph spacing is very close to what it would be without hinting.