Font rendering in 2016


A couple of months ago, I built a gaming machine for the first time since I was a teenager. It was tons of fun, and the kick arse GTX970 was only rendered (HAH!) outdated after a couple of weeks! Darn you NVidia and your 1070.

Point is, I’ve been using Windows on the desktop for the first time in years. There are a few small improvements, but the font situation is still horribly grim.

I’ve never been a fan of the way Windows renders fonts, but the situation has subjectively not improved since I moved off XP. I remember reading ClearType’s subpixel rendering optimised sharpness by aligning strokes to pixel boundaries, but the effect still manages to look fuzzy and ill-defined in Windows 7 and 10.

(Surprisingly, GTK desktops on \*nix nailed this legibility–over–accuracy; if you turn on full subpixel rendering in Xfce the results are clearer than anything on Windows. And it’s not even the year of the Linux desktop)!

If I had to answer truthfully about why I use MacOS [sic] on the desktop, fonts are among the big reasons. If you’re a font nerd, nothing comes close.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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