Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Windows Last week we talked about what Linux (well, okay, X) could learn from Windows Vista and Windows 7, focusing on the graphics stack. A short article over at TechWorld lists seven things Windows 7 should learn from the Linux world. Some of them are spot-on, a few are nonsensical, and of course, and I'm sure you have a few to add too.
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Font rendering
by timl on Wed 19th Aug 2009 11:25 UTC
timl
Member since:
2005-12-06

Last weekend I finally found the time to try out my Win7 RC1, just to see what it's like. Not that I've used it much, but 2 things stood out for me:

First, and very predictably, the Windows installer still doesn't have the good manners to keep its paws off the master boot record. At the very least, it could scan for non-FAT and non-NTFS partitions. If it finds some, it should have the grace to *ask* if it may overwrite the MBR, or if it should confine its startup code to its own partition, warning the user he's responsible for updating his boot manager.

The second is something I've noticed before when occasionally using a recent version of Office or IE on older Windows versions as well: I find its font rendering highly unpleasant. This is due to the coloured artefacts that the subpixel rendering leaves around the edges of the characters. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive to those: I have fairly strong glasses which create some kind of "rainbow effect" at big contrasts somewhat removed from the center of my vision, and I really don't need the font rendering to add to that effect.

I've gone through the ClearType wizard several times, and I did manage to mostly get rid of it. I'd say that as a result, the text is still slightly more fuzzy than what I get on my beloved Gnome desktop (with font rendering set to "Best contrast"). Worse though, as soon as colours come into play, the coloured edges re-appear. And since Windows has a knack for using dark-blue text and/or coloured backgrounds for captions, headers etc (like in many configuration screens, but also lots of web pages), there's still a lot of that going around.

I realize taste in this matter may differ from person to person. But for me, the font rendering in Windows is really grating on my eyes.

Not wanting to only whine, I'll end on a somewhat more positive note. I'm actually quite impressed with the smoothness of how it runs on my aging machine (Pentium 4 2.6GHz, 1.5 GB, nVidia FX5200). Granted, I haven't installed background programs like a virus scanner, but it starts quite fast, and seems nicely responsive. I've never tried Vista on that machine, but there could well be some truth to the claims Win7 uses less resources than Vista.

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