Home > Windows > Cleartype Team – Typography in Windows Vista Cleartype Team – Typography in Windows Vista Eugenia Loli 2005-12-18 Windows 90 Comments Channel9 met with Bill Hill and the ClearType team again and see what’s the latest with the fonts in Windows Vista. They talk about trends in display resolution, research done in aesthetics and quite a few other things. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 90 Comments 2005-12-19 12:25 am Mads Bill Hill, what an interesting guy, a fountain of knowledge. 2005-12-19 12:35 am dylansmrjones …they fix the way ClearType renders OpenType CFF fonts and Type 1 fonts, and OpenType TTF fonts with limitited use of instructions. It’s rather broken at the moment, when it comes to do it correctly, in regard to letterspacing and kerning. And the ClearType Tuner is laughable. It needs a lot more work before I can consider it a professionel tool. However, it doesn’t change the fact that ClearType is a must to use – turning it off. using standard (which yields worse results than antialiasing on Win2K) simply makes the fonts looking unbearably ugly. Microsoft could here learn a lot from font rendering on Mac OS X and from other systems using FreeType. As it is, even AmigaOS 4 and MorphOS render fonts better than Windows. 2005-12-19 12:44 am sappyvcv We’ve been over this before, and you know I disagree with you on this completely. I think ClearType rendering produces far more legible text (when using the proper settings for your monitor). However, it would be very pointless for us to continue arguing about something so subjective. One thing that most people do agree on though, is that ClearType produces more crisp text with small font sizes than OSX’s rendering. edit: Here’s some old screenshots I took comparing ClearType and FreeType. However, remember that either may not look as good on your system, especially ClearType. It will look especially bad if you’re on an LCD monitor, as my settings are tweaked for MY CRT monitor, and look best using it. http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ct.png http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ft.png It’s best to open one then the other and go back and forth between them using back/forward. Edited 2005-12-19 00:54 2005-12-19 1:38 am dylansmrjones Is it good enough if I open them in different tabs and switch back’n’forth between the tabs? Or does that ruin the effect? 2005-12-19 1:40 am sappyvcv Depends how well your browser handles tab switching 2005-12-19 2:04 am dylansmrjones Well, it’s FF and it worked quite fint. Better than using back’n’forth (the latter one being quite nasty btw ) 2005-12-19 1:39 am ojh77 This test is rather pointless due to the font optimization for a specific renderer. If I’m not mistaking the font in those screen shots is Verdana. Yes the page rendered on Windows is clearer, but compering the ClearType rendering to the rendering of Bitstream Vera Sans on my screen (on T2 2.1.0) produces visually identical quality. This test proves nothing because specific fonts have been optimized for specific font engines. 2005-12-19 1:45 am sappyvcv You have a good point. I use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono on my IRC client and I used it in KDevelop when I was doing development on debian. It’s very crisp with ClearType though. But it was probably the only font on Linux that was visually pleasing and rendering amazingly well for me. Every other font had subtle issues. I still think ClearType is the better rendering engine, but it definitely should be noted that Microsoft does a lot of R&D on fonts to produce very specialized fonts, whereas *nix doesn’t seem to have any good fonts made specificaly for it, save the Bitstream family, which is a very awesome font. 2005-12-19 1:58 am ojh77 My point in pixels: http://xisystems.net/files/fonts.png 2005-12-19 6:54 am JT Uh, sorry … but the Vera Sans one looks *terrible*. Absolutely hideous. The second one down looks okay, but there’s a bit of funniness going on around curves (S’s, and the bottom part of lower-case A’s). The ClearType wins hands down against all three. You ARE looking at this on an LCD, right? 2005-12-19 8:29 am zerblat The top one doesn’t use subpixel rendering, so it will probably look worse than the others on LCDs. 2005-12-19 2:02 am dylansmrjones I noticed your screenshot did not use subpixelrendering for FT The poster clearly has a point, and so do you when you mention Microsoft does a lot of R&D on fonts. They have to, because TT-fonts without a lot of (the right) instructions don’t look good at all. But the fonts Microsoft ships with Windows are really good. Some of them could be better according to my requirements, but I’m also extremely picky when it comes to fonts. Probably a disease stemming from my days studying at the Graphical Line at Technical College in Aarhus. 2005-12-19 2:07 am sappyvcv Actually it WAS subpixel rendering with BCI. 2005-12-19 2:12 am dylansmrjones Well, it doesn’t look like that on my system with subpixel rendering (I prefer “best shape” anyway – using a CRT monitor). But I also consider clarity and correctness more important than sweetness of shape. Apart from the annoying purple halo always present with CT no matter how much tweaking you do, CT yields a reasonable result in regard to visual pleasantness. However, when it comes to do it right in regard to hinting (letterspacing kerning etc.) ClearType is a big time loser. If ClearType used antialiasing together with subpixeling it would make a major difference I believe, including if they fixed the correctness issue. 2005-12-19 2:17 am sappyvcv Again, I don’t see what you’re talking about. You’re going to have to be more specific and provide some visuals. Nor do I see a “purple halo” unless I don’t tweak my cleartype settings properly. 2005-12-19 2:43 am dylansmrjones I do on LCD monitors and CRT monitors just the same. No matter how much I tweak. All I can manage to do is moving the problem from one place to another place. And I’ve tried all possible combinations. Most combinations are unusable, and the four usable combinations all suffers from halo (in my eyes clearly visible but then the halo on your screenshots are clearly visible to me. I don’t believe anyone in here is as picky as I am with fonts and correct rendering. 2005-12-19 2:45 am sappyvcv Trust me, I am ungodly picky I’ve had a graphics designer yell at me over being too picky about crispness and whatnot. 2005-12-19 2:58 am dylansmrjones :LOL: Oh I would liked to see that (and hear it) Personally a pixel off is enough to make me turn around my own axis quite a dozen times. I even managed to dump a distro because of that Creating fonts is so much work, especially all the minor perfections take forever (which is why I prefer postscript outlines – make some basic hinting and let the smart font render do the rest – much easier than opposite). 2005-12-19 3:53 am rayiner LOL. You’re likely picky in different ways. The graphics designer sees OS X rendering and thinks: “wow, look at how it portrays the subtle curves of the ‘s'”. You see it and think: “god, it’s a blurry mess!” Displays are still limited-resolution devices. There is a tradeoff between crispness and asthetics. You two seem to have different opinions on that tradeoff 2005-12-19 2:35 am DittoBox That’s not Verdana that’s Arial… 2005-12-19 1:53 am Alex Forster http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ct.png http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ft.png Can’t argue with that. Cleartype. No contest. 2005-12-19 3:49 am are you joking? ugg, cleartype has always been ugly. and it has improved to be a bit better. but i still does not compare to my freetype based gnome desktop 2005-12-19 7:00 am Can’t argue with that. Cleartype. No contest. Cleartype looks WORSE. It makes me feel that I have something wrong with my eyes… Text just doesn’t seem sharp and crispy. It sucks. 2005-12-19 3:56 pm superstoned it might very well depend on the screen you use. cleartype looks better here, on a tft. the letters are easier to distinquish. i hope (as vista won’t get into my house) linux gets better font rendering soon 😉 2005-12-19 1:56 am dylansmrjones The osnews_ft.png picture is with FreeType with BCI enabled. And it has a much more correct rendering btw. It doesn’t have the blurry edges from ClearType, nor does it suffer from primitive incorrect letterspacing as well as wrong kerning. But it’s true alright that in these pictures ClearType letters have a nicer shape. Unfortunate letterspacing and kerning is bad with ClearType. And very visibly (at least to my eyes – but I also know it’s there) is the purple halo around the letters. What kind of antialiasing was used on the FreeType image? And are we talking 8 point unscaled? One thing which annoys me with FreeType is the errors in rendering the upper arm in minor ‘k’ in Tahoma (small fontsizes – especially 8 point). Subpixel rendering is possible with FreeType as well, with better quality because it is based on antialiazing AS WELL as subpixel rendering. Just like on Mac OS X. People don’t agree that ClearType gives more crisp fonts than on OS X. At least I haven’t heard a single font designer from the Mac-world praising ClearType at all. FT with antialiasing beats CT. FT with antialiasing and subpixelrendering beats CT even more. At least on my monitor using 98 DPI (98 DPI and 101 DPI gives the same amount of scaling – was to lazy to click 3 more times;) When comparing CT and FT as well as Mac OS X fontrender, you have to compare all possible combinations. CT loses due to lack of real antialiasing, while FT and Mac OS X wins due to strength of combined antialiasing and subpixeling. In Gnome you have 4 possible options for fontrendering: 1) Monochrome – no antialiasing at all 2) Best shape – 256 greytone antialiasing (better than anything on Windows earlier than XP) 3) Best contrast – Somewhere in between 1 and 2. 4) Subpixelrendering – includes subpixelrendering as well as antialiasing. Beats the crap out of ClearType and is rivalled only by Mac OS X. Besides that, there are issues like hinting, kerning and letterspacing, and here CT is clearly a big time loser, in regard to OpenType CFF, PostScript fonts (Type 1) and TrueType (including OpenType CFF) fonts with limited use of instructions. BitStream Vera fonts are rendered very poorly on XP and 2K3. Windows2000 actually does it more correct, however less beautiful. Compared with Windows2000 XP and Win2K3 clearly have much more crisp fonts. But they lose to FT and Mac OS X which are both clearly more sophisticated (using subpixel rendering AND antialiasing). 2005-12-19 2:05 am sappyvcv The screenshot really doesn’t work unless your monitor is just like mine, or else you will see halos, blurriness, etc. Like I’ve said, you have to tweak it specific to your monitor. As far as kerning, I don’t see what you’re talking about. The kerning looks fine to me, even when looking for it. The FreeType image WAS with sub-pixel rendering, same monitor. People DO agree that ClearType looks better with small font sizes, because it DOES. If you want a mac user who agrees, well here: http://www.macobserver.com/columns/devilsadvocate/2003/20030523.sht… FT with antialiasing beats CT. FT with antialiasing and subpixelrendering beats CT even more. At least on my monitor using 98 DPI (98 DPI and 101 DPI gives the same amount of scaling – was to lazy to click 3 more times;) Maybe on your system, with your eyes, it does. You can’t simply blanket it and say it straight out beats ClearType though. Again, it’s subjective. You are making claims that CT handles this and that poorly, but I can’t see what you are speaking of, nor have I ever seen anyone else make these claims. Could you make be more specific, with some examples? BitStream Vera fonts are rendered very poorly on XP and 2K3. Windows2000 actually does it more correct, however less beautiful. I use bitstream on Windows and it renders just fine. Compared with Windows2000 XP and Win2K3 clearly have much more crisp fonts. But they lose to FT and Mac OS X which are both clearly more sophisticated (using subpixel rendering AND antialiasing). ClearType does use both. It also emphasizes contrast to trick the eyes. 2005-12-19 2:26 am dylansmrjones WARNING: I’m very picky with font rendering. Very picky. Actually ClearType does NOT use antialiasing with subpixel rendering. Look here with the OS X vs. XP comparison: http://www.xvsxp.com/fonts/ You’ve found one mac user (ooohhh… most mac users are of the opposite opinion, but that’s to be expected) who thinks XP does a better job, but looking at those screenshots, it’s clear to me why CT is bad to my eyes. Look at the screenshot, the XP windows, Arial 8 point, the word “QUICK” … Baaaad hinting… baaaaaad hinting. The I is too far away from tthe U and far too close to the C. Mac handles this better. I prefer the Mac screenshot because it does the things more correctly. And with a more crisp look (in my eyes). I have major issues with CT not only on this monitor, but also on the LCD-monitors at the college. I use CT none-the-less because with XP is unusable with CT. Fonts are extremely ugly and even worse hinted than with CT. On that account Win2K did a better job. There is however, some weird stuff going on with the Mac rendering of Tahoma Bold. That’s baaaaad too. Stuff like that makes me turn up’n’down (I told you I was picky about fonts). 2005-12-19 2:34 am sappyvcv I’m really picky about font rendering too. I do notice that the I is further away from the U than the C, but I notice the same thing on the OSX rendering. And with both, I only notice when I’m looking for it. With OSX rendering, it tends to blur things like the ends of serif fonts at smaller sizes. This works quite well for larger font sizes, but horribly for smaller sizes. The OSX text rendering for the most part looks slightly blurry to me with artifacts. The ClearType rendering for the most part looks natural and legible. 2005-12-19 2:52 am dylansmrjones I don’t see it at all on Mac OS X. In which word do you see it, what fontsize? The Mac OS X rendering of Arial 8 point is perfectly in the middle of the “QUICK”. Waauuuuww… I just found something ugly here on my monitor. the I in QUICK is to close the U with freetype, when using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. It looks like a 2 (or perhaps 3) pixel displacement. And the Q and U and CK are too close, leaving quite a gap between I and C. It looks like it’s a 3 pixel gap. Very ugly. Stuff like that is pretty obvious to me. I find the CT rendering very disturbing and hard to read. All the errors are making it impossible to read in a fluid and relaxing way. The errors are simply too many. But Bitstream Vera Sans Mono doesn’t look too good with FreeType though. There are major kerning issues around the I and i and u and U. The OSX text rendering for the most part looks slightly blurry to me with artifacts. The ClearType rendering for the most part looks natural and legible. Turn it around and you’ve got my view on ClearType But as the OS X vs. XP site wrote, this is highly individual especially in regard to subpixeling. (I have to switch to another monospaced font…) 2005-12-19 2:59 am sappyvcv Well I feel that exact opposite as you. Cleartype for me is fluid and easy to read. As well, I think Bitstream Vera Sans Mono renders the best of any font on nix. 2005-12-19 3:07 am dylansmrjones It’s one of the better yes, at least in larger font sizes. 2005-12-19 8:45 am zerblat Waauuuuww… I just found something ugly here on my monitor. the I in QUICK is to close the U with freetype, when using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. It looks like a 2 (or perhaps 3) pixel displacement. And the Q and U and CK are too close, leaving quite a gap between I and C. It looks like it’s a 3 pixel gap. Very ugly. Monospaced fonts don’t use kerning (that would kind of defeat the purpose of having monospaced fonts…), so you will always be able to find combinations of glyphs that don’t look evenly spaced. Especially when you’re looking at narrow letters like I or l, which still need to fill the same space as M or W. 2005-12-19 2:15 am Alex Forster Woah, you’re just plain wrong. Instead of quoting every paragraph and countering it, I’m just going to say this: watch the video. The video is my response to you. 2005-12-19 2:29 am dylansmrjones None of your posts so far leaves you with any credibility. Show me some of your font work. If you haven’t made any fonts, then please go away and leaves this discussion to the adults. 2005-12-19 3:43 am rayiner There is a reason Vera renders poorly in Windows. Vera is an unhinted font. It’s optimized to work with FreeType’s automatic hinter. 2005-12-19 4:28 am dylansmrjones This is not the reason. Windows renders most fonts badly, especially unhinted fonts. Vera is not unhinted. It’s hinted like a PostScript font (just like OpenType CFF). This works well with FreeType, and other renders optimized for Type1 fonts. Take Windows XP or 2003 Server, or even Windows 2000, and see how poorly it renders even Microsoft fonts, not to mention OpenType CFF fonts which are claimed to be supported on Windows. All smart renders optimized for postscript fonts will render Vera in a beautiful way. Actually most Microsoft fonts renders better with FreeType after conversion to OpenType CFF than they on Windows. Whether they are more beautiful is a different issue, but they render a lot more correct (which is beautiful to me). 2005-12-19 1:31 pm jziegler I have to agree. Comparing three types: WinXP with “standard method to smooth edges of screen fonts” WinXP with CT X.Org with FreeType, default settings for AA on an: 14.1″ 1024×768 LCD, X.Org with FreeType wins. On WinXP with “standard”,all my fonts are visibly edgy, especially in tight corners in “s”, “p”, “w”. WinXP with CT makes me feel dizzy. _ALL_ letters are totally unsharp and I too see the violet halo around them. Monospaced fonts are acceptable, but the kerning seems to be wrong with variable-width fonts. Too many letters are too close each other, for my taste. I’m not sure what the theory of kerning says, but I definitely do not like the “T” and “Y” in “PuTTY” touching each other. So when working in WinXP, I can either be dizzy or use fonts, which have no visible AA at all. Great . 2005-12-19 7:18 pm sappyvcv Did you adjust the CT settings or no? 2005-12-20 10:31 pm jziegler Nope, did not find anything like that yet. Must be hidden somewhere. The joys of a click-based interface . No “grep -r setting *” for you, mister! 2005-12-19 2:34 am DittoBox Not fair. Freetype only looks like crap because of evil Apple byte code interpreter patent(s). http://freetype.sourceforge.net/patents.html Otherwise I completely agree 2005-12-19 2:35 am sappyvcv Did you miss the part where I said BCI was enabled? Or does Apple have a different (better) algorithm? I know BCI is disabled on just about every distro for licensing reasons. 2005-12-19 2:43 am ojh77 Isn’t that why the Bitstream fonts are such a big deal? As I understand they are optimized for the non-patent infringing algorithm used in FreeType. 2005-12-19 2:54 am dylansmrjones It’s enabled when using Gentoo. At least from european servers .. but then, we don’t have software patents (yet). Whether or not Apple have better algorithms are to be seen, but based from screenshots I don’t think so. 2005-12-19 3:40 am rayiner There is no doubt ClearType produces the most crisp rendered output. But honestly, if I was looking for the ultimate in crispness, I’d be using monochrome rendering I think you’re right — it’s subjective. How much crispness are you willing to trade off to achieve rendering more faithful to the original typeface? As a typeface nut, I have to say FreeType strikes a decent balance for me, and OS X’s renderer is bearable, even if somewhat on the fuzzier side of what I consider the optimal balance. 2005-12-19 6:18 am WorknMan http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ct.png http://weakmind.org/upload/files/osnews_ft.png It’s best to open one then the other and go back and forth between them using back/forward. I haven’t read through all 49 comments posted so far to see if this has been brought up, but instead of having two different screenshots, why not take one article heading (the same one) from each screenshot and combine them into 1 image (so that one is on top and one is on bottom), and then link that? 2005-12-19 6:23 am sappyvcv I think it’s easier to see the differences when you put them on top of each other and switch back and forth. 2005-12-19 7:24 am gullevek seriously, if I would have to watch the CT page for longer, my eyes would hurt, I really prepfer the FT one. CT has another issue, if the monitor (TFT) is not a “correct” one, it can produce horrible unreadable results. The Mac OS X font rendering is much different again. At first I thought its very blurry, but now, after using it for almost a year, I love it 2005-12-19 7:28 am sappyvcv That’s another good point. When you’re used to a certain rendering, and you look at another, it will probably seem bad to you, as it’s not what your eyes are used to. 2005-12-19 12:42 pm Domin You can change RGB -BGR setting in CT also. It’s not easily discoverable though. 2005-12-19 12:52 pm n4cer You can change RGB -BGR setting in CT also. It’s not easily discoverable though. For anyone needing to do so, the downloadable tuner powertoy allows you to: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx 2005-12-19 2:54 pm gullevek where? is this some obscure reg setting? because that would fix all problems. 2005-12-19 3:42 pm n4cer where? is this some obscure reg setting? because that would fix all problems. After installing the tuner powertoy: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx Go to Control Panel and run it (Cleartype Tuning). Go to the Advanced tab and change the setting called LCD Screen Striping. 2005-12-19 10:28 pm gullevek thanks a lot. With that I can help some people who have Iiyama TFT Monitors. Some of them have not RGB, and ClearType looks horrible on them. 2005-12-19 2:31 am RGCook Dude, what have you been smoking? My iMac (OS X 10.3 with the 17″ screen) renders fonts OK, but I don’t see any clear superiority over XP. It does fine. OTOH, I think one of the biggest perception issues KDE and Gnome have is the lack of state-of-the-art font rendering. I have pissed with the settings, to the point of insanity and the fonts look “OK”. That’s the best I can get. On XP, there are no myriad of settings. It’s just On/Off and it works great. MS clearly (no pun intended) has masterful font and rendering capabilities. Edited 2005-12-19 02:35 2005-12-19 2:41 am dylansmrjones Lack of state of the art? What are you smoking? Most people complaining about fonts ind KDE and Gnome aren’t complaining about KDE or Gnome, but about the FreeType configuration on a particular distro. Fonts on Fedora has as default a really crappy look. So they do on the LFS live-cd (BCI not enabled == UUGGLYYY). But with gentoo it is enabled and as a freelance font designer through the last 9 years (almost 10) I’ve got to say ClearType obviously lacks behind in regard to correctness. 2005-12-19 3:49 am rayiner Eh, more likely, you don’t know what the original font is supposed to look like, and you’ve grown accustomed to Microsoft’s overly hinted rendering. ClearType is hardly masterful. It’s safe to say that CT makes well-hinted fonts look like they are hand-made bitmap fonts. Some people like the resulting sharpness. Others think it makes the type look completely artificial and “computerized”. 2005-12-19 3:57 am RGCook I think you are probably right. I like the sharpness of CT over the somewhat foggy/hazy rendering that I see on OS X. A lot of it has to do with monitor performance too. I have a nice Planar that does a fine job on my XP box in the office, but a new Samsung downstairs is a huge disappointment overall. SuSE 10 on my Inspiron 600 with KDE 3.5 is the best I have seen from the Linux camp yet. I am going to try Gentoo on the advice of a previous post. 2005-12-19 1:33 am thavith_osn Unfortunately, this is one time where I have to agree, on the screen at least, ClearType does seem to render better than FreeType. A good example is to render a font at say 4pt on the OS X (Tiger/Panther etc..) and with XP. XP is still very readable (I know, I know, who needs a font size at 4pt, but it’s an interesting test non the less, try at 6 and 7 pt too)… Maybe I missed a setting or something when I tried this, but I was very disappointed at the results using OS X. I wonder if this will be addressed in Leopard? 2005-12-19 2:03 am dylansmrjones AFAIK Mac OS X supports: – no antialiasing – antialiasing – antialiasing AND subpixel rendering at the same time (which yields better results than subpixelrendering alone). You probably forgot a setting 2005-12-19 2:00 am Joe User And fonts in Linux have always sucked, even with Bytecode on. 2005-12-19 2:07 am dylansmrjones I doubt you’ve tried it for real. Interesting to study your profile and look at your comments. So much for your credibility 2005-12-19 3:02 am ma_d Either those fonts are not the same, or cleartype or freetype must be modifying quite a bit. The angle on the y and the v appear different… Maybe it’s just my eyes. I’ve never muched like cleartype, I find it blurry. But this sort of thing is really personal perference and adjustability is more important than anything. I don’t think either are bad to read though. Also, the cleartype pic on this LCD causes color bleed . But I’m sure the cleartype tuning would take care of that if I used it on this LCD. 2005-12-19 3:33 am Cleartype looks so good on my LCD monitor, it’s quite amazing. And LCD monitors are the future……. 2005-12-19 3:53 am Shaman …all the different engines do a reasonable job of improving the look of screen fonts. 2005-12-19 4:36 am ojh77 > …all the different engines do a reasonable job of improving the look of screen fonts. That’s the point I was trying to make with my composite screen shot. Windows optimized fonts look right with ClearType while the Bitstream fonts render right in FreeType. Its just a matter of using a font that is designed to work with your OSes type rendering sub system. Now the Win V. Mac people can finish arguing about the subjective details until their fingers ware out . . . 2005-12-19 6:06 am Marciano Just to throw another renderer in the mix, try downloading the Java Mustang beta. It incorporates a bytecode interpreter *and* subpixel decimation. IMHO it does a pretty good job. In particular, I was surprised to see what Bitstream Vera looks like with good native (i.e. bytecode) hinting and subpixel decimation—again IMHO better than Freetype. M 2005-12-19 6:57 am Microsoft: Stop hyping already and show us something REAL! 2005-12-19 8:37 am Kroc Turn on Clear Type in Display > Appearance > Effects. You should now see the Clear Type font rendering talked about and that will be present in Vista, in improved form. 2005-12-19 7:42 am New Fonts in Windows Vista. Another shot at FOSS, linux, BSD, and Apple. what you want to bet the fonts DO NOT display properly in a NON MICRO$OFT OS. 2005-12-19 11:45 am “New Fonts in Windows Vista. Another shot at FOSS, linux, BSD, and Apple. what you want to bet the fonts DO NOT display properly in a NON MICRO$OFT OS.” That’s what we needed…more FUD. They’re standard TrueType fonts, any system that knows how to render TrueType can deal with these fonts. If OS X decides to disrespect hints in a TrueType font, don’t blame Microsoft. 2005-12-19 10:48 am ArKay I guess anything is better than Freetype. The font rendering in Linux is the one thing which stops me from booting my gentoo partition :/ 2005-12-19 1:54 pm STTS freetype based font render engine used in most *nix desktops use X RENRER directly w/o gamma corection. That make it look so bad compared to ClearType. Worst case – bright font on black background (mc in gnome terminal). Please fix it, Freetype provide nice grayscale AA bitmaps, it is GTK->Pango->xft->X11 chain broken. 2005-12-19 2:16 pm Marciano Exactly. Java 6 can adjust the font rendering gamma (although the relevant parameter is called “LCD_CONTRAST” or something like that, which is a bit odd. Try playing with the Font demo program. Adjusting rendering gamma makes a big difference with my LCD monitor [Dell Ultrasharp 1901]. 2005-12-19 1:55 pm scoopr Did you notice that on the video he mentioned that vista (with avalon) will have improved cleartype with proper subpixel kerning, maybe that will help? 2005-12-19 3:15 pm Just got up to the “I’m a real smart guy, I’m reading Gibons Decline and Fall, on a MICROSOFT Gadgetthingy”. I mean well done that makes you look really smart. And no one prints out blogs, because no one reads them. No one who matters anyway. 2005-12-19 3:23 pm Hi, how can you take screenshots of CT and other sub-pixel font smoothing technologies? The resulting picture only saves pixels, not sub-pixels. As far as I understand it, a screenshot cannot capture sub-pixel manipulations. 2005-12-19 3:49 pm hyper well you understand it wrong. subpixel is part of pixel. and that pixel has color. and that pixel is captured. so subpixel is also captured. easy :] 2005-12-19 4:52 pm null_pointer_us As I understand it, the basic problem is that pixels (on LCDs anyway) are square, but we have round shapes in the font file. This makes it hard to draw fonts on the screen that look as smooth as we see them elsewhere (e.g. on paper). But we are in luck since each square pixel is made up of three individual RGB triads. Subpixel rendering takes advantage of this little fact by producing pixels around the font edges that only turn on some of the triads, thus giving the illusion of a higher resolution display – much like how anti-aliasing eliminates “jaggies” in a 3D game. When done correctly, it looks more natural, like fonts printed from a high resolution printer; when done incorrectly, however, the fonts will have all these odd colors around them – usually blue and orange in my experience. A more technical explanation is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subpixel_rendering 2005-12-19 4:13 pm JrezIN This font discussion is a bit difficult to judge… First of all, we have the “taste” factor (it may even be the ‘time’ to ajust to the different rendering method). Second, that judgment would be better with on-fly judgment than screenshots (as the sub-pixel optimizations for your monitor won’t look good on a monitor with a different DPI). I do like both ClearType’s and MacOS X’s font rendering. Personally (I do use both systems in my workplace), I do prefer CT’s softness, but it’s difficult to judge as MacOS X does use stronger, bolder, fonts system-wise, which does a better job for reading in general. Usually, I see the advantage of CT’s rendering in small font sizes; but cleartype does have a problem with chroma aberrations in some situations (like bold white fonts in almost black background)… In the end, in case of Windows Vista’s appearance, Vista will benefit from the new Microsoft’s fonts for Vista that have a stronger appearance that look very good with ClearType (probably, they won’t look so good without any anti-aliasing as standard Microsoft’s UI fonts available now). 2005-12-19 4:48 pm Shaman > I guess anything is better than Freetype. Four pages of showing that Freetype’s kerning, anti-aliasing and feature set is comparable to or superior to Freetype… and this? I smell troll. 2005-12-19 4:57 pm null_pointer_us FreeType may be a good renderer, but Linux distributions ship with fonts that don’t exploit those capabilities. We need more Bitstream-like fonts to choose from. 2005-12-19 4:58 pm null_pointer_us In Linux, I tried enabling BCI using the FC4 SRPM, but it looked as bad as the FreeType screenshot posted earlier in this discussion. The a‘s and s‘s are way too heavy in comparison to the other characters; the curves in the y’s and w‘s are jagged, and the arches of the h‘s and n‘s are much too thick. I had to revert to the original RPMs. Gnome has better font rendering for me than KDE since I could adjust more options. Nothing I could do in KDE would eliminate the funky colors present around everything – clearly a subpixel rendering problem. Gnome did better on my LCD although still not as good as Windows XP with the ClearType Tuner applet. I do get the “funky colors” problem around small, bold text in XP; but I don’t run across that kind of text very often anyway. My linux desktop actually looks better than my XP desktop – best I’ve seen anywhere, in fact. I think FreeType does a good job with the Bitstream fonts, but I have everything set to specific font sizes (even Firefox). Moving out of the 10-12 pt range (in Gnome font preference units) makes the fonts ugly again. I wish Bitstream had some thinner sans serif fonts, though – Vera Sans is not well suited for some things. I have no idea where the “purple halo” comments are coming from. If you put your head very close to fonts displayed with subpixel rendering and close one of your eyes, the subpixels become very obvious. That’s just the way it works. But you’re not supposed to see them in normal reading. If you do, something’s wrong with your settings. 2005-12-19 7:25 pm sappyvcv Thank you. Your experiences mirror mine, and I’m glad I’m not alone. I definitely notice even with BCI that those letters had issues. Certain parts of the s are heavier than others and it looks very unnatural. When looking at text as a whole using this, certain regions STAND OUT because of this and it’s kind of annoying to me. With ClearType, everything seems much more even and natural. 2005-12-19 5:04 pm peejay “Although you can see the following images using any display device, CRT display tubes are not digitally addressable at the sub-pixel level, so you won’t be able to see the amazing effect of sub-pixel anti-aliasing and smoothing unless you view these images on an LCD display.” ( from http://www.grc.com/ctwhat.htm ) I think this is where the purple fringe comes from; that CRT screens and LCD screens don’t work the same way. ClearType is (as far as I can tell) basically “exploiting” the way the LCD screen works, so viewing it on a CRT gives you nothing spectacular. 2005-12-19 5:29 pm I find it odd that one would need a whole team to make fonts look better. 2005-12-19 6:11 pm Why? They can restrict the use of their fonts on other platforms so that all the content looks different everywhere but on Windows. It doesn’t matter that my Ubuntu box displays OSNEWS better than either of the wonky examples in the first few posts. Or that CT doesn’t draw fonts ‘correctly’. What matters is that various documents created on Windows will look different (uglier, misspaced) on any non-windows platform. That’s well worth hiring a team for. Michael 2005-12-19 6:27 pm What stupid FUD is that? I tried the new MS fonts on OS X and they look wonderful. There is no evil conspiracy about building fonts that look terrible on other systems. 2005-12-19 6:58 pm You broke the EULA as you haven’t paid for them. No doubt they won’t care because it’s not worth chasing individual people down over. However if you were trying to include the fonts with a program you developed (or if Apple included them by default without paying Microsoft,or a Linux distribution tried to include them) then you’d get a nasty certified letter in the mail. 2005-12-19 7:15 pm Who tells you I didn’t pay? 2005-12-20 12:49 am profiled You guys arguing about which rendering is more “faithful” as opposed to which one is easier to read make me laugh. I understand it’s your pet hobby, and more power to you that you can see the differences. However, to 99.9% of the population, the readability will win out every single time, end of story.