Re: Rendering with xft and hinting

Around 23 o'clock on Mar 16, Dan Maas wrote:

> Believe it or not, my favorite fonts of all time are MS Sans Serif
> (the plain-jane default bitmapped font for Win32 GUIs) and the
> TrueType Courier that comes with Windows. Show me a font that renders
> better at small to moderate sizes, AA or not, and I'll switch
> immediately...

The Agfa Monotype font 'Andale Mono' is my current favorite for monospaced
text.  On a digital LCD monitor with Xft generating per-component alpha
values, I find it usable at smaller sizes than any other fixed point font
I've ever used.  I find Courier New to be too light and the slab serifs 
too busy at smaller sizes on the screen.

For variable width text, I prefer Verdana -- the large x height and wide
spacing make text very clear, even at smaller sizes.  The old MS Sans 
Serif seems too bold and narrow to me; much like the old "chicago" font 
from the macintosh.

I was once a strong opponent of anti-aliasing, but having been directed to
make it work (really, I was going to go off and do polygons and image
scaling if Dirk Hohndel hadn't insisted on AA text), I decided to give it a
try. After a week with really high quality fonts and the TrueType byte code
interpreter displaying text in xterm, I spent a couple of days converting
my desktop applications and toolkits because I couldn't stand aliased text

Feel free to compare Verdana in aliased vs anti-aliased:

I use the tabs in Mozilla to flip between the two pages; that way the
text just toggles between the two rendering modes.

Having used these fonts for over a year, I can't imagine going back.  To 
use any Gtk+ 1.2 app (or Gtk+ 2.0 app using GdkFont objects) is painful 
enough that I generally spend the 15 or 20 minutes needed to convert an 
app that I'm going to use to read a lot of text.  

Hence my suggestion that Gtk+ 2.0 provide a parallel Xft version of the
GdkFont APIs to ease this conversion process.  I understand the reluctance
to incorporate any new functionality into that horribly broken and
non-Unicode API, but, for my own uses, it's nicer to take an existing
8859-1 centric app and make it use Xft with a few brief edits than to
recode it all using Pango...

Keith Packard        XFree86 Core Team        Compaq Cambridge Research Lab

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