Freetype changes

Florian Hackenberger f.hackenberger at
Fri Sep 21 09:49:22 BST 2007

On Thursday 20 September 2007, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> I find the left-hand column the most attractive, but the right-hand
> column the most readable. The difference is clearest under
> magnification. Vertical strokes tend to be fully pixel aligned in the
> right-hand column, but blur out into adjacent subpixels in the left-hand
> column. The advantage of allowing this blurring is that it permits more
> accurate positioning of the characters, allowing for more even spacing
> and correct rendering of the shapes. The disadvantage is that what used
> to be a solid black line rendered on a pixel boundary is now a grey line
> with a slight colour fringe. More importantly to me, it also gives me a
> headache (something of an irritation given that my work requires me to
> be using terminals for most of the day)
Just to state it at the very beginning. I'd say that subpixel hinting for the 
terminal is a completely different thing from hinting for the rest of the 
desktop. And I think we should find a solution for the desktop first, because 
it represents the "first impression" for new users. Finding a good default 
for the terminal (probably no hinting at all) can easily be done with 
fontconfig thereafter.
	If I got your point, you would prefer the left hand version. Please take 
another look at it from a position further away. Which version is the most 
readable now? And which version becomes unreadable last if you move even 
further away? In my opinion it is the middle column, because the spacing 
between individual characters is closer to the optimum, as apposed to both 
the left and right hand version, where neighbouring characters melt into 
unreadable blocks. Before voting for one specific solution I urge everyone to 
read [1], it is a very good text and discusses the pros and cons of various 
hinting techniques. Especially take a look at the section "What can we do" 
[2], and compare their "optimal" result with the middle column in the 
screenshot. I'd argue the middle column is very close to the solution they 


Florian Hackenberger
student @
University of Technology
Graz, Austria
florian at

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