Freetype changes

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Fri Sep 21 16:25:12 BST 2007

On Fri, Sep 21, 2007 at 10:49:22AM +0200, Florian Hackenberger wrote:

> 	If I got your point, you would prefer the left hand version. Please take 
> another look at it from a position further away. 

No, I prefer the right hand version - it has the highest contrast, which 
is something that's important in the most common uses for monospace.

> Which version is the most 
> readable now? And which version becomes unreadable last if you move even 
> further away? 

Well, yes, but nobody's using 8-pixel fonts and sitting far away from 
their screen, so it's not really a terribly important use-case. For 
larger fonts, I agree.

> 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. 

At the cost of significantly reduced contrast at small font sizes. The 
loss of contrast isn't an issue at larger font sizes, so I've no problem 
with the new mechanism there. I think it's also probably unimportant for 
non-monospace fonts, but all of the ones I have on my desktop are larger 
than my terminal font.

For people who do spend a lot of time on the terminal, contrast is one 
of the most significant aspects of font rendering. Compromising that 
isn't helpful, and given that we've got a solution that allows us to 
provide the new functionality for desktop fonts without affecting the 
behaviour of monospace fonts, I don't see any reason to change things 

> 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 
> propose.

The middle column uses slight hinting, which results in the use of the 
autohinter rather than the bytecode interpreter. Right now, that causes 
very ugly effects with some of our default fonts. Vera and DejaVu Sans 
both render very badly in that setup. As a result we're basically 
constrained to full hinting for gutsy anyway, and the middle column 
isn't an option.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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