[arch-general] Subpixel antialiasing

Daniel Micay danielmicay at gmail.com
Thu May 28 16:00:08 UTC 2015

On 28/05/15 10:22 AM, Robbie Smith wrote:
>>> Doesn't Chromium use its own font rendering system? 
>> Not really. It has to do a lot of font-related work to implement the 
>> web
>> standards but they're using freetype2/harfbuzz like everyone else.
>>> I've noticed that on other OSes it has its own rendering style that 
>>> doesn't use subpixel
>>> rendering either, so it looks different but not necessarily worse.
>> You're getting confused by the fact that it didn't use DirectWrite on
>> Windows for quite some time. It *certainly* had subpixel rendering 
>> there
>> and on the other supported platforms.
>> Windows has both a legacy font rendering stack and a modern one with 
>> a
>> different appearance and better performance. Many applications use 
>> the
>> old stack but people spend a lot of time in browsers so it got 
>> noticed.
> I installed Windows in a virtual machine last week because it saves
> time rebooting when I use it so infrequently, and was surprised to
> discover that the font rendering used in Chrome's web page display
> frame was greyscale and not ClearType/subpixel like the rest of
> Windows. I don't use Windows frequently enough to comment on whether or
> not this has changed.

It's not like that for everyone else. It wasn't like that before either.
It used GDI instead of DirectWrite but that just made it look different
than modern applications. It was hardly the only application still using
GDI font rendering though.

>>> It looks fine on my Arch install, so its either respecting my font
>>> settings or the in-built rendering settings are (perhaps by
>>> coincidence) the same as my own preferences. I should point out 
>>> that I
>>> always turn off subpixel rendering and use greyscale antialiasing
>>> instead, because the colour fringes on subpixel text are annoying.
>> I doubt you're able to notice color fringes with black-on-white or
>> white-on-black with the lcdfilter set to lcdlight. You probably just
>> didn't have it configured correctly (i.e. no lcdfilter).
> I've tried various combinations of filters and settings for my font
> rendering, and all subpixel rendered text (even on OS X) looks slightly
> off; some letters have colour fringes, some letters are a slightly
> different colour to others, and it can be quite distracting. Maybe it's
> different with font hinting set to a higher value; I always opt for
> 'slight' or 'none' because I prefer the smoother shapes over the more
> pixelated look of Windows.

Using the hinting information from fonts rather than auto-hinting is
important, which means using high quality fonts. Source Code Pro /
Source Sans Pro / Source Serif Pro are likely the only really well
hinted fonts in the repositories.

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