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Mac vs. Windows Font Rendering

08.12.07 | Permalink | Comment?

Curious ChapWhen Apple released Safari for Windows, it wanted Windows users to experience their “superior” font rendering technology.

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Joel Spolsky disagrees with Apple and prefers Microsoft’s font rendering algorithm.

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And I respectfully disagree with Joel.

First, a bit of person

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As someone who purchased the original Mac 128K back in February 1984, it’s easy to label me as an Apple “fanboy”. After all, only Steve Jobs and a tiny handful of Apple employees have owned Macs for longer than I did. Up until 1995, the Mac was my main computer whereas Windows remained the development one.


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Roles reversed when Windows 95 was introduced: Microsoft was doing a great job whereas Apple was slipping.

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But there was one thing that I never liked about Windows: its font rendering.

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It always seemed to me that text looked out of focus.

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In fact, one of the main reasons that I switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox 1.0 a few years back was this bug in IE: every once in a while (sometimes every day, sometimes every couple of weeks), IE would cause XP to revert

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I was never able to find out what precisely caused this to happen, but it did and I couldn’t stand XP’s method of smoothing.

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In 2005, it became increasingly clear to me that Apple was back in the saddle and racing ahead.

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I switched back to using Macs as a primary machine.

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One can argue all day long about the merits of one sub-pixel rendering algorithm versus the other, but to me, the Mac’s is clearly (no pun intended) superior to Windows’. I find Apple’s Preview program just amazing in its clarity of rendering font and lines.

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