FreeType 2.7 Bringing DirectWrite/ClearType-Like Rendering -- Much Better Looking Fonts On Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 17 July 2016 at 12:38 PM EDT. 52 Comments
FreeType 2.7.0 will be shipping with the v40 TrueType instructions interpreter enabled by default. This interpreter is going to "finally brings DirectWrite/ClearType-like rendering to the screen, or 'subpixel hinting' as some FreeType code calls it."

Nikolaus Waxweiler explained, "Here is the core secret to making fonts render like through DirectWrite/ClearType on Windows: There actually is no subpixel hinting going on here. Shock. The code simply ignores *all* horizontal hinting instructions. That's less work than supersampling and gets us almost identical results *and* additionally prevents changes to the advance width of glyphs. This greatly harmonizes the look of older and newer TrueType fonts and incidentally solves glyph spacing problems of less well instructed fonts. Switching to the new mode might take some getting used to though, so if you think your fonts are suddenly fat, fuzzy or weird, give your brain some time to adjust."

Long story short, FreeType 2.7.0 when released will provide for much better looking fonts on the Linux desktop! Fonts should now be more representative to how they appear on Windows. More details here.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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