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I just noticed that Windows renders text differently than Linux.

win-linux-text

Why is that and what's the purpose of orange and blue "shadows"?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 19 '10 at 23:10

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
Linux can be configured to look like Windows, with <fontconfig><match target="font"><edit name="rgba" mode="assign"><const>rgb</const></edit></match></fontconfig> – ephemient Dec 15 '09 at 18:37
    
Thanks for all the useful answers! – Simon Ottenhaus Dec 15 '09 at 18:43
    
Good question and good answers, but as stated and answered not really a programming topic... – dmckee Dec 16 '09 at 0:56
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Windows ClearType (also an option on Linux and Mac) optimises for LCD displays which have subpixels in an RGB layout to increase the horizontal resolution thrice-fold. Hence you end up with orange/blue "thin pixels" to enhance the rendering of the text where necessary. They're not shadows, but look funny when zoomed in. They're using a trick of the display medium to enhance text rendering resolution.

It looks like your Linux set up is currently set up with standard anti-aliasing, which is better for CRT displays, and where you want to smooth text in both directions. It also looks good on high DPI displays where ClearType gets less relevant.

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The article on wikipedia about Subpixel rendering might interest you, about that, I suppose.

And, about windows, you can take a look on the ClearType one.

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Where did these samples come from? It appears to just be a different choice in how the font anti-aliasing was done.

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The ubuntu sample is from a virtual machine. – Simon Ottenhaus Dec 15 '09 at 18:06
    
sorry, which application on the VM? – GrayWizardx Dec 15 '09 at 18:09
    
Firefox in both cases – Simon Ottenhaus Dec 15 '09 at 18:44

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