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Re: A property for font antialiasing control on Mac OS X

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:03:02 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <1134165375.4224843.1374811382775.JavaMail.zimbra@mozilla.com>

Rik Cabanier wrote:

> Why a vendor prefix?
> I think there are designers that care about this on all browser platforms.

We're adding this to work around a specific, OSX problem that occurs
with light text on dark backgrounds.  This is what '-webkit-font-smoothing'
is primarily used for now.

I don't think specifying and adding a general "font-smoothing"
property is either a good idea or possible in practice.  The use of
subpixel anti-aliasing is really a user preference and the range of
possible text renderings across platforms makes defining property
values that have consistent meaning close to impossible.

http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2013Jul/0530.html

> As an aside, this request seemed to originate from a user request to
> turn sub-pixel aliasing off for icon fonts. Couldn't you detect that
> a glyph is an icon and then turn off subpixel AA? I was under the
> impression that there were different categories of glyphs...

It's not just icon fonts, it's light text on dark backgrounds in
general. Icon fonts just happen to be especially bad because they're
designed as graphics not as letterforms intended to be legible at
small sizes.

There's no well-defined way to detect icon fonts.  From a browser
viewpoint, a glyph is a glyph, there's no distinction between a
letterform vs. an icon.

John Daggett
Received on Friday, 26 July 2013 04:03:29 UTC

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