I found this article mentioned on Slashdot. I’ve stated in the past that the main reason I don’t like using Linux as my main development environment is that I find the fonts hard to read. My eyes are horrible, especially after long stints writing code. Windows for some reason just looks so much better, especially on LCD screens.
Well, the reason Windows looks better is their ClearType technology. After reading the article I tried turning it off, and sure enough, Windows sucked too.
Apparently the fuss over ClearType and FreeType, Linux’s font technology, has to deal with patents that Microsoft holds on the techniques behind ClearType. With all the anti-Novell/Microsoft clauses in the GPLv3 dealing with patent protection and the essential prohibition on it, I’ve lost all hope. Despite what Richard Stallman may wish, Microsoft will likely never extend patent protection on ClearType to all of the Linux community which means they will have to pick the other route, i.e. to none of the community.
Which is really too bad. As much as I thank the FSF and GPL for giving us all those great GNU tools, I’m afraid that their conviction to ideals will also stunt the growth of open source, and especially Linux. The FSF may hate software patents, but they are a fact of life. And if the two worlds can’t mix, then the poor user pays a price, one way or the other.