A quick note on fonts and Ubuntu

It has been about half a year since I switched to Ubuntu as my main working environment (longer article on the subject is upcoming, sometime in the future). The hardest part for me was getting back to programming productivity. Strangely enough, I found out that the thing that was preventing me from working well, was the fonts. It didn’t take me long to discover that I prefer white background to black while programming. This is true just for programming, not for other activities – I can’t use a white background command prompt…

Back to fonts. I tried to adjust them, and it was really slow progress. I downloaded some programming fonts, and it still didn’t feel right. Also, when I enlarged the fonts, or made them smaller, they looked really bad. I didn’t remember this ever happening to me on Windows. After some more back-and-fourth, I discovered I just like the plain old Courier New, at size 10. Currently my programming environment (for Python) is Eric, and its pretty much OK. I feel more or less at home.

This made me think on how important are the little things in a desktop environment. Good design seems to be important for other things however, for example, see Measuring Font Legibility. Usually, when I find a piece of human engineering that is really solid, and well thought, I stop for a moment of appreciation. This might be a good lesson for any programmer, let alone one trying to compete with already successful software.

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One Response to A quick note on fonts and Ubuntu

  1. Erez says:

    So, amazingly, that Knuth book we bought you might even prove itself useful! :-)