Are you serious about forcing DirectWrite upon us?

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The

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Jun 14, 2016, 5:06:22 AM6/14/16
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Dear Ilya Kulshin and Dear Members of the Chromium Community,

I have recently read that DirectWrite is going to be the default alternativeless method for font rendering in newer Chrome releases.

Then I found your commit.

Seriously I just don't get it why you guys are doing this. Would it be so much of an effort for a billion-dollar company (like Google) to continue supporting GDI? That GDI which performs font-rendering BETTER on Windows 7 than DirectWrite.

Could you please compare this ... (DW disabled)

... to this (DW enabled)

If you think the text on the first one is sharper and more readable, please revert your patches on removing GDI and make it possible to disable DirectWrite again.

No, subpixel rendering (ClearType) won't help either. And it's slower, pollutes the colorspace, needs calibration for each monitor and for each brighness level, so much of an annoyance.

Hope you make the right decision.

Best
Pál Ács

PhistucK

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Jun 14, 2016, 7:00:10 AM6/14/16
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While I agree that DirectWrite has its issues, the flag to disable DirectWrite was never supposed to stick around forever, it was a temporary (a long period, but still temporary) debugging flag.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of users do not change default, so it does not make sense to cater for a small niche audience. If a lot of people complain about the text rendering, this will be worth a consideration.


PhistucK

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Colin Richardson

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Jun 21, 2016, 7:21:14 AM6/21/16
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Well, can DirectWrite be corrected and get all bugs out of DirectWrite before you get rid of the option?
Like it picking the wrong fonts all the time? Standard Font rendering does not have these problems. There are numberous bugs about it, so I wont repost them here.

Pál Ács

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Jun 21, 2016, 7:21:15 AM6/21/16
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Keep in mind that the vast majority of users do not change default, so it does not make sense to cater for a small niche audience.

Is your statement based on real usage statistics? The "vast majority" of users do not even know what chrome://flags is. Even less people know what DirectWrite (or GDI) is. How would they change it? This is the common logical trap to justify a change that means degradation to the user but more comfortable to the developer. If a feature gets replaced in software, this decision should be based on the main purpose of the feature (here: text rendering). DirectWrite performs worse in anti-aliasing. You can test it for yourself or see the examples. The point is that the reasons behind forcing DirectWrite have nothing to do with the original purpose (better text rendering) because DirectWrite is worse regarding the original purpose. The remaining might be: DirectWrite is newer. Supporting one rendering method on Windows costs less resources than supporting two.

While I agree that DirectWrite has its issues
Then a win-win situation would be Chrome supporting GDI text rendering and making DirectWrite default. Now this is a win-lose situation. "Win" for the developers (they don't need to maintain GDI-specific code) and "Lose" for those who really care about quality and feel comfortable reading non-blurry sharper fonts. However, the fact that you or any Chromium developer agrees on these issues is a cold comfort for those who will suffer eye-strain or user-experience degradation from this change. For example myself.

PhistucK

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Jun 21, 2016, 9:35:28 AM6/21/16
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I do not have access to usage statistics (I am not a Googler), but it has been stated by Googlers numerous times that the vast majority of users do not change settings (according to usage statistics, indeed).

While in your eyes it might look bad, I guess you are a minority, or else many people would have complained and not just a vocal minority. :(


PhistucK

Ilya Kulshin

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Jun 21, 2016, 7:01:17 PM6/21/16
to Colin Richardson, Chromium-discuss, palik...@gmail.com
On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 4:58 AM, Colin Richardson <worms...@gmail.com> wrote:
Well, can DirectWrite be corrected and get all bugs out of DirectWrite before you get rid of the option?

If only... Unfortunately, "fixing all bugs first" is not really a tractable approach to software development. In the meantime, please continue to report bugs with DirectWrite (including rendering quality bugs). While I can't promise that every single bug will be fixed, having those bugs helps identify what needs to be worked on.
 
Like it picking the wrong fonts all the time? Standard Font rendering does not have these problems. There are numberous bugs about it, so I wont repost them here.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "picking the wrong fonts"? Could you include an html file or a link and a description of what you expect to see and what you actually see?

Ilya Kulshin

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Jun 24, 2016, 2:04:18 PM6/24/16
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Hi Pál Ács,

Could I ask you to try one more thing for me: first, run the ClearType tuner to make sure ClearType is enabled on your system. Then, go into chrome://flags/#enable-use-zoom-for-dsf and enable the enable-use-zoom-for-dsf flag. Then, relaunch Chrome and see if that makes fonts look better or less blurry.

Regarding your DirectWrite vs GDI comparisons: in the first set, I agree that the GDI rendering looks better, although the difference is much less drastic if ClearType is on (it is off in your sample). In the second set, GDI is clearly sharper, but I find the DirectWrite sample to be more pleasant and easier to read. An informal sample of people near me also confirmed that which one is better really is subjective (some preferred DirectWrite from the first set, and others preferred GDI from the second).

On Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 9:46 AM, The Palikacska <palik...@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear Ilya,

The problem is not about possible bugs. I'm not afraid of bugs.

The problem is the main font rendering style of DirectWrite and the fact that it renders more blurry fonts, moreover this behavior can't be changed or customized. By this you present a degradation in font rendering and taking away the freedom from the user to revert your change.

Ilya, you haven't answered my question, please do it now. For just a second, please throw away all the agile manifesto, business logic and development idealism, and take a look at these two images. Please do this on a monitor with PPI around (or below) 100 (that most of us use). A 24 inch @ 1680x1050 is perfect.

This is GDI...

This is DirectWrite...


View the image in full size (100%) without zooming or shrinking.

Then please use your common sense and tell me, which method renders sharper fonts (GDI or DirectWrite).

Here is another example with smaller sizes where the difference is more significant.

This is DirectWrite...


This is GDI...



That "many people" PhistucK mentioned do complain on other forums. It's another thing that Chrome developers think that this "critical minority" can be ignored because the perception of fonts is just a matter of taste and it's subjective. Could you please ask an optometrist about this? Just take a look at these below. The internet is full of the complaints about DirectWrite and its blurry fonts. Here are some of them.


Some of these even exist for years. But all of us seem to be ignored.

These were written by users who do care and not by those who don't even notice the change.

Best
Pál Ács

The Palikacska

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Jun 25, 2016, 2:06:36 PM6/25/16
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The Palikacska

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Jun 25, 2016, 2:06:36 PM6/25/16
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Dear Ilya,

All the way my comparison regarding GDI vs. DirectWrite was taken in a context where subpixel anti-aliasing (ClearType) is turned off, always. ClearType is another thing that should have been banned, or at least not made default. It pollutes the color-space, needs recalibration for every monitor (and for almost every brightness level of a laptop) and always bleeding on white backgrounds (which is the most common at web pages). I even own a Samsung monitor on which you just simply can't calibrate ClearType because it will always bleed. Subpixels are not meant for anti-aliasing. They are meant to display adequate colors. ClearType is violating this. Also Chrome is significantly slower when ClearType is turned on. Scrolling is slower, rendering is slower while taking more CPU resources.

So what you are trying to say is that there was a feature (GDI) that is now being removed and then replaced by DirectWrite (despite a lot of users complaining about DW). That feature has an option (ClearType on) which will go closer to what the older feature could do but will never reach it (and meanwhile eating up more resources). This means no other than... degradation.

However, if you insist, I will give it a try.

I just don't understand why throw away something that has been good for more than a decade then replace to another thing that simply can't do it well. Even X11 on Linux supports the GDI-style grayscale anti-aliasing and handles hinting information properly as well as subpixel rendering. DirectWrite seemingly ignores almost all hinting information.

Best,
Pál Ács

David Caley

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Jul 12, 2016, 8:10:25 AM7/12/16
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This just made it's way into Vivaldi. Sorry, DirectWrite looks like puke on any monitor I've ever used. It literally gives me a headache to read it. All I can focus on are fuzzy gray letters. Ilya, in every example you posted, the GDI version looks better. Guess I'll have to move away from any and all Chromium based browsers.

Pál Ács

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Jul 22, 2016, 12:00:03 PM7/22/16
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The removal of GDI support has just reached the stable version of Google Chrome. This means, everyone who gets updated to the latest version of Chrome, will have blurry DirectWrite fonts as their only option.

Here is the response from those who are not satisifed with blurry DirectWrite fonts that are only good for developers living their blind idealism and some graphics designers equipped with high-end displays.


Please sign this petition and show Google that we are opposing the withdrawal of our freedom of choice. Please share this petition to reach more people who would like to express their opinion.

Mozilla 5.0

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Aug 9, 2016, 2:24:05 AM8/9/16
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DirectWrite is a disaster, see attached.
FB_font.png

Rômulo B. M. de Oliveira

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Aug 10, 2016, 1:42:21 AM8/10/16
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Please add that flag back. 

Ilya Kulshin

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Aug 10, 2016, 2:32:04 PM8/10/16
to Amey Sakpal, Chromium-discuss
Hi Amey,

We have already discussed this before and GDI rendering is not coming back unless we see some exceptional circumstances.

Your font problem also sounds like a known issue (crbug.com/610466). If that fix does not work, please continue the discussion in that bug or create a new bug (don't forget to include your reg_fonts.txt file - see instructions in the bug).

On Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 10:26 AM, Amey Sakpal <monochro...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hello,

I have a problem. Chrome is displaying all text in Arial Italics and I cannot change it back to Arial Regular as Google has removed support for DirectWrite from chrome://flags. I need this particular functionality to resolve the issue I am facing.

It is unfair for Google to marginalise a section of users without their consent. While you say this function caters to a small section, I know that more people are facing this issue but are unaware of its nature due to lack of technical jargon and knowledge of DirectWrite.

Bring it back now. I have fixed this problem before and I can fix it again but you are not letting me. I need it back.

Please consider.

David Caley

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Aug 10, 2016, 2:36:56 PM8/10/16
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So blurry as heck fonts aren't a problem?

Amey Sakpal

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Aug 11, 2016, 1:44:08 AM8/11/16
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Google sucks..jpg

PhistucK

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Aug 11, 2016, 1:56:58 AM8/11/16
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Did you file (or find) an issue at crbug.com when you first bumped into that bug? If not, you better do that in order to get it fixed for you and for everyone.
You can reply with a link to the found or created issue.


PhistucK

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PureOcean

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Aug 17, 2016, 1:42:32 AM8/17/16
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Dear Pál,

Firstly of all, this link reminds of you me. That I wrote my guess therein a few months ago, it just happened Chrome v52, no sooner than released as stable channel; removing of GDI Font Rendering and many complaints, reacts... Like I anticipated exact, Chromium developers have not been care about users demands.

For bring back the Disable DirectWrite, your all struggles is certainly applaudable. I hope, this tenacities produces result as positive. I am personally give up hope than Mr. Scott Graham and Mr.  Ilya Kulshin (of Chromium developers). They won't never listen users.

My advice: you should directly write to Sergey Brin and Lawrance Page. Even if you show them this two screenshots, that will be more than enough.

DirectWrite font rendering: http://i.imgur.com/30xOp5T.png
GDI font rendering: http://i.imgur.com/7r99LGL.png

....And I've a surprise for you. I discovered new a Chromium-based web browser in the yesterday: CentBrowser. In this browser "added back disabling Direct Write". I'm so happy. it's not just that for good. The Browser contains many useful features. 

While Chrome-Opera-Vivaldi's developers didn't listen user request, the one person freelance programmer can listen demands of users and implements its. And consequently which shows that it's possible be able to producing more useful features than standart Chromium browser.

杨乐

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Sep 11, 2016, 1:47:35 AM9/11/16
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Keep in mind that "the vast majority of users do not change default" is the reason for keeping the default setting, not the reason for removing the whole optioin.

在 2016年6月14日星期二 UTC+8下午7:00:10,PhistucK写道:

Fung James

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Oct 5, 2016, 8:42:35 AM10/5/16
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Mactype font renderer is cool, especially for Asian fonts, DirectWrite really sucks, it may be optimized for non Asian fonts. That DirectWrite rendering really eye damaging, you will see cracked text on large screen with DirectWrite enabled.
I don't want to switch to Firefox for this reason, because only Chrome can disable DirectWrite and give fast webpage render speed, please add the option back.

Kumara Bhikkhu

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Oct 18, 2016, 12:47:05 AM10/18/16
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I don't know the technical stuff, but I do have a problem reading the blurry text. (I use Vivaldi too.) Sometimes, especially when this is coupled with grey texts on grey background (which I don't know why some, such the people behind Chrome Web Store, seem to like), it's really, really hard to read, e.g.:


I already have a reading problem. The strain to read is bound to make it worse.
Can the developers consider revert the change on grounds of accessibility?
If not, then just because of this, I too am forced to abandon Chromium-based browsers.

jyck

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Nov 10, 2016, 2:34:37 AM11/10/16
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Hi. 

We use chrome to print web pages for business purposes.

We just now ran into a problem where characters are missing when printed.  Seems it is a known issue with chrome (links below).

The solution looked like it was to disable DirectWrite.  But..can't do that anymore.

Appreciate a workaround if there is one. Thank you!

Stephen Chenney

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Nov 10, 2016, 10:04:07 AM11/10/16
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On Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 3:51 PM, jyck <dpa...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi. 

We use chrome to print web pages for business purposes.

We just now ran into a problem where characters are missing when printed.  Seems it is a known issue with chrome (links below).

This issue is known and a fix is being pushed to users.

Stephen.

 

The solution looked like it was to disable DirectWrite.  But..can't do that anymore.

Appreciate a workaround if there is one. Thank you!



On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 4:06:22 AM UTC-5, Pál Ács wrote:
Dear Ilya Kulshin and Dear Members of the Chromium Community,

I have recently read that DirectWrite is going to be the default alternativeless method for font rendering in newer Chrome releases.

Then I found your commit.

Seriously I just don't get it why you guys are doing this. Would it be so much of an effort for a billion-dollar company (like Google) to continue supporting GDI? That GDI which performs font-rendering BETTER on Windows 7 than DirectWrite.

Could you please compare this ... (DW disabled)

... to this (DW enabled)

If you think the text on the first one is sharper and more readable, please revert your patches on removing GDI and make it possible to disable DirectWrite again.

No, subpixel rendering (ClearType) won't help either. And it's slower, pollutes the colorspace, needs calibration for each monitor and for each brighness level, so much of an annoyance.

Hope you make the right decision.

Best
Pál Ács

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Larry S

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Dec 6, 2016, 2:45:07 AM12/6/16
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The only solution is to move to a different browser, I don't like firefox but now chrome is also terrible, searching alternatives found a google chrome fork called advanced chrome, seems that some developer managed to fix what google can't do,  he tuned directdraw in some way that looks almost as sharp as GDI and made other improvements that I really love, try it and see the difference: http://browser.taokaizen.com

Danicela -

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Jun 6, 2018, 4:23:29 AM6/6/18
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Hi,
 
I just discovered this topic and I'm also concerned by DirectWrite problems.
 
I remained stuck at Chrome 51 during something like 1-2 years because it was last version to have GDI.
 
I finally went on newer Chrome versions because it became buggy, and I had to suffer DirectWrite for 1 year.
 
I still can't manage to get used to DirectWrite.
 
Does anything have changed since then ? I still want GDI back or something to prevent this ugly rendering.
 
Thank you.

Pál Tamás Ács

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Jun 14, 2018, 5:21:28 AM6/14/18
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Dear Danicela,

Regarding that the chances are really low that Google and its ignorant developers would address any aspect of this issue, I have collected some alternatives for those who want to continue their browsing experience without ruining their eyesight and collateral headaches.
  • Use Firefox.
    Firefox still supports GDI-style (well-hinted, pixel-wise, sharp enough) font rendering. WIth Firefox Quantum developers introduced a lot of performance enhancements. Chrome might still be the fastest browser bit its developers are ignorant and thus user experience for some of us keeps getting worse over time. On computers with Intel i5 or faster, you won't really notice a huge difference in performance. Firefox development is rather community-based and is backed by a foundation instead of an arrogant billion-dollar company like Google that thinks they always know everything better than their end-users. Customizability has always been kept in focus during the development of Firefox. That's what makes it a good alternative.

  • Use Cent Browser.
    Cent Browser is a new web browser forked from Chromium with really good potential. It has a community forum where you can keep in touch personally with the developers and give your feedback. They seem to care about their users more than the guys at Google do. GDI support has been kept so it has the Disable DirectWrite flag. I think this might be your best option.

  • Use Opera 36.
    In April, 2016 Google discontinued the support for Windows XP and Vista in Chromium and Chrome, leaving millions of users alone and insecure. Opera has come up with a solution by providing security fixes to the 36 branch. Although it won't update itself above 36 the Opera team makes sure that all users with Windows XP will stay secure by receiving security fixes. Its current version available for download is Opera 36.0.2130.65. It has GDI support and the Disable DirectWrite flag. This is why Opera 36 is a good alternative, especially for older computers still running XP or on which Firefox is significantly slower. Since Opera 36 is already full-featured, you can probably go without the newest shiny features in your everyday workflow.

  • Use last available Chrome with GDI support.
    The very last known version to support GDI font rendering are the final releases of the 51 branch. The recommended way to install this version is through PortableApps.com installation bundles, since Google's ignorant idealists only grant you access to the latest versions on official sites. You will need to download the following two files.

If one of the links is broken, you can still search for exact file names using Google or bittorrent search. Always check the file you find on virustotal.com or with an antivirus software. Place these two files in the same folder and start GoogleChromePortable_51.0.2704.106_online.paf.exe. If the installer tries to fetch Chrome from the internet, make sure you have placed 51.0.2704.106_chrome_installer.exe into the same folder. The links above will install a 32-bit version. Note that you will not get security updates so extensions like ScriptSafe are recommended and uBlock Origin is mandatory. You might also want to disable the Flash Player.
  • Avoid web browsers.
    Web has always been about reinventing the wheel and putting existing technologies together in idealistic or marketable ways. Web browsers are the most energy-wasting and least resource-efficient software ever made. They make your computer burn a lot of electricity, drain the battery of your laptop and make you buy new hardware every 2-3 years because of the slowness they cause. For example, a computer from 2006 has enough resources to play a 720p HD video stream, with applications like Media Player Classic or VLC Media Player. Using a web browser for the same task would require a computer at least from 2011. If you tried to play a 720p YouTube video on a computer from 2006, you will end up a slowly playing, stuttering video while all your CPU and RAM are consumed. There are a lot of well-designed and well-made software outside of web browsers. There are great websites that collected these software, like portablefreeware.com or tinyapps.org. Most of them can be run in portable mode (no need for installation), so you can use them in restricted environments (or from an USB stick) as well. You can use them for various tasks. Here is a taste...

    • Videos
      If you want to search and watch videos from YouTube/Vimeo/Metacafe/Dailymotion (and a bunch of other supported sites), use 3D YouTube Downloader. Playing videos on your computer takes 3x-4x less CPU resources than in a browser. It can also download the audio tracks of video clips without downloading the visual part. Thus you will save a lot of network traffic if you only want to listen to it. Playing an audio track consumes 30-40x less CPU resources than playing a video track with audio. So you won't feel you need to upgrade each time lazy web developers come up with their new bloat.

    • Radios
      If you want to listen to or record over 17000 internet radio streams, you won't ever have to open a web browser again for that. Use streamWriter. It is an all-in-one streaming application. You can even record your streams simultaneously.

    • Social networking
      Tired of Facebook eating up all your computer memory and that it keeps getting slower and slower over time? There are a bunch of desktop applications that support Facebook chat, status updates, news feed, from the most highly configurable Miranda NG (for advanced users) to the very much user-friendly Instantbird or Franz. Skype? Viber? U kidding me? :P There are alternatives like Brosix that even apply peer-to-peer (serverless) communication, so you won't become dependent on any cloud service and won't expose your private data to profit-hungry corporations that sell you as an advertising platform. More advanced users can also try Tox.

    • Still using Windows XP because it's faster & cleaner than newer versions of Windows?
      Unlike Chrome - developed by ignorant developers living their blind idealism - most of the software above still run on Windows XP. Don't ever fall for the fear propaganda generated by software giants that always want you to upgrade (which translates to buy new). If you use secure applications to connect to the internet, you can stay secure, even on legacy systems.
Always think twice before getting used to some online service! Cloud services are designed to store (and analyze) all your personal data, give the illusion of a convenient free service, while selling all their users (including you) as an advertising platform to marketing agencies that make you buy things you basically don't need. Using centralized services (like cloud services) has never been secure either. During the past years more than a billion online accounts have got into unauthorized hands, thanks to the insecurity of centralized services. These have been just a taste of how great applications there are outside of web browsers, which can be used efficiently for everyday life. Don't let yourself be fooled by the illusion of the so-advertised state-of-the-art-super-modern-cloud stuff. And you might never have to buy the newest computer again. ;)

These are the alternatives I could come up with so far. Everyone is encouraged to add theirs.

Greetings,
Pál Tamás Ács

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John Smith

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Aug 8, 2018, 6:02:11 AM8/8/18
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I hope you and the idiots that supported this are dead by now.


On Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 2:32:04 PM UTC-4, Ilya Kulshin wrote:

I_tor

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Oct 21, 2020, 2:53:31 AM10/21/20
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PureOcean:
DirectWrite font rendering: http://i.imgur.com/30xOp5T.png
GDI font rendering: http://i.imgur.com/7r99LGL.png
You can achieve a similar result by setting "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\FontSmoothing" to 0 (Win+R > run SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe > (Performance) Settings... > Visual Effects > Select "Custom" and uncheck "Smooth edges of screen fonts"; or use PowerShell) before launching the chromium.

PhistucK

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Oct 21, 2020, 2:55:59 AM10/21/20
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Yes, this is possible, but the results are really horrible, especially with customized web fonts. They are illegible. Arial looks fine, the rest look really bad.

PhistucK


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I_tor

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Oct 21, 2020, 10:12:00 AM10/21/20
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PhistucK:
customized web fonts
 
It is easy to turn it off:
So only Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Tahoma, MS Sans Serif, Courier New and other local fonts will remain.
But… Font Awesome icons will also be cut out.

PhistucK

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Oct 21, 2020, 10:18:52 AM10/21/20
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Yep, the font awesome issue makes things problematic.
I just created a small extension that replaces all of the fonts on the page with Arial and I use it when things are too illegible.

Anyway, that is too bad, I wish a "font smoothing but not ClearType" option would be supported/given, like before DirectWrite.

PhistucK

Name Name

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Jul 6, 2023, 4:07:49 PM7/6/23
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Why not just rewrite the DirectWrite anti-aliasing algorithm code to look like GDI instead of requiring GDI to be returned?
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