Still bitmap after all those years

Bitmap fonts are pixel-art fonts. Unlike outline fonts they cannot be automatically scaled with good results, to create a multi-size bitmap font you have to create a different version for each size. They can’t be anti-aliased so they tend to look blocky compared to outline fonts.

Outline fonts use Bézier curves, they are scallable, and their edges can be anti-aliased to make them look nicer. Today everybody is running an operating system that can render outline fonts decently, and can use those smooth looking beauties with superior results compared to bitmap fonts.

Bitmap fonts are a thing of the past.

Yet, I still use a bitmap font for my day to day programming tasks. I transitionned to an outline font for a while, but ultimately switched back after a few months because the outline font didn’t seem as sharp.

It may be silly, but nothing looks as sharp as a bitmap font to me. I’m talking what it looks like on a computer screen in 2016 with a dot pitch of 0.27 mm. Because each pixel is either black or white and nothing smooths out the edges, it’s sharp.

I salivate like everybody on those screenshots of multi-colored terminal window with a fancy outline font that support ligatures, has cool emoji’s icons, and rainbows of bright pastel colors. I’m sure it’s great to feel like you’re on acid while you write code, but I like my bitmap font and my bland terminal colors. It gets the job done and it’s easy on my eyes.

I’ll switch to outline fonts when I get a screen with a high pixel density for my workstation, but for now I’ll use my bitmap font, it doesn’t look so bad with today’s fat pixels.