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Sad to say, but I too am a Windows user. I’ve been thoroughly dissatisfied with the looks of ClearType (until Windows 7) and sought out an alternative. While not as polished as Apple’s closed-source rendering engine, I think it is significantly better than ClearType.
Food for thought: What is the plausibility of testing for font-smoothing using Zoltan’s method and then serving something like GDI++ to users without smoothing enabled? Using the same principle as font-smoothing detection, couldn’t we create font-smoothing?
I’m nowhere near seasoned on this issue, but just wanted to share my thoughts. Thanks for a great article, Z.