Favorite programmer fonts

I’m very particular about my [[http://floatingsun.net/2006/07/06/the-essential-workspace/|working environment]], specially the font that I use for programming, reading mails etc. I prefer monospace fonts for programming as well as reading mails.

When I first started serious programming, I didn’t really pay much attention to what font I was using — I just used to go with the defaults. It wasn’t until I was reading an introductory book on Java by [[wp>James_Gosling|James Gosling]] (it was one of the early editions of //The Java Programming Language//) that I realized what I was missing. They had used Lucida Sans Typewriter for all of the code samples in that book and I just immediately fell in love. Fortunately, the Java SDK has always shipped with that font, so obtaining the font wasn’t a problem.

{{ http://floatingsun.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/fonts.png|Monospace Fonts}}

I stuck with Lucida Sans Typewriter for a very long time, at least a couple of years. After starting grad school, when I started playing around with Debian, I heard of a new family of free fonts called [[http://www.gnome.org/fonts/|Bitstream Vera]]. The fixed font in that family was very catchy — at that time, the GNOME folks had a lot of screenshots up on the web (all featuring Bitstream Vera), it was plain, simple, crisp and a refreshing change from Lucida Sans Typewriter. And a huge plus was that gVim looked beautiful with Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

And so it was for another few years. Recently though, a new font seems to have taken the editing world by storm. Thanks to the new found love developers have found for the Mac OS, as well as the inadvertant evangelizing by the likes of [[http://macromates.com/|Textmate]], [[http://www.rubyonrails.org/screencasts|Ruby on Rails]], [[http://turbogears.org/|Turbogears]] etc, [[wp>Monaco_%28typeface%29|Monaco]] has become immensely popular. To me, its greatest appeal is that at first glance it doesn’t //seem// like its a fixed-width font, and its curves are strangely enticing. You can find a copy of the font for use on Linux at [[http://www.gringod.com/2006/11/01/new-version-of-monaco-font/|GrinGod]].

So what are your favorite monospace fonts?


  1. Abhijit Nadgouda

    I have used Monospace, Lucida Sans Typewriter, DejaVu Sans Mono, BPG Courier and currently using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. Changing fonts is refreshing, especially in gvim.

    Thanks for the link to Monaco, will add it to the change list :-)

  2. Malte Stretz

    Lucida looks nice but the 0s look too much like the Os, especially in small script.

    For quite some time I used ProFont (http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont/) as my hacking font. Which is really nice but at least the free versions have the disadvantage that a lot of chars out of the ANSI range are missing. At some point I got tired installing fonts wherever I hack anyway so currently I stick with the defaults most the time.

  3. Pradeep Padala

    Maan, fonts are the Achilles’ heel for Linux desktop. They just suck! This is one thing that I keep changing all the time. I have tried many different ones. The Gnome default ‘Monospace’ and ‘Console’ fonts are ok, but not great. Some times the edges on the alphabet always irritate me and I feel a constant urge to go back to Windows terminals (Poderosa is my favourite). Currently, I am using the Monospace regular one you mentioned, though I tried Lucide typewriter as well.

    P.S. How is every thing going? I am back from HP labs to Mich.
    P.P.S I really like the look of the website. You should try to reduce the clutter around the content though. It’s slightly distracting.

  4. Diwaker Gupta

    *@pradeep*: Actually I disagree here, I’ve never had a problem with my fonts looking “good” on Linux (compared to say Windows or OS X). Even if I were on Windows or any other OS, I would still have gone through pretty much the same set of fonts (since I rarely ever check out paid fonts). The “edges” on your alphabet might simply be a problem of rendering — you might want to check your fontconfig and your font rendering settings.

    Things are going good, I’m mostly here at UCSD for the summer. How was your internship? Glad you like the new look! Exactly what kind of clutter are you talking about? You mean the meta info about the post? Or the related posts?

  5. Pradeep Padala

    That’s interesting. I will try to tweak the settings, but I wish the fancy settings are on by default. I no longer feel like tweaking every part of Linux especially the Desktop. Anyway, I am happy with my Windows box with remote terminals right now. How can I get paid fonts for Linux?

    I like the “Fresh off the press” etc. blocks, but the left-side search, related content are all distracting. They all need to be grayed out slightly or put at the top or some thing. The tags on the right side also need a better location. May be you can put all these in a gray background block like you did for others. The top header bar with the dimmed RSS icon is awesome though.

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