Just recently Jeffrey Zeldman was bemoaning the sub-standard state of text rendering in Firefox on a Mac. And the sad truth is he only skimmed the surface of type rendering problems across browsers. Never mind trying to pick a typeface which most people will have installed; Firefox, Safari, Opera and Camino may render even the same font differently.
This is because there are (at least) five different formats of fonts: TrueType-Mac, TrueType-PC, PostScript-Type 1, OpenType-PostScript and OpenType-TrueType. I’m not au fait with the technical differences between formats, but the differences in rendering between browsers is shocking.
To demonstrate the differences, I created a page with five different fonts, one of each type. The resulting screenshots show that Camino 1.2 (still in beta) and Safari do a fine job of rendering all formats, but Firefox and Opera struggle with all formats except for TrueType Mac. Note that the current release of Camino renders the same as Firefox.
|TrueType Mac||TrueType PC||PostScript||OpenType PostScript||OpenType TrueType|
|Firefox 2||good||correct italic & bold fonts displayed; miscalculation of space required for italic, bold & underlined fonts resulting in overlappping text||not rendered||italic & bold fonts synthesised; miscalculation of space required for italic, bold & underlined fonts resulting in overlappping text||italic & bold fonts synthesised; miscalculation of space required for italic, bold & underlined fonts resulting in overlappping text|
|Opera 9||good||good, but italic font is synthetically obliqued||not rendered||bold font not rendered; italic synthesised||bold font not rendered; italic synthesised|
Hat tip Jon Hicks for details about forthcoming Camino releases.