Liberation Mono; still the best Free font for programming

It’s official, Liberation Mono is still the best Free font for programming.

I’ve been using Liberation Mono in my text editors since it was first announced having tried various other fonts with varying states of Freeness.

Then along came the Droid fonts and I thought I’d try them too. I have two criteria for programming fonts, 1) Pretty (I like Droids g) 2) slashes through 0’s (so that I can tell 0’s from O’s more easily when reading code).

Droid meets a and fails at b but I decided to try it anyway (for the curious Liberation is slightly less pretty but has brilliant 0’s).

Droid Sans Mono vs Liberation Mono

At the top we have Droid Sans Mono and at the bottom Liberation Mono, both showing the same snippet of code at font size 10.

As you can see, at this font size the exclamation mark (!) is pretty horrid. It could be an l (L) or a | (pipe). This ambiguity makes reading code harder. Sure in most cases you can infer which character it is but having to do that is just ridiculous.

Back to Liberation Mono it is. Good try Droid, but not good enough!

5 thoughts on “Liberation Mono; still the best Free font for programming

  1. Neil Roberts

    I’ve been using Liberation Mono in Emacs too after copying you. It’s a massive improvement over the font I was using before but it really annoys me that the capital F is broken. The middle line doesn’t line up with the middle of an E or an R. Hopefully now that I’ve pointed it out it will annoy you too 🙂

    1. Joshua Post author

      What are you trying to day about programmers? :-p

      The ‘g’ was the thing that made me try the font out!

  2. Hylke

    Haha, sorry didn’t mean to insult!
    I meant, if I would code something I wouldn’t want the “g” 😛

    But I guess when you look at code all day you would like the pretty “g” 🙂

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