As some of you probably know I am working on the GSoC project to externalise the Mathtex engine from Matplotlib. Today I have been toying around with the renderer using various backends.
One of the interesting things that I discovered was that the Cairo backend was making use of subpixel rendering. (Or 'ClearType' as Microsoft call it.) This is not surprising -- by default Cairo will respect a users fontconfig settings when rendering text. Since I have subpixel rendering enabled all text rendered by Cairo is subpixel rendered.
While this is fantastic for on screen text -- being significantly more pleasing to look at that the text produced by the AGG backend -- it is unsuitable for print. Now it is not too difficult to disable this, Cairo has an API call: cairo_font_options_set_antialias to deal with this.
While I could write a quick patch to always disable subpixel rendering it would be something off a loss to those who either view their graphs onscreen or export them for the web -- where using subpixel rendering is now surprisingly common.
Is it worth looking into adding subpixel rendering as a configuration option?