I recently learned about subpixel rendering, and was fascinated by how it works. On my mac, I can turn it on and off in system prefs - general - LCD font smoothing, which implies to me that it is handled by the OS, not by individual applications. My first question is, is this assumption correct? How is subpixel rendering handled? On my friend's computer with a retina display, the LCD font smoothing did not seem to add colors to text like on mine. Do retina displays handle it differently?

Since I was curious about the process, I tried turning it off and back on again. I noticed that some applications took a while to accept the changes, but restarting usually applied them. However! I've turned LCD font smoothing back on, and it works everywhere except this website. This is true in Chrome and Safari. What's the deal with that? Did I mess something up, or does the website somehow prevent subpixel rendering? How and why?

  • I see it on here, on a non-retina display, but this particular SE site is optimised to Mac & it's very subtle. Check superuser.com/questions & spot the difference. – Tetsujin May 13 '17 at 13:57
  • It's not subtle for me; it's nonexistent. Superuser looks the same as all other websites and all other text on my computer. – NoethersOneRing May 13 '17 at 19:01

For those of you who are still curious, I ran across this site, explaining how to turn subpixel rendering on and off for a webpage. Make sure to check out the demo page. I still don't know how it's handled at the OS level, but I'm guessing that to get any farther I'd have to actually learn about how fonts are rendered, and I don't think I'm prepared to do that. It also looks like there is a debate in the community over whether subpixel antialiasing is better than pixel antialiasing. Here is the case for subpixel rendering.

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