New Toys: Hot workstation and nice fonts!
By Tor Norbye on Oct 15, 2005
I've got a new toy: a brand new Sun Ultra 20 workstation. It's for home use. It's a great system, and very fast. I used one of these to do my coding challenge back in June. Now I've got my own!
(If you're looking for a new home computer, check these out. They're using AMD 64 bit Opteron processors - mine is 2.6 Ghz - so you can run many different operating systems on it. Here's a very enthusiastic review of it, and here's another. I just wish the fan could have been a little quieter.)
I decided to put Ubuntu linux on this one. It was straightforward. (I had first tried putting Fedora Core 4 on it, including the various java tools. But those systems do all kinds of weird things to support Java (some kind of GCJ variant plus various "smart" scripts which essentially prevented ant from running). For Ubuntu I didn't install any of the Java development tools, and instead downloaded them directly myself and put the latest Ant and Tiger on there.
I then decided I wanted smooth fonts; after looking at nicely rendered fonts on an Apple laptop it sure hurts the eyes to look at the default configuration of a Linux desktop! Luckily I could enable subpixel antialiasing in one of the configuration screens. Much better. But my IDE still didn't look good. That reminded me that Mustang, the next generation JDK, will support LCD subpixel rendering. So I downloaded Mustang, restarted NetBeans with it, and lo and behold - it works very nicely. The following screenshot shows the before & after effect but will only look right on LCDs:
Here's some more indepth analysis of the rendering changes.