Feeling comfortable with Cascadia Code

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A few years ago I blogged about switching my terminal and programming font from Terminus to Ubuntu Mono. It’s only fair, then, that I mention I’ve switched from Ubuntu Mono to Cascadia Code. I’ve been using Cascadia for many months now, probably over a year, and the experience has been great so far. The font was commissioned by Microsoft and released under the SIL Open Font License, which makes it available in the repositories of many Linux distributions. For example, it’s easily available in the official Fedora or Debian repositories.

Cascadia Code
Figure 1. Cascadia Code Specimen by Wikipedia user Smartcom5, released under CC BY-SA 4.0

When I decided to give it a try I was turned off by some inconsistencies in the shapes of some characters. In particular, the shape of the lowercase F glyph is a bit odd due to the horizontal crossing line being quite low compared to similar features in other characters. In other words, apparently Ubuntu Mono was easier on the eyes due to its simpler and more consistent shapes. However, after using it for months, I can really vouch for it. It can be used for long programming sessions comfortably, the characters are quite distinct from one another, it’s elegant and I haven’t gotten tired of it at all. Summing up its advantages:

  • The font has thick strokes, which is important to make it look good when you increase the font size for those like me that don’t see as well as they did in their youth or simply prefer to configure fonts with a larger size.

  • It’s very easy to read and doesn’t get tiring.

  • It’s released under an actual open font license, making it widely available (contrary to Ubuntu Mono).

  • The character size is more consistent with other fonts in the system, so it can be easily combined with them.

Regarding the last point, I mention it because fonts from the Ubuntu family tend to be smaller when compared to other fonts in the system. A 16pt size text containing a 16pt size Ubuntu Mono word will likely look a bit weird, with the Ubuntu Mono word being smaller than the surrounding text. Of course, the Ubuntu font family is internally consistent in this regard: if the surrounding text is also in a Ubuntu font, you won’t have this problem.

Anyway, if you haven’t had the chance, give the font a try. I’m using it now for my IDEs and terminals. Note: if you don’t like the programming ligatures (I don’t), you have several options. The easiest one is using the Cascadia Mono variant, which removes them completely.

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