This summary is an update to my petition against Google forcing DirectWrite on Chrome users. Since community "specialists" keep removing my comments about alternatives on Google Product Forums, I will share it here.
Regarding that the chances are really low that Google and its ignorant developers would address any aspect of this issue with this number of signatures, I have collected some alternatives for those who want to continue their browsing experience without ruining their eyesight and collateral headaches.
- Use Firefox.
Firefox still supports GDI-style (well-hinted, pixel-wise, sharp enough) font rendering, also there is a versatile extension which lets you fine-tune font rendering with much more details you could have only dreamed about in Chrome. Although Chrome is the fastest browser, its developers are ignorant and thus user experience for some of us keeps getting worse over time. On computers with Intel i5 or faster, you won't really notice a huge difference in performance. Firefox development is rather community-based and is backed by a foundation instead of an arrogant billion-dollar company like Google that thinks they always know everything better than their end-users. Customizability has always been kept in focus during the development of Firefox. That's what makes it a good alternative.
- Use Cent Browser.
Cent Browser is a new web browser forked from Chromium with really good potential. It has a community forum where you can keep in touch personally with the developers and give your feedback. They seem to care about their users more than the guys at Google do. GDI support has been kept so it has the Disable DirectWrite flag.
- Use Opera 36.
In April, 2016 Google discontinued the support for Windows XP and Vista in Chromium and Chrome, leaving millions of users alone and insecure. Opera has come up with a solution by providing security fixes to the 36 branch. Although it won't update itself above 36 the Opera team makes sure that all users with Windows XP will stay secure by receiving security fixes. Its current version available for download is Opera 36.0.2130.65. It has GDI support and the Disable DirectWrite flag. This is why Opera 36 is a good alternative, especially for older computers still running XP or on which Firefox is significantly slower. Since Opera 36 is already full-featured, you can probably go without the newest shiny features in your everyday workflow.
- Use last available Chrome with GDI support.
The very last known version to support GDI font rendering are the final releases of the 51 branch. The recommended way to install this version is through PortableApps.com installation bundles, since Google's ignorant idealists only grant you access to the latest versions on official sites. You will need to download the following two files.
If one of the links is broken, you can still search for exact file names using Google or bittorrent search. Always check the file you find on virustotal.com or with an antivirus software. Place these two files in the same folder and start GoogleChromePortable_51.0.2704.106_online.paf.exe. If the installer tries to fetch Chrome from the internet, make sure you have placed 51.0.2704.106_chrome_installer.exe into the same folder. The links above will install a 32-bit version. Note that you will not get security updates so extensions like ScriptSafe are recommended and uBlock Origin is mandatory. You might also want to disable the Flash Player.
- Avoid web browsers.
Web has always been about reinventing the wheel and putting existing technologies together in idealistic or marketable ways. Web browsers are the most energy-wasting and least resource-efficient software ever made. They make your computer burn a lot of electricity, drain the battery of your laptop and make you buy new hardware every 2-3 years because of the slowness they cause. For example, a computer from 2006 has enough resources to play a 720p HD video stream, with applications like Media Player Classic or VLC Media Player. Using a web browser for the same task would require a computer at least from 2011. If you tried to play a 720p YouTube video on a computer from 2006, you will end up a slowly playing, stuttering video while all your CPU and RAM are consumed. There are a lot of well-designed and well-made software outside of web browsers. There are great websites that collected these software, like portablefreeware.com or tinyapps.org. Most of them can be run in portable mode (no need for installation), so you can use them in restricted environments (or from an USB stick) as well. You can use them for various tasks. Here is a taste...
If you want to search and watch videos from YouTube/Vimeo/Metacafe/Dailymotion (and a bunch of other supported sites), use 3D YouTube Downloader. Playing videos on your computer takes 3x-4x less CPU resources than in a browser. It can also download the audio tracks of video clips without downloading the visual part. Thus you will save a lot of network traffic if you only want to listen to it. Playing an audio track consumes 30-40x less CPU resources than playing a video track with audio. So you won't feel you need to upgrade each time lazy web developers come up with their new bloat.
If you want to listen to or record over 17000 internet radio streams, you won't ever have to open a web browser again for that. Use streamWriter. It is an all-in-one streaming application. You can even record your streams simultaneously.
- Social networking
Tired of Facebook eating up all your computer memory and that it keeps getting slower and slower over time? There are a bunch of desktop applications that support Facebook chat, status updates, news feed, from the most highly configurable Miranda NG (for advanced users) to the very much user-friendly Instantbird or Franz. Skype? Viber? U kidding me? :P There are alternatives like Brosix that even apply peer-to-peer (serverless) communication, so you won't become dependent on any cloud service and won't expose your private data to profit-hungry corporations that sell you as an advertising platform. More advanced users can also try Tox.
- Still using Windows XP because it's faster & cleaner than newer versions of Windows?
Unlike Chrome - developed by ignorant developers living their blind idealism - most of the software above still run on Windows XP. Don't ever fall for the fear propaganda generated by software giants that always want you to upgrade (which translates to buy new). If you use secure applications to connect to the internet, you can stay secure, even on legacy systems.
Always think twice before getting used to some online service! Cloud services are designed to store (and analyze) all your personal data, give the illusion of a convenient free service, while selling all their users (including you) as an advertising platform to marketing agencies that make you buy things you basically don't need. Using centralized services (like cloud services) has never been secure either. During the past years more than a billion online accounts have got into unauthorized hands, thanks to the insecurity of centralized services. These have been just a taste of how great applications there are outside of web browsers, which can be used efficiently for everyday life. Don't let yourself be fooled by the illusion of the so-advertised state-of-the-art-super-modern-cloud stuff. And you might never have to buy the newest computer again. ;)
These are the alternatives I could come up with so far. Everyone is encouraged to add theirs.
Pál Tamás Ács