I’ve been playing/looking with/for libraries for a project I’m thinking about, and got to the problem of font rendering. All signs seemed to point to freetype2, but I was hesitant. I just wanted something lightweight (only rendered fonts), preferably BSD/similarly licensed, but would give me good looking results.
My impression was that the font system under the *nixes+Xorg was libxft working with freetype2, and all those gross XML files were from freetype2. Thus I was worried that I’d have to pull in all that cruft just to render some fonts. However, this is when I actually did some digging and found out libxft is built on fontconfig, (which was responsible for all the XML crap), and that freetype2 is actually a separate and minimalistic library that seems very well put together.
It just seems the right way to do it.