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JetBrains Mono: Equal or Not

I just installed the JetBrains Mono font. We programmers need monospaced fonts, and this is a very nice one. It comes installed with recent versions of JetBrains’s IDEs. My copy of IntelliJ was not recent, it turned out.

Anyway, the most interesting thing is ligatures for programmers. Take a look at this:

Screenshot 2020 01 19 at 23 25 11

You see that “not equals” sign? The crossed-out equals that we were taught to write back in secondary school? That’s not a character in any normal ASCII typeface. Plus, this is Java: even if it were a character (there is a Unicode character for that symbol), it’s not part of the language. The compiler wouldn’t recognise it.

What that actually is is the standard not-equals of C-based languages: !=. But the font has detected it and replaced it with the more attractive and traditional symbol.

It’s a setting you can disable, and I’m not sure I’ll keep it that way, but it’s impressive and unusual.