Seems my love affair with the Consolas font may be short-lived! A reader pointed out that the Bitstream Vera Sans Mono font available on the Gnome website is also excellent for programming.
I installed it, and everything I said about Consolas also applies to Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. The font looks great with ClearType, but not so good without it. It is perfectly monospaced when mixing bold and plain variants, so your columns always line up. It’s a sans-serif font, so easy to read on the screen. Oh, zero, one and el are all easy to distinguish.
Which one to use is mainly a matter of taste. For a given font size, Consolas has smaller characters with more whitespace betweeen them, and a slash through the zero. The Bitstream font has larger tightly spaced characters, and a dot inside the zero. “Consolas” sounds like the name of a Spanish beauty, while “Bitstream Vera Sans Mono” is a mouthful.
The Bitstream Vera font collection can be freely distributed in its unmodified form, so you can download Bitstream Vera Sans Mono right here. To install it on your Windows PC, simply drag and drop the .ttf files from your zip utility into the C:\Windows\Fonts folder. They’ll be instantly available in all applications. Make sure to look under “B” for Bitstream rather than “V” for Vera.
The package also includes Bitstream Vera Sans which is a sans serif font like Arial, and Bitstream Vera Serif which is a serif font like Times New Roman. Both are proportionally spaced.