Discovering Berkeley Mono

Published on 15 November, 2022

I’m a big supporter of open-source. Not in a “down with capitalism” kind of way. Instead, I choose open-source softwares when they are reasonably competitive against their proprietary counterparts. I’m generally willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience when choosing the open-source route. In some cases the open-source option is just objectively better than the proprietary one. In other cases the proprietary choice costs way more than I’m willing to spend on that category of software. And then in the remaining cases it might be a toss-up and my inclination towards open-source is purely what leads me to choose it over the proprietary offering.

All that’s not to say that I only use open-source software. I admittedly use lots of proprietary software, sometimes willingly. Although Linux is my primary and preferred operating system, I still dual-boot Windows 10 for the things that I can’t be bothered to try and get running through Wine. I use Sublime Text 4 instead of Visual Studio Code1. I use several JetBrains IDEs professional and personally (for when tmux + neovim just won’t cut it, looking at you Java). And most recently, Berkeley Mono has dethroned JetBrains Mono as my preferred monospace font.

I’ve used JetBrains Mono since not long after it was initially released in early 2020 (even outside of JetBrains products). Before that I used Adobe’s Source Code Pro. At times I experimented with Fira Code and Hack but neither of them really stuck with me. But then, a few days ago, I came across Berkeley Mono and it just looks fantastic to my eyes.

I’ve always been really interested in retro computing. I was born too late to experience this era of computing first hand so instead I need to live it vicariously through the mediums that are available to me today like Wikipedia and YouTube. Berkeley Mono is specifically designed as a homage to this era. Do I feel like Ken Thompson when using it? Not quite, but it does make me feel like he and I could be working in the same building and occasionally running into each other in the cafeteria.

I’m happy to pay the $75 for the little hits of dopamine I get now when I open my terminal. I’m particularly very fond of the slashed zero which is more of a rounded square than an oval.

  1. Neovim is still my go-to text editor. ↩︎