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The author lost me as soon as he/she compared dark mode to green screen crt. Do you really think the green crt was a design decision?? It was the balance of cost to performance that 1970s tech allowed.

As for the other points, its largely subjective but I have dark mode enabled in every app that will support it. On windows, I run the experimental build so I can have more complete dark mode support, and enabled the half baked dark mode in sql server management studio. All my IDEs are set to dark mode, because eye strain is a thing and for me at least dark mode is much easier on the eyes.




As soon as there were raster CRTs, there wasn't much of a technical reason for light on black. Continuing with this was probably more for tradition and aesthetical expectations ("the gloom of the monitor" and a certain kind of heroism, which goes with it).

Personally, I don't think there is an ideal solution to match all scenarios. There are some applications, where light on black may be superior, and others, where it's the other way round. Empirically, for content-heavy, lengthy text we had a few trends for light on black in the past (e.g. "cool web design" in the late 1990s) and reversed from this soon each time. For an example, I much prefer reading HN comments as-is as compared to a hypothetical dark mode UI.


> As soon as there were raster CRTs, there wasn't much of a technical reason for light on black.

This isn't entirely true; many CRT-based terminals have phosphors that dim slowly. If they used a black-on-light color scheme, the letters would be washed out a for a lot more time than light-on-black. Light-on-black hides other defects more (like a not-quite-centered horizontal and vertical hold) and may possibly use less power (since the electron gun is off for more time).


However, this is true for both modes. It's quite possible to imagine a world in which we had become accustomed to ignoring washed out dark on light, just like we became to ignore ghost images and trails. (Also, early LCDs were terrible at this, but somehow acceptable.)


AFAIK the technical reason for light on black was the refresh rate of early monitors: it's much easier on the eyes to have flickering text on a solid dark background than dark text on a flickering light background. That became less of the problem with better CRTs, but only disappeared completely when LCD screens took over.


As pointed out by a sibling comment, some phosphor sustain would have helped much with flicker (compare the original monitor for the IBM PC 1550) – while, at the same time, presenting the problem of washed out characters with animated or scrolling views.


> Do you really think the green crt was a design decision??

I think the point they are making is, why would we have ever moved away from the technologically simpler option if it also happened to be a better design? What made us get rid of terminal colours in favour of black-on-white, when we could have just improved the design of the white-on-black colours?


I think the switch is easily explained by companies like Xerox and Apple looking to emulate paper documents, which was the preeminent design paradigm they both were chasing at the time.




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