Font hinting is the process of adapting an outline font to a rasterised grid, critical for producing clear legible text for on-screen text display.

Quality of font rendering varies greatly depending on platform and application. Mac OSX uses a generic rendering algorithm which displays all fonts equally well and completely ignores font hinting. Windows on the other hand only displays well TrueType fonts which have been optimized (hinted) for the screen.
The TrueType format was jointly developed by Apple and Microsoft in 1991, several years after the release of the PostScript Type 1 font format. Despite the format’s technical superiority (most of the system fonts on both Mac and Windows computers are TrueType) it never became popular amongst designers.
PostScript or Type 1 fonts were developed by Adobe in 1985 for use with their PostScript printers. Initially, this font technology was available only from Adobe.