freetype, which is the font renderer used in all Linux distros, offers different hinting and rasterization methods, which should cover all variants currently available:
anti-aliasing can be either disabled or used in subpixel and greyscale mode, for any hinting style.
“no hinting”: preserves the font face, but makes readability hard (OSX style, but with a different gamma contrast).
“slight hinting”: hints only vertically, so the font keeps it face, but looks less muddled. This is also the default setting in Ubuntu 9.04. (Vista style, not exactly though, a bit thicker)
“TrueType hinting”: works pretty much like legacy GDI, hinting the font after TrueType specification. (Windows 95 style, not perfect)
“autohinting”: an algorithm tries to work out the best way to hint the font. this one sucks because all fonts tend to look the same at low point sizes, but it’s the most pragmatic == for font haters. Didn’t see any distro using this lately.
At least on Linux, any taste in font rasterization can be fulfilled. End of sales pitch
For crazy people: I found a japanese site where someone offered an injector that replaced the GDI font renderer in windows with freetype - you can launch any app with it and it looks Linux’ish. It’s splendid