Font Management and rendering

The font is an important part of the graphics. It has to be clear, easily readable and small enough.
The previous version, as described in one of my first post was using a bitmap pre-generated and a metric file.

I still beleive it's a good idea, except for the pre-generated part (how a waste of time it is !). So I looked at some OpenGL good GUI and found good articles about Freetype2. For those who don't know yet, it's a library generating font bitmap from true type fonts. (The article on Nehe Tutorials is a good way to start to use it).

However I'm still not sure if it is better to use 1 texture for all the characters or 1 by character ? (1 big texture seems to be faster than changing every letter).

My (futur) idea is to use FBO to generate static (or pseudo-static) text texture. I actually use a simple DisplayList but using 1 texture for a full text is really faster than 1 by letter!!!

(Looking at some GUI I found an interesting and good looking one named "begui". The only problem I saw was about the performances (even If I didn't really try it). Looking at the sources, many instructions could be avoided in the render methods. Here is the link : http://code.google.com/p/begui/)

I upload a simple font image (I'll put a funnier one for the next image)

Simple Font