Re: [dev] [patch] dmenu - support for xft font rendering

From: Ethan Grammatikidis <>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2010 02:20:47 +0100

On 1 Sep 2010, at 8:30 pm, Kris Maglione wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 01, 2010 at 06:00:17PM +0100, Ethan Grammatikidis wrote:
>> Connor Lane Smith wrote:
>>> If someone were to write a simple clean xft patch for libdraw it
>>> could be useful, perhaps even integrated into mainline.
>> This may just be my limited perspective, or it may be my upset
>> stomach talking, but I'm very surprised to see xft seriously
>> suggested in this mailing list. Xft is (to me) synonymous with
>> the transition of from something bad but usable into a
>> black box nightmare best left to distro tools to cope with. Maybe
>> it wasn't so bad for other people, maybe it got better.
> As bad as Xft/fontconfig is, the X font system is worse. At least
> with Xft, you can copy just about any font you like (TTF, OTF,
> Type-1, PCF, BDF) to ~/.fonts and then use it. You also don't need
> to worry about having scaled bitmaps for every font size that you
> want. And, probably most importantly, you don't need to deal with
> hoary and inscrutable X font spec strings.

        cd .fonts
        xset +fp ~/.fonts # or if you ran that already: xset fp rehash

Granted, xset not a wonderful program itself, being essentially a
multi-call binary with a number of entirely unrelated tasks and no
syntax consistency whatsoever.

Scaled bitmaps are an issue for the web, certainly. I've never
personally needed them elsewhere except in apps I'd really describe
as having brain-damaged UIs. I would like to have web pages rendered
in such a way as to not need precise font sizes.

Speaking of UIs, good ones can make excellent tutorials. 10-20
minutes with xfontsel and X font spec strings look a whole lot
better. They may still be a little hard to hand-edit but not entirely
so and xfontsel itself is a pretty good tool for when they are. After
using xfontsel for years the Gtk+2 font selector's lack of any means
to filter the font list was unbearable! Honestly, that lack of
filtering was one of the bigger things turning me off Xft, and I
don't know if the situation's improved.

I'm not really trying to advocate X font strings as such, nor Xlib;
one of my monitors really needs anti-aliasing and UTF-8 support is a
good thing, referring to your comment below. I'm not sure what I am
getting at.

> On the other hand, you need to edit XML to make configuration
> changes and deal with aweful scaling issues with bitmap fonts
> unless you use :pixelsize=whatever: in the spec. In my experience,
> Xft also deals with UTF-8 significantly better than the Xlib
> implementation, which is the reason I've started using it locally
> (with non-AA fonts nonetheless).
> --
> Kris Maglione
> Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be
> one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of
> blindfolded Fear.
> --Thomas Jefferson
Received on Mon Sep 06 2010 - 03:20:47 CEST

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