Re: [hackers] [st] [PATCH] Work around BadLength error by disallowing color fonts

From: Laslo Hunhold <>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2019 21:59:13 +0200

On Wed, 24 Apr 2019 21:47:39 +0200
Hiltjo Posthuma <> wrote:

Dear Hiltjo,

> I'm not in favor of this. I think this should be fixed upstream.
> Now that there has been a release of dwm and dmenu with the
> workaround it should be removed I think.
> There is no nice workaround except making the code more ugly. Should
> every project using fontconfig add this stupid workaround? I don't
> think so. One of the things that flow from the UNIX philosophy as I
> see it is solving things at the appropriate layer (or try to).
> There have also been reports of FC_COLOR patch "not working", because
> distros (in particular Debian stable, Slackware etc) using 4+ year
> old backported fontconfig versions. FC_COLOR is not known there.
> #define FC_COLOR "color" is a workaround which does not fix anything
> #except make it compile. It will still
> crash there.
> The whole concept of colored fonts is anti-suckless and retarded in
> general.

I agree with your sentiment, but still wanted to open the discussion of
this possibility here. We can't fix the issues upstream, but it's a
real concern that Xft will never be fixed in this regard. After all,
the best course will be to have a real suckless font rendering library
like the one you started working on a while ago.
Regarding st, I also must note that the handholding my patch does might
be a bit too much relative to other suckless projects.

I sometimes have the impression that the big library makers like
FreeType, HarfBuzz, Pango and so forth want to make you believe that
it's an impossible feat, overflowing you with their set of features,
tweaks, performance hacks and LCD-rendering-tricks. You've shown that
it is possible with much less code, so maybe we should be the ones, as
suckless, to lead the way. Maybe you could make a short write-up on
hackers_AT_ of your results. From what I remember, you tweaked on it for
quite a while, and it could save other collaborators from spending a
lot of time you did on some issues.

The use of stone-age old libraries in Debian stable, Slackware, Fedora
and others is a sin against human kind and in my opinion one reason why
the Linux desktop never really took off until a few years ago when
other, more bleeding edge distros, entered the playing field. I _never_
_ever_ saw an example were using old, backported versions was a benefit
over new code. Granted, one should not use the bleeding edge on
production systems, but that's what major and minor versioning is for.
Debian stable discarded minor versions just the same and it takes a lot
of man-hours to preserve this bloody museum of software over there that
could be spent much better on other things!

With best regards


Laslo Hunhold <>

Received on Wed Apr 24 2019 - 21:59:13 CEST

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