Subject: Fonts are ... suboptimal
To: None <>
From: Martin Husemann <>
List: tech-x11
Date: 04/10/2004 14:00:13
Sorry if this subject makes it sound like a flame - it's not intended that
way, but I couldn't think of a better subject.

I have some serious trouble with X and fonts lately, partly, probably, because
of my high expectations on rendering quality or my local chaotic mix of
pkgsrc stuff installed - however:

 - The default install (from src/x11 or xsrc) does not mix well with pkgsrc.
   You get a second (or third) version of fontconfig soon, unless you play
   mk.conf magic like this:

	# use as much of base xsrc install as possible
	PREFER_NATIVE=  MesaLib Xft2 Xrandr Xrender expat fontconfig    \
	                freetype2 glu randrext render xcursor yes

   However, there are already pkgs that will force newer fontconfig from
   pkgsrc, because they believe they can't cope with the version in XFree.

   This leads to multiple fc-cache binaries, and depending on your $PATH
   it will work or not. For some reason my fc-cache's disagreed on the
   font path to use - no idea why. Probably you need to run all fc-cache's
   to get this to work right with all your software. IMHO it's an 
   unacceptable configuration that should be avoided by all means

 - If you have working true type fonts, the rendering quality is ********.
   And doing text selections takes ages on slower machines.
   This is not much improved with 

	# freetype2 bytecode interpreter

   IMHO *this* display of true type fonts does not warrant all the
   trouble they cause.

I used to have no true type fonts at all with XFree 4.3 and I was a happy
camper. After updating to our current X and rebuilding most of pkgsrc, I 
have a esthetically very unpleasant display now.

So, my questions to you all:

 - how are we going to proceed with this mess?
 - can we make a knob to leave out all true type support and fonts when
   building X?
 - probably better asked on tech-pkg: can we optionally avoid all the
   pkgsrc font stuff too? say I want to run gnome, but have no true type
   stuff at all - would that be possible?
 - is there any way to get *good* font rendering with X?

(in asbestos armor, ready for the flames)