[Xquartz-dev] The 2.1.0 package and Apple System Fonts
bbyer at apple.com
Sun Dec 2 22:24:47 PST 2007
Yeah, I think that's the point that's being lost here.
There are two completely different sets of font systems in use with
X11 today -- "X11 core fonts" (which are rendered server-side) and
client-side fonts, which generally use libXft. Xft finds fonts using
the fontconfig system -- so any fc-* command will deal with that
system. Core fonts use the "font path" set in the server to find
fonts, and then render them in the server -- these are the fonts you
will see with xlsfonts / xfontsel.
There's more about this here: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Guide_to_X11/Fonts
To expound a bit more:
* Modern applications generally use client-side font rendering, due to
numerous limitations in the X11 core font system. Here, I'm talking
about OpenOffice, Gimp, etc. Anything that uses gtk or Qt. I think
these applications can fall back on server-side fonts, if required,
but that's really a last resort. In order to get this working, you
need to get fontconfig set up properly.
For Leopard, fontconfig was built with --with-confdir=/usr/X11/lib/X11/
fonts, so that's where it will look for the system-wide
configuration. (If you're seeing it look in /etc/, then your
fontconfig was not built with that configure flag.) In addition, I'm
trying to add the following flags for future official Apple builds:
fontconfig will also look for a local configuration file in your home
directory (~/.fonts.conf, perhaps?)
There's quite a lot more that we can do to fontconfig to make it
better play with OS X, including moving the cache files to /System/
Library/Caches and ~/Library/Caches, as appropriate. I played around
with this and ran into some weird bugs; I didn't have time to dig
Important commands: "fc-cache -v", fc-list. Note that neither of
these commands actually connects to the X server, as fontconfig is
independent of X11.
* "Everything else" uses X11 core fonts, which are fraught with
architectural limitations, but are sometimes all that you have
(especially for any application which was not written from scratch
within the last 5 years or so). So, it's important to have these
The X server looks in a "font path" for fonts; you can see the current
font path by running "xset q". The default path is set at compile
time. It can be changed at runtime with the "xset fp" command. It
can also be changed in the X server configuration file -- although we
don't ship one, the server should support one but I've never bothered
Occasionally, you'll see people bring up xfs -- the X Font Server.
Once upon a time, X servers in general didn't link against things like
FreeType, and so they couldn't handle some of the more modern fonts,
so people built font servers that filled in the gap in functionality
because they couldn't fix it in the server. There should no longer be
any need for this.
Of course, moving sophisticated font processing in the server has
performance issues and apparently stability ones, as well (I saw the
crash mentioned earlier in this thread).
Important commands for X11 core fonts: mkfontdir, mkfontscale,
xlsfonts, xfontsel, xset q, xset fp.
On Dec 2, 2007, at 4:54 PM, Jeremy Huddleston wrote:
> fontconfig is entirely client-side and is a separate process than
> the xserver-provided fonts.
> On Dec 2, 2007, at 16:32, Merle Reinhart wrote:
>> One thing I was noticing when comparing the "xset q" output between
>> Tiger and Leopard is on Leopard, at the bottom under 'Font cache:'
>> is says 'Server does not have the FontCache Extension'. It
>> apparently does on Tiger as there is an active cache.
>> As far as fontconfig goes, there is a lot of documentation in /usr/
>> I played around with defining a local ~/.fonts.conf like the docs
>> described and pointed at some extra fonts in another directory. fc-
>> cache properly sees it, but the Xserver doesn't. Perhaps the lack
>> of the FontCache Extension is related?
>> On Dec 2, 2007, at 6:53 PM, Jeremy Huddleston wrote:
>>> On Dec 2, 2007, at 14:17, Harald Hanche-Olsen wrote:
>>>> Disclaimers: I have no idea how X11 interacts with fontconfig. My
>>>> practical experience with font servers was back in the days of X
>>>> terminals, and that was not in this century. (The point being that
>>>> the X terminal, having no local file system, could only get its
>>>> from a font server. The font servers were fragile beasts that
>>>> curl up and die if you looked at them crosswise, and we were glad
>>>> get rid of them when the last X terminal left the building.)
>>> Ok, I found a good description for you from http://www.freshports.org/x11-fonts/libXft/
>>> The current version of Xft provides a client-side font API for X
>>> applications. It uses Fontconfig to select fonts and the X
>>> protocol for
>>> rendering them. When available, Xft uses the Render extension to
>>> text drawing. When Render is not available, Xft uses the core
>>> protocol to draw
>>> client-side glyphs. This provides completely compatible support of
>>> fonts for all X servers.
>>> Xquartz-dev mailing list
>>> Xquartz-dev at lists.macosforge.org
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