Bitmapped fonts in xft applications

A couple of months back, I moved to using XFce 4.2 and the os-cillation Terminal application. I liked the Terminal application mostly because it had the features of gnome-terminal, but didn't require gnorba and other silly libraries. When all you want is a competent multi-tab terminal, it's annoying to require all sorts of extra stuff.

The only annoyance is that Terminal uses client-side font rendering. For some reason, client-side apps weren't able to see bitmapped fonts on my system. Which is not normally a problem; however, I really like the "terminus" font for terminals and editors and such, and it being a bitmapped font, I had to make do with Andale Mono, a font that I never found as clear.

I got fed up and did a quick google search. Turns out that on Debian systems with fontconfig installed, there is something that can be done. I went into the /etc/fonts directory. There was a conf.d subdirectory, in true Debian fashion. When in there, found a file named yes-bitmaps.conf, while the file no-bitmaps.conf was symlinked. The symlink contained the "debconf" word, which led me to think that it was a configuration option below my normal debconf level.

dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig, and voilĂ .

So, for those of you who want to use terminus in Terminal (or any GTK+ 2.0 application, as most use client-side font rendering thanks to pango) under a Debian system, hopefully this post was of some use.


Positively non-humbling

Looking at my old entries, I found something about a so-called humbling experience. Well, turns out that isolating the lookup from the rest of the system was a really good idea, because somebody's trying to use it outside the application framework...

At this rate, my head won't pass well through door frames very soon.

Hey, I'm entitled to brag once in a while like everyone else, ain't I?


I really, really hate computers...

Stupid computers.

This week-end, my computer's hard drive started showing up bad sectors. Well, that gave me an excuse to go buy a bike (I got a retro bike--it looked cool, and was cheaper than the cheapest hybrid; bit heavy, though) and enjoy it for some of the week-end.

But still, I had to get the darn computer to work.

Scrambled to get data out on CDRs. Degradation was really quick, which surprised me; usually, you get a few bad sectors, not a whole whack with a bunch more following in hours' time.

Bought a new disk, was pleasantly surprised that Maxtor 8 MB cache models come with a 3-year warranty, so if it goes bad like the last one, I'll have some way to recover my losses. If I don't lose the bill, of course.

Installed the OSes. For the record, I dislike installing Windows. On the plus side, the new installation seems much snappier logging in; I must've done something wrong the first time. I also installed Debian from the latest Sarge netinstall CD, and it went extremely well. Took a bit of time to get used to the GRUB, but besides that, I had almost nothing to do. Recalling my original Debian install, it was such a pain at the time--especially the ALSA drivers that would not enable any channel by default. The new ALSA init script does enable the PCM channel to a sane value, so it works really well.

Monday, came into work, and expunged my woes by expressing them to our sysadmin. His rather cryptic reply: "It's springtime." Say what?? Apparently, humidity changes due to Montrealers having to heat their houses in winter (otherwise we'd be frozen solid in a matter of minutes during winter) and abruptly stopping in spring wears out the rubber seal that keeps the vacuum in the drive. Once vacuum is lost, the drive surface oxydizes. It's worse if your heating is electric, as mine is (most modern constructions in Montreal are, since electricity isn't that expensive up here and it's much more convenient than putting water pipes or air ducts all over the building's walls). There's a small circle on the drive that pops up when vacuum is lost, and sure enough, when I checked, my former drive's is popped up.

Bummer. This means, next winter, I'll have to humidify the damn computer room. This means work--the humidifier I have needs cleaning every day. Maybe I'll just put a bowl filled with water next to the heater instead.

On the same day, one of my co-worker's new work computer showed signs of instability. It's one of those eMachines with integrated nforce chipsets. Another co-worker has the exact same model, which exhibits no stability. Granted, the stable machine runs Arch Linux and the other, Debian GNU/Linux, but I don't see how that could be the problem; we did compile X.org by hand on the Debian box. Stability is good for a while, then the co-worker will copy-paste something, and poof--back to the gdm screen. This is driving me nuts.

So, to close:

I hate computers!

(with apologies to Christian ;-)