[forum] Re: font servers [was: some XFree86 5.0 questions]

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[about the advantages of the font service protocol]

What you're overlooking is that the FS is an extremely limited
protocol, that is only useful for sending rasterised glyphs.  The sfnt
font format (used by TrueType and OpenType) includes much, much more
information that the FS just doesn't provide.

Additionally, the FS protocol (just like the core X11 protocol) is too
inefficient to be useful with modern fonts.  The issue has been
discussed at length on the fonts list, and I won't go through the
argument again.

As to your objections to the client-side fonts scheme:

MS> - fonts don't need to be local.

Sure.  Xft has no problem with NFS- or AFS-mounted fonts.
Furthermore, were such a feature requested (which it hasn't been until
now), adding support to fontconfig/Xft to access fonts over HTTP, over
FTP or over your favourite file-sharing protocol would be a days' work.

(Hmm, Xft over mldonkey...)

MS> - better caching of fonts

There's some very clever caching going on in Xft.  The caching happens
at the glyph level, while xfs can only do caching with font granularity.
(I'll let you work out why that's not a smart idea with Unicode fonts,
which is what we're moving towards.)

MS> - access  to fonts only by server. 

Your argument being...?

MS> this also removes searching for available fonts from applications.

You're right, that's also what I used to be worried about.  The
fontconfig layer, however, aims at centralising font discovery in a
single library.  While applications are free not to use fontconfig,
the hope is that it is done well enough to warrant that they all do.

(If anyone is looking for a quick project for the week-end: make GS
use fontconfig.)


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