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Re: [RFC] Better font filetype and metadata file detection for xfsinitscript

On Thu, 9 Oct 2003, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:

>> Any feedback appreciated.
>What I's like is some kind of infrastructure (font macro ?) so one
>doesn't have to write two screenfulls of instructions in each font spec
>file to get fonts registered in all available fontsystems (see the
>fedora.us bitstream-vera rpm).
>Last time I asked the answer was (I think) "do only fontconfig stuff,
>the rest will go away soon" - but clearly you are still working on the
>xfs backend, so...

xfs is "deprecated" in the sense that all new applications will 
be using the new Xft/fontconfig infrastructure, and I had this 
added to the release notes in order that at some undetermined 
time in the future (could be 2 releases, or 30 releases from now) 
I have the option of killing xfs and telling people "we informed 
people that xfs was deprecated n releases ago, and it is now no 
longer supported".

This is however just a theoretical thing to give me the option of 
doing that when the time comes, so that users affected by the 
change (and there are likely to be people who are affected, even 
if it is 20 years from now...) can be pointed to the 
documentation that indicates the change was mentioned in advance 
so that people would have plenty of time to prepare.

In other words, it is a "cover my ass for the future" thing being 
done wayyy in advance.

That said...   There are way too many applications out there 
currently which require core font support, including many apps 
that come with XFree86 itself, and with other major parts of the 
distribution.  So realistically, core font support isn't going to 
disappear overnight, and xfs wont vanish either overnight.

As long as xfs exists, and there is a need for core fonts, we 
have some responsibility IMHO to provide some core font support 
even if it's limited in some way.  So I see no reason to remove 
support until there is a real burden on myself or other 
developers WRT core fonts.  I will keep my font packages in a 
state that handle both font subsystems as long as I can without 
pulling out hair or making quality compromises.

I do not however maintain all of the font packages, so I can't 
speak for the developers that maintain the other font packages in 
the distribution.  Hopefully others will try to keep their 
packages cleanly handling both font systems also.

As for a special macro to handle font installation, that is IMHO 
a double edged sword.  If it was part of a particular package, 
then it wouldn't be centralized and thus would have to be 
duplicated in all packages, which isn't much different from what 
we have now.  If it was centralized, it would have to be part of 
rpm's default macro set, thus imposing a dependancy on a 
particular version of rpm in order for those font packages to be 
useable.  In a case like that for example, my XFree86 4.3.0 
packages couldn't easily be recompiled for Red Hat Linux 8.0 and 
expected to work.  Another option is a font installation script, 
but that suffers from the last problem I described also.

The bigger problem, at least as I see it, is that traditionally, 
every font package maintainer has more or less done things "their 
own way", so there isn't complete consistency between font 
packages.  I've offered to maintain all font packages in order to 
maintain one set of rules/etc. and have all of the packages 
consistent, but others believe it is more advantageous for people 
to maintain the font packages of the region of the world in which 
they are from or speak the language of.  There is some merit to 
that decision as well.

I admit that fonts and font related problems in general are a 
huge mess, however it isn't limited to our distribution, but is a 
result more of XFree86 having archaic font technology for so many 
years.  It'll take a few more years to shake the uglies out of 
the font infrastructure.

I definitely would like to hear other people's opinions on all of 
these matters though...  I will probably agree with most 
suggestions.   ;o)  I wont necessarily be able to implement or 
control all font related suggestions though, but I can try to 
help influence decisions for any good ideas people come up with.  

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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