[Fontconfig] Tutorial or guidance for using fontconfig

Jesper L. Nielsen jln at locatel.dk
Thu Jan 8 01:46:51 PST 2009

Hi Behdad and that for the reply.

On Jan 8, 2009, at 9:59 AM, Behdad Esfahbod wrote:

> Jesper L. Nielsen wrote:
>> On Jan 7, 2009, at 5:16 PM, Robert Kerr wrote:
> [...]
>> Anyway, I did my research the hard way: Looking through a lot of
>> source code :) The conclusion I have now reached is that Fontconfig  
>> is
>> not designed for embedded system (no one claimed it would be though)
>> because it's way to CPU intensive when searching for fonts to use
>> (basically, the Font Family to real font-file transition).
> Do you have any numbers?  If you don't have many fonts, it can't be  
> slow.
> And I'm working on making it much faster as we speak.

First, keep in mind that I am using this on an embedded system, so  
there are limitations.

I do have a various number of fonts for different languages and other  
things, so the first performance hit is when fontconfig builds it's  
cache on startup, if there is a way to disable this, I haven't found it.

I have been running sysprof and the majority of time spend while  
rendering fonts seems to be in fontconfig.

I don't know how to dump Sysprof output to text, so I've attached a  

>> At the
>> moment I'm looking at taking out Fontconfig from Pango, but
>> unfortunately their are tightly bound together in the Pango  
>> sourcecode.
> That makes little sense.

I've been looking at the Pango 1.22 code, and seperating the *ft2*.c  
files from the *fc*.c files is difficult becuase the ft2 files contain  
direct references for structures within FontConfig.

A quick grep:

$ grep Fc pangoft2.c | wc -l

So what I mean is that there a references to FcPattern, PangoFcFont  
and other things defined in the Fontconfig specific source files. So  
taking out just the Fontconfig part for the pangoft2.c would require  
some work.

>> After reading the replies to your email, I'm wondering if Cairo would
>> be the right way to go for me to?
> Cairo doesn't do any internationalization.  It buys you nothing,  
> text-wise.
> And it requires fontconfig still.

Ok, that's good to know. I was hoping to get rid of Fontconfig by  
jumping to Cairo, no use in trying that then :)

>>  Anyway I don't know much about VTK besides what I could Google.
>> However I think Fontconfig is best used on Desktop system, where the
>> user would like to change between a lot of fonts, and deals with many
>> different resolutions.
> I disagree.  Fontconfig is in use on many embedded systems already.

I'm sorry but then I must have misunderstood something or done  
something wrong. Could you point me towards any embedded systems using  

I'm not trying to pin FontConfig to the wall, I might be using it in a  
very wrong way :-)

Have a nice day.

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