[Fontconfig] Application startup performance

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Fri Jan 15 08:55:22 PST 2016

LRN <lrn1986 at gmail.com> writes:

> I've been reading through this thread and have a question: does FC really
> have to have complete list of the installed fonts (in form of a cache) at
> startup? What happens if it has no cache at all (and assuming that it won't
> try to build a cache) or if cache is outdated?

No, fontconfig will build the cache at application startup if any
font directory in the system has been modified since the cache was last
built for that directory, or if the cache doesn't exist.

> Separately: what happens if a font is installed while an application is
> running? Would FC (as it is now) rebuild a cache? Would that affect the
> application?

fontconfig can be asked to query for new fonts, and has mechanisms to
allow the application to find the list of directories to listen for
changes in.

It could, in theory, run a separate thread to monitor font directories
for change and automatically rebuild the list on the fly. However,
fontconfig isn't exactly the most thread-friendly library in the world,
having been designed before application-level threading was common...

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