XOR support for mouse cursors

Ben Swartzlander ben at swartzlander.org
Fri Nov 9 10:14:06 PST 2007

As far as I can tell, X does not support mouse cursors that invert the 
pixels underneath them (like Windows mouse cursors). This causes a 
number of problems. First, it makes it impossible to use a 1-pixel wide 
"I" style cursor for text editing, because the cursor will completely 
disappear over a black background (or a white background, if you use a 
white cursor). The only usable "I" style cursors I've seen are 3 pixels 
wide, such as a black "I" with a white outline to prevent it from 
vanishing. This would not be so bad, but then certain applications like 
rdesktop (and possibly Wine) need to use actual Windows cursors, so they 
convert the Windows cursors bitmap to a valid X cursor by discarding 
most of the data, which in the case of the 1-pixel wide "I" cursor is 
mostly useless.

A apologize if this issue has been discussed before but I want to know 
(1) if there are any extensions or options I can use to fix this 
behavior (2) if not, is there a good reason why X has this limitation 
and (3) what can I do to fix this? I am a long time Windows and Linux 
use and as much as I would like to replace my Windows desktop with 
Linux, the poor mouse cursor support is one issue holding me back. I'm 
willing to code an extension to X if that's what it takes (and obviously 
write the patch for rdesktop) but I'd like to know how others have dealt 
with this problem and if anyone has some suggestions.

-Ben Swartzlander

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