Olivier Galibert galibert at
Thu Apr 9 07:01:10 PDT 2009

On Thu, Apr 09, 2009 at 09:31:01AM -0400, Jim Gettys wrote:
> If you look at our paper here:
> You'll discover that the font metadata turned out to be as large as
> the glyphs actually used.
> And client side fonts with server caching therefore turns out to be a
> wash as far as bits transferred in practice, while avoiding a huge
> number of round trips to get font metadata (which was always
> inadequate), and *horrible* for application performance at starup.

At least in theory you do not need more than one round trip per used
font to get font metadata.  Bulk-sending the list of supported
characters and associated metrics in one message for caching in the
client makes sense.  Sending the list of existing fonts is costly but
otoh "fc-list :"'s result is 20 times smaller than "xlsfonts"'s.

> So the X11 core font design is fundamentally a mistake, which we fixed.

Someday somehow I'll try to do some tests to check whether that's
really true with a better optimized protocol, because right now
everything that uses xft over a ssh tunnel is an horrible pain in the
ass, while stuck-in-the-past applications like xemacs are way, way
more responsive.


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