new font, kernel problem, and Unicode problem

Jim Gettys jg at
Tue May 1 22:21:33 EDT 2007

On Tue, 2007-05-01 at 20:54 -0400, Albert Cahalan wrote:
> I just made a nice console font for the XO. I hope others agree that this
> is useful. Should I just attach it to a bug report or stuff it in the wiki?
> I don't have a more appropriate place to upload it.

Trac bug report please.

> It's 15x30, 2-pixel thick lines, sans serif. That gives 80x30. I think I
> did a fair job of avoiding the color-fringe effects; my font is certainly
> better at that than the sun12x22 font is. Note that 15x30 is divisible
> by 3 in both directions, which greatly helps on the XO display.
> Because of Linux console limits, I can't currently supply the whole font.
> I can supply the 256 PC characters now. Once the kernel is fixed to not
> reject large fonts, I can supply 870 glyphs which represent 978 Unicode
> code points. I did this:
> * MES-2, except polytonic Greek and defunct currency symbols
> * named characters of HTML 4
> * named characters of groff (troff, nroff, etc.)
> * DEC Technical Character Set (VT330, VT420 and VT520) except sigma parts
> * much of the Pan-Nigerian Alphabet (see note below)
> * numerous chess pieces and other wingding-like things
> That should cover all modern Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek. It's all there,
> from the smily face (in true VGA style) to the Ukranian characters
> that were suppressed by Stalin.
> I strongly suggest that somebody fix the kernel. I'm somewhat unlikely
> to get that done, especially since I don't have a regular PC to test
> the VGA text mode. The annoying limits are 256 max glyphs (512 requires
> giving up the foreground intensity bit, which is not acceptable), 64 kB
> max size, and 32-line max height.

I'm skeptical that the community will be very eager to lift these limits
for the console, on size alone: before people try this, I'd suggest
checking with the powers that be.

I'll also note that there are other solutions to the font encoding
problem, such as what Keith Packard did for Twin.
> I also suggest that somebody resubmit the Unicode proposal for
> the 12 precomposed characters needed for Yoruba. It was rejected
> on 1996-Sep-07, over a decade ago. 12 is hardly anything. Without
> these characters, Yoruba might be unworkable on the console.

It's not clear that console support for Yoruba is very
interesting/useful; having it in terminal emulators seems likely
sufficient for most people.
                                 - Jim

Jim Gettys
One Laptop Per Child

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