Lowering the barrier to entry for FVWM newcomers

Talk about anything related to FVWM, but don't ask support questions here!
User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:38 am

I get some odd things with this verson. The font is messed up somehow:

Code: Select all

[FVWM][FlocaleParseShadow]: WARNING -- bad shadow direction in font description:
        Shadow=3 switch:xft:ArialBlack

And the default banner is back:

Code: Select all

FvwmBanner: ERROR finding image file in ImagePath

FVWM also crashed the first time I started it. Possibly because I had set

Code: Select all

export FVWM_USERDIR=$HOME/.fvwm.newconfig

When the directory didn't exist. It seems ok in that respect now though.

ThomasAdam wrote:Ok, apart from my body clock being screwed, I've made the following changes (not in any specific order):

Posted at 6:11am? Is that a symptom or a cause? ;)

ThomasAdam wrote:The file we've been editing thus far, in terms of features, should remain pretty much as it is. I'm reluctant to add anymore to it for fear of feature-creep.

Not to mention stylistic evangelism :)

ThomasAdam wrote:So, what I propose is all we do is replace the config file the form is expecting to copy over to the $USER 's ~/.fvwm directory with the current ConfigFvwmDefaults file, but go to town in it -- define menus left, right and centre, etc.

When we've done that, all that then needs to happen is we replace each of the 'ConfigFvwm<module>' files in $[FVWM_DATADIR]/Fvwm<module>/ with our own definitions. In that way, we won't even need to re-write the FvwmForm that governs that setup form, we'd just be dropping in our own config files.

What do you think?

I think its a good idea, although I think I might like to tweak the form itself a little bit. Font and colorset mainly from a quick look.

Certainly it seems foolish to put together a clean modern default look and then have the setup form produce module configurations that were hip and trendy in 1995. I mean take the FvwmButtons config. It's distinctive and it doesn't rely on having package X installed, but it's undeniably dated. How to preserve those good aspects while updating the look of the thing. That's the question generally, I think.

Which reminds me - what do you think about sticking a link to this thread on the giant Gentoo FVWM thread. "Hey kids! We're designing the next default FVWM interface, come and see!". We'd probably get some more feedback into the process, possibly at the price of more noise...

Grasshopping back... What do you think about calling scripts to do a little auto detection and code generation. Nothing too heavy, just to detect some applications and use them if they're there. I know we're straying into FVWM theme territory here, but its hard to imagine a modern user interface without some sort of "web" button.

Or possibly codegen the form and give the user a drop down list to choose from? Probably making the setup process overcomplicated then.

I think to kick this around a bit more. There are a lot of possibilities here.

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:53 pm

I've been playing with the default FvwmButtons setup

Image

I lost the border and titlebar. The layered relief looks a bit OTT, I think, and I still need to look at the IconMan. Also while most of the panel is transparent, the biff/xclock/xload panels are faking it. The biff button I can do something about, probably not the other two.

The big question is do we keep this layout or try something entirely different. Certainly I have an urge to shrink that massive great "expand the pager" button. I could also do with finding out which apps form part of the standard X distribution and what ways they can be tweaked on modern installations.

I'm not at all sold on the yellow clock face, either. But clocks are easy :)

anyway - I must be off. I'll pick this up this evening

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:08 pm

Nick Fortune wrote:I get some odd things with this verson. The font is messed up somehow:

Code: Select all

[FVWM][FlocaleParseShadow]: WARNING -- bad shadow direction in font description:
        Shadow=3 switch:xft:ArialBlack


Woops -- I have vim to autocomplete some words, and it seems it matched the "sw" in the font line, and expanded it to "switch". :oops: Fixed now, though.

Nick Fortune wrote:And the default banner is back:

Code: Select all

FvwmBanner: ERROR finding image file in ImagePath


Fixed. It seems having a quote on the same line as the pixmap line:

Code: Select all

*FvwmBanner: PixMap $[banner]    #comment


Threw the module parser function.

Nick Fortune wrote:FVWM also crashed the first time I started it. Possibly because I had set

Code: Select all

export FVWM_USERDIR=$HOME/.fvwm.newconfig

When the directory didn't exist. It seems ok in that respect now though.


That's an internal variable to Fvwm (ideally) -- I wouldn't set it in your environement.

Nick Fortune wrote:I think its a good idea, although I think I might like to tweak the form itself a little bit. Font and colorset mainly from a quick look.


Oh sure -- that's fine. I was talking more from an inclusion perspective. It's not _that_ ugly and would simplify things a bit for us. Chaning the appearence of it would help.

Nick Fortune wrote:Certainly it seems foolish to put together a clean modern default look and then have the setup form produce module configurations that were hip and trendy in 1995. I mean take the FvwmButtons config. It's distinctive and it doesn't rely on having package X installed, but it's undeniably dated. How to preserve those good aspects while updating the look of the thing. That's the question generally, I think.


Absolutely. Well, it seems that in today's world, people want the following:

* A Pager
* A Clock
* Mail notification
* Some sort of load monitor

As far as generic apps go (that come with X11 as standard) then there's "xclock" (which can be manipulated), and "xload". We could use:

Code: Select all

 Test (x /usr/bin/myapp) .....


as a means of determining if one can use, say, "rclock" in place of "xclock", or we could write (munge? :P) some FvwmScripts together to replace the clock and the mail notification. Hmm, I'd favour this -- it would hit two birds with one stone, wouldn't it? Subtly introducing FvwmScript to them, *and* we'd be guaranteed it would work, regardless....

It would probably serve us well to look at fvwm-themes for ideas, epecially in FvwmButtons configurations. What about having a pager with a button at the top, and two side buttons to change/flip desks?

Nick Fortune wrote:Which reminds me - what do you think about sticking a link to this thread on the giant Gentoo FVWM thread. "Hey kids! We're designing the next default FVWM interface, come and see!". We'd probably get some more feedback into the process, possibly at the price of more noise...


Bring it on -- we're gonna get killed. :P I'll let you do the honours for that, Nick. :)

Nick Fortune wrote:Grasshopping back... What do you think about calling scripts to do a little auto detection and code generation. Nothing too heavy, just to detect some applications and use them if they're there. I know we're straying into FVWM theme territory here, but its hard to imagine a modern user interface without some sort of "web" button.


Ah, I was being too pre-emptive. See above about my suggestions about FvwmButtons.

Nick Fortune wrote:Or possibly codegen the form and give the user a drop down list to choose from? Probably making the setup process overcomplicated then.


Agreed. There's a danger of not being able to enumerate all the options that way. Give the user a form that's simple. I was thinking about the form -- perhaps we should alter it (once we have the themes complete) such that a "preview" button is included along side each module so that a user can see a little screenshot of what each module looks like. I mean, I remember when I first installed Fvwm. I didn't have a clue what "FvwmButtons" was, much less what "FvwmBacker" did. Not from looking at the setup form, anyway.

Nick Fortune wrote:I think I'd like to kick this around a bit more. There are a lot of possibilities here.


Sure. :)

Oh, before I forget latest revision is here.

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:04 pm

*more* noise? :lol:
That means I've made noise on this.. well, I'd like to think it as constructive critisism. 8)

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:13 pm

morbusg wrote:*more* noise? :lol:
That means I've made noise on this.. well, I'd like to think it as constructive critisism. 8)

:oops: That was poorly phrased, wasn't it?

morbusg, your comments have been sensible and constructive. you are more than welcome :)

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:35 pm

Nick Fortune wrote:
morbusg wrote:*more* noise? :lol:
That means I've made noise on this.. well, I'd like to think it as constructive critisism. 8)

:oops: That was poorly phrased, wasn't it?

morbusg, your comments have been sensible and constructive. you are more than welcome :)


I think it's more an idiom of the English language than anything... certai nly I had to re-read it to see where any ambiguity could have been picked up on. But as Nick says, your comments are appreciated.

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:48 pm

That's the latest version built. The we seem to be on arial rather than arial black (still an improvement in any event)

No errors though and the banner works again.

ThomasAdam wrote:
Nick Fortune wrote:FVWM also crashed the first time I started it. Possibly because I had set

Code: Select all

export FVWM_USERDIR=$HOME/.fvwm.newconfig

When the directory didn't exist. It seems ok in that respect now though.


That's an internal variable to Fvwm (ideally) -- I wouldn't set it in your environement.

I just wanted a clean room I could hack about if I wanted, and erase when necessary without undue complications. It seems to be ok now though.
ThomasAdam wrote:
Nick Fortune wrote:Certainly it seems foolish to put together a clean modern default look and then have the setup form produce module configurations that were hip and trendy in 1995. I mean take the FvwmButtons config. It's distinctive and it doesn't rely on having package X installed, but it's undeniably dated. How to preserve those good aspects while updating the look of the thing. That's the question generally, I think.


Absolutely. Well, it seems that in today's world, people want the following:

* A Pager
* A Clock
* Mail notification
* Some sort of load monitor

And a web button, I'd say.
ThomasAdam wrote:As far as generic apps go (that come with X11 as standard) then there's "xclock" (which can be manipulated), and "xload". We could use:

Code: Select all

 Test (x /usr/bin/myapp) .....


as a means of determining if one can use, say, "rclock" in place of "xclock", or we could write (munge? :P) some FvwmScripts together to replace the clock and the mail notification. Hmm, I'd favour this -- it would hit two birds with one stone, wouldn't it? Subtly introducing FvwmScript to them, *and* we'd be guaranteed it would work, regardless....

I'm up for that. The clock is simple enough, and I was already considering how to do the mailbox notification script. It's the load app that's the problem.
ThomasAdam wrote:It would probably serve us well to look at fvwm-themes for ideas, epecially in FvwmButtons configurations. What about having a pager with a button at the top, and two side buttons to change/flip desks?

Something else I was thinking about. It'd mean switching to a lower cell size on the button box, but that's about time too. I've also been playing with the idea of a shaped panel

Code: Select all

--------
|      |
| time |
|      |
--------
|      |
| mail |
|      |
--------
|      |
| load |
|      |
----------------
|  <<  |  >>   |
|--------------|
|              |
|              |---------------------
|    PAGER     |      |      |      |
|              |xterm | web  |dunno |
|              |      |      |      |
-------------------------------------

Certainly with a shape mask, possibly with a background graphic. We've got a very sky-like screen here, so clouds would work. Or perhaps something to suggest a trpoical island in the foreground with ... but the more specific we are the narrower the appeal. Clouds should still work though. Or maybe a basic texture. if nothing else, we could hide the xload mechanics that way :D
ThomasAdam wrote:
Nick Fortune wrote:Which reminds me - what do you think about sticking a link to this thread on the giant Gentoo FVWM thread.


Bring it on -- we're gonna get killed. :P I'll let you do the honours for that, Nick. :)

Done :D

ThomasAdam wrote:There's a danger of not being able to enumerate all the options that way. Give the user a form that's simple. I was thinking about the form -- perhaps we should alter it (once we have the themes complete) such that a "preview" button is included along side each module so that a user can see a little screenshot of what each module looks like. I mean, I remember when I first installed Fvwm. I didn't have a clue what "FvwmButtons" was, much less what "FvwmBacker" did. Not from looking at the setup form, anyway.

Good idea. I'd go for that.

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:05 am

Nick Fortune wrote:That's the latest version built. The we seem to be on arial rather than arial black (still an improvement in any event)

No errors though and the banner works again.


Check the config file -- I might have made a mistake, or defined the font incorrectly -- I don't use xft fonts per se. Glad the banner works, I like that.

Nick Fortune wrote:I just wanted a clean room I could hack about if I wanted, and erase when necessary without undue complications. It seems to be ok now though.


Yeah -- I use stow to do all of this...

Nick Fortune wrote:I'm up for that. The clock is simple enough, and I was already considering how to do the mailbox notification script. It's the load app that's the problem.


So stick to using "xload" and (if need be) we can supply an Xdefaults file that gets xrdb'd when fvwm starts up. I'd like to use xosview or torsmo (as they seem to be the choice du jour at the moment) but it's not likely they're going to be installed, alas. We could test for their presense, but that's just another thing to worry about.....

Nick Fortune wrote:Something else I was thinking about. It'd mean switching to a lower cell size on the button box, but that's about time too. I've also been playing with the idea of a shaped panel

Code: Select all

--------
|      |
| time |
|      |
--------
|      |
| mail |
|      |
--------
|      |
| load |
|      |
----------------
|  <<  |  >>   |
|--------------|
|              |
|              |---------------------
|    PAGER     |      |      |      |
|              |xterm | web  |dunno |
|              |      |      |      |
-------------------------------------


Yes, I like that.

Nick Fortune wrote:Certainly with a shape mask, possibly with a background graphic. We've got a very sky-like screen here, so clouds would work.


Maybe clouds, but as soon as you mentioned that, I immediately thought of Windows XP and Windows 98. Heh. We have blue, and you mentioned tropical -- possibly, but something subtle, so as not to detract from the real purpose of what's available when the config loads, if that makes sense?

Nick Fortune wrote:Or perhaps something to suggest a trpoical island in the foreground with ... but the more specific we are the narrower the appeal. Clouds should still work though. Or maybe a basic texture. if nothing else, we could hide the xload mechanics that way :D


I'm glad you said that about being more specific leads to a narrower appeal. As boring as my tastes are (I'm still chuckling to myself at the irony of me participating in this), I'd probably advocate more on the plain colour/gradient front as opposed to pixmap and background images -- it gives us a little more scope, by not theming things too much, if that makes sense?

Nick Fortune wrote:Done :D


Thanks, I read and saw the post, so hopefully that should stir the nest a bit, hehe.

Nick Fortune wrote:
ThomasAdam wrote:There's a danger of not being able to enumerate all the options that way. Give the user a form that's simple. I was thinking about the form -- perhaps we should alter it (once we have the themes complete) such that a "preview" button is included along side each module so that a user can see a little screenshot of what each module looks like. I mean, I remember when I first installed Fvwm. I didn't have a clue what "FvwmButtons" was, much less what "FvwmBacker" did. Not from looking at the setup form, anyway.

Good idea. I'd go for that.


Ok, that can be one of the last things to be done. I must admit I'm at a bit of a loss as for what "task" I/we should be doing next -- did you want to design an FvwmButtons template of the kinds of things you were after? Did you want me to look at the other config files for the other modules? Did you want me to look at some FvwmScript stuff for mail notification?

What about FvwmIconMan? That thing has more options than anything I know - you can group windows based on anything, it's crazy. I'd like to see its inclusion in this somewhere.... :)

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:12 am

ThomasAdam wrote:Check the config file -- I might have made a mistake, or defined the font incorrectly -- I don't use xft fonts per se. Glad the banner works, I like that.

Got it! It looks like a search-and-replace casualty. We have

Code: Select all

Style * Font "Shadow=2 sw:xft:ArialGray80"   

instead of

Code: Select all

Style * Font "Shadow=2 sw:xft:ArialBlack"   

I wouldn't mind but I saw that before and thought it must be some nuance of font encoding I hadn't yet encountered.
ThomasAdam wrote:I'd like to use xosview or torsmo (as they seem to be the choice du jour at the moment) but it's not likely they're going to be installed, alas. We could test for their presense, but that's just another thing to worry about.....

Sounds about right to me.
ThomasAdam wrote:I'm glad you said that about being more specific leads to a narrower appeal. As boring as my tastes are (I'm still chuckling to myself at the irony of me participating in this), I'd probably advocate more on the plain colour/gradient front as opposed to pixmap and background images -- it gives us a little more scope, by not theming things too much, if that makes sense?

Yep. All the same, the L shape suggests a mask, which is a chance to do curves. Which needs some sort of border. I'll have a play with it
ThomasAdam wrote:I must admit I'm at a bit of a loss as for what "task" I/we should be doing next -- did you want to design an FvwmButtons template of the kinds of things you were after? Did you want me to look at the other config files for the other modules? Did you want me to look at some FvwmScript stuff for mail notification?

What about FvwmIconMan? That thing has more options than anything I know - you can group windows based on anything, it's crazy. I'd like to see its inclusion in this somewhere.... :)


mmm... and it's not going to be in the outline I suggested. By all means go for an IconMan configuration. I seem to have started on the FvwmButtons setup, but there's plenty of work to be done.

Anyone else? morbusg? dragon?

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:38 am

Nick Fortune wrote:I wouldn't mind but I saw that before and thought it must be some nuance of font encoding I hadn't yet encountered.


Heh, OK. Fixed.

Nick Fortune wrote:Yep. All the same, the L shape suggests a mask, which is a chance to do curves. Which needs some sort of border. I'll have a play with it


Yep, OK, should be good.

Nick Fortune wrote:mmm... and it's not going to be in the outline I suggested. By all means go for an IconMan configuration. I seem to have started on the FvwmButtons setup, but there's plenty of work to be done.


It doesn't have to be active explicitly, but having it would be a good idea so that if it is selected from the setup form it would at least do something useful. Perhaps if it were to run along the bottom, making sure it doesn't steal the space from FvwmButtons? I wouldn't necessarily want it active either, but that's where it might go.

One thing that I'm interested in -- how many virtual desktops are we going to define, and how many pages per desk? Since it is a faily big pager, should we say nine? And have four desks?

Just a thought.

-- Thomas Adam

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:31 am

Continuing on from these thoughts (I know it's stating the bleeding-obvious but it helps) -- what I was getting at with FvwmIconMan was to have it almost as a transient module -- that is it shouldn't be loaded at "normal" runtime from the inital state of the config files, but it were to run, it might go somewhere like in the following diagram:

Image.

Apologies for the poor drawing. The reason I'm trying to establish early on this (rather) minor point is so that I can assume some "defaults" when configuring the module.

One thing you touched on Nick, was when you were configuring the "old" FvwmButtons module - currently we have two coloursets defined. Do we want some others defined soley for the two modules as I have them in the above diagram? Modules like FvwmIdent, can use coloursets 1 and 2 (irrespective of whether the $USER will use them or not - at least when they load, they'll look like part of the setup). FvwmWarf and FvwmTaskbar although not widely used will have to undergo a similar treatment, probably using whatever colorsets we choose for the modules thus far.

Although not released yet, I've gone ahead and (tentatively) added a lot of umm, "stock" options to the config file (the one the SetupForm will use), such as "EdgeResistence" and other sundry commands.

I'm planning to spend all day on this today, namely I plan to:

* Get the FvwmIconMan config out of the way.
* Do all the other files.
* Comment the config file lots (that goes for the other files from above).
* HTML-ise "Getting Started" and hotlink URLs where appropriate.

:)

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:37 am

ThomasAdam wrote:It doesn't have to be active explicitly, but having it would be a good idea so that if it is selected from the setup form it would at least do something useful. Perhaps if it were to run along the bottom, making sure it doesn't steal the space from FvwmButtons? I wouldn't necessarily want it active either, but that's where it might go.


One thing I do which was going into the next "from scratch" is bind hotkeys to toggle the icon state of screen furniture. So

Code: Select all

Style Fvwm* NoIcon
Key P A 4 All (FvwmButtons) Iconify
Key I A 4 All (FvwmIconMan) Iconify
Key A A 4 All (Fvwm*) Iconfiy

Then we can toggle visibility of the panel and Icon manager, or of all screen firniture. Turn it all off and you can work using the menu and all your screen area. Turning modules back on as needed. I use it a lot.

The last option needs is a top-of-my-head crack at something I've been meaning to do for a bit. It needs some work since it should set all visible modules to the same state, but you get the idea.

Alternatively, the Buttons could iconify down to a "Start" button and resize the icon man - add a menu and instant win9x :)
ThomasAdam wrote:One thing that I'm interested in -- how many virtual desktops are we going to define, and how many pages per desk? Since it is a faily big pager, should we say nine? And have four desks?


3x3 pages x 4 desks sounds good to me :D

ThomasAdam wrote:One thing you touched on Nick, was when you were configuring the "old" FvwmButtons module - currently we have two coloursets defined. Do we want some others defined soley for the two modules as I have them in the above diagram?


Probably. We'll want duplicate sets of colorsets for the other desks, assuming we're having different colours for each desk. Although it might be easier to redefine the colors on desk-change.

ThomasAdam wrote:Although not released yet, I've gone ahead and (tentatively) added a lot of umm, "stock" options to the config file (the one the SetupForm will use), such as "EdgeResistence" and other sundry commands.

Good idea.
ThomasAdam wrote:I'm planning to spend all day on this today, namely I plan to:

* Get the FvwmIconMan config out of the way.
* Do all the other files.
* Comment the config file lots (that goes for the other files from above).
* HTML-ise "Getting Started" and hotlink URLs where appropriate.

Again, that sounds good. We're going to keep a plaintext version as well I assume? It occurs to me that we're going to want a similar sort of document to explain how to use the newly configured desktop as well.

I'm going to have to spend some of today fitting MDF panels behind plasterboard for our new kitchen. If nothing else, I expect I can get an evenings hacking in though.

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:04 pm

Heh - so much for plasterboarding :)
[url=www.nymar.demon.co.uk/test_buttons.txt]
Image[/url]
Click on the picture for the config.

The colours need sorting out, and I'm still using xclock and xbiff. On the other hand the mask works and so does the shaped panel. I have a strong urge to add some coloured indicator LEDs to the setup. Network interfaces, would be an obvious one, but I can't think of anything that every one, or almost everyone, might have, let alone be interested in.

The control strip along the top of the pager got me to thinking. If I were to mount that under the pager, and lift the launcher buttons by one 18 pixel cell, then you could run the IconMan under the launchers and fix into place as if it were an extension of the pager controls

Image

Just a thought. There was something else, but I forgot it while I was making the diagram. Oh well, it'll come back :D

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:15 pm

Hehe, *cool*. I like that. I'll merge the current FvwmButtons config in just a moment... :) Running FvwmIconMan as an "extension" of FvwmPager would be cool, yes.

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:47 pm

I have a thought about the font used in the configuration: it uses a font called Arial, which doesn't come, say, with X (at least mine didn't), but with a external package "webfonts", if I'm correct.
So, the default config would be dependant on installing other packages, which doesn't sound very good.
Maybe "xft:sans" would be better (assuming distros do automatic fonts.local.conf)? If I understand correctly, it maps to Bitstram vera sans, if it is available, and to some default X font if it isn't. Correct me if I'm wrong.

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:57 pm

Another thought: would there be (I'm talking about the above diagram) EWMHbasestruts restrictions for windows to excluse the pager, iconman, etc. area?

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:00 pm

Yep, already looking into it....

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:11 pm

It's a fair point.

I picked on ArialBlack because I knew it was clear, that it stood out well, an that it carried a bit of impact. On the other hand, while it is a free font, it's also part of the Microsoft web fonts package, so there may be hidden issues regarding redistribution.

On the other hand, we don't want the next wave of recruits to be confronted by the tatty old times clone on the current default.

There are plenty of quality free fonts around. All we need is a decent freely distributably, san-serif black. If we can find such a beast, and add it to the FVWM base package, then it can be installed into ~/.fonts if the target machine supports that. /usr/local/share/fonts or /usr/local/share/fvwm/fonts are also possible although that'd need some tweaking of the system by the installer.

I assume xft:sans means "find me a sans-serif font, any one will do?" Is there a "sans-black" equivalent? "xft:sans" looks ok on my machine, if little anaemic after ArialBlack. I'd prefer a black typeface if we can find one.

Certainly the font question needs more thinking about than we've given it so far.

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:42 pm

I think it would be a safe bet to either use "xft:sans" (I don't know what the black means in fonts, but I got the impression it has something to do do with boldness of font, so "xft:sans:bold" should do the trick), or "xft:helvetica".

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:17 pm

morbusg wrote:I think it would be a safe bet to either use "xft:sans" (I don't know what the black means in fonts, but I got the impression it has something to do do with boldness of font, so "xft:sans:bold" should do the trick), or "xft:helvetica".


Black is like bold only more so. A black font as been designed to look very bold from the word go.

Anyway, I thought I'd have a quick play here: This is using xft:sans:bold
Image
This is xft:helvetica:bold
Image
And this is xft:ArialBold
Image

See the difference? Look at the pixelation on the WWW under helvetica. This is the sort of thing that prompted people to write font de-uglyfication howtos for linux. Unless the default X fonts can do better than, I'm still in favour of including one in the package

Switching tack - Thomas, glad your looking at the EWMH working area business. I got the base struts to work, but couldn't figure out how to set the window properties for dynamic working area. I'll look forward to seeing how that works

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:03 pm

Oh, sorry, I checked: There seems to be no TTF helvetica font. I could have sweared...
So basically there are TTF (or Type1, whatever) and non-TTF when talking about "ugly" and "nice" fonts IMHO (or, scalable and non-scalable, antialiasing appliable to forementioned if I've understood correctly).
I've always thought about the arialblack (on windows) to be a little too bold in terms of readability. That could very well be just me, though.
I think Type1 fonts come with X, so that would be courier, which admittedly, doesn't fit to this purpose. At all. Not sure about the other /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1 -directory fonts?
I think TTF -fonts don't come with X at all?
Otherwise, there really isn't any other option than to include the font.

User avatar
Nick Fortune
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 315
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:11 am
Location: Stockton, England

Postby Nick Fortune » Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:07 pm

Well, I had a dig through the X11 TTF and Type1 dirs. The best of the bunch for our purposes seems to be Bitstream Vera Sans Bold. Which by some odd coincidence appears to be what xft:sans:bold maps on to, on my machine at least.

I can see two potential problems with packaging a font. One is making sure we have permission to redistribute it. Number two is selling it to the fvwm-workers. If we can get past those hurdles and we find a nice font that meets the criteria, I don't see why we shouldn't.

morbusg wrote:I've always thought about the arialblack (on windows) to be a little too bold in terms of readability. That could very well be just me, though.


I wish we had some better way to evaluate these questions of aesthetics. The three of us seem to have quite distinct tastes and there doesn't seem to be any clear way to decide.

User avatar
theBlackDragon
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 714
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:22 pm
Location: Zingem, Belgium
Contact:

Postby theBlackDragon » Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:37 pm

Nick Fortune wrote:
morbusg wrote:I've always thought about the arialblack (on windows) to be a little too bold in terms of readability. That could very well be just me, though.


I wish we had some better way to evaluate these questions of aesthetics. The three of us seem to have quite distinct tastes and there doesn't seem to be any clear way to decide.


Well, I don't know if it's possible but trying to use Arial and then using sans:bold as a fallback font? That way you don't have to include it in the package and can still use it if it's available.

About the decision thing: if it comes down to it...there is an option to make polls on this board *hint* :wink:

thomasadam
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:12 am
Location: England
Contact:

Postby thomasadam » Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:39 pm

Nick Fortune wrote:I wish we had some better way to evaluate these questions of aesthetics. The three of us seem to have quite distinct tastes and there doesn't seem to be any clear way to decide.


Hehe, but then that's going to be the same for anyone that uses this new config -- some people will like it, other's will snort at it, and others will think it sucks beyond belief. But it doesn't matter, IMO. I couldn't care less because at the end of day, the work we're doing now is much better than what was done previously... :)

-- Thomas Adam

User avatar
morbusg
CatCoder
CatCoder
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:56 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Postby morbusg » Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:36 pm

Nick Fortune wrote:The best of the bunch for our purposes seems to be Bitstream Vera Sans Bold. Which by some odd coincidence appears to be what xft:sans:bold maps on to, on my machine at least.


Have a look of /usr/X11R6/etc/local.conf to see if there are <prefer> lines which hint at bitstream vera sans.

It could be that bitstream vera is shipped with linux distros as default?

Sorry to say, I have no knowledge if that is the case on linux, but on freebsd, after installing bitstream vera fonts-package, it automatically became the default choice for fonts (monospace, sans, sans-serif).

But OK, enough with the fonts already :)
Moving on...


Return to “General FVWM discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest