Re: Rant (Was Re: printing in gnome port)

Subject: Re: Rant (Was Re: printing in gnome port)
From: Aaron Lehmann (
Date: Mon Feb 19 2001 - 01:45:40 CST

On Sun, Feb 18, 2001 at 11:24:31PM -0500, Dom Lachowicz wrote:
> GnomePrint does a nice job of this, but as you say, it's isn't horribly
> mature and isn't available in GTK+ only land. It all falls back to "what are
> you willing to settle with and what are you willing to give up?" It's a
> lose-lose situation from all points, as far as I'm concerned.

Why did the Gnome folks tie it in to everything else? It's good to
have a well-abstracted set of components. A printing library, an XML
library, etc. While gnome-xml is abstracted and works well,
gnome-print apparently requires gnome-libs which seems silly since
gnome-libs is mostly UI stuff.

> >From X fonts, you can get most (all?) of those metrics that we're interested
> in (bounding boxes come to mind). We'll also (of course) have the font names
> at our disposal. Unfortunately, that means that there isn't necessarily a
> 1-1 mapping between the DISPLAY fonts and PS printer fonts. So WYSIWYG isn't
> *necessarily* true, unfortunately. Also (IIRC), all X-fonts aren't
> printable. To recap, it *is* possible to generate PS from what we're given
> without shipping our own fonts. Will it be the same as on the screen?
> Probably, but not 100% necessarily. I'll argue that we aren't
> (unfortunately) a truly WYSIWYG application on any platform *yet*. I'm sure
> I could come up with a large number of testcases to convince you of this.
> There are even some bugs logged in bugzilla to this effect.
> Other drawing models have the concept of an abstract graphics class, much
> like our GR_Graphics class. Some even exist on *nix - Java's AWT and the QT
> QPrinter object come to mind. It might be useful to see how these behave and
> perhaps even scour code from them. QT is under the GPL now... What about
> Mozilla?

Mozilla is transitioning to the GPL. It is not WYSIWYG.

> >PS: I'll claim that the following issues are peripheral to the current
> >discussion:
> >
> > - whether to ship fonts at all
> > - which ones to ship
> > - where and how to install them
> >
> >There are a lot of valid reasons for word processors to ship fonts -- no
> >matter what you think of the current reason(s). :-)

I completely disagree, if any fonts are shipped they should just be an
add-on set of normal-format fonts that we like. There should be no
obligation for the user to use any fonts but the ones present on the
user's system. The way we do it now, using our own set of fonts, is

> Oh, I totally agree. I just wish that there was some alternative on X to
> manually altering XFS config files and such to get an application like
> abiword to work. And the idea behind X is to be able to remotely exec an
> visual application without hassle. Requiring our own fonts puts a damper on
> this. How does KWord behave? And StarWriter? Mozilla doesn't ship its own
> fonts and does PS output just fine...

I don't believe Mozilla is WYSIWYG.

Mozilla seems to use the XPrint extension. See

OpenOffice might use it too, see
X was really not designed for this.

> If we install new fonts, I'd prefer that they be in some system location so
> that every app on the system could take advantage of them, but there are
> probably some pretty good arguments against this too. Some of our fonts that
> we ship now are pretty old too (~1994 I think).

Righto. But we shouldn't be forcing or even encouraging anyone to
install fonts, becuase fonts are just like clip art: graphic snaz. At
least, that's what I hope extra fonts will be once we use real system

> AaronL is supposedly good with PS. My knowledge is fair but I'm always
> willing to learn more (I did some work on gnome-print at one point).

I've spent a few hours learning it and I feel proficient in the syntax
and core library. I am eager to learn more.

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