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RXVT and Bitstream Vera Sans Mono


I use RXVT because it makes Cygwin accessible to me. Its color and font
support gives me a console window I can *see*, as opposed to the native
Windows console that BASH runs in by default, which I cannot see. Part
of my strategy to increase visibility is to specify a bold font for
-fn/font: and crank up the point size just as large as I can make it
and still have an 80x25 console fit on my screen.

I probably don't have to tell anyone who uses RXVT that Windows XP
ships with only two usable monospaced fonts: Lucida Console, and
Courier New; I probably also don't have to mention how well a
proportional font (doesn't) work with RXVT. I've been getting by with
Lucida Console-bold, but lately even that has become a little difficult
for me to see. So, I decided to see if I could find a more visible

I found this useful page at which lists
several monospaced fonts for coders/programmers, with Bitstream Vera
Sans Mono ranked as the best of them. The page provides links, too--
the Bitstream fonts are available at as
advertised. I then noticed that this font is mentioned in the RXVT
README text, and saw it mentioned in a recent thread on this list as
being the default font in the current Cygwin RXVT.

After trying a few point sizes, I quickly determined that the largest I
could use and still have an 80x25 console fit on the screen was 24.
However, I got some really strange display anomalies at that point size
(and not at any other within the range of 22-28)-- and they occur in
all variations of the font: normal, bold, and oblique (Italic). I had
characters overlapping and obscuring each other. In joe, the text
editor I use, a line of text extended farther to the right than where
the cursor would land when given a "goto end of line" command. Any
attempt to edit under those circumstances caused characters to
disappear from the screen; it was necessary to move the cursor and
redraw the screen to see what I had there.

Setting the size to 23 works just great and is better than using Lucida
Console (or the other fonts mentioned on, for that matter),
but 24 is significantly larger and would be easier on my eyes. I
thought it would be better to ask here first before contacting
Bitstream; the font seems to work just fine at that point size in MS

I'm running the latest Cygwin RXVT (2.7.10, or 20050409-4) in native
mode (I have no use for X11, since I run only console mode apps in
Cygwin) along with the latest cygwin1.dll release on Win XP Pro SP2
with all the latest updates. I have tried what I am describing and have
had the same results on three different computors, each running at a
different screen resolution and DPI setting-- the notebook on which I
am typing this maxes out (and is set at) 1024x768, and is set for
Normal size (96 DPI). BASH is my shell, and my .Xdefaults file is as

*background: #00008A
*foreground: #DADA00
*colorBD: #D0D0D0
*colorUL: #8CD70F
*font: "Bitstream Vera Sans Mono Bold-23"
*visualBell: True
*loginShell: True
*termName: rxvt-cygwin-native
*saveLines: 300
*geometry: 80x25

It makes no difference whether I just invoke RXVT and let it call BASH
by default (assuming that RXVT does not read the $SHELL environment
variable, which points to BASH), or make it explicit with 'rxvt.exe -e
bash -li'.

I hope someone (Charles?) can duplicate my results, and then figure out
what's causing it. Please let me know if any other information is
needed to troubleshoot this. My eyes will thank you, and so will I.


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