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Re: RXVT and Bitstream Vera Sans Mono

On Dec 6, 2007 4:04 PM, Jeff <> wrote:
> Hi,
> 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
> font.
> 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
> Word.
> 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
> follows:
> *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.
> Jeff

The Bitstream Vera fonts were released a long time ago, and AFAIK have
been mostly abandoned by Bitstream (at least you won't get any support
from them).  The successor to them which has had many updates since
their release is the DejaVu fonts.  I know they have had many releases
and fixed a lot of bugs, so that might resolve this problem you are
seeing.  You can download them here:

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