January 10th, 2009

Apollo 4 on column of fire

A bug report on Cairo

I’ve submitted a bug report on the Cairo graphics back-end and hope my point gets across and is agreed to. Right now I think they are following a recommendation meant for Chinese-Japanese-Korean fonts and not Latin font; I’ve pointed to what I think is the correct document for Latin fonts.

If I don’t succeed, then I think I’ll write a patch as I have done for fontconfig; I’ll probably end up being the only person in the world using it. Sigh. If OTOH my bug report is successful, this experience may give me the nerve to make that bug report about fontconfig patterns, where the bug is in the requirements-specification of the program, rather than in the coding; the code works just fine, and does IMO the wrong thing. But even with a properly designed fontconfig I'd have to patch fontconfig, because both GIMP and Inkscape use fontconfig inappropriately! And I’m just not able to take on the responsibility of arguing with developers; that’s why it’s called ‘having a disability’.

It’s a shame because there really are people out there who are fed up with available free software despite their desire to use it and help make it. I’m thinking of FontLab’s Adam Twardoch, who recently ranted on the FontForge mailing list, with some justification; indeed, what I should have said is that font lovers are fed up with software. I would become one of the free software developers myself, to try to change the situation as a kind of duty, but there is that ‘having a disability’. I sit here dreading the arrival in my mailbox of the comments upon my bug report, on account of the need to write a reply.

Screw it; reporting fontconfig, GIMP, and Inkscape is too much trouble.