[blfs-dev] What happened to the programs `xload` and `xfontsel`?

Ken Moffat zarniwhoop at ntlworld.com
Mon Apr 3 09:32:36 PDT 2017

On Mon, Apr 03, 2017 at 04:23:01PM +0200, Paul Menzel wrote:
> Dear BLFS developers,
> At least since BLFS 7.4, the programs `xfontsel` and `xload` are not listed
> anymore.
> Looking through the log and searching Redmine(?) [2], I couldn’t find the
> reason. Could you please enlighten me?

What is this Redmine ?  You are pointing to the wiki, I don't
think I've heard it called that before.

But in general, any reason is more likely to appear in a post on the
lists.  Generally, things get dropped because they are no-longer
needed.  But with the way we organise the parts of Xorg (and some
others, such as kde) it is likely that a package can silently drop
out unless the editor both thinks it worth noting and remembers to
put it in the commit message.  It might also appear in the
changelog, but only until the next release.  Archaeology isn't
always fun.

I can't find any trace of xload in my own scripts.  At all.  I
assume that means I tried it years ago and didn't find it useful.

For xfontsel, I had not personally built it for years (I normally
build fewer x apps than are in the book), so no idea when it dropped
out.  But I did build it last November, probably when I was trying
to work out why the (new to xscreensaver) unicrud screensaver was
not working despite me installing what I thought was a suitable
legacy font.[1]

It seemed to work, although I didn't find it at all easy or
intuitive (guess I'm too young, been using TTF and OTF fonts for
years ;)
> As a side note, currently they fail to start, as the appropriate fonts seem
> to be missing. That even happens when the X legacy fonts [3] are installed.
> ```
> $ xload -update 1
> Warning: Unable to load any usable ISO8859 font
> Warning: Missing charsets in String to FontSet conversion
> Error: Aborting: no font found
> ```
Looks as if either you need even more fonts, or perhaps it is not
finding those you did install.  I only ever install Xorg in /usr,
but if you put it elsewhere then perhaps something is missing in one
of the instructions, or in your buildscript.  I think the basic adobe
100dpi (or 75 dpi) should provide iso-8859-N fonts for several values
of N, and I suspect that either helv* or cour* (helvetica, courier)
would be used. ... /me searches my logs.

I'll attach a gzipped log of the fonts I installed from the
adobe-100dpi package, you will see several forms (Bold, Normal),
sizes, iso variants of courier, helvetica, new century schoolbook,
times and what is probably a symbol font.  Of course, xload might
be looking for a specific other font - I no longer recall how the
old fonts work, but I thought they fell back to courier or

I do recall that at one time I used to build xcalc, and without any
of the old fonts ISTR it displayed most of the keycap symbols but not
the square root symbol which was provided by the sym* fonts in the
adobe package.

If I want to look at the load on a desktop machine I normally devote
a term to 'top' - for that even an 80x25 term is adequate and it
shows the current percentage use of each core.
> [1] http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/7.4/x/x7app.html
> [2] http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/log/trunk/BOOK/x
> [3] http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/8.0/x/x7legacy.html

[1.] Funnily enough, the unicrud screensaver is working fine on my
most recent build - and there I've ripped out _all_ of the legacy
font packages, programs as well as fonts.

`I shall take my mountains', said Lu-Tze. `The climate will be good
for them.'     -- Small Gods
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