[linux-elitists] random questions

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Thu Dec 6 15:38:44 PST 2001

on Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 01:46:58PM -0800, Don Marti (dmarti@zgp.org) wrote:
> begin Rick Moen quotation of Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 01:03:55PM -0800:
> > Congratulations.  May I drive over and reinstall your printer drivers
> > for you?
> The printer is working fine, but I'll put on a pot of coffee
> for you when it's time to upgrade to a journaling filesystem on
> capsicum.zgp.org.  Mandrake is all ga-ga for XFS, SuSE is ReiserFS
> from way back, and Red Hat wants to slip ext3 in underneath an
> upgrade.  They all seem to have their good points.

My own preference is evolving to reiserfs on any sufficiently large
partition (about 250 MB seems to be a good cut-off, the journal itself
requires a fixed 32 MB regardless of FS size), and ext3fs for smaller
filesystems, typically /, /boot, and /tmp (I tend to shoot for 100-250
MB for /tmp).  There's no law says you need to keep all your filesystems
the same.  Fit the tool to the job.


> > You know, this is interesting.  I was talking, late last night, about
> > editing David A.  Gatwood's revision work on the SMAUG page
> > (http://smaug-web.sourceforge.net/) to swap in JPEGs for the PNGs he
> > uses, there, because they fail to display on Netscape 4.x.  But, you
> > know, screw it:  If Netscape 4.x chokes on some PNGs (but not others;
> > see http://lists.svlug.org/archives//smaug/2001q4/000224.html), then the
> > hell with it.
> Users should be able to get through a web site without images anyway.
> Anyone have the magic incantation to _really_ force Mozilla to
> absolutely never use a font smaller than a certain size?

Dillo.  Fonts are compiled in, fixed font, fixed size.  Screw the whole
problem out of existence.

There's no solid fix within Mozilla (or any Gecko-derived browser, e.g.:
Galeon, Skipstone, K-meleon), I've got an active bug against Mozilla on
the topic, which gets into some surprisingly deep issues of page
rendering, CSS, page design, and standards compliance.

    Subject: [Bug 111879] Allow user specification of font step size, or

My preference is that a user be able to specify a minimum font size,
preferably in a consistent unit (px, or pixels), a scaling range, and an
absolute floor and ceiling to font sizes.  There's discussion of how
exactly a page zoom controller should work, and in particular of a "p2t"
zoom, not clearly defined.

While CSS was supposed to make this situation better, IMO it's probably
lead to making it worse:  it's not possible to specify fonts as:

  - Size keywords:  smaller, small, normal, large, larger
  - Font size ordinals:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  - Font size differentials:  -2, -1, +0, +1, +2, +3
  - Font size, points (pt).
  - Font size, pixels (px).
  - Font size, x-height (ex).

Confounding factors include the issue of line height, which can also be
specified via CSS, in units as described above.  The problem with pixel
specifications in particular is that display of a given pixel size
varies across both platform (MacOS, legacy MS Windows, GNU/Linux,
handheld, etc.), and typeface.  CSS v3 is current under discussion, and
there is a draft of the font standard:


It's interesting reading, and devotes considerable length to issues of
cross-platform and trans-face sizing issues.  Whether or not this
results in a superior sizing specification (and user agent override
capabilities), remains to be seen.  I can't seem to find a reference to
points, pixels, on this page, though x-height has an in-page reference,
and descriptions of fonts in points are given.  This on a somewhat
cursory read.

IMVAO, and despite some commentary to the contrary in bugzilla, it
should be possible to override broken HTML specifications which result
in unreadable page rendering, if not be figuring out what the web
designer meant, then by imposing sane (or user-specified) defaults of
font face, slant, and size, and line height.

The CSS spec has been coming 'round to greater reliance on user
specification of browser behavior.  With increasing levels of
flexibility in page specification, and a simple, well documented, and
mandated requirement to distribute a locally implementable
userContent.css which overrides all such preferences.

I've been working on such a style sheet, my current draft (heavily
commented) is attached.  This is also my learning exercise for CSS, so
it's probably got some boneheadedness about it.  It's only partially
tested, and doesn't do all I expect it to do.  Anyone know a CSS
validator which also translates directives into something resembling

For Galeon users, this goes in


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA! http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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