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Re: antisocial X11 apps (fwd)

This discussion went to email to spare debian-devel the noise.
Sven Rudolph has explained it, and I thought I'd close this off
in debian-devel in case anyone is wondering.

It turned out that my alleged 486-40 machine had a 386-40 CPU,
which explained the 6.36 BogoMips I get.  Sven pointed out that
this means incredible slowness in loading scalable fonts.  I
deleted the two lines he suggested from my XF86Config file, and
that got the xtet42 and chimera apps loading in a few seconds,
vs. the several minutes (minutes!!) I had been seeing (and
the displayed fonts don't seem to have changed).

Xtet42 still runs very slowly, with about three seconds between
object positions.  I'm putting that down to the application being
written to need a mega-fast CPU.

Thanks to all involved in the offline email exchanges for helping
to explain this.

mitchell@mdd.comm.mot.com (Bill Mitchell)

Quoted from private email -- I hope Sven doesn't mind.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 20:59:09 +0100
From: Sven Rudolph <sr1@irz.inf.tu-dresden.de>
To: Bill Mitchell <mitchell@mdd.comm.mot.com>
Cc: andrew@it.com.au, Dirk.Eddelbuettel@qed.econ.queensu.ca
Subject: Re: antisocial X11 apps

In article <Pine.SUN.3.91.951123113238.5398A-100000@bb29c> Bill Mitchell <mitchell@mdd.comm.mot.com> writes:

> This is by private email.  Andrew and Dirk had emailed me with
> questions and suggestions.  Sven was copied on my original devian-devel
> posting, and I'm including him in case he's interested.
> My 6.36 BogoMips figure is explainable.  H had to pull the motherboard
> to look at the CPU.  My alleged 486-40 machine turns out to have an
> AMD 386-40 CPU.  6.36 BogoMips is not out of line with that.

I didn't answer yet because I waited for these facts. I suppose you
don't have a numeric coprocessor. This means that the X11 font scaling
is done by the Linux-builtin numerical coprocessor emulator. If a
programm uses scalable fonts, the server has to do this. Because the
server isn't multithreaded, it is frozen until the font computation

Some of the possible workarounds are :
- Do not use scalable fonts.
  You have to remove the following lines from your XF86Config :
	FontPath    "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/"
	FontPath    "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/"

  Now the applications probably will fall back to some dedicatedly
  ugly fonts.

- Use the font server xfs (either locally or remote).
  The font server runs as an extra process and doesn't block the X
  Server. In the local case it still takes the same amount of the time until the
  application has been started. If you run xfs remotely it should run
  on a faster box.

- Buy a numerical coprocessor.

Sven Rudolph (sr1@inf.tu-dresden.de); WWW : http://www.sax.de/~sr1/

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