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Re: Proportional fonts in the mode line (one month test)

From: Protesilaos Stavrou
Subject: Re: Proportional fonts in the mode line (one month test)
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2021 08:26:14 +0200
User-agent: Notmuch/0.34.1 (https://notmuchmail.org) Emacs/29.0.50 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)

On 2021-11-24, 14:53 +0100, Lars Ingebrigtsen <larsi@gnus.org> wrote:

> I've now switched master over to defaulting to proportional fonts in the
> mode line.  Customise the `mode-line' face to get the old look back.

Thank you for starting this thread!

Can this and every other use of 'variable-pitch' that is being discussed
in recent threads be made optional?

The notion that such fonts look prettier is only true with specific font
combinations at particular point sizes.  I have experimented with many
variable-pitch font families and I seldom like how they combine with my
default/fixed-pitch typeface (let's call this a "mixed fonts" case).

Even the likes of DejaVu Sans and DejaVu Sans Mono are inconsistent when
used together, because the former has a heavier bold weight than the
latter (at least at certain point sizes).  Other families like Ubuntu
and Ubuntu Mono have different visual heights at certain point sizes
(one looks smaller---whether the actual box of the glyph is smaller does
not matter to what is seen).

The general constraint with mixed fonts is that the heights and overall
design character of the two typefaces seldom coincide.  So in this
scenario the mode-line will be a bit taller/shorter than a regular line
in the buffer and/or it will feel out of place if the design of the
glyphs is different.

My point is on the visual aspects of how things look, as I consider
consistency a matter of aesthetics (things look prettier to me when they
have no inconsistencies).

> I've made the most obvious things that change size -- the U:-- thing,
> the top/bot, and the line/col thing -- use the `min-width' spec, so
> things should jump around (for those that care about that).
> There's probably more things that should be handled that way, but we'll
> take that as we go along.
> This is just a test: If everybody hates this default, we won't proceed,
> but we won't know unless we test it.  So we're now testing this on the
> trunk for a month.  Vote in a month.

My opinion is that every use of variable-pitch for the mode-line,
header-line, headings, Help buffers, Info breadcrumbs, etc. should be
optional.  Whether opt-in or opt-out is not a major issue.

Protesilaos Stavrou

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