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Re: Emacs 23, Debian and the "fixed" font

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Emacs 23, Debian and the "fixed" font
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 09:08:16 +1100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Jorgen Grahn <address@hidden> writes:

> I've started upgrading my Linux machines from Debian 5.0 (which
> includes emacs 21.3) to 6.0 (which includes emacs 23).  I haven't
> upgraded my main desktop machine yet.
> When I tried emacs on one of the upgraded machines, I noted that my
> .emacs broke on the line
>   (set-default-font "fixed")
> and I also couldn't get to it using M-x set-default-font. I suspect
> this is because Debian's emacs 23 is built with the Qt toolkit rather
> than the good old Athena widgets.
> - Is there a way to get to the "fixed" font in some other way, perhaps
>   under a different name?  I find it's the most readable fixed-width
>   font for programming etc; it has always been the font I've used in
>   Emacs and in terminals.
> - If not, can I rebuild emacs with Athena widgets instead of Qt?  I.e.
>   is it optional during build?
> If both are 'no', I'll build myself an emacs 21.3 instead. I'm very
> happy with that version.

Just a couple of points to note. 

Emacs 23 is built with the gtk toolkit, not qt. 

The "fixed" font is not a real font - it is an font alias that points to
a real font. It could be that this alias is not defined in your system. 

Emacs 23 now uses anti-aliased fonts via xft. This greatly improves the
quality of the fonts and gives you access to the truetype fonts. 

Under emacs 23 and up, you can interactively select your font from the
options menu (and then save the options) or you can specify it in
.Xresources or on the command line. Have a look in the NEWS file for
some more details (i.e. C-h n). Using this approach, you get a font
selection box that allow you to browse and see samples of the font. 

With the introduction of xft support, you can now specify fonts using
the fontconfig font name style i.e. "monospace-12:bold". 

Another alternative is to set 'font-use-system-font' which will make
emacs use the Gnome system font (usually a monospace/fixed font). Emacs'
font will then change if you change the default gnome system font
(without having to restart emacs). 

If you can't get it working or don't like it, I would suggest at least
emacs 22 rather than going back to emacs 21. However, I strongly
recommend getting emacs 23 going as it has some significant
improvements, especially with respect to character encoding, fonts and
some nice new packages. 


tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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