Re: Machine Dead on 2.1.131

Michael K Vance (
Sat, 05 Dec 1998 15:10:31 -0500

Ragnar Hojland Espinosa wrote:

> The problem, IIRC, is that X didn't perform any sanity checks on the data
> that xfstt (or whatever I was using) served to it. I even think this
> problem was documented somewhere in the xfstt distribution or web page.

Due to the sad history of X11 fonts many X11 applications are
not properly tested for the huge number of fonts, proportional
and scalable fonts and the big glyph sizes Xfstt can provide.
If you have applications that suffer from buffer overruns please
fix the application, reduce the number of installed fonts or use
not too big font sizes.


Most X11 font server protocol prefer replies limited to 256kB.
If a font is scaled with a big size the glyph bitmaps may not
fit into 256kB. Bigger replies tend to cause the X11 server to
return "BadAlloc Failures" for XOpenFont requests which confuses
and kills many applications. One would have to split up the reply.
Many popular X11 servers do not handle split up replies yet.

I guess my only comments would be that

a) It's almost certainly XFree86's issue, not the kernels
b) I was using simple Courier New and Times New Roman fonts, so I doubt that
the footprint was huge. The fonts themselves are no larger than 80k each.


"Up above aliens hover making home movies for the folks back home, of all
these weird creatures who lock up their spirits, drill holes in themselves
and live for their secrets. They're all uptight." -Thom Yorke, Radiohead

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