[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#952408: fontforge: no longer works in non-GUI environment

Julian Gilbey jdg at debian.org
Sun Feb 23 21:28:55 GMT 2020

Package: fontforge
Version: 1:20190801~dfsg-2
Severity: important


Up until a relatively recent release of fontforge, if fontforge were
run from a script without a GUI present, it would behave exactly like
the non-GUI version.  But this release breaks this behaviour: even
running 'fontforge --help' bombs out with the error message:

Unable to init server: Could not connect: Connection refused

(fontforge:789219): Gdk-WARNING **: 21:11:59.079: cannot open display:

This has broken mftrace (bug #952185), and might cause other problems
as well.

Without completely rewriting fontforge back to the way it was
previously, which I'm guessing the upstream have moved away from, one
possible solution might be to allow both fontforge and fontforge-nox
to be installed simultaneously.  That is, have fontforge install
fontforge as /usr/bin/fontforge-x, and fontforge-nox install it as
/usr/bin/fontforge-nox, and use the alternatives system to make
/usr/bin/fontforge to point to one of them (preferring the fontforge-x
version).  That way, scripts can call /usr/bin/fontforge-nox instead
of /usr/bin/fontforge.

The only other files that are common to both fontforge and
fontforge-nox are /usr/bin/{fontimage,fontlint,sfddiff}, which could
be moved to fontforge-common.

This would then allow mftrace to work again; I really don't want to
replace the fontforge dependency with fontforge-nox, as that will make
it uninstallable for anyone who also wants to use the graphical

Best wishes,


-- System Information:
Debian Release: bullseye/sid
  APT prefers stretch
  APT policy: (500, 'stretch'), (500, 'testing'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)
Foreign Architectures: i386

Kernel: Linux 5.4.0-3-amd64 (SMP w/4 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_GB.utf8, LC_CTYPE=en_GB.utf8 (charmap=UTF-8) (ignored: LC_ALL set to en_GB.UTF-8), LANGUAGE=en_GB.utf8 (charmap=UTF-8) (ignored: LC_ALL set to en_GB.UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash
Init: systemd (via /run/systemd/system)
LSM: AppArmor: enabled

Versions of packages fontforge depends on:
ii  fontforge-common  1:20190801~dfsg-2
ii  libc6             2.29-10
ii  libfontforge3     1:20190801~dfsg-2
ii  libgdraw6         1:20190801~dfsg-2

fontforge recommends no packages.

Versions of packages fontforge suggests:
ii  fontforge-doc      1:20190801~dfsg-2
ii  fontforge-extras   1:20190801~dfsg-2
ii  potrace            1.16-2
pn  python3-fontforge  <none>

-- no debconf information

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