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[Bug-apl] Linux console APL

From: David B. Lamkins
Subject: [Bug-apl] Linux console APL
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2016 22:12:41 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.6.2 (2016-07-01)

I thought I'd share this (new to me) discovery...

I've experimented with running APL in the Linux console. In the past I've 
followed the advice to download the APL console font and use the start_unicode 
command. That works fine, of course. The only inconvenience is having to run 
start_unicode again to restore the normal console font.

But fbterm offers an alternative. This is a terminal emulator that runs in the 
console's frame buffer. It's fully aware of modern Linux fonts, which means 
that I can use GNU FreeMono to get the APL glyphs. What's really interesting, I 
think, is that fbterm searches all of your installed fonts looking for a font 
to present each character. I'm not clear on the details, but it ends up 
choosing (at least on my system) some very nice glyphs for both APL and non-APL 
characters without needing to fiddle with FreeType rendering options.

On top of that, fbterm supports up to ten windows. That means I don't have to 
remember to run a multiplexer (screen, dvtm, tmux).

In Fedora 24, I installed fbterm and fbterm-udevrules. The latter ensures that 
fbterm has access the framebuffer when you run it as a non-root user.

In case you're asking "why bother?": I'm trying to move away from GUIs for most 
of my work. I run X now primarily to interact with "rich" web content 
(primarily Facebook and Youtube). I find that not having a full-featured web 
browser a keystroke away helps me to concentrate on my work. That, and the 
console just "feels faster" than even a tiling window manager.

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