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Re: MS-DOS color issues

From: Tim Van Holder
Subject: Re: MS-DOS color issues
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 15:52:32 +0100

> You need to remember that until Emacs 21.1, released only a 
> few days ago, Emacs didn't support colors on a Unix TTY.
> So all the color defaults in Emacs were for X, and the X
> version by default comes up with a bright background.  So,
> for the default Emacs colors to look good, the MS-DOS 
> version switched the terminal to black-on-lightgray.

Understood.  But with tty color support now available, shouldn't
the DOS and tty behaviours be made to match?

> > * rgb.txt seems to be incomplete, or the color name matching
> >   routine does not match that used by X;
> rgb.txt is not used for color matching.  See tty-colors.el 
> for the actual list of colors used by the TTY emulation of X
> colors.

Ah OK - I went by the comment in rgb.txt which suggested

> >   I took my GNU/Linux
> >   customization settings and tried them under DOS; most
> >   worked reasonably as expected, but other did not.
> > 
> > Examples:
> >  - font-lock-comment-face was PaleViolet, but this color
> >    is apparently unknown, resulting in the default
> >    foreground color (white, in my case)
> I need to know the RGB values of all the colors that aren't in 
> tty-colors.el, and then I can add the missing ones.

I'll check the rgb.txt used by X at work (I expect it lists the
colors I use there (unless X gets color names from somewhere else
as well)), and send in a patch for tty-colors.el if needed.

> >  - ediff's highlighting faces had their background set to
> >    PaleWhite, resulting in the default background (black,
> >    in my case), which in combination with 'Black' being
> >    foreground color yielded unreadable text).
> Well, I did tell you the Emacs defaults are not suited well 
> to the black background, didn't I? ;-)
> It sounds like Ediff's faces need some different defaults in 
> the case of a TTY with a dark background.

You should know me better by now ;-) The ediff colors are
customized; they just ended up wrong because some of the color
names weren't found, causing emacs to revert to the default.

> >   In both cases, simply changing the color name helped,
> >   but color names valid under X should be valid elsewhere
> >   as well
> No, that's not the intent: it's in general impossible to make 
> sure the default colors are good for all possible variations of 
> display defaults, especially when TTYs are concerned.  The
> transparent mapping of X colors is only supposed to show the
> user that there is some non-default color here and there, but
> some users will _have_ to customize the colors if they 
> want the display to look well.

I'm not talking about looking good - the color approximation
does a pretty fine job of making the tty colors resemble the
X colors quite nicely.  I'd just want all colors supported by
X by default to be recognized by emacs.

> This will probably improve with time, but I don't think it 
> will be ever good for everybody; even on X some users cannot
> stand Emacs default faces, and need to customize them.

Which is fine.  I'd simply like those customizations to be
reasonably maintained when run in tty mode.  Which requires
all X color names to be recognized.

> As a rule of thumb, I really suggest to use the light 
> background mode on MS-DOS and TTYs.  Not only are the colors
> generally better thought out, but you have more colors that
> look pleasantly on a light background than on a dark one.

Granted, but I've been using a black-backgrounded emacs (even on
X) for several years now, so I don't think I'll change that.
The only problem I've ever had with that (other than the minor
issues that sparked this thread) was that ps-print tries to use
a black background when printing as well, which is not healthy
for the toner supply :-).

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