Disclaimer

The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

X widgets bad sizes in twm RightTitleButton due to LANG=en_US.UTF-8 fixed by unsetting LANG or setting LANG=C

Since I got to my current employer last October, I have been suffering problems with my X setup.

First: admission: I still use twm. Or, rather: twm has been my fallback window manager for years, when other X setup breaks. As it so often does.

Instead of the widgets at the top of my windows being nice and compact:


They were "blown up":


This was particularly painful when working on my tablet PC, 1366x768.  Too much screen space lost. Got in the way of doing useful work.

I have avoided the problem all this time, 8 months, by not using my laptop except when plugged into external monitors with lots of pixels.

Well, this week I away from my external monitors.  So I figured out what the problem was.

By process of elimination:

The problem that was causing the twm RightTitleButtons to be too large was due to

LANG=en_US.UTF-8

When I unset LANG, or set LANG=C (as I have had to do elsewhere), twm works properly.

Why? I dunno.

Why do I have LANG set to en_US.UTF-8? I dunno - it was default.

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glew@ubuntu-uarch:~$ uname -a
Linux ubuntu-uarch 2.6.32-33-generic #72-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 29 21:07:13 UTC 2011 x86_64 GNU/Linux

But also occurred on CentOS and RedHat.

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I hate internationalization bugs.  Mainly because I worked on pre-POSIX internationalization, and *my* system never had such bugs. ;-}


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Some text that might make it easier to find this bug and fix:

X widgets bad sizes
in twm RightTitleButton
due to LANG=en_US.UTF-8
fixed by unsetting LANG or setting LANG=C