First, some linkblogging…

And then the “fun” started.

  • Me: I’m going to focus on project X today!
    Computer needed for project X: I’m going to lock up today!
    Me: Argh! #
  • Someone thought it would be a good idea to cover “Wonderful Christmastime?” 😯 # (For the record: Shazam says it was Hilary Duff.)
  • OK, after 3½ hours stuck at 74%, I think I can assume chkdsk is stalled. *grumble* #
  • Ate some blackberries I’d forgotten about from a week ago. Good news: I only threw out 1! Bad news: I should’ve thrown out 2. Blech! #
  • Chkdsk round 3 is at 55% on Stage 5 of 5. Going to call it a night & hope my PC runs tomorrow. # (According to Facebook, this posted at 5:55pm!)

Computer update: Disk check finished overnight, seems OK. Ran a backup just in case, but got some work done on that project! #

With the release of Firefox 3.5, I decided it was finally time to get serious about setting up a custom headline font on Speed Force. Cross-platform @font-face embedding in CSS is now possible on Firefox, Safari, the beta version of Opera, and (I think) Chrome. So I pulled out some bookmarks, looked for some fonts with licenses that allowed embedding, messed around with a test page and finally settled on two custom fonts: one for the post headlines, and one for the title and the sidebar section headers.

I tested it in a couple of browsers, both on my Linux desktop and on the Mac laptop, and planned to test it on the Windows desktop when Katie was done with it. But then something weird started happening.

Firefox started crashing. Repeatedly. Not quite predictably, but only when that test page was open.

I figured maybe it was a corrupted font, so I removed one, then the other, then both. If the page tried to download an embedded font, Firefox would eventually crash. If not, it was rock solid.

This seemed kind of bizarre for such a high-profile new feature to cause consistent crashing.

I did some searches online but didn’t come up with anything until I tried running Firefox from the command-line, so that I could read the error message. It complained, "firefox: cairo-ft-font.c:554: _cairo_ft_unscaled_font_lock_face: Assertion `!unscaled->from_face' failed." Searching for that led me to Fedora bug 509501 and bug 502274, and this blog entry.

To make a long story short:

  • On Linux, Firefox uses a library called cairo to handle graphics, including fonts.
  • An old version of cairo had a bug that would cause crashes with fonts under certain circumstances.
  • Cairo fixed the bug in December.
  • Fedora 11 is still using the old version of cairo.

So until Fedora ships a newer (or at least patched) version of cairo, my primary browser on my primary desktop will crash on any web page with an embedded font.


I guess I could patch my own system for now and put the fonts up for the benefit of the rest of the Firefox+Safari+Opera-using audience on Windows and Macs (and probably other Linux distributions). But that means causing a crash for anyone else running Fedora 11 when they visit my site. I’m not too thrilled about that idea. I have no problem with adding enhancements that only appear under certain browser+os combinations, but actively crashing a browser? Not something I want to do.

Update (July 21): Aha! Fedora submitted an updated cairo for inclusion in the stable release last night!

  • Installed IE8 RC1. Installer crashed, and I ended up with IE7…even though I’d been running the IE8 beta before. #
  • IE8 installer crashes system. New HW checks out. Bad RAM may have screwed something up before I replaced it. Time for System Restore. *grr* #
  • Wow, System Restore is taking a lot longer this time. Maybe it’s actually working? (Or maybe safe mode just makes it slower?) #
  • I can’t remember how many times I’ve rebooted this computer today. (And no, safe mode didn’t solve it) #
  • Finally got IE8 RC1 installed by telling it not to install updates immediately. The Malicious Software Scan was crashing the system. WTF? #
  • Now that I’ve FINALLY got IE8 RC1 running, a cursory check of websites I maintain shows no glaring problems. *whew!* #

  • Running system restore on my Windows box at work. Just how I wanted to spend Monday morning. #
  • Dear HaloScan users: Please do not use the Javascript-only pop-up for your comments links. I can’t open that in a new tab. #
  • Grr. Dialog boxes should not pop up while typing. I hate accidentally saying OK or Cancel. Who runs only one app at a time these days? #
  • Just got buzzed by a bird on the way to the car. #
  • I don’t know why yesterday’s Real Life is so funny. #