Updating my ST to 0.8.2

No more upstream patches in my fork

The Suckless community recently announced the release of st-0.8.2. Seeing as I maintain a soft fork, it was time to refactor my repo. I took this opportunity to also review my build, which led me to the realisation that I need no added features whatsoever. The generic terminal emulator is good enough.

What my fork is about

In terms of functionality, I build st in the user’s home directory. This is how I have designed my custom desktop session (distributed via my dotfiles): there is $HOME/bin which is added to $PATH.

As for aesthetics:

  • I have modified the font definition to leverage my fonts.conf settings in order to use my custom typefaces (see my dotfiles).
  • All options related to colours are sourced from another file via an #include directive. This allows me to (i) add my Tempus themes and (ii) control ST’s appearance through scripts that are part of my custom desktop session (where I perform live theme switches across the entire environment).

Here are a couple of video demonstrations:

How I prepared my fork

Downloaded the latest release tarball and extracted it in place:

tar xf st-0.8.2.tar.gz

I made two copies of the decompressed directory. The one served as a reference point, while the other was used to apply my modifications.

Once I was done altering the source code, I did:

diff -up ~/st-0.8.2-upstream ~/st-0.8.2-prot-soft-fork/ > \

The generated .diff could then be applied to the upstream code base with the following:

patch path/to/st-protesilaos-stavrou-soft-fork-0.8.2.diff

Review and refactor

After applying my changes, I decided to review my use of upstream patches, such as the one offering clipboard support, or the other that improves the appearance of box-drawing characters.

All of them have been removed from my fork in the interest of long-term maintainability. It is difficult to guarantee that such features will work with new upstream releases. Plus their functionality is inessential to my workflow… Learn to work with less!

To use [my] st-0.8.2 on Debian Buster we need:

sudo apt install libx11-dev libxft-dev libxext-dev libfreetype6-dev pkgconf

Simplifying things makes my life easier. It is now trivial to maintain my fork, which is an integral part of my custom desktop session.