xserver forces 96 DPI on randr-1.2-capable drivers, overriding correct autodetection

Corbin Simpson mostawesomedude at gmail.com
Sat Sep 24 03:26:32 PDT 2011

On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 2:12 AM, Michal Suchanek <hramrach at centrum.cz> wrote:
> On 23 September 2011 20:59, James Cloos <cloos at jhcloos.com> wrote:
>>>>>>> "DS" == Daniel Stone <daniel at fooishbar.org> writes:
>> DS> (Real summary: That's your opinion.  The development team have ours.
>> Well, *some* of the development texm.  Some of us agree that forcing the
>> dpi to 96 is a b0rked regression.  It is just that those with the contrary
>> opinion are more vocal and have more traction.
> So to have this fixed I need to make more traction than those who want
> the X server broken :p
>> It is easy enough to avoid, though, by always starting X with the -dpi
>> option.  One has to add -retro, too, for a reasonable startup experience,
>> so ading -dpi is not horribly onerous.
> Seriously, though.
> I don't care about -retro. The change should have been more documented
> so that people who try to test something and start X server by hand
> aren't surprised that it does nothing. Indeed, it is easy for any
> display manager scripts to have some -noretro option and make -retro
> the default for the benefit of X testing. It could even render text
> that tells you to use -noretro in the middle of the root window since
> X server insists on having a 'fixed' font to start.
> However, breaking the dpi detection is not fixed with any option, and
> the patch which adds the option to unbreak it was posted in the bug
> about 1.5 year ago and was completely ignored by the X developers
> commenting on the bug. They only conjured bogus reasons why the new
> behaviour is "correct" which were all refuted.
> Clearly if they wanted the X server broken this way they could use the
> -dpi option themselves and did not need to break the X server for
> everybody. The -dpi option only allows what they want: set the X
> server to one fixed dpi. It cannot be used to restore the
> autodetection so that X server uses the DPI of the screen connected
> and updates it whenever a different screen is connected.

Okay, it's time for me to speak up.

I "sabotaged" this entire effort. You see, five years ago, I had a
laptop with a brand-spanking-new Radeon X1650. Only fglrx was
available. fglrx used the actual screen DPI, causing all of my fonts
to be stupidly large; from login to logout all of my glyphs appeared
to be anti-aliased Michelin men. When the open drivers started to pick
up support for my chipset, I couldn't help but notice that all of my
lettering suddenly reverted to a reasonable size. From then on, I
vowed that I would never let the bloated, oversized fonts taint my
screen, nor anybody else's screens, ever again.

So for the past half-decade I've waged a secret war, carefully
manipulating key members of the X.org team in order to protect the 96
DPI "standard" in the name of small fonts everywhere. I feel only
small amounts of shame at this revelation; I regret nothing.

~ C.

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? ~ Keynes

Corbin Simpson
<MostAwesomeDude at gmail.com>

More information about the xorg-devel mailing list