Resolution indpendence

Glynn Clements glynn at
Fri Jun 27 06:13:48 PDT 2008

Nicolas Mailhot wrote:

> >> The upcoming GNOME will simply set it to 96.
> >
> > SRSLY?  That would be a regression.  Right now GNOME nicely detects my
> > 114dpi screen and uses right size fonts.  96 would look really small.
> +1
> 1. Exposing correct DPI is hard

Or impossible, if different portions of the "logical" screen have
different resolutions (as can happen with multiple monitors), or if
you simply cannot determine the physical dimensions of the screen
(missing or incorrect EDID, "virtual" screens (VNC etc), projectors).

> but is necessary for correct text rendering,

I take issue with that. I know that a lot of people are emotionally
invested in this being true, but I've been forcing X to 75dpi from the
first day that it attempted to use the physical resolution, and it has
never caused me any problems (whereas using the physical resolution
certainly has caused problems).

Moreover, if you're going to use physical dimensions, you have to do
so for everything, not just text. Web browser developers quickly
learned what happens if you try to use physical dimensions for font
sizes when everything else uses pixels.

Ultimately, typical monitor resolutions are still too low to ignore
the pixel grid altogether. If you want to use physical dimensions
without parts of the UI being illegible due to rasterisation
artifacts, you have to "supersize" everything so that it's still
legible on even the lowest-resolution displays, wasting valuable
screen space on the majority of systems.

Glynn Clements <glynn at>

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