Resolution indpendence

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at
Fri Jun 27 09:21:22 PDT 2008

Le Ven 27 juin 2008 17:50, Daniel Stone a écrit :

> The problem as I see it is the conflation of DPI as 'the thing I need
> to
> change to make my fonts render at a reasonable size because 12pt is
> the
> standard for very reasonably readable text and changing all my
> documents
> as stupid' (users care about)

Actually, no. You have two sources of computer text:

1. system applications that should just use the user default font size
-> have a setting where the user enters his preferred font, the
preferred  size for it in pt, and have apps obey it (with % sizes for

2. documents produced by someone else, that may use different prefs
from the ones of the user
-> all the apps that manage those documents have a built-in zoom
system, and it's stupid to even try to correct all those with a
system-wide dpi kludge because every external document won't use the
same font sizes anyway and the correction will vary document per
document (you can try to automate "match to the system font size later
but it'd be a dynamic document-specific adjustment not a fixed fake
dpi value)

So "the thing you need to change for documents" is document-specific.
And it's different from "the thing you need to change for the desktop
gui" where you have *not* reason not to use pt size directly assuming
you kill all the dpi forcing kludges which have make it lose a
specific meaning on many systems.

> and 'thing which must match my physical
> properties exactly as I'm doing typesetting' (statistically, no-one
> cares about this).

Do you have any study that says users would not like this? They only
do not care because it's been broken so long (just as they didn't care
about AA text when the only thing available was pixelated bitmap

> As long as the
> two
> are fundamentally in opposition,

They're only in fundamental opposition because some people insist in
abusing physical scaling to change font sizes instead of
(revolutionnary idea) just specifying different size defaults

Nicolas Mailhot

More information about the xorg mailing list