Resolution indpendence

Glynn Clements glynn at
Fri Jun 27 09:28:50 PDT 2008

Nicolas Mailhot wrote:

> > (whereas using the physical resolution certainly has caused problems).
> Only because there are bugs, in particular deep GNOME bugs, that were
> hidden (and festered) by forcing 96 dpi some years ago (because if
> windows is doing it, it can't be wrong - oh, wait vista is not doing
> it anymore, so it was a stupid hack after all?)

No, even if everything worked as it should, it would still be
problematic. The problems will only go away once 200+ DPI monitors are
the norm. Until then, the pixel grid will continue to matter.

If I run my 22" monitor at 1280x1024, I expect to see a physically
enlarged version of the image which I get on a 17" monitor at
1280x1024, not an illegible approximation to what I would see on the
22" at 1920x1440.

> > Moreover, ...
> >
> > Ultimately, ...
> That's all excuses to let the problems fester and hope they'll blow up
> on someone else's watch.

WHAT problems? The only problems I have had have been by developers
who are absolutely insistent that physical dimensions absolutely MUST
matter to me, in spite of the fact that they don't.

> Yes there are problems. Yes it will be a painful transition. Doing it
> later won't make it any easier, though. It will only let more time for
> app authors to write code with broken pixel assumptions.

Those assumptions aren't broken. Until monitor resolutions increase
significantly, the limiting factor for legibility is the number of
samples (pixels) used for rasterisation, not the physical area.

Even 300dpi laser printers use hinting to align glyph boundaries to
the pixel grid. That may be for quality rather than legibility per se,
but it's still noticable at that resolution, let alone on a 100dpi

Glynn Clements <glynn at>

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