Resolution indpendence

Steven J Newbury steve at
Fri Jun 27 10:30:21 PDT 2008

On Fri, 2008-06-27 at 17:28 +0100, Glynn Clements wrote:
> 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.
You are using a strawman argument here.

> > > 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.
The problems that arise by developers using pixel units where they
should be using pt sizes, proportional or physical units.

> > 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.
Legibility depends on many more factors than this.  These are
accessiblity issues really.  The assumptions are broken, the limiting
factor is whatever prevents the user from getting their work done.

> 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
> monitor.
That's correct they use hinting, in exactly the same way as modern
graphics renderers do for computer displays.  Have a look at what
freetype/Xft does.  Nobody is suggesting ignoring the pixel grid, it is
necessary to be aware of it at the rasterisation level to achieve a high
quality output, but this doesn't mean application programmers (or
users!) should need be aware of it!

More information about the xorg mailing list