Resolution indpendence

Jesse Ruffin jesse at
Fri Jun 27 19:20:12 PDT 2008

Having considered this issue, I was first on the side of "DPI is DPI". Change it and you'll break stuff. It would be just another excuse for users of other system types to point to the superiority of their platform, and denounce mine as unfit for professional work. A1so I have done DTP and will continue to in the future.

Considering this view further, I decided that the actual DPI does not matter with today's programs. Scribus ( for example ) will show me both a page and a font rendered in perfect harmony, even if the DPI is totally messed up. When I look at the 100% view in any application the total pixels of the document bounds and the fonts are calculated using the same DPI values and will always be correct relative to each other. So DPI itself doesn't matter, as long it's constant.

However this led me to consider the various examples posted involving monitors and wall projections where I have come to my final conclusion...

A change in my usage habits is the only thing that should result in a change in my settings.

Why is this relevant? If I were using a standard format screen that was 10" tall, and replaced it with a widescreen variant 10" tall with double the resolution in both the X and Y axes I would expect my fonts to look exactly the same. I would expect my settings to just work.

If I connect a second monitor of different resolution and span my desktop across them I certainly expect that a window sitting on the edge of both displays will have the same size title on both screens.

I also expect that whatever similar workstations I sit down at, when I remote my X stream, it will at least have the same size fonts.

Any time I am using a similar device, and using the devices in a similar way, I expect that everything will be as much the same as possible.

If I'm going from 3D virtual cave to a cell phone, of course I'm going to have to change things.

Wall projections were brought up. Well I certainly wouldn't expect my settings for when I'm sitting in front of a monitor to apply when I move 10 feet away, because I'm changing my usage patterns of the computer. But when I replace that screen with another one it should just work.

To ensure this sort of behavior, DPI must be correctly set for all devices. This gives the information necessary to keep my settings consistent across devices.

I'm aware this is not the way it always is, but I'd certainly like it to be.

Jesse Ruffin

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