Font size problem #2

Carsten Haitzler (The Rasterman) raster at
Sat Nov 15 07:16:24 CET 2008

On Sat, 15 Nov 2008 00:52:08 -0500 Michael Mather <Michael.Mather at>

i absolutely agree. scaling with dpi is short-sightned and too simplisitc as
you are right - it is not just scaling to dpi BUT scaling to the "visual field"
that the display would consume - ie how many % of your field of vision does 1
pixel use... not dpi! :)

that's why in e/efl/elementary i use a scaling factor. this is entirely
user-adjustable and simple scales the "default sizes" of stuff compared to
their normal config settings. (eg if normally the font is 10 pixels - and you
have a scaling of 2.0 - u'll get a 20 pixel font - same for any other elements
marked as scalable such as fixed sizes of icons etc.). the scaling factor is the
important thing here - and really that should just be a user-adjustable value
(the default setup would scale to some reasonable value based on what one might
expect the eyesight of an average user to be as well as distance from eyes one
would expect usage to occur at, but users that have better or worse eyesight,
use the device closer or further from their eyes, can fiddle with it).
unfortunately... this is something that gtk and qt need to do differently so
you need to fake a dpi to them so they think u are at another dpi. efl doesn't
care about dpi and just uses the scaling factor (you can keep dpi "intact" if
you want for times when u actually want something to be a physical size).

> I am running FDOM and I think that font sizes are being handled wrongly. Here 
> is what I think is happening. Could someone who knows more about this correct 
> any details that are wrong.
> It seems that the standard font size in desktop computers is 12 points, which 
> means that the characters are 1/6 inch high.
> This is too big for the FR, which has only a small screen (in inches).
> So the default font size has been set (somewhere, I wish I knew where) to 5.
> This has the right effect on the character size, but I claim it is the wrong 
> way to solve the problem.
> This becomes apparent when you "ssh -Y" into the FR from a desktop computer. 
> The default font then appears unreadably small.
> The correct solution is to decide that "dpi" means "pixels per apparent
> inch." Because we look at the FR from much closer than we do a desktop
> screen, the dpi that we set in /etc/X11/xorg.conf should be somewhat less
> than the physical pixels per inch.
> I estimate that I see a desktop screen from about 25 inches, and the FR from 
> about 10 inches. So the FR should be set to about 110 dpi. This would have 
> about the same effect as using a font size of 5 points.
> Michael
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The Rasterman (Carsten Haitzler)    raster at

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