Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Aug 2008 13:48 UTC, submitted by jcornuz
GTK+ Red Hat's David Zeuthen blogged today about the huge patch he submitted to GTK+ that will allow the toolkit to achieve resolution independence - widget and font size adapting to your screen's real estate; no more tiny application lost in the corner of your high resolution screen. Although more work is obviously required, Zeuthen's idea is to use RI as the hot-new-feature selling point of the upcoming 3.0 GTK+ release. Discussion is going on in the gtk-devel mailing list and there is an ogg video of the feature in action.
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Resolution independence
by WereCatf on Thu 7th Aug 2008 14:32 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Immediately when I read the short caption here on OSNews about the up-and-coming RI on GTK+ I thought that it can't be true resolution independence unless all the media used is also resolution independent or atleast have their DPI reported in the media header somewhere, and that GTK+ applies the correct transformations needed. And then, as the video shows, the icons used for buttons and such don't scale properly even if the text and elements themselves do scale. Looked absolutely horrible.

So, in the future atleast all icon sets have to also include information about their desired DPI so GTK+ knows how to transform them. I just wonder how well this will work with web browsers...Imagine, the widgets displayed honor the GTK+ RI settings but images and other media on websites don't! One solution would be to disable RI for web browsers, but then that would mess the desktop integration.

Also, how about the performance? Are all those icons/images et al transformed in software or do they try to accelerate that process via OpenGL or X acceleration? I really do love the look and feel of GTK+ and I like programming on it, but it IS slow already!

Reply Score: 10

RE: Resolution independence
by Morin on Thu 7th Aug 2008 14:54 UTC in reply to "Resolution independence"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> So, in the future atleast all icon sets have to also include information
> about their desired DPI so GTK+ knows how to transform them.

They could define a "standard resolution" in which all media has its intrinsic size, and scale according to the factor to the current resolution (taking aspect ratio into account, of course, so icons don't get horizontally stretched on wide screens).

Media size would still scale with overall display size (as opposed to resolution), but unless you're doing publishing work, you often want that. And an overall scale argument is still possible as a counter-measure.

> Also, how about the performance? Are all those icons/images et al
> transformed in software or do they try to accelerate that process via
> OpenGL or X acceleration?

Depends. On the one hand, graphics hardware can do really fast transformations. On the other hand, its resampling mechanics are far from perfect - this could be done much better in software. Fortunately, scaling and resampling must be done only once at application load time, since the screen resolution usually don't change often.

The only scenario where speed would actually suffer is when doing software scaling and resampling during run-time (i.e. with every draw operation), but I don't see any advantage of doing so.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Resolution independence
by nutshell42 on Thu 7th Aug 2008 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Resolution independence"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

This could be the killer feature that gets me to use Gnome if they can do it right.

I'm on a 21" display at 1280x1024 and most web pages have by default ridiculously small text. Even better they completely ignore your selected font size and continue to use 5pt Comic Sans.

The result is that I have to use a minimum font size of 20 which breaks half the pages out there (OSNews isn't all that bad. This editing field is partly below the headlines on the right but otherwise it actually uses html as designed) who confuse web design with DTP.

Fortunately my vision is quite good (I just want to keep it that way as I read quite a lot online) so I can reduce the minimum font size for pages that break completely and that I absolutely have to use. I don't wanna be someone who can't read that small text.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Resolution independence
by leos on Thu 7th Aug 2008 16:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Resolution independence"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

I'm on a 21" display at 1280x1024


That is really poor resolution for such a large monitor.

and most web pages have by default ridiculously small text.


Something is very wrong. You shouldn't have any problems with small text unless you're running really high resolutions, which you aren't.

In any case, if the DPI of your display is set properly, font size won't be a problem. Remember that pt is a physical size. So 8pt font size should be the same physical size on any screen if it is set up correctly.

Even better they completely ignore your selected font size and continue to use 5pt Comic Sans.


You can force override that in any browser. Most webpages choose reasonable fonts though.

The result is that I have to use a minimum font size of 20 which breaks half the pages out there


Your DPI is incorrect. In X, set the DisplaySize to the physical dimensions of your monitor (google for more info on how to do that).

Either that, or use FF3/Opera and use full page zoom to get bigger font sizes without breaking layouts.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Resolution independence
by nutshell42 on Fri 8th Aug 2008 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Resolution independence"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

That is really poor resolution for such a large monitor.


a) It's the best compromise between size and crispness. I wouldn't want to know how all those tiny fonts web pages are so fond of look in higher resolutions

b) It's the highest resolution that allows 100Hz. I'm sensitive to flicker and probably the only person in the world who notices the difference between 85Hz and 100Hz



and most web pages have by default ridiculously small text.


Something is very wrong. You shouldn't have any problems with small text unless you're running really high resolutions, which you aren't.


There are quite a few pages out there that use 0.7em and less or happily ignore your chosen font size altogether.

In any case, if the DPI of your display is set properly, font size won't be a problem. Remember that pt is a physical size. So 8pt font size should be the same physical size on any screen if it is set up correctly.


Unfortunately all kinds of things start to break in unexpected ways when you play around with DPI on Windows (e.g. buttons on .Net apps vanish, etc.), while Linux distros make it a game of hide and seek (Ubuntu sets a fixed dpi in the xserverrc, something that was done in Debian ironically enough to fix the problem of too-small fonts)

You can force override that in any browser.


I do. Unfortunately it breaks the layout on a lot of pages.

Most webpages choose reasonable fonts though.


Most people don't steal. I nevertheless lock my door because those that do ruin it for everybody else. The same with web pages.

Your DPI is incorrect. In X, set the DisplaySize to the physical dimensions of your monitor (google for more info on how to do that).


That was Windows. I've written above why I don't change the dpi value there. In X the font sizes have more reasonable numbers, after I've searched my way through 4 config files to allow that DisplaySize value to actually work (aside from the xserverrc Nvidia also had a setting that by default overrode your chosen values). So it's not like Linux makes changing your DPI to the correct value easy. Beware of the Leopard.


Either that, or use FF3/Opera and use full page zoom to get bigger font sizes without breaking layouts.


But then I have to scroll sideways. What I want is a Firefox extension that pretends I'm on a 1024x768 display, layouts the page accordingly, then scales everything to 1280x1024 (refresh rate, remember? =) or 1600x1280 or whatever and renders the fonts at the final size.

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

i run at 1440x900 on a 17" widescreen monitor which is a higher resolution for a smaller monitor, and I have no problems whatsoever with font size on XP, Vista, or Linux with the default settings. As the original poster said, something is very wrong with your settings.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Resolution independence
by nutshell42 on Sat 9th Aug 2008 23:33 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Resolution independence"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

As the original poster said, something is very wrong with your settings.


And something is very wrong with your eyes, because you can't read what I wrote. Thus proving that your fonts are set too small and you've gone blind.

Once again, in caps, so that those who don't adjust their settings can read it too:
I CAN READ TEXT THAT SMALL.

I JUST DON'T WANT TO.

BUT CRAPPY WEB DESIGNERS KEEP ME FROM ADJUSTING THE FONTS WITHOUT BREAKING PAGES AND CRAPPY APPS KEEP ME FROM ADJUSTING THE DPI.

Apart from that 17" at 1440x900 probably means you're using a notebook and are a lot closer to the screen and text's effectively larger for you than it is for me.


Also, apparently none of you bothered to read the blog entry (probably because your fonts are too tiny):
Got one of them big laptops where you feel tempted to use a looking glass because the pixels are so tiny? Ever feel cheated when you adjust the font size but the rest of the UI looks like crap in comparison? Or maybe ever felt dirty when hard coding pixel values in your application?


It's not like I'm the only one who's noticed the problem. If gtk implements a way to get around the two broken clutches mentioned above, more power to them.


Soap Box:
Honestly this whole "what's wrong with you?" attitude permeates many open source projects (e.g. Debian, at least some time ago) and there's hardly anything more frustrating, condescending and infuriating. In fact it's one major reason I'm back to mostly Windows instead of mostly Linux (and I've used Linux since 94 -SuSE 11/94 IIRC- and as my main OS from 98 until 2005)

Reply Score: 2

alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

I totally agree with leos, something is quite wrong with your monitor/system.

Unless you have sight problems (which would explain why you need low-resolution on a big display -- using a screen magnifier like xmag sucks terribly), things shouldn't go that wrong on your monitor. I had a 21" CRT myself (switched to a 22" LCD due to space and power consumption issues -- that beast took half of my desk and sucked more power than my computer itself). I used it in the largest resolution available (2048x1536) and didn't have any problem reading text. In fact, I don't have any problem now either -- but I'm in a lower resolution (1680x1050).

If you're under GTK, there's a known issues related to font sizes; or there used to be a while ago, just google for it. If fonts seem to small in general, try to see if, for some funky reason, your system isn't set up to use very small sizes.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Resolution independence
by nutshell42 on Fri 8th Aug 2008 21:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Resolution independence"
nutshell42 Member since:
2006-01-12

Unless you have sight problems


I don't and I wanna keep it that way but I read on-screen quite a lot and large fonts are a way to do that. If I let web pages render the way their retar.. errr designers want them to then most just waste 80% of the screen size on a white space at the right or ads/5000 sidebars anyway.

Reply Score: 3

John.Gustafsson Member since:
2005-08-08

Isn't most bitmap images in 72dpi or something? I think that it is the one I usually see in photoshop and friends at least. So unless the image do have a dpi set (which some of them do) just assume 72 and go from there. No biggie.

With vectors you rather want to know how big it's suppose to be in something like mm or so, as RI isn't so much about scaling the UI like a madman, but rather have things have the right physical size (as physical as a screen gets that is).

What I really wish for is for all major OSes to get this, so we finally can start getting some seriously high DPI screens ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Resolution independence
by hobgoblin on Thu 7th Aug 2008 16:20 UTC in reply to "Resolution independence"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i could have sworn that gnome's default icons would be tango SVG's.

as for what others choose to use for their gtk based apps, thats their problem...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Resolution independence
by cerbie on Fri 8th Aug 2008 15:17 UTC in reply to "Resolution independence"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

*shrug* Icons look fine at any size, and most have been vector for ages, now.

Badly designed websites will look bad, which is also nothing new. I don't let websites make their own choices. It was one of the many things that got me using Linux more often. Too many Windows apps break with bigger/different (Bitstream Vera Sans 12 for all UI widgets) fonts...most everything in X gets bigger, and everything is fine.

This seems like something very different...not resolution independence, but setting dimensions as fractions of display size. If everything but decorative edges on widgets were determined as points of DPI, it wouldn't be needed, would it? It would just happen from setting font and icon sizes...

Reply Score: 2

Yay for Resolution Independence!
by asupcb on Thu 7th Aug 2008 15:48 UTC
asupcb
Member since:
2005-11-10

I hope that the GTK+ hackers do get GTK+ 3.0 ready for full use with Resolution Independence. What other parts of the software stack would have to be modified in order to make Resolution Independence work? Does X.org have to be modified? What about the Window Manager and other aspects of the desktop environment?

If GTK+ 3.0 is made RI then how many more parts of the software stack must be modified until I can have my 300dpi monitor?

Also does anyone know a site that keeps up with issues relating to Resolution Independence? How far along are the other operating systems in this regard? How much longer until Windows, Mac OS X, KDE, and XFCE support RI and what work is left to be done before full support can be added to each of those systems?

Reply Score: 2

superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

How much must be modified? I think not that much.

GKT is what paints, mostly, so if you modify GTK, it should work pretty neath. Sure, you'd probably need more hardware acceleration, and you'll bump in driver issues and X issues if you use it (like KDE 4 does). But that's not too bad. The most annoying thing will be inconsistency with other apps. KDE will probably have this within a year, so if gnome does with 3.0 and it makes it's current schedule, they'll be there together - would be good, imho. If they both make it at the same time.

Reply Score: 2

Good gawd that's not RI
by tyrione on Thu 7th Aug 2008 18:25 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

Bitmap graphics predefines redrawing to screen at pre-defined font size changes isn't Resolution Independence.

As everyone said about every point on the screen being a vector you also want each view to be indepedent in scope ala Global Coordinates vs. Local Coordinates and therefore be able to have varying sizes, per desktop view, per window view, per object.

Reply Score: 2

Excuse me but...
by hartvig on Thu 7th Aug 2008 23:06 UTC
hartvig
Member since:
2007-04-25

... what I gained from that video is that:

A 12pt/20pt font will no longer be the correct size of a 12pt/20pt font...

That has got to be the most idiotic thing I have ever seen.

Perhaps I missed something?

Reply Score: 2