Default font size in gnome

Chris Cheney ccheney at
Thu Feb 26 20:04:29 UTC 2009

On Thu, 2009-02-26 at 18:29 +0100, Nicolò Chieffo wrote:
> This discussion was started becaus Sebastien Bacher asked for it.
> -----
> Hello, now that the default DPI is asked to X, it's no more '96' as it
> used to be in intrepid. This means that if I have a 1440x900
> resolution, my DPI is set to 121.
> This is really a good thing because now fonts look exactly the same on
> every monitor, not depending on the resolution.
> I have to say that the gnome default font size (which is 10) is too
> big. it looks really huge!
> A default value of 8 should be ok, in my opinion
> What do you think of this change?
> images:

There was a short discussion about this on irc earlier. Basically there
are four (maybe more?) groups of screen types. Very large low dpi
screens (eg HDTV), regular monitors/laptops (~ 100 dpi), netbook/high
end (and high dpi) laptops, and very high end large monitors (200 dpi).

Setting the font too small could make the HDTV/HTPC use case completely
unusable. However, from what I hear the x server at least currently
forces 96 dpi for screens where the dpi is under 50 dpi as a workaround
for this problem.

For regular monitors and laptops the screen was already very near 96 dpi
to begin with so those users will see no change in physical size of
fonts. For example 24" 1920x1200 monitors or 15.4" 1280x800 laptops.

For the netbook and higher end (and newer) laptop case where dpi can be
up to 150dpi users will see a definite increase in size of the fonts.
The size of the fonts will now be the proper size according to what they
claim to be. The font size could be shrunk down since the average
distance to a netbook/laptop screen is smaller than for regular monitors
but should not be the new default size.

For the 200 dpi large monitor case the fonts will be much larger than
before as well. But due to the sitting distance from a monitor you
wouldn't want to use as small fonts as you might on a laptop.

I think we should select some sensible defaults, personally I think they
are already fine, without making it too small to be readable. Users with
exceptionally good eye sight, or who are sitting much closer to their
screen, can make the fonts even smaller if they so wish.


More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list