Default font size in gnome

Chris Cheney ccheney at
Fri Feb 27 16:09:07 UTC 2009

On Fri, 2009-02-27 at 02:55 -0500, Felix Miata wrote:
> On 2009/02/26 21:12 (GMT-0600) Chris Cheney composed:
> > On Thu, 2009-02-26 at 21:08 -0500, Felix Miata wrote:
> >> On 2009/02/26 19:15 (GMT-0600) Chris Cheney composed:
> >> >> On 26/02/09 14:31, Felix Miata wrote:
> >> >> Real-world DPI has been steadily increasing from release to 
> >> >> release.
> >> > I don't see this to actually be the case. Even with laptops it seems
> >> > that ~ 130 dpi is the maximum that most manufacturers are doing. I had a
> >> It wasn't that long ago that they switched from 4:3 to widescreen. Before
> >> that point, it was mostly 15" on 1024x768 (85 DPI), 17" on 1280x1024 (96 DPI)
> >> & 19" on 1280x1024 (86 DPI) taking over from a lower average on CRTs. There's
> >> still a lot of those in use. They mostly aren't replaced or soon to be
> >> replaced yet.
> > The switch to widescreen in laptops happened over 5 years ago. Even back
> It may have begun that long ago, which I doubt, but it certainly did not
> "happen" in anything resembling an instant.

I bought one of the cheapest laptops I could find in Jan 2004, an
eMachines, and it was already a 15.4" 1280x800 at that time. So yes the
transition at least started long ago, although some manufacturers
laptops such as IBM/Lenovo didn't transition until recently, eg with the
ThinkPad X61s -> X200. You can actually still buy the 4:3 X61s at

> > with 4:3 on laptops you could get 133 dpi screens (1600x1200 15" laptop)
> > 5+ years ago.
> Could get does not equate to affordable or high sales volume. Much more
> common than 1600x1200 regardless of size was 1024x768 on 14" and 1400x1050 on
> 16".

A 1600x1200 15.0" panel was already available in the IBM ThinkPad A21p
as of 2000, and other laptops with that resolution screen probably were
around even before then. It was at least as common at that point as 147
dpi screens are now.

Also in that same timeframe (IBM ThinkPad T21 - 2000) you could get
14.1" laptops with 1400x1050 which is 124 dpi, which is the same dpi as
my brand new ThinkPad X200.

And the previous generation ThinkPad T61p, replaced by the ThinkPad
T500, was available with a 15.4" 1920x1200 147 dpi (Jul 2007).

So there may be some very slow progression of increase in dpi in the
past, but it seems to have essentially halted due to the lack of support
from Microsoft due to the fact their OS has ~ 90% market share.
Hopefully we can help Linux in general work which will put pressure on
Microsoft to make it work on their OS as well. Once that happens we may
see a return to 200 dpi (and above) monitors being available for

> > So I still don't see a continual increase in dpi. I see an
> > increase in dpi to about the maximal usable with the fact that Windows
> > doesn't scale properly to higher dpi and then stagnation in the field.
> > IBM had made 200 dpi screens around 5 years ago but they have been EOL'd
> > since Windows still isn't resolution independent. 
> These may not be the best around, but even if they're off by 50%, the real
> world still  hasn't been anywhere near constant for the past 5 years:

The stats above do not include any 16:9 or 16:10 resolutions, so are of
questionable value. w3schools lumps it all into 'higher' but thecounter
doesn't seem to report those statistics at all. Unless thecounter is
lumping all widescreen into unknown, which they report at only 12%, if
that is the case I think their statistics are questionable. I'm sure
there are more than 12% people using widescreen, as it is pretty much
the only type of screen you have been able to get on laptops for at
least several years now.

> > Here are some interesting articles about High DPI from the Microsoft
> > perspective.
> >
> >
> >
> Very good. Thanks!
> Visual perspective on the situation most experience now:

Fortunately most web designers are smart enough not to use px for fonts.


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