Default font size in gnome

Markus Hitter mah at
Sat Feb 28 11:38:04 UTC 2009

Am 27.02.2009 um 19:29 schrieb Felix Miata:

> On 2009/02/27 10:47 (GMT-0600) Ryan Hayle composed:
>> On 27/02/09 10:09, Chris Cheney wrote:
>>> Fortunately most web designers are smart enough not to use px for  
>>> fonts.
> I'm not so sure it's reached 50% yet, particularly for shopping  
> carts. For
> those that have changed away, most have not switched to respecting  
> defaults.
> The most popular trend is to impose predominatly 12px by setting 'body
> {font-size: 62.5%}' (5/8 of 12pt, which is 10px @ 96 DPI, 7.5pt)  
> and then 'p
> {font-size: 1.2em}' (120% of 10px == 12px). 
> 348/
> explains the convolution. Others typically size copy text to .76em,  
> 80%, or
> thereabouts.

This is likely all true, but with resolution independent rendering,  
it no longer applies. In the future, "px" is just a measurement unit,  
just like "in" or "mm". Once the software gets this, it's perfectly  
fine for web developers to ask for a "12pt" font. It just won't be  
rendered with characters 12 screen pixel high, but with this value,  
divided/multiplied with the screen dpi.

I can understand this is difficult to get swallowed. For 40 (or more)  
years now, the rule was 1 pixel = 1 dot on the screen. A picture,  
100px x 100px in size used to use exactly 100 x 100 dots on screen.  
Now, this is no longer true.

To stir the mix additionally, there are many pieces of software  
respecting resolution independent rendering and many others not.  
Picture viewers still map one picture pixel to one dot on screen and  
call this "100%". Font/text displying tools still shortcut rendering  
engines and draw a 12pt font with 12-dot-on-screen character glyphs.  
Some software considers 72 dpi screens (Macintosh monitors were  
produced many years this way) as "standard", others won't work with  
anything but a 96 dpi screen (Windows XP default setting). This makes  
comparisons so difficult.

My personal hope is, this dust settles once people get used to set  
their screen dpi just right: it is a measurable fact.

Then, they will start complaining a 12 px font is waaay to big for  
phone screens ;-)


P.S.: There's no real need for an additional measurement unit besides  
mm and in, so I'd actually prefer to see "px" going away entirely.  
What a dream!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dipl. Ing. Markus Hitter

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