Elementary OS : "nvidia" driver, font size and DPI adjustment

blind Pete 0123peter at gmail.com
Fri Jun 20 07:57:50 UTC 2014

Niki Kovacs wrote:

> Hi,
> I recently migrated my office server to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and my main
> workstation to Elementary OS, a nice Ubuntu spinoff. I don't quite know
> if this is the right place to ask questions about Elementary OS, since
> the project doesn't really have some sort of well-established forum. On
> the other hand, it's essentially Ubuntu 12.04 under the hood, only with
> a different interface on top. So here goes.
> I've installed this system on a quad core Xeon workstation with an
> NVidia video card.
> [kikinovak at alphamule:~] $ lspci | grep -i vga
> 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF119 [GeForce GT
> 520] (rev a1)
> I've tried out two different proprietary NVidia drivers. The 331 driver
> worked, sort of, but the interface didn't sport any hot corners, which I
> like to use for switching between windows and/or workspaces. Reverting
> to the 304 driver solved that problem.
> I've been running all sorts of distros on PCs with NVidia cards -
> Slackware, CentOS, Debian - and I'm somewhat familiar with the
> phenomenon that activating this driver affects font sizes for both the
> user interface as well as applications. I've been working on Xfce and
> KDE before, and usually the problem was solved by adjusting the DPI
> value and restarting X.
> I'd like to correct the DPI system-wide, e. g. for all users of the
> machine. I've tried out various suggestions found after a couple of
> hours of googling, all to no avail. Changing only the interface font is
> not really a solution, since fonts for web pages are too tiny, for
> example.
> Now I'm at a point where all the solutions become a blur, and I'm
> clueless. Any suggestions?
> Cheers from the sunny south of France,
> Niki

Greetings from much further south.  

I would expect any primary school graduate to be able to work out 
the relationship between dots, inches and dpi, but I have been 
repeatedly astonished to find computer science graduates (with 
computers!) who seem to find it all a bit too hard.  Nvidia has 
astonished me.  

The problem is not entirely nVidia's fault, over the years many 
people have added corrections to fix other people's mistakes that 
they were not able to fix properly - and occasionally they are 
just stupid.  Some "corrections" go the wrong way.  

Anyway, nVidia has decided that if anything changes in the dpi 
calculation it must be the physical size of the monitor that has 
changed!  If you are one of those "strange" people who owns a 
monitor that does not stretch, but does support multiple 
resolutions add this to the Monitor section of your 
</etc/X11/xorg.conf> file.

Option "ConstantDPI" "False" 

There are many more odd things that can be added - if you 
know about them.  Look in </usr/share/doc/nvidia-current>.  

You might find it hard to override any wrong information 
in the monitor's EDID, but it can be done.  

blind Pete, the scurvy Australian pirate, 
Sig goes here...  

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