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Re: New font defaults for new users - feedback wanted!

On April 8, 2005 10:44, Bastian Venthur wrote:
> I think you have a tough job adjusting the fonts, since it heavily
> depents on the dpi-setting of the system. The main problem here (often
> heard in debian.user.german) is, that kdm uses 75dpi by default but
> startx starts with 100dpi.

> But i *think* kde itself is kind of optimized to 75dpi (the icons on the
> desktop are a good example)

I really don't think it's optimized for a specific dpi at all.

> therefore i think it would be the best to 
> assume the average user works under 75dpi. (I'm not shure about this
> point but every live-cd I've tested works with 75dpi no matter wich
> display I use).

Hmmm, well an old 14" display, 13" viewable, at 1024x768 is about ~96 dpi. A 
15" display, 14" viewable, at 1024x768 is ~90 dpi. A 17" display, 16" 
viewale, at 1024x768 is ~80 dpi, but most people probably run at 1280x1024, 
making it ~100 dpi. A modern, 21" LCD, meaning 21" viewable, at 1600x1200, 
is ~96 dpi, and 17" LCDs at 1280x1024 are about the same.

Also, as Pierre pointed out, KDM's default is to allow X to figure out your 
actual dpi. This behaviour is the same as you should get when using startx 
or gdm (xdm forces 100 dpi, as did kdm until 3.2). GNOME has a settings 
daemon that sets 96 dpi for fonts by default, but the user can change this 
easily. Frankly, I wish KDE behaved the same way as GNOME.

As you have observed, when autocalculation fails (and even if it doesn't 
fail, it often returns junk values), then X defaults to 75 dpi.

Aside from someone coding a patch for KDE that makes it behave like GNOME, 
this leaves KDE packagers with few appealing options:

1) leave the default font sizes as they are, which are too large for most 
modern displays, making the default fonts for most people unsuitable.


2) set font sizes that are better for modern displays, but annoy the 75 dpi 
crowd, who are forced to change their font sizes - but then GTK/GNOME 
defaults to size 10, so they'll have to change anyway...


3) Split the difference, and hope no one is too ticked off :)

KDM also allows the forcing of a certain dpi, and we could set an automatic 
default of 96. However, users who start KDE with startx would not "gain" 
anything by such a change. Moreover, kdm is much more of nuisance to 
reconfigure than the GNOME settings daemon (and the change isn't visible to 
those who don't know where to look, meaning the depths 
of /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc).

Incidentally, an easy way to set your font dpi is to add:

Xft.dpi: 96

(or whatever value) in ~/.Xresources. This should work for all modern GTK/Qt 
apps and environments. You might find it easier than re-setting all your 
font sizes.

Excellent reading on this whole subject can be found at:

I still want feedback on the new defaults, but please do include your 
display size, resolution, etc.

> BTW I think it's pretty annoying (to be least offending ;) -- that there
> is still a difference in the dpi-setting if you're starting via kdm or
> manualy via startx. There is no question asked in the installation of
> xserver or kdm where you could set you dpi. I know, kinda OT but this
> dpi-issue is one you hear kinda often in debian.user.$language.

Yes, the current situation with X is a mess. That said, you shouldn't be 
seeing a difference between kdm and startx unless you've got some old 
setting lurking somewhere (an ancient kdm configuration, perhaps).

Christopher Martin

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