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#1 2019-01-04 13:22:57

chra
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Registered: 2019-01-04
Posts: 31

Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

I run arch on a desktop PC at home, but want to switch from my macbook pro to a thinkpad x1 carbon. As an option, the thinkpad offers a 2560x1440 screen, however, I read that there are some issues with high DPI screens in arch.

What I am wondering is, after performing the HiDPI fixes mentioned in the wiki, would I be good to use the 4k screen without any weird scaling problems anywhere? Or would I see some problems every so often and have to fiddle around with them? One thing I don't want to be changing all the time is screen scaling/resolution.

EDIT: I plan to be using a tiling windows manager of some sort. At the moment I have i3 on my desktop.

Thanks.

Last edited by chra (2019-01-04 13:24:26)

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#2 2019-01-04 13:38:15

progandy
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Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 3,306

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

With Xorg you may get problems in two cases: Applications that are too small when using HiDPI and mixing high dpi and low dpi screens. With wayland/sway everything should be scaled correctly, but since it hides the higher dpi from xwayland all xorg applications may be blurry. Wayland/Gnome does it differently, but I think here you may have issues with some xorg applications looking too small.


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#3 2019-01-04 23:51:46

chra
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Registered: 2019-01-04
Posts: 31

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

progandy wrote:

With Xorg you may get problems in two cases: Applications that are too small when using HiDPI and mixing high dpi and low dpi screens. With wayland/sway everything should be scaled correctly, but since it hides the higher dpi from xwayland all xorg applications may be blurry. Wayland/Gnome does it differently, but I think here you may have issues with some xorg applications looking too small.

Ok. So even after following the wiki I would probably still run into problems with 4k screens (I use X11)?

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#4 2019-01-05 00:18:29

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 21,109
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Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

progandy wrote:

Applications that are too small when using HiDPI

I don't get this.  All one would have to do is configure those programs or the toolkits they use to use a larger font or larger icons/buttons/etc.  If someone wants the system to look perfect right out of the box with no configuration needed, then HiDPI could be a problem, but using arch in the first place would be a much bigger problem.


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#5 2019-01-05 01:05:55

chra
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Registered: 2019-01-04
Posts: 31

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

Trilby wrote:
progandy wrote:

Applications that are too small when using HiDPI

I don't get this.  All one would have to do is configure those programs or the toolkits they use to use a larger font or larger icons/buttons/etc.  If someone wants the system to look perfect right out of the box with no configuration needed, then HiDPI could be a problem, but using arch in the first place would be a much bigger problem.

I'm fine with configuration upfront. But having to change something every time I install a new program is something I don't want to be doing.

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#6 2019-01-05 01:35:37

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
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Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

I had one HiDPI monitor for a bit.  I did set the Xorg's dpi setting and change some font sizes from my normal configs, but otherwise nothing special - and certainly no "maintenance" once it was configured decently.  A screen is a screen.

Last edited by Trilby (2019-01-05 01:35:58)


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#7 2019-01-05 01:41:52

progandy
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Registered: 2012-05-17
Posts: 3,306

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

Trilby wrote:
progandy wrote:

Applications that are too small when using HiDPI

I don't get this.  All one would have to do is configure those programs or the toolkits they use to use a larger font or larger icons/buttons/etc.

There are rare cases which have hardcoded pixel values. I just can't remember a concrete example, I think it was some specialized software.

Last edited by progandy (2019-01-05 01:43:16)


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#8 2019-01-05 10:05:18

olive
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2008-06-22
Posts: 1,471

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

progandy wrote:
Trilby wrote:
progandy wrote:

Applications that are too small when using HiDPI

I don't get this.  All one would have to do is configure those programs or the toolkits they use to use a larger font or larger icons/buttons/etc.

There are rare cases which have hardcoded pixel values. I just can't remember a concrete example, I think it was some specialized software.

A typical example is xfig. It uses pixel fonts and contains images/icon in a bitmap form. It is an old software, I agree but you may still want to use it. I think bitmap icons may be the worst problem. I don't think that old toolkits could be reconfigured as easily, if at all. I doubt you can satisfactorily reconfigure gtk2.  It's not only the font that you will have to reconfigure but basically all UI elements.

The real problem is that these old toolkits specify size in pixels. That is generally a bad idea unless all monitor that you may use have approximately the same pixel density (which was the case until a few years ago). Actually, printers have for long been available in very different pixel density and you never specify size in pixels for a printer. Think about a text processor where you have to manually choose the size in pixels of the font you use, which you have to reconfigure every time you use a printer of different resolutions. Every image would have to be rescaled accordingly. True, it could be configured but you will agree that it will never really be without problems...

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#9 2019-01-05 14:47:07

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 21,109
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Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

olive wrote:

you will agree that it will never really be without problems...

No I will not agree.

As indicated, I used a HiDPI screen and had no problem whatsoever.  It was no different than modifying my configs on any new system I installed on.  Now I don't infer that no one could ever have problems, but to your claim that it could "never be without problems" that is equivalent to saying there will always be problems.  This is clearly disproved by my example.

I don't see bitmap fonts as a problem at all, as they have all different sizes!  That's the point: you chose the fonts size that works for you.  Gtk2 also was readily configurable to adjust the size of all sorts of widgets.  Yes, as you say this was done in pixels, and perhaps life would be better for some users if pixels were not used - but this is not equivalent to saying it can't be configured.  You just pick the pixel sizes that work for your system once and then be happy.

Most importantly, the OPs question was whether running arch on a HiDPI system would be "high maintenance" which has been operationally defined as needed to regularly change settings.  Even if your argument were to hold that some old programs might not look great because they can't be configured, this does not suggest one would need to engage in "high maintenance" - rather, if anything, your arguments is against using HiDPI screens in the first place which was not the OPs question.  There is no more maintenance needed for HiDPI than any other screen: some program will suck, true, but some programs will always suck regardless - so it's not really relevant to the question at hand.

As for your example of xfig, I just checked it's documentation and it is extensively configurable through xresources allow the user to specify different sized fonts for UI elements, different sizes of borders, buttons, etc.

olive wrote:

I don't think that old toolkits could be reconfigured as easily, if at all.

And what is this assumption based on?  Have you ever tried?  I find it trivially easy to configure older tool kits.  I don't find it necessarily easier than modern toolkits, but I do find it more pleasant as their means of configuring just suit my tastes more (few simple text files with simple formats).

Now I'm not saying there couldn't be hurdles.  But there can be hurdles configuring a linux system to ones tastes regardless of the screen used.  There are no special hurdles for HiDPI.  And most of the claims that there could be sound like "Here be dragons" - a suspicion that something unfamiliar could be problematic rather than actual experience with problems requiring regular "high maintenance" of a system specifically because it uses an HiDPI screen.

Last edited by Trilby (2019-01-05 15:00:40)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#10 2019-01-05 14:56:35

ugjka
Member
From: Latvia
Registered: 2014-04-01
Posts: 1,210

Re: Are high DPI screens high maintenance?

if there are problems they will fixed in near future as hidpi is becoming a living standand

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