fontsize and dpi (was Re: Beta2: Nice job!)

Ville-Pertti Keinonen will+freebsd-current at
Wed Aug 24 14:06:49 GMT 2005

Daniel O'Connor wrote:

> You really shouldn't change your DPI as a way of modifying your font size..

Sometimes that's the only way of getting the font sizes you want.

As long as the DPIs of displays are relatively low, pixel size is 
extremely relevant to the shape and legibility of fonts, yet font sizes 
can usually only be specified as integer points.  This causes problems, 
e.g. at the true DPI (116) of my laptop display, a font I want to use 
looks good at a pixel size of 12, but most programs don't let me select 
that size because the point size is somewhere between 7 and 8 (7.5 works 
in the few programs that allow it).  In effect, the set of available 
font shapes is restricted by the DPI.

I'd prefer to specify font sizes in pixels for UI fonts (like I did back 
when X11 programs used traditional X11 font specifications).  The only 
parts of an UI I want to be DPI-sensitive are ones that display things 
with off-screen physical representations.

Obviously this isn't a FreeBSD problem, but it's not really even an X11 
or fontconfig problem, it's a problem with UI libraries and apps not 
letting the user specify fontconfig parameters properly (the size 
parameters are actually floating point values, and size can be specified 
as points or pixels).

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