GNOME 3 - font point sizes now scaled?

Felix Miata mrmazda at
Fri Sep 30 11:09:28 UTC 2011

On 2011/09/30 11:00 (GMT+0100) Daniel Drake composed:

> I'm working on bringing OLPC up-to-date with all the great efforts
> with GNOME 3, systemd, etc.

> On the OLPC XO laptops we have quite a strange screen - it is small
> (152mm x 114mm) but very high resolution (1200x900 i.e. 201 dots per
> inch).

> Previously, on Fedora 14, we had to adjust the default GNOME font
> sizes since they didn't look right on the screen (I think they were
> too big). Now I'm looking at applying the same set of customisations
> to Fedora 16 since the default fonts are uncomfortably small on our
> display.

> However, I've noticed a fundamental difference in the sizing of fonts
> between Fedora 14 and Fedora 16. This is visible with a simple
> experiment:

> 1. Open gedit
> 2. Change document font size to Sans 72
> 3. Write the capital letter "I" and measure the height of the printed
> character with a ruler

> I do this on two laptops side by side, one running Fedora 14 and the
> other running Fedora 16.
> On F14 the height of the I character is 1.9cm, and on Fedora 16 it is
> 0.9cm. That is quite a difference.

> On both laptops, xdpyinfo correctly prints the screen resolution, DPI
> and display size, which have not changed.

>> From a typographic standpoint, F14 seems to be correct here. As 1pt is
> (approx) 1/72 of an inch, size 72 should produce characters of around
> 1 inch in size - and 1.9cm (the F14 measurement) is about an inch.

> Also, Cantarell seems to play by its own rules. On F16, the "I" in
> Cantarell 72 is 0.8cm, not too different from Sans 72, but the
> difference between Sans 11 and Cantarell 11 is more significant - at
> size 11, Cantarell is tiny.

> Can anyone help me understand this behaviour?

Sounds to me like your F14 is using correct DPI while your F16 is forced to 
96. Does your F14 have /etc/X11/xorg.conf file or a non-empty 

Can you try opening Firefox 3.x with hidden (about:config) pref 
layout.css.dpi set to 0, and again set to 201, and loading to see what DPI it reports? 
Same in Konqueror? (other/newer browsers lock to 96).
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

  Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***

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