Fedora install support for netbooks -- small screen size

Christopher Beland beland at alum.mit.edu
Wed Jan 6 21:30:06 UTC 2010

On Wed, 2010-01-06 at 12:47 -0500, Fulko Hew wrote:
> Shouldn't the symptom be solved at the root of the problem, not
> inside every app?

I think we generally end up with better usability if we address the
problem at the application level.  For example, I've seen instances
where there's simply a gratuitous amount of whitespace, or
gratuitously large icons, or fixed-sized windows (whether too big or
too small) where dynamic window size would work better.  Another
common problem is overgrowth of preferences or failure to make them
scrollable.  Oftentimes I think the best solution for that is to prune
the number of preferences to a more reasonable number, or better
organize them into a larger number of smaller screens.

It certainly wouldn't be unhelpful if the operating system did
something more user-friendly to deal with situations where a window is
simply too large to fit on the screen.  Having the window manager put
up scroll bars is an obvious solution, but this takes up valuable
space on what is already a crowded screen.  The WM could present a
pop-up instructing the user to hold down Alt and drag the window as
needed, but this seems like it could present accessibility problems.
If people do want to advocate for a general solution, am I right in
thinking it needs to be solved separately for Anaconda, each login
manager, and each desktop environment?

It's definitely good to send application developers feedback when they
need to think more about how to display on smaller screens or screens
with different aspect ratios (and wider screens are also becoming more
common).  Even if we are using 800x600 as a minimum, we still have
applications that don't function well at that size.  (Though I see
the Fedora 12 Release Notes don't specify a minimum screen size under
Hardware Requirements.)


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