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Portables (Apple) Displays GUI Graphics Software Linux

Ask Slashdot: Good Linux Desktop Environment For Hi-Def/Retina Displays? 234

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-start-thinking-about-this-again dept.
Volanin writes "I have been using Linux for the last 15 years both at home and at work (mostly GNOME and now Unity). Recently, I gave in to temptation and bought myself a Macbook retina 15". As you can read around, Linux still has no good support for this hardware, so I am running it inside a virtual machine. Running in scaled 1440x900 makes the Linux fonts look absolutely terrible, and running in true 2880x1800 makes them beautiful, but every UI element becomes so tiny, it's unworkable. Is there a desktop environment that handles resolution independence better? Linux has had support for SVG for a long time, but GNOME/Unity seems adamant in defining small icon sizes and UI elements without the possibility to resize them."
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Ask Slashdot: Good Linux Desktop Environment For Hi-Def/Retina Displays?

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  • KDE (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lobachevsky (465666) on Friday November 30, 2012 @04:53PM (#42147211)

    Use KDE, and the retina display will look beautiful.

  • KDE looks great (Score:1, Informative)

    by TheSimkin (639033) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:01PM (#42147329)
    I use kde in VirtualBox looks great.
  • Re:KDE (Score:5, Informative)

    by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:04PM (#42147379)

    Yup, all the icons are in svg, and all the UI elements scale. So you'll get all the beauty at a very high resolution -- and those icons are little works of art.

  • ...because of SVG. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gentryx (759438) * on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:17PM (#42147569) Homepage Journal
    KDE got a lot of flak for the early 4.x versions, because they felt terrible. But what they did (replacing many internals, reworking the architecture) did yield us now a very flexible UI. Plasma (KDE's UI) is fully based on SVG and looks good on pretty much any screen, be it a notebook, workstation, or even tablets. And its not such a CPU/memory hog as the people generally claim.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:19PM (#42147589) Homepage

    The DPI setting will scale your fonts and other items to look good on your screen.

    Usually, I am reducing the DPI on high-definition screens so I can get smaller fonts and icons, but the opposite should also work.

  • Re:KDE (Score:5, Informative)

    by sp332 (781207) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:25PM (#42147663)

    Yup, they were made for Android and are under the Apache license.

  • Re:No one cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:28PM (#42147709)

    Well, Linus Torvalds uses a Macbook Air...

  • Re:No one cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by damnbunni (1215350) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:40PM (#42147871) Journal

    It's simply not true that 'no one makes them any more'.

    Dell makes a few very nice 1920 x 1200 monitors. NewEgg lists more than 20 models.

    They're not as common as 1080p screens, and they're not as cheap, but 'they still make them'.

    And while 2560 x 1600 screens are still over a grand, you can get a 2560 x 1440 pretty cheap. $399 at Microcenter.

  • Re:KDE (Score:3, Informative)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:41PM (#42147881) Homepage

    OSX isn't the Linux kernel. It's the OSX kernel - which is based on one of the BSDs, not Linux. But it's not the kernel that's important, it's the software that comes.with it - and OSX is very different to, say, Ubuntu.

  • Re:KDE (Score:5, Informative)

    by elfprince13 (1521333) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:48PM (#42147979) Homepage
    Thankfully, the Mac Ports package manager lets me run an enormous number of Linux and BSD software packages without too much difficulty.
  • Re:KDE (Score:5, Informative)

    by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Friday November 30, 2012 @05:49PM (#42148017)

    Not really: GTK desktops like, say XFCE don't do that. Also traditional WM weren't designed for that, and the themes were typically made by l33t hackers who were somehow convinced that minimising the number of pixels in the bitmaps they used to draw their windows was cool.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:13PM (#42148421)

    It's actually working. The situation is messy, but workable. (As usal for Linux)

    -- X.org people found out that automatic DPI detection is mostly useless because there too many monitors out there who report incorrect information. X supports a DPI override switch which would be a nice place to manually adjust this but...

    -- The GNOME people decided to ignore what X reports and hard coded a 96 DPI definition.

    -- On top of their hard coded DPI, GNOME has a "text scaling factor" property (default 1.0). Increasing it causes compliant applications to render fonts and other UI elements in larger formats. The main motivation for this was to improve accessibility for visually impaired people, but it also serves for people with high DPI screens. This value can be changed via the accessibility options or by installing the gnome-tweak-tool (or editing gconf).
    Only GTK/Gnome applications will honor this and even then, compliance isn't perfect as some still use bitmaps for icons. But it's good.

    So, for people with high DPI screens:
    - Force the X DPI setting to a proper value. This will help with some applications (including most Qt/KDE ones, I think).
    - Change the GNOME text-scaling-factor to something that matches the value above. Ie, if you set your X DPI to 200, then set your text-scaling-factor to 2.08 (200/96).
    - For Firefox or Chromium, you'll need to manually adjust the zoom level.

  • Re:KDE (Score:2, Informative)

    by samkass (174571) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:15PM (#42148457) Homepage Journal

    Yeah? Is there a list of what works with it?

    Might be easier to list what doesn't, but here are the 16075 packages that work with MacPorts out of the box: http://www.macports.org/ports.php?by=all [macports.org]

    Seriously, MacOS X is a certified UNIX, so this stuff is easy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 01, 2012 @12:20AM (#42152071)

    Amusing, I'm actually typing this on a macbook 15" retina running windows 8 through boot camp. (The display is awesome.)

    And yes, you can adjust the DPI scaling in OSX on the fly if you're using the retina display.

    You really couldn't be much more full of shit... I suggest you stick to ad-hominum arguments.

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