[TRACKING] State of HiDPI on Linux

the post was only referring to vscode. there are a few other apps that don’t run well with fractional scaling. emacs isn’t one of them, on arch linux it’s enough to install emacs-gcc-wayland-devel-bin and it works just fine.

again, would be good that all of this were supported out of the box in the standard packages, but hey, better than nothing.

That is very much specific to arch, though…that’s just not a thing on most distros. And the point is that with anything that uses Xwayland, fractional scaling will result in blurry fonts. Some of them have beta Wayland implementations (like Electron-based stuff or apparently emacs), while others don’t.

like i said, the post i commented on was referring to vscode only. emacs’ solution is not arch specific, i posted an arch-related solution because that is the distribution i use, i’m sure others will have similar things.

most gaming is done via xwayland and with explicit resolution setting there is no upscaling, which eliminates another big annoyance.

the overarching argument is that wayland on intel gfx is fine. there used to be crippling issues (e.g. screen sharing not working), most of which have been fixed, and things like “blurry fonts on several apps”, most of which to my experience have been fixed, with the notable exception of jetbrains apps, but i guess that will come soon.

They don’t, though. Even something like Debian sid or experimental (which is what I use) doesn’t allow easy installation of the development emacs branch, and that is the norm. My point was that there are (in my experience) quite a few Xwayland programs still that haven’t been updated, and these flags only work for Electron-based stuff (which is still useful and applies to a lot of common software).

I just wanted to make that clear since this thread is about HiDPI on Linux more generally, not just dealing with Electron-based software. I wasn’t disagreeing with you, just adding more context :slight_smile:

that is the norm for debian, yes. which is why ubuntu has PPAs and so on.

this is mildly off-topic maybe, but: i have been using debian for almost 20 years on several devices (some which i still use). it’s good for servers that can rely on docker. i used to use it on desktops too, it used to be my go-to distribution for pretty much everything.

the problem that you mentioned, though, is crippling in the long run, and it gives people the false sense of generality that “xyz doesn’t work really well on linux”, while the truth is that once it works somewhere, 99% of the times it’s a debian-related issue. personally, laptops and gaming setups should stick to distributions with more cutting-edge features, especially since reverting mistakes is often a matter of a couple of commands, meaning that the gain from “stability” of outdated software is negligible – and even more so if one runs debian unstable.

to sum it up, i stick to my previous comment: much as most of this is still WIP, wayland on intel graphics is fine for most common use cases.

Yes, I would know ― I use Debian sid with Wayland and most things just work! Hell, if you don’t need fractional scaling, then even Xwayland stuff is fine, and most software at this point is at least Wayland-compatible (or has an implementation in the works).

I also wouldn’t say this is “crippling” since it’s very much my current system and Debian sid/experimental usually has new-enough stuff (I’d rather not alpha-test software, so it doesn’t usually cause any issues that I can’t easily pull nightlies from git repos and integrate them with my package manager). It’s just a difference in philosophies, that’s all :wink: And Xwayland stuff notwithstanding, Wayland is mostly there for most of my (personal) use-cases, though I’ve had issues with screen sharing over Zoom (that’s probably because I use sway rather than Gnome, though…stupid Zoom).

As perhaps some extra data points:

  • Zoom on wayland has completely broken screen sharing. Under modern gnome, you have to flick a switch for it to at least nominally work, and even then it will only share content from XWayland apps.
    There is a work-around by using obs to set up screen share as a second camera feed, which you can then select as “screen share”. The obs part is surprisingly easy but the whole thing is byzantine. I understand that using the zoom browser client instead may give better results (since, e.g. chrome does know how to share screen on wayland)
  • Wayland’d big plus is that scaling factors can be set per monitor. So a 1.5x scaling on the native screen with a 1x on a 1080p external monitor works just fine. Indeed, anything XWayland has some blurriness issues, but since I upgraded to FC36 this seems to be quite a bit better. Perhaps the interpolation has been refined? I’m in a situation where I don’t often need XWayland software (and in things like zoom it doesn’t matter, because things end up blurred for other reasons there regardless), so for me Wayland fractional scaling ends up a net win.

Just a quick note on Zoom: Have to use it constantly for work; I gave up on it as an actual app on Fedora/Wayland a while (as in 1-2 years) ago. Strictly browser-based Zoom user now, with the redirector extension making sure it doesn’t try to start the app on me. Video, screensharing work without issues. Only thing it doesn’t support is the custom backgrounds, but I can do without just fine.

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@Paul_Kim thank you for your solution offered. On Fedora 37, I couldn’t find any other acceptable solution but this one, now my apps that had blurred text look a ton better, on my crazy high resolution monitor.

I cannot speak for others, however, I use distros and desktop environments that work well with 2k or 4k displays.

I use two, 2k displays. I use Wayland because I’d like to actually be able to control my scaling in Gnome.

My configuration:

  • One 12th Gen Framework.turn off diplassy

  • 2x 2k displays.

  • I connect using one HDMI expansion card and one DP expansion card, No docks, adapters or other entry points of frustration for my displays.

  • Because I’m pushing two displays, I am connected to power using the provided wall adapter.

Google has killed of PIN to login on first boot, but you can use PIN to unlock at any point after that I believe.

Yeah - I think if a device has the Titan C chip it will work and if not it requires full login. Even a TPM is not sufficient (or at least the TPMs that Lenovos have). My Framework Chromebook works just fine :slight_smile:

:: Feedback from the internet on Framework’s Linux incompatible HiDPI display ::

Currently, Framework only offers a Linux-incompatible HiDPI display for its
laptops. If instead Framework offered a Linux friendly normal DPI display,
they could greatly improve the user experience for every Linux user.

OP: I’m starting to worry that I’m going to find the screen almost unusable
due to tiny graphics and text.
Comment: I have it on 125% in wayland, so some apps are fuzzy.
Comment: some … apps are … blurry (ex: Discord and Spotify).
— 2022-07-29, https://www.reddit.com/r/framework/comments/wayz1c/display_resolution_concerns/

The Framework laptop resolution (2256px X 1504px) is big enough to give you a
pretty small font size, so welcome to the marvelous world of “scaling”. …
[commands to try to fix fuzzy screen] … my experience it also makes things
look a little fuzzier, which is frustrating because you have this awesome
monitor but everything looks out of focus.
— 2023-03-12, Framework 12th gen laptop review - anarcat

I own the 13 but the PPI on that screen makes fractional scaling necessary
for me (which doesn’t always behave well on Linux/Wayland).
— 2023-03-24, Can you share the screen resolution? I own the 13 but the PPI on that screen mak... | Hacker News

I played with several permutations of Wayland/X11/GNOME (with fractional
enabled)/KDE and none got it 100% right, and even under the setup that got
closest some programs acted confused.
— 2023-03-24, Fractional scaling on Linux is still hit or miss in my experience. I played with... | Hacker News

The solution has been mentionned already.

Font scaling is not the same as full scaling, and leads to completely satisfying results.
No fuzziness.

While the fuzz is gone I saw issues with the text not fitting into the UI pane/having to resize the window elements to fit the greater text size.

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@Usernames Well, yeah… Let’s say “more satisfying results”.

Although, personally I haven’t had to resize UI elements so far.
It happens for some applications, but far from all of them.

As far as my personal use goes, the font scaling has been a really satisfying solution.

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I think some of this does depend on distro. On Fedora I have no blurry text, but on Ubuntu it is horrendous. I have not had time to dig into why. I.e. whether it has to do with aliasing, choice of font, base font size, etc

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Absolutely but it is a downside of the “font size” approach.

I’ve settled on 150% with 1x fonts and that works for me, good we have options! :slight_smile:

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:: Feedback from the internet on Framework’s Linux-incompatible HiDPI display ::

Fractional Scaling…. still an issue in 2023
After fixing firefox, I noticed Slack was incredibly fuzzy…. The only option seem to be spending hours trying to find how to enable every random app, or disable fractional scaling and have a hard time reading stuff because it’s a bit small.
— 2023-10-12, A Developer’s Experience: Framework 13 AMD 7040 Series

Appreciate the feedback. However to be clear, incompatible would suggest that it does not work - it does, be it fractional scaling on Linux can be an acquired taste. I use it every single day. :slight_smile:

This reviewer had very specific expectations on how fractional scaling and how applications built for X, work with Wayland in general.

Again, fair feedback and we hear them. But I need to be clear on that point - electron apps specifically, their Wayland compatibility would fall in line with their individual developers.