screen physical size, DPI, font size - how does it work?

Alexej Davidov alexej.davidov at
Sun Oct 7 13:31:16 PDT 2007

On Sun, 07 Oct 2007 21:49:58 +0200
Nicolas Mailhot <nicolas.mailhot at> wrote:

> Le dimanche 07 octobre 2007 à 21:18 +0200, Alexej Davidov a écrit :
> > The default settings for GTK, QT, TK, IceWM, xterm, etc. are all
> > much bigger. More like 12-14pt. Is this, because everybody has set
> > a too low dpi value anyway and thus the default font setting are so
> > big to compensate for this?
> No, it is because you compensated at some time for your system
> misconfiguration by increasing the pt sizes
At least Debian comes with a default font of 12pt for xterm. And TK's
fonts are huge, and I'm sure I never touched them, because I don't even
know, how to configure TK.

> 12pt is considered the minimum size for presentations, and a good
> default for texts that need to be read by everyone, including people
> with bad eyesight. So 12pt is big.
True for long texts, like for a web browser, word processor or PDF
reader. But definitely to large for menus, button texts, etc.
> Most people with good eyes prefer 10-11pt even when reading long
> paperback novels

Anyway, it seems the font sizes are in fact correct. 

I also remember now, why I didn't bother to touch my font configuration
for a long time now: it's really a PITA to change 10 different
configurations (GTK, QTK, Xresources for different clients, etc.). For
GTK I didn't even find a documentation about the .gtrc file.

Does anybody know of a tool that can do font configuration for all (or
at least many) of those different toolkits and programmes through a
single interface? I guess that would really be a giant leap for mankind.


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