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DavidS
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Will people please think about low res displays?

Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:46 pm

Using a display that is marketed for the Raspberry Pi having a resolution of 800x480, I am finding many programs that are included with Raspbian, or otherwise common, that do not fit within the bounds of the screen, including some of the settings.

Beings as lower resolution monitors are becoming popular again, and even more so with the RPi, would it be possible for the people maintaining Raspbian to give a little thought to the required resolution for the included important applications?

This frustration extends to some applications that are provided seperately, I am only mentioning those included in Raspbian here.

It is common to use Raspberry Pi systems with as low as 320x240 display resolutions (NTSC progressive scan square aspect). Thus there is a target resolution for the minimal of the included stuff.

Some examples off offending included programs included:
lxappearance
qt5ct
obconf


There are others, though the provided examples are very important to be able to use, as they are configuration tools.

i know that these are ported applications, and that it may take some work to make said changes. Though I would request that where it is easily possible, and the time is available to waste, if some people would please look into the possibility of improving the situation.

I also intend to be contacting the maintainers of LXDE, Repsnapper, Slic3r, Wings3D, and Blender about the fact that low resolution monitors are once again quite popular.
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alphanumeric
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:11 pm

I'll Ditto that. It makes using a PiTFT GPIO attached screen a real PITA.

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mooblie
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:59 pm

Just one tip to try before you give up on lo-res displays:

- if a settings dialog window (or any window for that matter) has its lower part off-screen (especially the OK button) then hold down the ALT key (to the LEFT of the space bar) and use the mouse to drag an otherwise immovable settings window UP, so you can click OK, or whatever you need to do. HTH.

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:01 pm

alphanumeric wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:11 pm
I'll Ditto that. It makes using a PiTFT GPIO attached screen a real PITA.
TBH: these GPIO attached screens are not really suitable to run a full desktop. Way too small for that.
I tried it a few times in the early days and concluded that they are best used with a custom GUI application using e.g. pygame

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:23 am

Whist I agre that the desktop should work OK on the Foundation LCD, anything smaller is not recomended. Optimising to that size of display, which is a tiny proportion of users, would be a foolish allocation of work.
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alphanumeric
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:38 am

I will concede the PiTFT was a poor example. It was what came to mind at the time.
I've had windows open with the OK off screen on my Official Pi foundation screen though. I then have to right click and select "move" to get at the button I want to click.

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:44 am

Most Linux & BSD software was originally designed for XGA screens, 1024x768 res.

But, at the time of Linux birth, a lot of people were still using SVGA/800x600, however, you should still find 'X' drivers for 420x320 res.

I sometimes have problems on my 1024x600 netbooks even - knew there was a way, so thanks for the reminder of 'alt+drag'. ;)

It isn't really something the Pi Foundation can do anything about, it's heritage. 8-)

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:08 am

k-pi wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:44 am
It isn't really something the Pi Foundation can do anything about, it's heritage. 8-)
There is little the Foundation or RPT can do about software which isn't under their control. It's more something which developers should bear in mind

And not just application developers, and particularly framework creators, but web designers too. The Foundation's home page is pretty annoying these days when viewed on an 800x600 screen. Ironically it is it being a 'responsive site' which appears to create the problem there.

I'm not sure it's just "heritage". I tend to believe it's developers and designers simply not imagining users using anything less capable than they do. And they tend to be the ones most likely to have the latest and greatest, highest resolution displays. So, if they have a 1080p or 4K monitor, that's what they will design for, will rarely give consideration to how things will appear on anything smaller, unless they happen to have and use such a screen themselves.

It's frequently the same when it comes to catering for visually impairment. If it works for the developer it is considered good enough for everyone. Doesn't matter if they have allowed default theme colouring in one part, forced colouring in another, meaning a user can end up with black on black or white on white. I have lost count of how many Word documents arrive for me with that problem.

Of course there can be problems the other way too. I do tech support and the company I work for uses TeamViewer to connect to user's PC's to fix things when they are out of their depth. That's amusing when the user has a huge 4K display and has adjusted scaling to get the maximum on there when I'm connecting with a screen which is less capable and ends up just showing pixels where there should be readable text or icons.

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DavidS
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:13 pm

Yes you can drag windows around, that is known. Though it is an extra pain to have to repeatedly drag a window up and down while changing settings, or working on some project or another using some application that does not vertically fit.

It is true that a lot of this is from legacy, as many of the developers of X based applications were looking at the XGA and higher resolution displays of the time (mostly in the 1990's, and early 2000's).

The issue today is that so many people are going to lower resolution displays, not just on RPi, though also for there primary systems, often using tablets and netbook type systems as there primary computer, with the more portable ones having display resolutions of 800x480, and most having a display of 1024x600, only getting into higher resolutions when you get to sizes that are not so on person portable.

ON THE RPi:
It seems to be more and more common to see lower resolution HDMI displays in use, like the one I am using. If I am not mistaken the RPi foundations display has the same 800x480 resolution.

So would it be to much to ask that as time allows to update the versions of the included applications to run on at least displays having a vertical resolution of 480 pixels, without having to drag the windows around to get access to the bottom controls? As the applications are open source, it could even be done as a branch specific to the RPi versions of the programs.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:23 pm

DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:13 pm
So would it be to much to ask that as time allows to update the versions of the included applications to run on at least displays having a vertical resolution of 480 pixels, without having to drag the windows around to get access to the bottom controls? As the applications are open source, it could even be done as a branch specific to the RPi versions of the programs.
That would be a lot of work to make Pi specific versions of every application that uses a window that doesn't resize to fit smaller screens. Also, every time a new version of the application is released, it would have to have the same patches applied. If anything this is a Debian issue, or something the original developers need to look at.

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:30 pm

DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:13 pm
Yes you can drag windows around, that is known. Though it is an extra pain to have to repeatedly drag a window up and down while changing settings, or working on some project or another using some application that does not vertically fit.

It is true that a lot of this is from legacy, as many of the developers of X based applications were looking at the XGA and higher resolution displays of the time (mostly in the 1990's, and early 2000's).

The issue today is that so many people are going to lower resolution displays, not just on RPi, though also for there primary systems, often using tablets and netbook type systems as there primary computer, with the more portable ones having display resolutions of 800x480, and most having a display of 1024x600, only getting into higher resolutions when you get to sizes that are not so on person portable.

ON THE RPi:
It seems to be more and more common to see lower resolution HDMI displays in use, like the one I am using. If I am not mistaken the RPi foundations display has the same 800x480 resolution.

So would it be to much to ask that as time allows to update the versions of the included applications to run on at least displays having a vertical resolution of 480 pixels, without having to drag the windows around to get access to the bottom controls? As the applications are open source, it could even be done as a branch specific to the RPi versions of the programs.
Sorry, David, but this is nonsense. There are thousands of GUI applications in the repository and many of the need a minimum screen resolution, which has been avilable for more than 2 decades. And modifying them would usually require to redesign their complete interface which means a lot of work.

A simple solution might be the introduction of a "virtual desktop" which is larger than the screen area and allows scrolling, e. g. when the mouse touches the screen borders.
Minimal Kiosk Browser (kweb)
Slim, fast webkit browser with support for audio+video+playlists+youtube+pdf+download
Optional fullscreen kiosk mode and command interface for embedded applications
Includes omxplayerGUI, an X front end for omxplayer

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:52 pm

DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:13 pm
So would it be to much to ask that as time allows to update the versions of the included applications to run on at least displays having a vertical resolution of 480 pixels, without having to drag the windows around to get access to the bottom controls? As the applications are open source, it could even be done as a branch specific to the RPi versions of the programs.
I don't really think, beyond insisting the Foundation's in-house created code is compatible with lower resolutions, that it is practical or feasible, would be a good investment in terms of resources or money.

How to overcome the problem was news to me; I wasn't aware of the Alt+Mouse dragging trick.

So investing some effort in making that more widely known would be worthwhile. It won't resolve the problem but is an amelioration of of it.

Maybe there is some way to notify users when apps are launched from the desktop which are known not to fit at the resolution being used and that trick needs using. That might also be worth pursuing.

And many thanks to mooblie for bringing that trick to my attention.

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:54 pm

rpdom wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:23 pm
That would be a lot of work to make Pi specific versions of every application that uses a window that doesn't resize to fit smaller screens. Also, every time a new version of the application is released, it would have to have the same patches applied. If anything this is a Debian issue, or something the original developers need to look at.
i would not recommend ALL applications, just those included pre-installed on the SD card image for Raspbian.

It would be preferable if the original developers would just update the main version. Or at least if the Debian versions would get patched, so that they end up downstream to Raspbian, Ubuntu, and others.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:03 pm

@hippy:
I agree it would be to much for them to update everything, that would never be asked. That i am aware of there are only maybe 15 to 20 applications included with Raspbian pre-installed on the SD that are offenders, other applications in the repo need the attention of the maintainers of the original sources, as they affect every system on which they run.

Unfortunately I think it is already widely known, as it is extremely common, and you can see posts about this on forums related to just about every modern OS (BSD's Windows 10, all Linux distros, Haiku OS, AROS, ReactOS, etc, etc.).

As I learn of offending applications I attempt to contact the current project maintainers for the given applications.

There are some good applications that do not currently build on Raspbian (or the current Debian for that matter), that would negate the need for some of the offenders. As example OpenScad works well on the low res displays, though will not build on Debian systems at this time.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:16 pm

Sorry about extra reply:

Another option:
If the RPi foundation could choose alternatives that do already fit well in a 480 vertical resolution screen. That is for a given offending application find an alternative application that performs the same task and already fits in the screen. I think that there are options in the repo for alternatives to all offending applications that are included on the SD card image by default.
Last edited by DavidS on Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:46 pm

DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:16 pm
Sorry about extra reply:

Another option:
If the RPi foundation could choose alternatives that do already fit well in a 640 vertical resolution screen. That is for a given offending application find an alternative application that performs the same task and already fits in the screen. I think that there are options in the repo for alternatives to all offending applications that are included on the SD card image by default.
I really don't think it's the RPF's responsibility and spend time (and money) to do that.
If you think thee are good and usable alternatives then I assume you have looked around and found them already (?)
Why not make an effort yourself and see if they're good replacements. Then open an issue on RPF github to request it to be added to the RPF image.

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DavidS
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:15 pm

DirkS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:46 pm
DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:16 pm
Sorry about extra reply:

Another option:
If the RPi foundation could choose alternatives that do already fit well in a 640 vertical resolution screen. That is for a given offending application find an alternative application that performs the same task and already fits in the screen. I think that there are options in the repo for alternatives to all offending applications that are included on the SD card image by default.
I really don't think it's the RPF's responsibility and spend time (and money) to do that.
If you think thee are good and usable alternatives then I assume you have looked around and found them already (?)
Why not make an effort yourself and see if they're good replacements. Then open an issue on RPF github to request it to be added to the RPF image.
I do not want to miss anything If I do that.
I think a forum thread would be more appropriate place to do that as many people could mention alternatives they know of, and a decision of what to replace would still be up to the maintainers of Raspbian (mostly volunteer [I have heard rumor that there may be one or two paid employes for software dev now, still mostly volunteer.]).

Also, MS bought GitHub, and I am apposed to MS since the well known debacle of a large chunk of the code that went into Windows 4.0.xxx, much of which is still in Windows 10. I do what I can to not give thieves a reason to continue bad practice.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:23 pm

Just increase the size of the framebuffer via config.txt
Thats how I fit my desktop and all programs on a 800*480 screen.
Stop plugging your fan directly into the GPIO 5v
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:46 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:23 pm
Just increase the size of the framebuffer via config.txt
Thats how I fit my desktop and all programs on a 800*480 screen.
Nice idea! The HVS will automagically scale the FB to the size of the display. Interesting fact, the colour square on startup is a 2x2 image, scaled and colour interpolated to the display size.

Although I will be mentioning to he who knows that I think the default Raspbian install should run properly on the LCD at 800x480, and currently it has a couple of issues.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:45 pm

Why the sarcasm? I merely mentioned what worked for me, I didn't claim it would fix anything or that it was actually the correct way of doing stuff.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:19 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:45 pm
Why the sarcasm?
Where?

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Imperf3kt wrote: Just increase the size of the framebuffer via config.txt
Thats how I fit my desktop and all programs on a 800*480 screen.
LOL
I bet that looks interesting. How many pixels do not get drawn? Does it make seeing details more difficult?
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:05 am

DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:25 pm
Imperf3kt wrote: Just increase the size of the framebuffer via config.txt
Thats how I fit my desktop and all programs on a 800*480 screen.
LOL
I bet that looks interesting. How many pixels do not get drawn? Does it make seeing details more difficult?
Not particularly. I set mine to 1280*720 and it seems to work fine, no perceptable quality issues due to the scaling.
DirkS wrote:
Imperf3kt wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:45 pm
Why the sarcasm?
Where?
Jamesh's response comes across as sarcastic, at least to me.
The use of "automagically" in addition to the rest of his reply (which if I'm being honest, I do not understand) almoat comes across as "be quiet, its not that simple"

Of course, if I have misinterpreted things, I do apologise.
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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:20 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:05 am
DavidS wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:25 pm
Imperf3kt wrote: Just increase the size of the framebuffer via config.txt
Thats how I fit my desktop and all programs on a 800*480 screen.
LOL
I bet that looks interesting. How many pixels do not get drawn? Does it make seeing details more difficult?
Not particularly. I set mine to 1280*720 and it seems to work fine, no perceptable quality issues due to the scaling.
I actually use 1200x720 (1.5 x original width and height). Works very well indeed.
DirkS wrote:
Imperf3kt wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:45 pm
Why the sarcasm?
Where?
Jamesh's response comes across as sarcastic, at least to me.
The use of "automagically" in addition to the rest of his reply (which if I'm being honest, I do not understand) almoat comes across as "be quiet, its not that simple"

Of course, if I have misinterpreted things, I do apologise.
Yes, I think you got that wrong...
He basically just says that the GPU will scale the size you set to the physical size (the opposite of what happens with the 'rainbow' screen which consists of just 4 pixels)

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Re: Will people please think about low res displays?

Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:33 am

DavidS,

I'm curious. What is this well known debacle of a large chunk of the code that went into Windows 4.0.xxx ?

I too am sad that github fell into the hands of MS.

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