It’s missing a crucial point:
I have a 4K monitor because it’s much more enjoyable to use for development, but it becomes a pure nightmare on Linux. I ended up installing an Hackintosh.
Not necessarily. You can look at this as purely anecdotal, but my Dell Precision 5510, which I’ve had for about four years, has a HiDPI display on par with what I have on the MBP I use for work. Maybe this is down to the fact that I run Ubuntu on it, but I’m just using stock Intel and Nvidia drivers on it, depending on my use case.
Just curious, what makes it a nightmare?
My most recent encounter with this is fractional scaling:
I have a 27’’ 4k monitor. I find that at this resolution, 1.5x scaling works best as 2x is too big and 1x is too small. With MacOS or even Windows, this is not a problem at all, with Linux it’s a can of worms:
Xorg doesn’t natively support fractional scaling, Instead you have to rely on hacks or only scaling the fonts (which quite frankly, looks like shit). I never managed to make any of those hacks work reliably and consistently in all apps, eventually you’ll open that one app that uses Qt and you require yet another hack.
Wayland does support fractional scaling, too bad that not all apps support Wayland, most notably Firefox. I tried running Firefox with the experimental Wayland backend with fractional scaling on, and everything looked blurry, it’s just not there yet.
Now, I’m sure for all of those issues there are 10 different workarounds to try and things to tweak to make things better, but I can’t be bothered to do any of that when in macOS (or even Windows) it Just Works™.
Just the fact that the ArchWiki page on HiDPI has a comprehensive list of required hacks is another example of what I’m referring to.
Have you tried with KDE? I’m curious because I’m planning on using HiDPI with 1.25x scaling.
Yes, with KDE it’s slightly better but still not as good or smooth as Windows and macOS in my opinion.
Latest versions of Gnome in Ubuntu 20 have fractional scaling and it’s been set and forget for me.
Ubuntu ’s fractional scaling is using significant more CPU power compare to 2x scaling.
I tried switching to Ubuntu recently (not for the first time) and ended up going the Hackintosh route, too. For me the breaking straw was not being able to adjust mouse wheel scroll settings in a way that would work everywhere and didn’t seem to come with caveats or be labelled as a hack.
Setting up a Hackintosh certainly wasn’t without its hassles, but having got there I’m very happy with it. I also have a Macbook and an iPhone, so that is another motivation to stay in the Apple camp (vendor lock-in, I guess?)
I’m surprised you had mouse wheel woes. Do you have a special or fancy mouse or something? Or want very specific wheel behaviour?
I just have a normal mouse, and TBH I’m a little fuzzy on what happened now. It could very well have been that if I has been using Gnome (or KDE, whichever one I wasn’t using) then it wouldn’t have been a problem at all, but what I really wanted was MacOS anyway, so I just did the Hackintosh thing instead. I kind of took “well I can’t get this basic thing to work right” as an omen.
I use Xubuntu 20.04 on my X1 carbon and desktop with a 27” 4K monitor. Both work totally fine with HiDPI. The main issue I’ve had was when I plugged my laptop into non-HiDPI monitors, I had to lower the DPI for the monitors and that made everything on the laptop small.
The distros the article mentions are ElementaryOS, Pop!_OS, and Fedora Workstation. I believe all of those have had great native HiDPI support “out of the box” for a few years now.
I totally get not loving the aesthetic of GNOME or whatever, especially bumped up at x2, but I think it’s cool that Linux lets us customize everything end to end to our heart’s desire. If we’re going for a more custom setup, totally agree that it can require doing some custom tweaks to get a good HiDPI experience and it won’t be completely automagic.
I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s all a pure nightmare on Linux as a whole. Beginners can have a good experience, experts can have a good experience, crossing that valley can be painful.
Also worth noting that most of the ArchWiki page on HiDPI refers to outdated workarounds that are no longer required, though not all.
Honestly, yeah. I purposely bought a normal DPI display just to avoid this pain. It’s never gonna be perfect. Apps aren’t gonna scale right, even with fractional scaling. Other apps might scale right, but be blurry. It’s gonna drive you crazy.
Just get over the loss aversion, buy a good normal DPI monitor, and get back to work. I’m 100% satisfied with normal DPI.
I will wait until there is some affirmative reason for me to switch that has to do with my use of software applications on the platform – if I’m not going to switch from Mac to Windows, I’m going to need some strong reason that’s not “we have partly reimplemented Windows 2000s user experience”. I admit that there is a strong reason – and that’s the principle of open/free software. But it’s not strong enough for me.
I would think most of us went the other way.
I use both Linux and OSX every [business] day. I guess maybe I have strange needs and standards or something, but I find the UX not even close. I wouldn’t be able to stand having OSX as my daily driver knowing I could be on Linux. I find KDE (with just the default window manager) much more comfortable and nice to work with. Having single-key access to multiple desktops is a must-have for me. Command-Tab-ing around my windows is just too 20th century for me. Plus the ability to specify extremely detailed per-window and per-application window behaviours and appearances (in KDE).
I must admit that I use a lot of tools to make my macOS behave. I have alternatives for almost anything regarding how windows behave, like Alfred, uBar, Contexts, Totalspaces, Magnet etc. In addition I use alternatives for basic apps, like Forklift instead of Finder, iTerm instead of Console and such.
What really made me move from Linux to macOS was kind of a general disappointment in how little improvement has happened in the recent decades. I had big hopes for Linux back in the days, but what then seemed like a big opportunity to make a kickass OS, has fizzled out in arguments about how to do the same old things in a slightly better way. Instead of better distros, we just got a lot more of them. Instead of making it easier to configure, it has just gotten worse.
macOS is far from perfect, but it takes a lot of those configuration issues out of the picture and it got a decent Unix distro at it’s core. On top of that, it works great with a lot of software I’m kind of depended on - like Adobe CC or MS Office to mention a couple. The only thing which is not great on macOS, is gaming - but Linux can hardly be said to be any better in that respect.
There is the price of course. I can’t argue that.