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Linus Torvalds Advocates For 2560x1600 Standard Laptop Displays 661

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-catch-up-to-mid-'90s-CRT-screens dept.
beeudoublez points out a Google+ post by Linus Torvalds arguing that today's standard laptop display resolution is unreasonably low. He said, "...with even a $399 tablet doing 2560x1600 pixel displays, can we please just make that the new standard laptop resolution? Even at 11"? Please. Stop with the 'retina' crap, just call it 'reasonable resolution.' The fact that laptops stagnated ten years ago (and even regressed, in many cases) at around half that in both directions is just sad. I still don't want big luggable laptops, but that 1366x768 is so last century."
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Linus Torvalds Advocates For 2560x1600 Standard Laptop Displays

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  • Re:Agree 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:03PM (#41835135) Journal

    My 7 year old laptop had a 1920x1200 resolution and when I bought a new one a few months ago I had to look all over just to find one that had a 1920x1080 resolution.

    We share the same gripe. This was posted from my 8½ year old laptop, which also has WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution. I'm holding out on replacing it until I can get something with more pixels. Shortscreen FHD (1920x1080) is a step downwards, while I want to go upwards in pixels. Luckily, Xubuntu 12.04 runs fine on this old hardware.

  • Re:Agree 100% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX (665546) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:07PM (#41835201)
    Hell, I had a 14" Daytek by Daewoo tube monitor that could handle 1600x1200 in 1996. It's disappointing that it hasn't gotten better.
  • Re:Problem (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:09PM (#41835225)

    You are completely nuts, and uninformed. 2560x1600 is the true pixel resolution of the iPad. It uses a SoC with a quad-core graphics chip to drive it. Current laptops could easily drive that resolution, except those using 5+ year-old tech.

    Even for applications that are just "blown up" with pixel doubling, additional smoothing can be applied, and it can still look better. Text is generally rendered directly through the system, and so you would get a true improvement in text in all applications. In fact, the additional resolution helps text readability far more than it helps anything else.

  • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:20PM (#41835373)

    I realize that this is a lost cause and all; but why would you endorse a 16:10(at least it's not bloody 16:9...) rather than a 4:3 for a laptop? For a tablet, sure, where you can change the orientation and turn your sprawling rectangle into a nice, readable, page-width reading surface; but a laptop, where the keyboard keeps you from doing that?

    Because standardized aspect ratios are generally a good thing (I would actually rather do the 16:9, but 16:10 is close enough). In addition, because I don't have dual monitors on my laptop, I like to be able to put two windows side-by-side, each taking up half the screen. Also, wider screens means wider laptop, which means wider keyboard.

    I understand your complaint, and for the desktop, I like the ability to turn my monitor to portrait orientation. That said, there are a good many reasons for having widescreen laptops.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:36PM (#41835549)

    You know what drives changes like this. People showing they will pay a premium to have it.

    By a 2880x1800 or 2560x1600 Retina Macbook, when they sell in numbers, competitors will follow.

    You know why there is a 2560x1600 Tablet. Because Apple sold shipping containers full of Retina iPads (2048x1536) and Google took notice and decided to one up them.

    Putting your money where your mouth is, trumps whining on a blog every time.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:38PM (#41835581)

    I prefer 16:10 monitors to 4:3 (old-school) or 16:9 ("widescreen HD modern crap").

    4:3 works fine for a single-window app, but it's hard to do two side-by-side windows. Even some fullscreen apps don't work well with it. I prefer my text editors to have a lot of horizontal space for text - I threw the 80 columns rule out a decade ago.

    Meanwhile, 16:9 is a bit condensed for productivity stuff. For movies and games, 16:9 works fine. But so does 16:10. Movies you can just blackbar, and games look fine on 16:10.

    So I find 16:10 to be a good compromise for aspect ratio. It's wide enough to do widescreen movies and side-by-side windows, but not so wide that a fullscreen editor feels stretched. I currently put up with 16:9, since 1920x1080 is about half the cost of 1920x1200, but my ideal setup would be 16:10.

    Also, for the mathematically inclined, 16:10 is a close approximation of the golden ratio.

  • Re:Agree 100% (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:41PM (#41835615)

    Hell, T61p motherboards fit in the 14" T60 cases which can take a 2048x1536 screen; such FrankenPads are becoming pretty common among those that refuse to give up our pixels when 'upgrading' since the transplant gives us a chance to properly clean and refurbish every single part in the machine in the process.

    Note, these were available over 5 years ago.

    2048x1536 in a 14" laptop.

    5 YEARS AGO!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @05:06PM (#41835903)

    Defects in silicon can be handled by adding extra redundant logic on the chip that can be rerouted by burning some fuses or even through configuration pins.

    Display is different. When there is a defect in the middle of the screen, you cannot just tell the user to look at the extra redundant pixels that you added on the side of the screen and call it a day.

    Also the surface area of a display is at least two magnitudes higher than silicon chips.

  • by bertok (226922) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @05:59PM (#41836385)

    Putting your money where your mouth is, trumps whining on a blog every time.

    Except there is NOWHERE for my money to go. I can't vote with my wallet, because every vendor makes the exact same fucking thing, without the slightest variation. This a total failure of the free market.

    Sure, finally, after years of stagnation, Apple made a single laptop model that has a screen resolution higher than 1920x1200.


    Now find me a 17" laptop that has a keyboard that drops the numeric keypad so that it can have standard 101-key spacing for the rest of the keyboard.

    There is no such thing. It does not exist. There is no laptop manufacturer on the whole planet that will sell me a 17" laptop that has a keyboard designed with keys like a traditional keyboard. Without exception, they all squeeze in a numeric keypad I never use, and re-use keyboards designed for 15" laptops in their 17" models. None of the usual extra-wide gaps are present, so I can't touch-type properly. I have trouble hitting the ESC key, the function keys, the arrow keys, and ins/del/pg-up/pg-dn, none of which are EVER in the standard positions. Often those keys are half-sized too, for extra frustration.

    I've said this before on Slashdot in the vain hope that that somebody from a laptop hardware vendor still frequents this Internet backwater: I will pay a $500 price premium for a laptop with a proper keyboard. However, I'm certain that this won't ever happen. We're all just consumers watching 1080p "content". Not a single programmer has ever had to use a laptop. Fuck them, and their money. That's the attitude I've been sensing from the OEMs. I don't expect it to change any time soon.

    If it was at all possible, I'd start my own laptop company, and make a line of "Pro" laptops for the type of people who type with more than one finger at a time. It would have clicky keys, a 4K display, a water-resistant chassis, an externally accessible hot-swap SATA drive bay, and an 10Gbps SFP port on the back. In certain industries, it would be the only model anybody would want to buy, irrespective of cost.

  • by bobbyjack (444724) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @06:08PM (#41836473) Homepage
    I see what you've done there. You've taken the word "consumer" and inserted the word "sheep", inventing your own brand new word "consheepmer", in order to suggest that most people who buy things make their decisions based on the decisions of others, rather than carrying out their own in-depth research into all the options available. Well done, you should be proud of yourself.
  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @06:18PM (#41836549)

    I have a 14.1" display with 1400x1050 and I can't see adding more pixels would help me any unless it includes an eyeball upgrade.

    I wouldn't even opt for an upgraded display if it were free as it would just suck more CPU/GPU resources and power for nothing when using 3d apps.

    Mobile devices may be a little different in limited size and reasonable expectation they could at times be held much closer to the face higher pixel density could make more sense.

    After a certain point I believe has already been reached with my 1400x1050 display increasing resolution is like increasing spring counts in mattresses it is only seen as worthwhile to the marketing departments.

    I think the real issue behind Torvalds request may actually be an artifact in the way linux handles fonts, font scaling and lack of availability of quality fonts for linux. Without aliasing the output looks unecessarily horrible and the result has always been to increase font size to brush over the underlying problem..this effectivly effectivly reduces information density of the display compared with windows.

    If you had a 2560x1600 display on a portable computer and there is still any font aliasing going on then something is very wrong and it aint the hardware.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @07:40PM (#41837199)

    Do you do anything other than watch movies or play games?
    A 4:3 monitor gives a height/width ratio of ~1.3:1
    A 16:9 ratio is ~1.7:1
    A sheet of A4 paper has a ratio of ~1.4:1.
    The 4:3 monitor - used in portrait mode - shows a clean, full-sized sheet of A4 - just nice for DTP, layout, etc. Some of us still do work that results in A4-sized hard copy. Works for A3, A5, and A6, too.

    A 16:10 display is two A4 pages side by side. 2560x1600 is 16:10, not 16:9

    Also for those of us who work on spreadsheets and diagrams, 16:10 allows us to do A4 and A3 diagrams in landscape mode.

    For writing documents, if you want to write one page at a time 16:10 is good as half the page takes up the whole screen, but then again in almost all office packages you have borders of whitespace around the page.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @08:36PM (#41837593) Homepage

    Intel has shown Ivy Bridge running 4K over two DP cables. Video acceleration also works. Haswell has been promised to do 4K over one cable, I hope 3840x2160x60 fps over DisplayPort and not just 3840x2160x24 fps over HDMI 1.4 or maybe HDMI 2.0 will show up - but we'll know in half a year or so. Here's a clip [] of Haswell decoding a 200 Mbps 4K video stream in hardware, 1% CPU. So by this time next year, mainstream CPUs will be able to do it. Meanwhile people have tested it for gaming, top end cards in CF/SLI will give you okay frame rates. It is also rumored that the PS4 will support 4K video output - not unlikely since Sony also sells 4K TVs now - with that not being said that games will be in 4K resolution, just like the PS3 plays 720p games and outputs 1080p BluRay.

    The huge elephant in the closet is of course still the cost of 4K displays. The "Retina" screens add a hefty premium to the 13-15" MBPs, I suspect for a >20 inch 4K monitor you are looking at least $1000 extra, even if Apple plans to make up for it on volume. Remember current 4K monitors are way over $10k, though they're only for special use in industry/medical/military which of course means a huge sticker price. That said, no doubt a $34,999 Eizo monitor is overpriced when you can get LGs 84" 4K TV for $16,999 but still it's a good stretch down to normal consumer prices.

  • by mellon (7048) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @09:54PM (#41838111) Homepage

    Buy a Nexus 10, install Ubuntu on it, and use an external keyboard. Bonus: you can use it in portrait mode for hacking code, and landscape mode for watching movies. Now if only they'd release the Nexus 13...

  • Re:Agree 100% (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rbrander (73222) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @12:08AM (#41838917) Homepage

    I'm still discovering what my 1998 vintage, 21" Compaq P1210 can do. The last version of Mint, I discovered it doesn't top out at 1600x1200 - a new resolution of 1792x1344 came up in the drivers, and it seems to work. I think the phosphor can show that many pixels, because fonts got smaller but still readable.

    Now, in 1998 when it was made, I don't think you could get 1600x1200; quite the futureproofed product.

    Also, I have to keep it; it doubles as a catwarmer []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @12:34AM (#41839017)

    try 78, so you can email it.

    If you're routinely writing ridiculously long lines of code, you should be dragged out back and monkey-stomped until you promise never to do it again. There's VERY little reason for any long line to not be broken up across multiple lines at logical breakpoints. Of course, this is why "larger vertical space" is useful - you see more of the context for the line without having to constantly jigger up and down to see what was happening around the code you're working on.

    Very wide text is fundamentally unreadable - there are numerous readability studies that have concluded the "optimum" line length for readability is around 75 characters. Go too much wider than that, and you make your code MUCH harder to read.

  • by Jaruzel (804522) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:34AM (#41839225) Homepage Journal

    This is why I love my Dell 2408WFP - it's getting on a bit now, and the color management isn't as good as it should be (but I have a Huey for that), but it's 16:10 with a resolution of 1920x1200 - absolutely wonderful. I never maximise anything, and mostly have several cascaded portrait shaped windows displayed across it.

    Back to topic. I think what Linus actually means is that he wants a higher resolution so that there are no jaggies on fonts, and scrollbars and widgets look sharper. The actual perceived font size (in inches etc.) would be the same - so all these comments about tiny fonts, and 8 way code diffs, are completely missing the point.

    Think of it this way, you watch the same movie on a 720p screen, and then on a 1080p screen - do you see more of the movie picture on the latter? No. It's just _sharper_.


  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ...> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:17AM (#41839351)

    The real solution to this is to go back to 80x25 screens, and better short-term memory. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

    I've been developing my own OS from scratch and right now I'm limiting myself to the 80x25 or 80x50ish modes for the primordial in-OS development environment. I agree that 25 lines is about all I need to see at a time. I could do with a bit more horizontal area, but horizontal scrolling makes up for the lack of columns nicely.

    The language I've created to build the OS with runs as either compiled or interpreted code, making it easy to create, test, and add new modules in real-time. To this end I use the upper 25 rows for program output / display, and the lower rows for the debugger and "immediate" mode code editor. It's sort of like a limited tiling WM, or GNU screen-ish interface. I used to develop code in DOS based applications decades ago, and initially thought that modern graphical environments were far better suited to development. Naturally, I thought I'd be really cramped for space but it actually has worked out to be more comfortable in comparison. I've got noticeably less eyestrain than when I do my "day job" work in a modern IDE. It seems that what you say is true: 80x25 rows or so is all one really needs with a scrolling display. However, I supplement my short term memory with the additional pane.

    Now reconsidering my stance against using console based editors in favor of IDEs for development on "proper" OSs as well...

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:16AM (#41839595) Journal

    Who's talking about laptops?

    Everyone in this thread, but you. You know, it's the topic of the thread (and of the story, BTW).

    Anyone who uses a laptop and bitches about screen real estate should just plug in an external monitor and shut the fuck up.

    Yeah, sure. I'll carry an extra monitor around with me, sure.

    At home, I've got a monitor that is large enough that I can display two A4 pages side by side in 1:1 size, so a widescreen makes sense. For my laptop that would be too large to carry around. A laptop screen is always a compromise between portability and usability. And the 4:3 screen is simply the best compromise unless you use it primarily to watch movies.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein