GUI legibility (on a Hi Def Widescreen TV) for Firefox on Ubuntu 9.10

One problem I didn’t anticipate was the (il)legibility of the screen on my new HTPC when browsing the web. I have a 37″ Toshiba 37AV505D flatscreen with the HTPC hooked up via DVI cable. Running at 1920 x 1080px everything ends up looking, at best, fucking tiny.

At first I squinted, begrudgingly shuffled closer and made do with it all, but it was quickly doing my head in, and this is before I’d even let my technophobic short-sighted other half at it. I wasn’t going to spend all day on the Internet with it as it’s mainly for running XBMC which has nice, big fonts and is built with widescreen TVs in mind. However, as I’d gone to so much effort to make Firefox start from within XBMC I thought I may as well bite the bullet and figure out how to jig the zoom settings around in Ubuntu and Firefox to make the whole experience more comfortable.

In the screen below you can see what it looked like before I touched the browser settings (I’d already changed the OS settings). I can’t see shit.

1920x1080 Ubuntu 9.10 with Firefox at 100% Zoom

After some digging I found theĀ NoSquint Add-on for Firefox and changed the global Zoom settings (click here to see what I set them as). Way better.

1920x1080 Ubuntu 9.10

I changed some settings in ‘Preferences’ – ‘Appearance’ – ‘Fonts’ in the Ubuntu GUI. Here’s what I changed them to:

Font Appearance Preferences in Ubuntu

I then hit ‘Details…’, and changing the Resolution (DPI) really made a difference to the legibility of the whole GUI. I whacked it up to around 150:

Font Rendering Details in Ubuntu

Ideally I wanted to make it easier to scroll up and down in Firefox by making the scrollbars wider. Apparently this is possible in earlier (than 3.0) versions of Firefox by modifying the ‘userChrome.css’ file in your user profile directory, but apparently this is no longer possible, which is a shame. If I ever find a solution to this (as well as making the ‘back’ and ‘forward’ buttons larger, I’ll be sure to post.

So there you go. A perfectly legible HTPC display with 10ft GUI.

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One response to “GUI legibility (on a Hi Def Widescreen TV) for Firefox on Ubuntu 9.10

  1. Thanks for this post! I added a link to it here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8860211

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