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back to article Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

Linux Lord Linus Torvalds is thinking about making Google's Chromebook Pixel his main computer – once he installs a proper Linux distribution on the machine, that is. Posting on Google+, Torvalds lauded Google's newest creation, writing "... the screen really is that nice" [his emphasis] and that "I think I can lug around this 1 …

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Anonymous Coward

Torvalds

" I despise widescreen displays" yeahmmm good at linux, not so much on a logical display.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Torvalds

Other than watching video (although I can ignore black bars), in what other respects are widescreen displays superior or more logical?

Gaming? Well, my old 20in Samsung running 1600x1200 is much better than my old 21in Samsung running 1650x1050 for gaming, although my preference was for 1920x1200. Display aspect matters for me when it comes to gaming, and the only reason I don't hate my new monitor is because 1440 vertical pixels is quite a lot.

Office tasks? Displays with proper depth are much preferable to widescreen for office tasks. The only advantage for widescreen is multiple windows open side-by-side, hard to do on 1366x768 wouldn't you say? One of my greatest joys when I was programming was to turn my Sammy into portrait 1200x1600 to review the code. Perfect.

16:9 was forced on us by the screen and device manufacturers because it was cheaper to produce and they were/are in a race to the bottom (both in price and in quality IMO), not because it was better or because customers liked it. Customers liked it because it was cheaper. Cheaper > Better when the masses are buying.

So why was 16:9 cheaper than 4:3? Apart from TV panels helping the process, I believe it was because panel manufacturers could fit more 16:9 ratio panels through the process than the other ratios. 16:9 panels fit better on the substrate and resulted in less waste around the edges. Therefore more 16:9 panels could be made and were cheaper than 16:10 and 4:3, and therefore more price-conscious consumers bought them.

To reiterate: they were cheaper and not better, it was economics and not technology.

Icon: Paris thinks size matters as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds

You can pry my 16:10 panels from my cold dead hands

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This

>they were cheaper and not better

Yes. Yes, yes and Yes. And Yes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds

"Other than watching video (although I can ignore black bars), in what other respects are widescreen displays superior or more logical?"

Umm ... anything where width would be an advantage..?

I do a lot of photo processing (3:2 DSLR images, typically in landscape), and the extra width over a 4:3 display is useful - it matches the native aspect of the image, and allows for the layout of the application's toolbars and palettes (even when the image is in portrait, as the proliferation of palettes sit out of the way to the side).

I also do application development - both Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio have palettes that site to the side, and encroach by an annoying amount on the area of the screen where the code goes (yes, I could minimise them, but I use them enough for that to be annoying) - on a 19" panel, this is not a pleasant experience. I typically need multiple windows open, so I can't span the program across my pair of monitors.

For Microsoft Office & web browsing, I can't see either being better that the other, though.

Personally, I have a 20" widescreen monitor at home, and a pair of 19" 4:3 monitor at work, so the above is a direct comparison of my usage of identical applications in both environments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds

Look at most computer applications and operating systems, they have toolbars top and bottom. So if anything, a computer display should be taller not wider so as to maximise the working space on screen.

Obviously there are plenty of exceptions. IDEs often have panels on the left and right, but they still have toolbars too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds

'git repositories' - some would say that was a 'chair'.

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Re: Torvalds

So why was 16:9 cheaper than 4:3?

Pythagoras - they could sell you a bigger screen with less pixels on it:

A 20" screen in 4:3 has an area of 192 in2

A 20" screen in 16:9 has an area of 171 in2

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MJI
Silver badge

Re: Torvalds

Go by image size

Well we all know that you need a bigger diagonal with widescreen, this is why the 25" TV was replaced by the 32" 16x9 TV, same vertical height.

A 24" W/S TV looks small compared to a 24" 4x3.

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Mushroom

Re: Torvalds

Hey Linus...what kind of CHEESE would you like with your whine?

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Re: Torvalds

And please put that finger where the sun doesn't shine or in your mouth whichever results in you becoming less of an *ss.

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Anonymous Coward

@HighTech4US - Re: Torvalds

All this just so you can find him acceptable ? You don't like him being an *ss while you're happily displaying the same behavior. What makes you think you're entitled to this and he is not ?

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Re: Torvalds

It's easy to rotate your display.

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Re: @HighTech4US - Torvalds

If someone is behaving like a pr*ck one is entitled to say so.

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Facepalm

Dunno, not needing a microscope to see your screen is a good one. I'm sure you can get lots of pixels in a few microns if you're that dumb.

Some of us work at a desk and play.. games.. the last one being a novel idea to Linux kernel people I know. I'm sure Valve are super-chuffed by his machinations for one.

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Agreed

I'm with you streaky, have an upvote. What the hell is with 6 downvotes on streaky's post? He's absolutely right: many of us use desktops for work and play, and while I do have a Sammy Slate and it's very useful, I also find my desktop PC just as useful. And there's obviously a market still there, otherwise they wouldn't still be making motherboards, graphics cards and hard drives.

I really don't get this "tablets are the ONLY thing now, PCs are so dead" craze. You'd think owning a desktop is like smoking in public, the way people are carrying on! Tablets are great, yes - as an adjunct to the desktop workstation. But they don't replace the workstation. Try using Photoshop or Cinema 4D on a tablet sometime. Or playing games. Sometimes you just need a keyboard, mouse and a big fat monitor in front of you, and that isn't going to change.

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Silver badge

Re: Agreed

Well most GUIs can be upscaled for people with bad eyesight. For people with normal eyesight most screens/guis are far to large. Particularly on mobile devices you want to have small text.

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@streaky

"Some of us work at a desk and play.. games.. the last one being a novel idea to Linux kernel people I know."

Eh ? What has the kernel to do with the display resolution ? (aside from general issues like scheduling, multi-threading etc for which the Linux kernel is already perfectly fine for gaming)

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Flame

Disagreed

Morons like streaky are why screen resolutions haven't increased in 10 years.

The point of having so many pixels is so you do not see individual pixels. That's what Apple was advertising with the Retina branding, and what Google is now calling the Chromebook Pixel.

I don't want to see pixels. I've seen plenty of pixels. I want the pixels to be so small that I see smooth fonts and sharp pictures. That's the point of having such sharp screens.

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Coat

Re: Disagreed

I don't want to see pixels. I've seen plenty of pixels. I want the pixels to be so small that I see smooth fonts and sharp pictures. That's the point of having such sharp screens.

.. and then people go and play classic arcade games..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Disagreed

What does that have to do with anything?

Retro gaming is still a fairly niche thing and certainly no excuse for sticking to 1960s TV resolutions.

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Silver badge

Uh, scaling?

You don't need to view everything 1:1 at 72dpi..

Games.. I don't see how this causes a problem, just use a lower resolution that's the same AR and have it scale up.

That said, I can't imagine many, if any, games have this AR as a selectable option, but I'm sure you can edit a config file or two to get it right. If not, as long as the system can letterbox it, a 1.6 AR option will suffice, losing you only 50 pixels top and bottom.

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Re: big fat monitor in front of you

Rather pair of big fat GTX680 videocards

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Thumb Up

Re: Agreed

Absolutely right! I enjoy my iPad, but I'm waiting on a new Mac Pro (could be out in Spring, according to the rumor mill). My 2006 Mac Pro is still hauling, but it's starting to show its age. I simply prefer large monitors.

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Re: Disagreed

Higher DPI screens means we can emulate CRTs all the better!

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Silver badge

Re: Disagreed

There's a Nyquist element to it; the lower the resolution the lower the frequency of signal an image can contain — in layman's terms, lower density = less contrast. You can antialias so that the pixels aren't obvious but there's a physical limit to the amount of information you can present. When you step up to a display that includes all that extra information you probably still can't see the individual pixels but you can tell that edges are sharper and more lifelike, on text, on images and everywhere else, and you can then perceive a certain lack of sharp focus when you go back to the old display.

So it's really nothing to do with whether you can see the individual pixels or not, it's about how much information (in the digital signal processing sense) can be packed into an area and therefore how close an approximation a screen can be to actual printed text.

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Anonymous Coward

What the hell is with 6 downvotes on streaky's post?

Cause somone doesn't like streaky and cannot refute his comments ...

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Raz

Re: What the hell is with 6 downvotes on streaky's post?

I think you need to check again, there are already some refutes. Streaky will do fine with a 10 x 6 pixels display, it seems. You and him do not understand the interpolation method and other ways of making the image sharper. Someone has explained it already.

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Facepalm

Re: Disagreed

Except....

Your eye is a high-pass filter. I.e. the extra effort to increase pixel size comes to nothing the moment the pixels move around or have diagonal lines and curves.

Then you have to anti-alias them. So, at some point there is a trade-off between physical display density, how your eye works and computation, with a certain point of diminishing return on making the pixel smaller.

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Holmes

Re: Disagreed

"Morons like streaky are why screen resolutions haven't increased in 10 years"

Actually I believe you misread what I actually said. I want an ~8K 16:10/30" monitor like yesterday. Apparently I belong to a small group that knows it's already possible and the panel cartels are the ones stopping it.

I was arguing against a tiny screen being useful for everything ever. When Torvalds has RSI and is part-blind in 10 years and is bitching about it on the kernel lists we'll be having words. I remember these sorts of things.

Tiny screens aren't really useful for much, unless you really really need them. Anybody who writes lots of code and things they're super-useful patently needs their head testing.

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Trollface

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

I was reading your comment with an open mind and heart, just as I like to approach any new person I meet.

It began quite OK, quite inoffensive. I neither agreed nor disagreed but I was interested in seeing out the rest.

Then I couldn't quite see the point you were making and how it was relevant, but OK . . .

Then I noticed I was screwing up my nose and upper lip in "WTF?". My nose had gotten there before I did as I was trying to wrap my head around how your argument related to actual events.

Halfway through, when my head had caught up with my clearly more intelligent nose (or at least quicker on the uptake), I wondered who was writing the comment and looked up.

I cannot believe I wasted precious seconds bothering to read your comment! What a valuable lesson I have learnt today: Always look before you read.

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Facepalm

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

It's normally only worth checking whether he's taken his medication or not. And maybe to remind him to attend therapy, you never know: there may be hope.

On a related note it seems we're likely to be spared Matt Asay's dribbling. Wondering who El Reg will get to replace him. Personally I'd welcome a return of Ashlee Vance's column. Didn't always agree with him but could usually follow his arguments.

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Pint

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

I'm agreeing, the first part of the comment was quite sensible, although the 'ms sucks on tablets' is what made me look. Surely sucking on anything BUT a tablet is what win 8 is famous for? Made me go read the name...

Beer, because you can always use a tablet as a coaster, plus it's good to drink

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Thumb Down

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

Eadon you need to grow up a bit.

Seriously, the whole "my computer's better than your computer" thing was boring the first time around 30 odd years ago!

We get it - you prefer Linux to Windows - now you need to move on and get a life, go outside, smell the fresh air, watch a puppy gambol in a park, take yourself off to an area of outstanding natural beauty and drink it in - ANYTHING in fact except continue to obsess about Microsoft.

THEY ARE JUST FUCKING COMPUTERS; THEY AREN'T THAT IMPORTANT!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

It's Eadon, if the article was about Hugo Chavez popping his clogs then Eadon would find a way of saying it was due to Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

Eadon is a big name in literature and has created his own puzzle too wow.

http://www.eadon.com

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FIA

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

Google releases Chromebook Pixel with much less fanfare. And wham, the greatest active operating system guru endorses it.

Andy Tanenbaum uses a Chrombook?? Wow. Must've missed that one,

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Re: Ignore Poster Option

So when are we going to get an Ignore Poster option? And what's the point of the voting system if we can't filter posts based on it?

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Gold badge

Re: Ignore Poster Option

You can already ignore a poster, but that won't help you if someone else replies to their post. This much was learned on Usenet about 30 years ago. Ultimately, the best filter is the one between your ears. If that isn't up to the task, we can't help you.

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Joke

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

Ok Eadon, just show us on the doll where Microsoft touched you.

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Stop

@Eadon

Here's a pro tip: Never use a cleartext handle to piss into the M$ or §overnment pool. They will pull tons of ad-hominems on you. Better be pseudonymous. Even better, strongly pseudonymous via proxy

And, change handle early and often.

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FAIL

Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

holy crap - he certainly aint up on modern web design, i think 1995 called and wanted its god-awful website back.

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Devil

Re: Popping Clogs

Every time a Windows system is booted up someone, somewhere in the word dies.

You think that's just coincidence?

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Re: Chromebook is doing what Surface was supposed to do...

No. Computers are not that important. They allow many of us to have jobs but that big long thing called history pretty much proves we can get on fine without them.

Food, water, shelter, now those things are very important.

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Linux

Re: Popping Clogs

Great now my monitor is covered in coffee... X-D

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Facepalm

Re: @Eadon

"The reason I am not popular here is that I know exactly what I am talking about from a technical POV, I know my onions."

If you aren't going to listen to anyone else's point of view, but think that you are always right, then why in the hell do you think anyone is going to listen to a word you say.

There's three types of people, those that don't know anything, those that know their stuff but also know they don't know everything and those that think they know it all, but demonstrate time and again that they really don't have a clue.

Options 1 & 2 are easy to get along with, option 3 isn't, as they have a steadfast belief that the world is wrong and they alone, are the only ones that are correct.

But what happens when an option 3 meets another option 3, PARADOX!!!

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