Gnome3 UI Scaling Hint
#1
I know that Gnome isn't the most popular environment on the Pinebook Pro, with lighter alternatives like Mate and XFCE being default options on most of the popular system images.

I find that I'm very happy with it, running Debian Bullseye, per @danielt Debian installer. Many of the unmodified Ubuntu images will use this as the Canonical desktop as well.

The screen on every one of the distros looks very small for daily use - and Gnome is no exception here. My solution has been to enable the Gnome experimental capability for "Fractional Scaling". The Settings app, gnome-control-center, normally allows only two scaling options under "Devices -> Displays", 100% and 200%. These were designed for users on HiDPI screens, like that in MacbookPro and high-end Dell XPS laptops.

Since at least Gnome 3.2 it's been possible to add a range of 125%-150%-175% as additional scaling options, which are very suitable for other classes of machine, like our PBPs.

This can be enabled within your gnome session by opening a terminal, and entering:

gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer']"

The control center "Settings" can now be opened with the new preference choices, without logging out of your running session. You needn't worry about putting your desktop in an unusable state. The settings will test adjustment, and revert to previous working configuration if not confirmed.

On the PBP, I find that 125% is a perfect scaling - not losing too much real estate, but keeping me from hitting <CTL-SHIFT-+> on every other page in Firefox!
It keeps me from also doing a bunch of "no-squint" customization on my terminal profiles, too.

The framebuffer text fonts are also small enough by default, to make your eyeballs feel like you've been scouring them with fiberglass, after an hour or so.
On Debian you can get a reasonable sized-typeface by switching to one of the TTYs and running:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

The options are pretty simple. I choose UTF-8 as my encoding, because the 90's were a long time ago! Pick Latin1 & Latin5 option for most users, and here's the important part: In font selection choose "Terminus" and move to the next option, picking font size - 16x32 (framebuffer only). Now you can tell the "o" and "c" apart.

These settings will be added to the console setup by init, and be default on all new local TTYs.
— Jeremiah Cornelius
"Be the first person not to do some­thing, that no one has thought of not doing before’’
— Brian Eno, "Oblique Strategies"


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