W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 1998

16px default, SI meter (Re: platform-specific font size issues)

From: Susan Lesch <lesch@macvirus.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 15:24:34 -0700
Message-Id: <l03110704b29dd917d13e@[206.19.103.70]>
To: www-style@w3.org
> Because no OS/UA currently assumes a 90ppi logical resolution, (nor
> implements pixel-scaling per CSS1), I think the reference pixel value
> should be amended to 1/96".

If you are looking for a new definition for the reference pixel, perhaps, like DSSSL and early XSL, CSS lengths could be based on the SI meter? Or are inches becoming a U.N. recommendation? :-)

> The appropriate corrective measure, I submit, is for Mac (and X11?)
> browsers to break with tradition and ship with the default value of
> "medium" text set at 16px, instead of 12pt.

Microsoft tried something like this in MSIE 4.0 Mac, where 'medium' was increased to 14. They changed it back to 12 in version 4.01.

I don't know about UNIX setups, but your suggestion seems to work fine with the new 1.2 scaling factor between keywords in CSS2 [1]:

xx-small  9.24 (for most fonts, the smallest readable size on a Mac)
x-small  11.08
small    13.33
medium   16
large    19.2
x-large  23.04
xx-large 27.65

(My only worry is that such large type takes up so much screen real estate that it might make navigation slower and more complex on all but the most high-end setups for many years to come.)

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/fonts.html#font-size-props

Susan Lesch
Received on Wednesday, 16 December 1998 18:59:21 GMT

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