Ever set a high-resolution image as your Ubuntu desktop wallpaper and felt it looked a bit off, as though the image is not quite as sharp as it should be?

Well, stop blaming your eyes because it’s turns out that this is a rendering bug — and I’m (personally) pleased to carry word that a fix for the pixel smudging flaw is on the way!

Regular omg! readers won’t be surprised to hear that the patch in question comes courtesy of prolific Ubuntu developer Daniel Van Vugt (he’s contributed major performance improvements to GNOME Shell and Mutter in the past).

The Background settings panel

As Phoronix report, the inadvertent “blur issue” in question was the result of OpenGL downscaling wallpapers that were larger than the target desktop resolution.

So, if you always use a resolution-appropriate images that match your display, you won’t have been affected by this issue; everything will have looked hunky-dory.

But if you, like me, almost always download the highest resolution wallpaper you can find, even for use on a lesser resolution, you may well have scratched your head and squinted in confusion at compromised quality.

I had always assumed that the better quality image I used as a desktop background, the better quality I’d be staring at.

It’s rather weird that this hasn’t been the case!

A merge request pending from Daniel solves the bad blurring behaviour. If/when accepted it will ensure that any high-resolution image you set as a desktop wallpaper on a lesser resolution screen will look as intended.

Not that this is Daniel’s only background-related patch pending this cycle. He’s also been working on reducing the memory bloat in GNOME’s background handling, which got a visual revamp last year.

Hopefully these (and other) improvements will land in time for GNOME 3.36 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, both of which are due for release in the spring.

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