Using the Cinnamon desktop environment on a high-resolution display? If so, you may be pretty excited to hear that fractional scaling support is on the way.

Cinnamon 4.6 is expected to introduce support for fractional scaling when it’s released later this year, possibly as part of Linux Mint 20 (which will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) though it could be sooner.

At present the Cinnamon desktop offers just two scaling options: 100% (normal mode) and 200% (HiDPI mode). And the selected value is applied to all monitors connected, regardless of whether they have a higher or lower resolution.

But not for much longer.

Currently in ‘alpha testing’, Cinnamon 4.6 introduces additional scaling values between 100% and 200% (including the 125% and 150% sweet spots for 2K and 4K monitors respectively) and will allow different scaling values to be set for each connected display.

If Mint can stick the landing, Linux Mint will gain a major selling point over regular Ubuntu

Linux Mint lead and Cinnamon desktop developer Clement Lefèbvre explained more in the latest Mint update, writing: “By being able to set the scaling for each monitor independently and allow for scaling values of not only 100% and 200% but also 125%, 150%, 175%, we’re hoping to get higher pixel density and allow HiDPI and non-HiDPI monitors to play well with each others.”

If Mint can stick the landing of this feature then the Cinnamon desktop and Linux Mint, which uses Cinnamon by default, will gain a major selling point over regular Ubuntu.

Because while it’s possible to enable experimental fractional scaling support in Ubuntu it a) isn’t easy, and b) comes with some major performance caveats attached — caveats that put me (and many others) off of using it.

Fractional scaling support isn’t the only display-related improvement targeted at a future version of the Cinnamon desktop. The flavoursome DE is also adding options to change the refresh rate of monitors.

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