If you are using a high-resolution display, then you may have noticed issues like blurriness, jaggedness, and lag when using a program.
This issue is caused by the fact that many programs use a default screen resolution (usually 1920×1080) to display their contents. This makes for a bad user interface experience on HiDPI devices.
But you might be wondering, is there a solution to this? Yes, there is, in fact, a solution.
It's called 'Fractional Scaling'. This method uses fractional values to scale a program's interface according to your display's resolution, resulting in a consistent look and feel.
So, it would ensure that you had the same experience on any HiDPI device, regardless of the program you were using.
With Wayland slowly replacing X11 with its advancements, adding Fractional Scaling support via Wayland Protocols 1.31 makes the transition more obvious.
Let's take a look at what's in store for Wayland.
Fractional Scaling Support for Wayland Protocols
How did it come to be?: This was in the making for many months; code-named 'wp-fractional-scale-v1', it communicates with the compositor to suggest surfaces for rendering at fractional scales.
It is paired with the 'wp-viewport protocol' to provide a fractional scaling implementation rather than an integer-based scaling implementation, as noted by Phoronix.
How does it affect you?: The implementation of this allows you to run higher resolutions on your Wayland-enabled Linux systems without compromising visual quality across different programs and displays.
So, what does it mean for KDE and GTK apps?
Technically, PointiestStick (KDE Dev) responded to a Reddit thread that gives you a better insight:
For KDE, it simply means that once Qt and KWin implement support for this protocol, then native Wayland Qt apps will be able to use Qt's pre-existing support for fractional scaling, just like how it already works on X11.
The result should be slightly better performance, visual sharpness, and power efficiency when using a non-integer scale factor like 125%.
Nothing will change soon for GTK apps, because GTK has no existing fractional scaling support and thus cannot implement this Wayland protocol to do something it couldn't already do.
In conclusion, this seems like a reasonable addition to Wayland, which should enhance the overall user experience across the board with a minimal performance impact.
You can read more about Wayland Protocols 1.31 release in its official mailing list.