Your thoughts about using a condensed font in narrow (sidebar) filesystem browsers?

René J.V. Bertin rjvbertin at
Mon Jan 21 09:22:17 GMT 2019


Some screenshots, of a file open dialog and of the filesystem browser in Kate: 

If those don't cause any visceral gut reactions (positive or negative) you can probably close this message now ;)

I'm looking for some user feedback on an idea I've been experimenting with, and discussing with a single Frameworks developer, in the context of restoring the possibility to resize columns in filesystem browsers like the one used in the open/save dialog.

On his request I started looking into that widget's behaviour in narrow views, and implemented a way to impose a minimum for the automatically determined name column width. The experimental bit is that this "narrow mode" also applies a bit of font stretching so that the available space can be used more efficiently. Specifically, it makes a 12pt font about as wide as it would be at 10pt.
This was inspired by comparable behaviour of the Mac GUI in similar situations (though that may also include or be done exclusively with reduced letterspacing).

The "problem" here is that it seems to depend on the font (or rather, the FontConfig settings for that font!) if stretching has an effect or not. Annoyingly, the font used in the default look-and-feel remains unchanged, and that may open the door for bug reports.

1) As a user, how would you react when you a condensed font appear like this in a familiar widget?
2) What do you think about the fact that the feature isn't consistent across all fonts?
3) Maybe look at reducing letter spacing (probably much more tricky)?


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