If you recently upgraded the Slack Desktop App on Debian and now are wondering what happened to your automatic HiDPI recognition: Don't worry any further. It's a little peculiar, since this regression doesn't seem to be well documented on the net. However, the solution is easy. Slack on the Desktop is an Electron app - therefore it generally supports the same flags that other Electon Apps (like Spotify) support and Electron has a flag since 2014 --force-device-scale-factor. On my Macbook Pro, I'm using a scale-factor of 1.5.

Here's a little convenience wrapper around the slack binary to always start Slack...

  • debian
  • slack
  • electron
  • hidpi
  • spotify

Generally speaking, Linux tooling support is pretty great these days. I'm running Debian Stable on a Macbook Pro (MBP) and couldn't be happier. Most things just work as expected.

Apart from a few tiny things here and there. One of them is the ability to adjust brightness. The standard way for many window managers (WM) is to defer that functionality to xbacklight. However, this doesn't work on the MBP.


After upgrading to Chromium 60 on current Debian Testing you might find yourself with a huge UI if you are on a HiDPI device. The current Chromium version has a bug (see Debian tracker). The proposed solution is to run Chromium with a manual scale factor setting. On a 15" MBP Retina, using chromium --force-device-scale-factor=1.5 yields the same UI size that I was used to before the upgrade.

Looking at the Chromium upstream bug tracker, this issue is solved since end of May. It'll find it's way to Debian, eventually. In the meantime the workaround works just as well.

The exact...

If you happen to upgrade your Debian Jessie to Stretch (currently Debian Testing), one of the things you might want to patch is the default behavior of Chromium having extensions disabled by default. There's no way to fix that in the UI, it has to be done by setting a global configuration flag.

There's also a reason why extensions are disabled by default. Apparently Chromium started downloading binary extensions that don't show in the extensions list which had access to the Google Voice API which sounds kinda scary. Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

However, if you decide you can't live...