My Notebook Display Is Too Bluish

I’ve been posting a fair amount of photography, imaging and color management lately. While colorimetry can be a good solution to display issues, but a lot of people don’t want to take it that far.

So say you’ve just gotten a new notebook, and like many notebooks the display looks a tad blueish, and you don’t want to invest in a full blown color management solution. There is a fairly simple way to address this issue at least to an extent, and it’s called xgamma (please note that xgamma might not work if your X11 setup is in 16bit mode, which is very unlikely on a modern system).

Now before making any changes it’s a good idea to get a good image to evaluate any changes with. I can highly recommend the Smugmug Calibration Print. So open the calibration print in your favorite image viewer, and do:

# xgamma -rgamma 1.0 -ggamma 1.0 -bgamma 0.9

You should see your display shift in color. Lots of notebook display also tend to lack contrast, so in theory you can use xgamma to compensate for that too:

# xgamma -rgamma 0.9 -ggamma 0.9 -bgamma 0.8

Again check the calibration print again, make sure you can clearly distinguish all the grey patches at the top of the image.

Now when you reboot your machine these settings will be lost. The best way I’ve found to automatically apply these settings seem to be via what’s called XDG Autostart, it’s basically a set of .desktop files that are run during session startup. Most big desktop environments (GNOME/XFCE/KDE) support these.

So, put the following into /etc/xdg/autostart/xgamma.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Set display gamma corrections
GenericName=Set display gamma corrections
Comment=Applies display gamma corrections at session startup
Exec=xgamma -rgamma 0.9 -ggamma 0.9 -bgamma 0.8
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=

Now reboot, and see your gamma settings being applied at during each new X11 login.

Please beware that the above correction are ballpark corrections, for real accuracy you really need to do proper color management.