Gurm The likely culprits you mentioned line up well with what we look at here. It very likely has far more to do with dithering and rendering (what you call hardware acceleration we call "rendering artifacts") than with PWM or the lighting, but some people are sensitive to those, also.
I'm not even sure it's dithering anymore. I've played with nvidia-settings, disabled it, used 6 and 8bpc (though, my display only supports 6bps), changed modes to static, dynamic, temporal etc. None of that made any difference except disabling dithering altogether DOES work. I've tested it on a gradient and clearly saw banding in off mode, but that didn't do away with eye-strain. I've used every mode extensively to rule out placebo factor and it's the same thing every time. My ocular muscles were tense all the way, I couldn't relax them. It could be hardware acceleration coupled with something else, and that something could be rooted deeply in *nix systems themselves. I'm guessing either some kernel presets or display manager's fault. The truth is, we don't really know whom to blame, Nvidia, ATI or open-source devs.
Incidentally, if anyone wants to test dithering in on and off modes feel free to check the gradient picture below:
Gurm The good news is that people in here have had SOME luck turning off those advanced features in certain Linux distros. I know this forum isn't easy to search, so hopefully they chime in here.
Definitely better than nothing. Only again, I'm not so sure if it's all about disabling stuff, maybe something is altogether missing to maintain proper hardware acceleration for instance. We need to know exactly what we are dealing with here.
Luki99 Could driver make that kind of difference? Or just different PC/different gpu+ubuntu is just giving eye strain and nothing can be done about it?
I can't really account for your issue, but I'm guessing it's not at all exotic and what you're facing is probably the same problem as mine, and no, installing proprietary driver shouldn't help in in this situation. The bottomline is, there should be NO eye strain from LCD display apart from faulty PWM or backlighting, which should be present in Windows, too. Not even low refresh rate. Also, it's not Ubuntu specific at all, it should happen in absolutely ALL *nix systems, not Linux alone. A few years ago I tried out FreeBSD and it was exactly the same thing there, if not worse. All these systems have something in common, and like earlier, that something could be shared kernel presets or display manager settings.
Wallboy Ended up going with Manjaro KDE. Unfortunately with the Nvidia proprietary driver, the same eyestrain was present there.
Seriously, don't waste your time. It's present on ALL *nix OSs. I've never tried Ubuntu or Manjaro but plenty of other distros I have. I've seen some threads before where people claim there is less eye-strain on Arch and Manjaro, but at least your very experience doesn't quite live up to some of those claims. Currently I'm on opensuse, which is a distro of my choice, but I'm having the same problem there. And why shouldn't I, really? It's all the same Linux and same problem that nobody tends to due to small number of related bug reports or any solid evidence since this thing is too delicate to investigate and only select few people are affected by it. Who cares about them, right? I'd say, we need to build a whole goddamn community to draw more attention. I see no other solution. That is, if we really care about it and wish to use Linux in the future.
Wallboy installed Virtualbox and then installed Manjaro KDE on it. Absolutely no eyestrain in Vbox + fullscreen at native res. Can work in it for hours.
Naturally, it's using your host OS's video engine, it can't be overriden. You can only change your guest machine's resolution, which is merely scaling on your side. But it's still a good way to prove it's not font- or theme-related at least.
Wallboy I was also researching how to actually go about measuring what the few of us are seeing. Since we can't SEE the problem, but rather "feel" it. I don't know much about analog electronics, but through research I found we would probably need to use a photodetector + oscilloscope to measure the monitor.
If it's really possible I expect it to register something like this:
It looks (feels) like high-frequency tearing, actually. And of course, it has nothing to do with anti-aliasing and hinting. I used to disable all that and the problem was still there. And no, it doesn't feel like flashing akin to low refresh rate, it's some kind of a rapid motion, which your eyes can't focus on. You don't know what there is, but your eyes do and they simply can't stop looking for a complete and still shape, which is why they are constantly at work and it leads to strain. That's as far as my theory goes.
Wallboy Another problem is, even if these devices did measure a difference between certain video drivers + OSes, what would it really solve other then proving the problem truly does exist?
Like @diop said already, we would know what to complain about exactly and provide solid evidence. The devs would know what to work on. The real question is: WHICH devs? We would have no other choice but to contact both Nvidia and Nouveau. Perhaps even Linux kernel staff, because I seriously believe it could be something inherent in the system core itself and preceding to driver installation.
I found this thread interesting: https://forum.manjaro.org/t/disable-dithering-for-intel-graphics/79774/30
They talk about fonts and dithering (agaaaain), but there are still some good points in-between.