Re: [Usability] window manager configuration

Gregory Merchan <merchan baton phys lsu edu> writes: 
> Before sawfish allowed for compound functions to be done with the config tool,
> I'd implemented it in my ~/.sawfishrc. The benefit of borderless mode is deep
> screen edges. I'm not suggesting that my configuration be standard or even
> readily available. I offer it as an example of something that might seem odd,
> but that I find genuinely useful.

Sure, I have no doubt that people find a use for all the config
options in current window managers. The issue is just that those
options in the aggregate are too numerous and ergo confusing, and the
combinatorial explosion of possible configurations is really hard to
deal with in terms of getting the overall behavior of the desktop and
apps correct, not to mention QA/debug.
> Incidently, there is an app called "powertweak" which deals with hardware.
> (I think there's a gtk front-end to it also.)

Yeah. TweakUI is the Windows equivalent to what we're discussing:

> > I believe the typical use-pattern a windows user would have on your
> > small-screen system is to always keep their windows maximized, and use
> > Alt+Tab or tasklist to move between them.
> Maybe, but would he like it and might he find something else more to his
> liking?

I think the value of using an 800x600 laptop via the same UI as a
regular desktop exceeds the value of a custom UI. I did have an
800x600 laptop for a long time, btw, until it stopped powering on one
day, sadly.
> I usually have the root covered by a window, such as Xchat right now. I tried 
> sloppy focus, but since the panel does not accept focus I was often confused 
> when I moved to it. Maybe on a larger screen I'd find sloppy useful.

My opinion is that the panel and desktop should require clicks to
focus them, even in the mouse-focus modes. This is analagous to the
clicks required to focus widgets within an app.
> The only thing I'm fighting about is the approach. I described my setup hoping
> that it might show in part why some things are useful and not indicative of 
> drug abuse.

The main point about drug abuse (besides being a joke) is about
developers. Users aren't in a position to see the global picture,
they're just in a position to see their own pet peeves, suggest lots
of features, or say "XYZ other platform does foo, you should make your
thing have an option to do foo." Also, in my experience users always
suggest adding an option, instead of changing the default - as a kind
of humility or something, or they think an option is more likely to be
accepted since it won't annoy anyone else. It's up to developers to
filter these requests into a coherent overall result, and to maybe
decide "what the user really wants to achieve is better done via XYZ,
instead of the option they requested." 

I'm using "developers" broadly to include UI people.

Clearly developers should do their best to choose the right thing,
clearly it's hard, but they have a responsibility to make those
choices, instead of giving up and saying "let's make it an option
since we can't decide and this flamewar will never end."  We have to
recognize that the result of honoring all user requests to add config
options is a crack-ridden user interface. And in fact we have to
recognize that excessive config options is the #1 flavor of crackrock
in the window manager world. Only then we can begin our

The fact that some of the options in a huge crack-ridden prefs dialog
are not crack-ridden, does not change the crack-filled nature of the
dialog as a whole, let's put it that way.
At the same time, some battles can't be fought, because people aren't
willing to do too much re-learning and re-adapting, so want to make
GNOME like their old environment. Focus modes are a good example.

> OTOH, if someone decided that only click-to-focus mode or some other option
> become a requirement, I might start fighting about that.

That's why I say people will be grumpy and force us to have certain
options, such as sloppy focus, which no other operating system has and
which are clearly not needed. (I use sloppy focus myself, and it's
what Metacity defaults to right now, because I am a crack-smoking

However, we can get away with only adding a few such "essential
options," I hope. Which shouldn't hurt things too much.

One definition of a crack-ridden option is one that no one would
really want if they hadn't gotten used to using it in the past.  How
many Windows users who've never used UNIX are demanding sloppy focus?
None whatsoever. So that option is stupid, if you were starting from


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