Re: 6 API-ish issues

On Fri, Feb 01, 2002 at 09:22:29AM -0500, Owen Taylor wrote:
> Gregory Merchan <merchan baton phys lsu edu> writes:
> > 
> > This is unacceptable as it presently stands. When I concured with getting
> > people to use CLIPBOARD I believed there was no conflict between that
> > method of operation and the PRIMARY method; and there should not be.
> > There must either be a way to set focus without selecting, or setting
> > focus should not select at all. The vast majority of existing X users
> > are almost certainly users and preferrers of PRIMARY methods and a good
> > number of them use sloppy focus or PointerRoot focus. If a program is
> > setting focus to an entry when the toplevel is focussed and if that takes
> > PRIMARY, then the vast majority of users are screwed if they should happen
> > pass over such a program's window while seeking to paste PRIMARY in another
> > window.
> I think there is some misunderstanding; we are talking about focusing
> individual widgets ithin the toplevel; something that typically
> requires an explicit action from the user.

Typically yes, and that is what I understood at first. But since building
X-Chat for gtk2 it seems there's a bug somewhere along the development path.
It frequently calls grab_focus to set the focus to the entry and, at least
if there's any text there, PRIMARY is lost. One of those times it calls
it is on focus-in at the toplevel. I thought maybe the gtk_window_set_focus()
would be a fix, but that calls gtk_widget_grab_focus() so it isn't.

I imagine other programs will want to ensure focus is on an entry and if
there's a way to do this without calling grab_focus, I've not yet found it.

(Incidently, I think X-Chat is also trying to act as if it has globally active
input when it doesn't and can't without Xlib calls. This has caused much

> > If using PRIMARY, non-click focus modes, and the mouse is subject to
> > ridicule by excessive hyphenation, then they're the fanatics who
> > have carried Linux, X, and their associates this far that you are
> > ridiculing.
> Looks like I violated one of the first rules in email communication
> and tried to use humor without a liberal dose of smilies.

I'd lost PRIMARY to X-Chat a few times already and once while I considered
rewriting; that did it. :-)

> While I'm not entirely sure that the primary selection and
> middle-button paste are the reason X and Linux have gotten this far,
> I'm pretty used to them by now myself.

Not those per se, but the people who use them so much that their absence
is a pain when on other systems.

> What I'm trying to say is that it's possible that support for habits
> we have developed over the years, may, in some cases, interfere with
> the optimum useability for people coming from other platforms or, in
> fact that, are new to graphical user interfaces entirely.

Granted. And I don't think there should be a conflict, but there is with
the way X-Chat is setting focus. Testing on those new to computers
would be interesting; have you knowledge of any tests? (Setting that up
would be difficult I think because non-click modes haven't been worked
over enough to make their use optimal; see Gimp.)

> In these cases it general makes sense to make the default the
> non-Xpert setting, because people who are very used to the way that X
> works are likely to be better at finding the way to customize things
> to their needs. (This is why click-to-focus is the typical default for
> GNOME, even though sloppy focus is presumably a lot more common
> preference among the coders of GNOME.)

I agree that click-to-focus should be the default. I know of one workplace
where non-click modes would be unacceptable without a supercomputer to
support the context switching needed. (Although, as I remember the problem
being described, multiple workspaces or a large workspace would solve the
problem too.) But for those places where either mode would work I've only
heard, "How can I make Windows do that?" from those to whom I've shown
non-click modes.

> Regards,
>                                         Owen

Sorry for the flame; there's so much that seems to be slated for
destruction to appease Windows users (or their bosses) that at least
my level of alert is high.

Gregory Merchan

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