Re: how to focus on desktop automatically if no windows open?

On 11/11/05, Brandon Kuczenski <brandon 301south net> wrote:
> > mouse focus or sloppy focus?  Sorry to have to ask, but many are
> > unaware of the difference and claim mouse when they mean sloppy.  I
> > suspect you really do mean mouse from something else you said, but I'd
> > like to be sure.  I'll postpone responding to most of the rest of what
> > you wrote until I know the answer to that so that I can respond
> > correctly.
> I didn't know there was a distinction prior to this conversation; after
> looking at your reference, I have decided I am a strict mouse-focus user
> (which isn't too surprising: I am fairly dogmatic).  I don't know if my
> window manager is providing mouse- or sloppy-focus because the dialog
> doesn't use those terms.  On Desktop -> Preferences -> Window, I have
> "Select windows when the mouse moves over them" checked.

If you used that dialog in order to set it up, that means you're a
sloppy mouse focus user; there is no way in the UI to select mouse
focus (the only way to do so is to use gconftool-2 or gconf-editor)

So, I know you use sloppy focus, but I don't know whether you consider
that focus mode buggy or not (as seems to be suggested by the fact
that you claim you liked mouse focus better).  So, a quick question: 
Let's say you only have one normal window on a desktop (e.g.
firefox/emacs/gnome-terminal/gedit or whatever) and you move the mouse
out of the window (maybe the cursor was over the text you were trying
to read or something).  Should the window retain focus?  (This
question is the crux of sloppy vs. mouse focus--your answer will
determine whether sloppy focus feels buggy to you, or whether mouse
focus would feel buggy to you.)

> > No, it wasn't part of an outside conversation, I just must suck at
> > properly explaining things.  ;-)  Basically, I was just trying to say
> > that making one little change in focus policy often causes
> > inconsistencies elsewhere unless you have a good overall view of how
> > things should work and your change is made to be consistent with that.
> Good point.  I certainly have a new respect for some of the complexity
> inolved in designing a good user interface (I'm enjoying reading the
> discussion on bug 101190).  That said, I still think the desktop deserves
> focus over, say, a docking window like the panel precisely because there
> is no real established keynav for panels (AFAIK)

You can use Ctrl-Alt-Tab, which also works for keynav'ing to the
desktop (in addition to Ctrl-Alt-d which is special for the desktop
and has other side effects).

> and, based on what you
> said, it doesn't sound like panels ever have focus.

only (a) when the user ctrl-alt-tabs to it or (b) when the user
explicitly clicks on it AND the panel sends a message to the window
manager saying "Yes, focus me because of that click; it's one of those
rare times I need it."

> I want to stress again
> that I use the desktop as a storage space for current materials and
> sometimes I'd like to refer to them without mousing.
> Basically, I feel like right now I have to 'click-to-focus' the desktop,
> even though I don't click-to-focus anything else.

Uh, yes, you do have to click in order to focus any of the panels (in
order to use e.g. gnome-dict or mini-commander), but that is somewhat
different in that most mouse clicks won't result in the panel getting

> Other than this, I have no focus-related suggestions, and I have been
> quite happy with the metacity interface.

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