[Usability]Pointer shape in terminals

I recently posted about this in gnome-devel-list, and after a dialogue
with Havoc it became clear that I should discuss this more widely before
doing anything like submitting a patch. No further discussion developed
on gnome-devel-list, so I thought I'd try here.

Basically, I dislike the way the pointer changes shape to an I when it's
over a (gnome-)terminal window. In some applications it serves a useful
purpose, eg in a browser window, not all the text can be selected, so
having the pointer change shape is a handy indicator. But in a terminal
window, all the text is selectable, and the user should realise that, so
IMO it doesn't serve a useful purpose for terminals. I realise
consistency is desirable, but there are disadvantages to changing the
shape which I think outweigh the case for consistency.

The main disadvantage I see with the I shape is that there's no visual
active tip, making it hard to be sure you're selecting the right line if
performing cut & paste. Less importantly, I find it harder to see the I
shape against text than an arrow (maybe dependent on colour scheme). But
maybe having a less bold pointer is a good thing, making it easier to
see the text you're selecting?

I thought it would be a good idea to have an option not to change the
pointer from its arrow shape, but Havoc brought up the possibility that
if it's found that a significant majority don't like the I shape, it
should be removed altogether. And if it is made an option anyway, which
should be the default?

An alternative could be to have a different pointer shape, one that
gives an indication that the pointer is over text, but still has a clear
active point.

TH * http://www.realh.co.uk

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