WHY: Re: Still need a hint for undecorated windows

Tuomo Valkonen wrote:
On 2005-06-24, Carsten Haitzler <raster rasterman com> wrote:

On Fri, 24 Jun 2005 11:54:54 +0200 Lubos Lunak <l lunak suse cz> babbled:

I yet to have actually see somebody saying a single reason why this is really

application developers want it

Because they mistakenly think they know better than the user or the wm maker
how UIs should work, not because they have any real reason for it. This kind
of thinking only eventually leads to the loss of such a blessing as a
separate window manager, and thus to absolute unusability.


Here's a GOOD REASON for this hint:

* applications sometimes want/need to post windows that should not be decorated, and perhaps shouldn't even be distinguished visually as "separate top level windows" - examples are certain types of popups, splash screens, and transient windows.

The usual way to deal with this problem is to either use WM_TYPE_DOCK, which is semantically inaccurate, or (more commonly) to use override-redirect. The problem with override-redirect is that it 'hides' the window from the WM, thus conflicting with assistive technologies such as onscreen magnifiers, onscreen keyboards, and defeating other WM functions.

I agree that the WM is a "blessing", e.g. a Good Thing. It does lots of things for us _besides_ just adding decorations and drag handles. Why should we have to defeat all of the positive functionality of a WM in order to get undecorated windows (or else abuse WM_DOCK) ?

You may think that splash screens are evil, that popups should never be toplevels, yadda yadda, but this hardly matters. Although the WM spec *should* set some degree of policy and encourage "good UI design", it is really hopeless to think that wm-spec-list is an appropriate universal arbitrator of what is good and bad. I don't think we can reach consensus that all forms of undecorated window (in an otherwise-decorated DE) are forever evil; therefore an UNDECORATED hint is required (until such time as all applications which disagree with you die out).

The accessibility issue is a strong practical reason (as opposed to just a philosophical one) why the hint is better than just requiring such apps to use override-redirect or DOCK.

thanks for listening


AND end application and wm users want it too.

Some may want fancy window-specific decorations and behaviour, but the fancy
window non-manager that this kind of people use can provide these. It's what
the WM is for!

Bill Haneman
Gnome Accessibility Project
Sun Microsystems Ireland

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