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Old 11-11-2011, 02:53 PM   #1
veeruk101
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Applications that receive focus in Gnome don't come to front of screen


When an application receives focus its tab in the toolbar flashes, but the window doesn't come to the front of the screen. So times when Firefox has received focus due to some other application opening a web link, or Eclipse has received focus because I hit the debugger from my web browser, I'm waiting around thinking why hasn't anything happened yet? And that's when I realize the little tab flashing in the toolbar, and that I have to switch to that window manually.

I'm still used to other operating systems, where an application that receives focus pops to the front of the screen. I hope I can duplicate this behaviour in Linux because it will increase my productivity and is just a nicer user experience, for me anyway. Is there any way to do this? I'm using Gnome 2.28.2 on CentOS 6.0.


Also, a related question I have is whether it's possible to make the menu panel that has all the application tabs at the bottom of the screen to be be 2 rows instead of 1, like I can do in Windows, so that there's more room to display them? And can I move that panel to the top of the screen? (When I unlock that panel and drag it to the top, it merges with the gnome-panel at the top of the screen, giving the open applications tabs even less room to display.)
 
Old 11-14-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
SecretCode
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While I know there are cases where an application receives focus but doesn't come to the top, I don't think that's what you're describing.

An application receiving focus means receiving keyboard focus, ie things you type on the keyboard will be directed to that window. Obviously only one window can have focus. While a window that is "on top" means it overlays all other windows visually (assuming you are using a stacking window manager, and ignoring always-on-top windows like panels and alerts from other apps and so on).

When I click a link in a thunderbird email, firefox opens a new tab but does not come to the top or receive input focus. Typing is still directed to thunderbird. It so happens that I like this behaviour because I often want to open several tabs from one email or a bunch of emails before reading the pages.

I think the behaviour can be changed (configured) - but I'm not sure if it's in firefox (this is what I suspect), in the calling app, or in a system-wide setting.
 
Old 11-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
veeruk101
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You're right, focus isn't the right word to use. But basically when an application is 'activated' or whatever the right word might be, it doesn't come to the top of the screen. I don't think it's an application-specific setting because this happens for all sorts of applications like:

- Firefox as described in the OP
- Eclipse as described in the OP
- Nautilus when a USB drive is detected and mounted and an existing Nautilus window jumps to that drive

In Windows, these things would cause that application's taskbar to jump to the top of the screen, but on my Gnome in CentOS 6.0 it doesn't do that but it just flashes in the taskbar. I imagine it's some system-wide setting but I can't figure out where. Do users of other Linux distributions as well as CentOS see the same behaviour I'm seeing, or is it just me?
 
Old 11-26-2011, 02:51 PM   #4
SecretCode
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With Nautilus, new drives appear on top but not focused, as you say ... and I think this is OK because it means a new window doesn't steal your input focus when you're in the middle of typing.
With Eclipse, now that you mention it, when it hits a breakpoint you'd expect Eclipse to come to the foreground but it doesn't.
With some apps it does work - clicking hyperlinks brings Firefox to the foreground & focused.

I think this is a form of "focus stealing" prevention. See e.g. elliotth's blog: GNOME "focus stealing prevention" a sick joke

But fwiw I don't think this is a problem specific to gnome. I've had similar problems on Windows in various situations.

I don't agree with all of that article I linked above, but the main point is right: it's due to poor, even sloppy, application design. So maybe the solution is a heavily-customisable focus-allowing filter tool. "If app x has focus and app y requests it, allow, if app z has focus app q requests it, deny".
 
  


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