Thursday, May 03, 2007

 

Try changing input focus policy on XP, Vista

On every window system I've ever used, except one, you can adjust the window behavior to suit your taste. I want the keyboard input to go into the window where the mouse pointer is, "focus follows mouse." Most other people seem to want the keyboard stuck to whatever window they clicked in last. That input focus policy is called "click to focus" and it wastes my time. When I move the input focus I want nothing else to happen. Most others seem to want the window they're typing in to jump on top of everything else. That annoying behavior, coupled with click-to-focus, is called "auto-raise." It wastes my time and my screen area.

I used to ask MS-Windows users how to switch the focus policy to focus-follows-mouse. They'd gawk at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. Then a Microsoft developer explained to me why you can't do it on MS-Windows, at least through XP. Believe it or not, the window behavior was hard wired into the MS-Windows operating system kernel! How stupid is that!

But it wasn't stupid at all. Microsoft wanted to prevent anyone else from writing a window manager for their operating system, or even porting one from somewhere else. "No more Quarterdecks!" One more MSFT design decision to serve the monopoly's needs, and against the users'. And it's why they didn't get virtual desktops until fifteen years after everybody else had them.

So, can I have focus-follows-mouse on Vista? It doesn't seem like a lot to ask for, from the software company with infinite development resources, that its fanboys tell me is the usability leader.


Comments:
> I want the keyboard input to go into the window where the mouse pointer is, "focus follows mouse."

Google for Xmouse?

> I used to ask MS-Windows users how to switch the focus policy to focus-follows-mouse. They'd gawk at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. Then a Microsoft developer explained to me why you can't do it on MS-Windows, at least through XP. Believe it or not, the window behavior was hard wired into the MS-Windows operating system kernel! How stupid is that!

How ignorant is this developer? [1, 2]

> Microsoft wanted to prevent anyone else from writing a window manager for their operating system, or even porting one from somewhere else.

If so, then they evidently failed. [1, 2, 3]

> So, can I have focus-follows-mouse on Vista?

Looks like you can.

Mark Odell
 
As a Reply from TogiNet

The site tested our site in Safari, Firefox, and IE6&7 on many PC's and Mac's and it works great. I have yet to test these on linux distributions, but i assumed since it worked on firefox on the mac and pc, it would work under unix.

I hate microsoft as much as the next person, but the fact that they "still" hold the biggest market share on the web makes it a top priority. Tough.

I'll be sure to check out the site on my linux distro though. Thank you for your kind words about the situation.....
 
Poor Mark's a little unclear on the concept of mouse semantics. Not uncommon among people who learned about computers in a Microsoft environment. FVWM, which I used for years at home, doesn't run on Windoze. The hooks just aren't there. Likewise IceWM, which I use at work today. Focus-follows-mouse doesn't work right in TweakUI, which may explain why nobody uses it. And on Vista, you just have to do some hex arithmetic or buy something. Swell.
 
> FVWM, which I used for years at home, doesn't run on Windoze. The hooks just aren't there.

You are correct, that was my error: I meant EVWM, which is based on FVWM (and also is no longer in development).

> Likewise IceWM, which I use at work today.

Again, you are correct, and I don't recall how I acquired the idea that it was a window manager for Windows rather than Linux.

> Focus-follows-mouse doesn't work right in TweakUI

For example...?

> And on Vista, you just have to do some hex arithmetic or buy something. Swell.

Or, read this comment in that forum thread.

Mark Odell
 
This is just with in reference to the comment that the window manager can be changed in XP..m sorry but i dont think that can be done..all the examples given are not window managers..(itestep is a SHELL not a WM,ICEWM and FVWM are for the X window system which cant be used on windows unless you use cygwin/x or xming..
 
I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree
 
In principle, a good happen, support the views of the author
 
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