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Article:
  Switching Back to Desktop Linux
Subject:   All you need is focus follows mouse in Terminal?
Date:   2006-06-06 14:54:58
From:   bioinfotools
Perhaps I'm wrong, but main thing the OP needs/wants given the features in OS X 10.4.x is focus follows mouse in Terminal? (Bear in mind I've only skimmed the article; too many out of date or easily resolved complaints to read it properly.)


iTerm has a 'focus follows mouse' option in its preferences (off by default), try using that. It also has tabs if you prefer less clutter.


My installation of Terminal on OS X 10.3.9 has focus follows mouse, but its gone in 10.4.x. I've asked Apple to add it as a preference; if others join in and give feedback it'll probably happen (the code to do it is obviously there).


IMHO focus follows mouse has less value outside the command-line, although I can see some value for editors, etc., that dominantly work through keyboard input. It also introduces a nuisance; if you move the mouse to get the pointer out of the way of your typing, you have to be careful where you put it or you'll divert your typing someplace else (heaven knows I did this often enough in Terminal in OS X 10.3...!). The result is that a lot of time is spent "being careful" with placing the mouse. I'm not surprised Apple has avoided focus follows mouse as it'd rattle their main user base (old time Apple users, newbie consumer users; developers are only subset of their market). I'd still like to see it as a preference in Terminal, though.


For domininatly GUI-based apps, there is much less value in focus follows mouse. E.g. in Finder the needed actions (dragging items, etc) already work between windows and for textboxes, etc., you want to select them first or you'd have be to incredibly picky about where you "left" your mouse pointer given GUIs are full of small input elements.


Incidentally, setting 'Preferences>Windows>Select windows when mouse moves over them' in Fedora 3 doesn't change anything... what's with that? Personally, I'd rather pay a little and have my time dealing with my client's solutions, not fiddling around fixing in-house issues which are just another overhead. That said, Linux is an excellent server/developer platform.

Full Threads Oldest First

Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.

  • Single-app solutions not sufficient
    2006-06-06 20:59:11  kms-werk [View]

    I'm sufficiently accustomed to having events act on the window currently under the mouse that I'm constantly closing the wrong window or otherwise taking actions on the wrong place.

    Another massive benefit of FFM is the ability to type on a (largely obscured) window while reading data from an unobscured, but unfocused, foreground window. The desktop contortions you have to go through to do this without FFM pretty much suck.
    • Single-app solutions not sufficient
      2006-06-08 18:54:37  bioinfotools [View]

      "I'm sufficiently accustomed to having events act on the window currently under the mouse that I'm constantly closing the wrong window or otherwise taking actions on the wrong place."

      By typing a keyboard shortcut while the mouse is above a background window?

      "Another massive benefit of FFM is the ability to type on a (largely obscured) window while reading data from an unobscured, but unfocused, foreground window. The desktop contortions you have to go through to do this without FFM pretty much suck."

      Good point, although I think you're slightly overstating the case ;-)

      One loose thought: both of these are "(moderately) advanced user" things if you think about it. In the first, you need to have memorised enough shortcuts that they are part of your daily routine. In the second you need to be familiar enough with the apps, etc., that a small portion of one poking out somewhere is enough for you to know what it is; you also need to be familiar enough with the behaviour of the application without clues from the rest of the GUI for the application.

      Apple has to look after newbie consumers first and advanced users second. I like FFM up to a point (and only up to a point), but it may not in Apple's interest unless they want to evoke yet another "transition" and much less likely as long as you could argue that its more suited to "advanced" users than beginners.

      What might be interesting is something that can work on top of the existing scheme so that its workable for both newcomers and experienced folk... I wonder if any of the old disability support keyboard stuff could be re-worked to acheive the same outcomes as the FFM approach but via the keyboard? (This way mouse behaviour remains the same. It'd also would have the advantage of not having to leave the keyboard for the mouse.) Idle thoughts...

      While this topic has been discussed, I noticed that out of habit I move the mouse away from a textbox, etc., once its selected so that I can cleanly view what I'm typing without the pointer getting in the way.
      • Hotkeys over BG window....
        2006-06-08 21:02:31  kms-werk [View]

        Erm, what background window? I've usually got my desktop completely plastered.

        That said: under WindowMaker, my terminal, mail, root term, and browser are all hotkey activated. I'm in and out of all of these constantly.

        I'll absolutely grant you the newbie market. Problem is that the line in the sand is drawn and can't be moved for love or money (well, possibly sufficient amounts of either or both). I think the point both chromatic and I are making is that there are utterly valid reasons for finding OS X not to be your cup of tea.