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Re: Multi-head (non-Xinerama) window managers

On Mon, Feb 02, 2004 at 11:33:01AM +0100, martin f krafft wrote:
> At first, I tried Gnome/Metacity, but I was largely disappointed as
> applications do not honour $DISPLAY correctly and windows popped up
> on screen 0 by default, even though I started them from the panel on
> screen 1.

Neither Gnome nor KDE is very good at multi-head.  I imagine the God-King
doesn't like it or something, so the Gnome people don't pursue it.  No
doubt he's written another one of his essays describing how wonderful
Xinerama is or something.  Or more likely it's that they think they know
better than you, and you shouldn't have any reason to want to do what
you're doing.

You know, every time I think about Gnome's deliberate mediocrity, I'm
reminded of Adam Osborne and the Osborne 1.  Funny, that.

> So then I went back to WindowMaker and got it to run two separate
> instances on the two screens.

It really should have done that without any help from you.  Are you running
multiple screens on one X server, or did you launch another X server on the
other head?

> Cut'n'paste works, dragging windows between the screen obviously doesn't,
> but that's fine by me.

Hm, if cut and paste is working, that implies one X server.  At least I
think it does. :)

> If I am working on screen 0 and would like to switch to a terminal
> or browser window on screen 1, I have to click on the window title
> bar -- clicking on the window does not transfer the focus. Within
> a single screen, however, this works as expected.

I'd report that as a WindowMaker bug.  Although more than likely it's just
a focus-related screwup due to multiple processes (see below).

> The second example is related to the previous one. I have Ctrl-Alt-T
> mapped to give me a terminal window. However, when the focus resides
> on screen 0 even though the mouse is on screen 1, pressing that
> keycombo will pop up the terminal on screen 0.

Well, that's different.  WindowMaker used to have the reverse problem.
Since in order to support multiple screens it forks itself (rather than
managing two in one process), you'd get the keybinding acting on both
copies of the window manager.  Instant double pop-ups.  That was what drove
me away from WindowMaker forever.

> Clicking on the background or application clip does not transfer the
> focus. Thus, in order to open a window on screen 1, one needs an already
> opened window to transfer the focus to screen 1 -- a bootstrap problem
> that can only be overcome with the window maker application menu -- which
> is painful.

WindowMaker doesn't really do a good job of handling the fact that there
are two copies of itself running.  You run into this with many of the more
modern window managers... either they fight over the focus, or else the one
doesn't realize that it should yield it to the other.

> There are like 40 or more window managers in Debian, and I really don't
> want to try one after the other.

You really want to use one of the window managers that was designed from
the ground up to do this, and already deals with the issues, rather than
some mish-mash.  That more or less means you'd want to be using one of the
older wm's, like blackbox, or fvwm, or afterstep.

If EWMH compatability is important to you, I'd use fvwm.  Otherwise, I'd
use blackbox.  Actually, I'd use blackbox anyway... blackbox CVS supports
EWMH. ^_^

Openbox2 does a good job of it too, but ob2 isn't packaged any more.

 Marc Wilson |     Humans do claim a great deal for that particular
 msw@cox.net |     emotion (love).  -- Spock, "The Lights of Zetar",
             |     stardate 5725.6

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