Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Mon Dec 19 16:36:50 GMT 2005

On 12/19/05, Tollef Fog Heen <tfheen at> wrote:
> * Eric Dunbar
> | On 12/19/05, Tollef Fog Heen <tfheen at> wrote:
> | > * Eric Dunbar
> | It is quite possible to keep focus-follows-mouse with a fixed menu
> | bar. It combines the undisputed advantage of using fixed targets with
> | the advantage offered by focus-follows-mouse.
> Apart from the horrendous way it's done in MOSX where menu focus isn't
> the same as keyboard focus, I don't see how you can do that?

I think we're talking about different things here. I thought
focus-follows-mouse was when you had the window auto-focused if the
mouse was on it.

I've seen experiment where people would do that (mouse over brings
window to front). I never liked it (nor did I like it on
menu-in-window systems).

> | On an "average user" basis I've seen fixed-menu bars (FMBs) used far
> | more frequently and effectively than focus-follows-mouse (FFM). FFM
> | requires a lot more advanced computer using skill than FMB (or even
> | menu bar-in-window), and, when I've introduced people to FFM they
> | invariably don't like it (I like it sometimes, but, on the whole I
> | don't... it simply doesn't make for smooth work flow... I find it to
> | be a "novelty" item).
> Yes, it takes a while to get used to and I'm certainly not advocating
> it to be on by default.  I just like to have it working for me as well.

That's where the problem lies -- having watched "normal" computer
users for decades, I am firmly convinced that for _most_ people the
fixed menu bar is the best paradigm, BY FAR. That is not to say it's
the only viable paradigm. Just that it's the more functional paradigm
(on a REALLY large screen I can tolerate menu-in-window paradigm b/c
screen real-estate isn't an issue, but, unless you're working on a
desktop with a monster screen, screen real-estate will NEVER not be at
a premium).

Anyway, like I wrote earlier, only when there's a GUI with both
paradigms implemented properly can the two be compared

> [...]
> | "I'm also one of those people who like to maximise screen estate, so I
> | tend to turn off the menu completely and just have the application
> | itself on the screen without a lot of visual clutter around."
> |
> | I'm curious Tollef, did you come from the Windows world for your early
> | GUI experiences?
> No, I started out with Macs and GEM at about the same time back in
> 1985 or 1986 or so, then later moved on to windows, but felt a lot
> more comfortable in DOS and used that + MacOS + OS/2 until Windows 95
> came out.  I then used Windows 95 for a while, then some Windows NT
> before I got interested in Linux and ran a mix of Windows NT and
> Linux, from around 1997 or thereabouts.  A couple of years later, I
> only used Linux, except for games, where I still use Windows.
> | Unfortunately, that forces one to go to the single application
> | paradigm, and, sometimes you lose the menu bar (which is Ok for
> | basic web browsing or word processing but not for real work).
> I don't see how I'm forced to that, I use keyboard shortcuts, and I
> use virtual desktops.  Note also that even I like to maximise screen
> estate, that does not mean I maximise my applications.  I seldom run
> my terminals in full-screen, for instance.

Again, I think we're thinking different things.

Full screen mode dramatically reduces visual clutter on Linux/Windows
and, adds to usable screen real-estate... a premium on laptops and
non-monster screens :-(. In full screen mode you eliminate the taskbar
switcher, the application launcher and the windowbar... That's 10-20%
of the screen's height regained on the standard 1024*768 that most
computers run in (a LOT of space).

When I go full-screen with Windows/Linux, often-times I lose the menu
bar. This makes an app less functional. All important functionality
should be accessible within one or two mouse clicks. Users shouldn't
have to use the keyboard, except to enter text (not to issue

Question: when you speak of full screen do you mean that the task
switcher and windowbar are still visible when you've just "maximised"
the application's window? I'm thinking of F11 fullscreen which
eliminates all the extraneous junk. The mode where you've got no task
switcher, no windowbar (useless waste of space), no application

> I generally use GNOME with Openbox; I like to point out that GNOME is
> not a window manager, it's a desktop environment.

I'd prefer a single unified desktop environment (KDE vs. GNOME seems
to have become a religion) with a bunch of window managers stuck on
top to suit each person's tastes. I guess that's where the various
projects are trying to get to, but, in the meantime it means a lot of
flame wars ;-).


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