Getting a usability patch into gnome-panel package?

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Sun Feb 10 09:09:07 GMT 2008

On Feb 7, 2008, at 9:06 AM, William Lachance wrote:
> ...
> A while back I fixed up a patch originally written by Novell to GNOME
> panel, which makes it impossible to move without unlocking it first 
> (the default setting is locked). This prevents the user from 
> inadvertently moving the panel when (e.g.) they're just trying to open 
> an application.
> ...
> This really is a serious usability problem: it's tripped up my
> girlfriend at least once, and you can see lots of complaints in the 
> bugs about this happening to other people as well. I'd really love to 
> see it fixed.

Unfortunately this is not a good solution to the problem, because it 
introduces an unnecessary mode -- unlocked versus locked. Modes should 
be avoided whenever possible, because remembering which mode you're in 
takes extra mental effort.

A better solution would be to introduce a quasimode, a temporary mode 
based on a physical action. We already have an example of this for 
dragging in Ubuntu: holding down the Alt key currently lets you move 
windows by dragging anywhere, even on areas where dragging would 
normally do something else.

The panel could copy this behavior: Alt+dragging could move the panel, 
while normal dragging does nothing. That way people would be much less 
likely to move the panel by mistake.

Matthew Paul Thomas
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