A tricky situation in malone bug 60995

Martin Olsson mnemo at minimum.se
Sun Oct 21 04:07:30 UTC 2007

Nicolas Alvarez wrote:
>> I switched from IE to Firefox for three reasons:
>> 1.  Tabs rock
>> 2.  Open source rocks
>> 3.  Not suddenly finding myself 5 pages back in my history rocks.

Maybe you mean that you "switched from Windows to Linux for.." because 
Firefox on Windows has always used BACKSPACE==BACK. Also, I agree that 
reversability is very important in GUIs (being smart about "confirms" 
and providing good undo where it makes sense).

I would like to point out that changing the default behavior of the 
backspace key is very easy for a developer. For instance, here is what 
they did when they disabled the BACKSPACE button altogether:


It's even possible to change the behavior at runtime by entering into 
the "about:config" page and then setting:


The main reason why I take this up on this mailing list is because I 
suspect that the vast *majority* of people that install ubuntu today 
expect the backspace key in firefox to trigger a back and not a page up 
(which is the case for gutsy gibbon). And so, I think it's fair to get 
BACKSPACE=BACK as the default in Ubuntu and then let the 
BACKSPACE=PAGEUP people use the about:config workaround. I suppose this 
has a lot to do with who is the intended audience for Ubuntu systems. Is 
Ubuntu trying to become a leading desktop OS (fixing bug #1) or is 
ubuntu "a desktop for unix people"?

If Ubuntu is the latter? Maybe CTRL-V should be PAGE DOWN instead of 
PASTE? I mean *a lot* of Unix old timers use CRTL-Y/CTRL-V for paging 

This issue has been extensively discussed upstream in the mozilla bug 
tracker (with many people on both sides) but they have resolved the bug 
and they went with the "firefox should be unix-style on unix-style 
systems" approach. Since I disagree with this solution, I'm hoping that 
at least the Ubuntu package could be shipped with BACKSPACE==BACK.


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