Thoughts on quitting and window controls

Jonathan Blackhall at
Wed Apr 7 03:39:28 UTC 2010

It's very confusing for me when I click the big 'X' in my window controls,
only to find that the application I was attempting to close has since been
minimized to my system try (or notification area or its respective indicator
applet or wherever it goes instead of quitting).  Examples of programs with
this behavior include Rhythmbox and Empathy in the default install.  To me,
the 'X' signifies closing and quitting the application.  If I wanted to
minimize it and keep it open, I would think to click the 'Minimize' button
before clicking the 'X'.  In fact, I'd argue that the only reason anyone
thinks this is appropriate is because it's what's been done in the past.
The reason I find this so frustrating is because in order for me to eXit an
application, I have to go searching through menus (File->Quit) or know some
fancy keyboard shortcuts (things that casual users never even think about).

I can only assume that developers' theories behind this (which is definitely
not a problem unique to Ubuntu) stem from them telling themselves that no
one would actually want to Quit their application.  "What they *really* mean
to do is close the window, but keep the application running silently.  So
I'll just save them the trouble of accidentally quitting by changing the
function of that 'X' button."  I just dislike the fact that it sends mixed
signals.  After all, if I click 'X' in Firefox or in gEdit or in a whole
host of other applications, I'm quitting and completely closing it.  Why
must this be different in Rhythmbox?  And also, when I install a new
application, what is the 'X' going to do when I click it in this

I'm not exactly sure what I'd propose to fix this problem.  I really just
think that the current way is broken.  Maybe the function could be switched
to the Minimize button, but that would likewise exhibit ambiguity, although
I'd argue less so than the current incarnation.  Maybe there should be a new
window button, but that doesn't seem like a very elegant solution either.  I
thought about filing this as a bug, but then I thought it might be better to
generate discussion amongst developers.  What are your thoughts?  Do you
consider the current situation a problem? If so, what do you propose to fix

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