Thoughts on quitting and window controls

Brandon Kuczenski brandon.kuczenski at
Thu Apr 8 23:28:59 UTC 2010

Derek Broughton wrote:
> John McCabe-Dansted wrote:
>> Maybe. But the paradigm isn't really that pressing the Close
>> button minimizes the window to the systray. 
> I beg to differ.  Think as a user, not a developer.  I submit that _users_ 
> do not generally understand a difference between minimizing to the tray or 
> the task bar - except that they know something minimized to the task bar is 
> taking up more space.
>> The paradigm is that closing a
>> window closes that window *and* that closing a window never closes a
>> service. 
> Again, I disagree.  Users think "close" and don't stop to think...
>> I think most people would be confused if e.g. clicking close on
>> the main sound preferences dialog stopped the sound server.
> ...what closing a sound server means.  I think most people are confused by 
> _any_ change to their system.  [I'm confused by the fact that Firefox now 
> has the ability to hang my entire machine, which it only started to do with 
> the last upgrade]  Yes, making the close button shut down a server and the 
> minimize button minimize to either the task bar or the system tray _would_ 
> be initially confusing but imo is more logical, and would be more intuitive.

I think it's unwise to try to imagine a 'typical' user.  There are 
[apparently] a great many people who like the way mac handles the 
desktop environment- I have never been able to fathom it, but that's why 
I don't use it.  (among other reasons :P )  Mac users and Windows users 
coming to Ubuntu will expect different things- but Ubuntu is something 
else entirely and shouldn't aspire to the whims of thoughtless windows 
and mac users.  A 'thoughtful' ubuntu user will quickly realize that 
some programs don't exit when you close the window.  There's nothing 
wrong with that.  Sometimes the change should happen on the other side 
of the display.

For my part, I find the argument that "the close button on a window 
closes the window" compelling.  By the same token, "minimize should 
minimize to the panel", where it can later be restored, remembering its 
position and size and other window-related things. these are window 
controls.  Minimize to tray, where the window seems to disappear, breaks 
the windowing metaphor.

As for the question of how to deal with applications that persist as 
services, it seems like it's a quarrel with the application and not with 
the desktop environment.    Maybe they need to notify the user more 
clearly that they continue to run-- maybe the icons in the notification 
area can bounce up and down when their windows are closed :)   (unless 
it infringes on a patent).   Better, the user should be notified when 
the program *starts* that a service has been started as well.

If it is controversial, as it seems to be with rhythmbox, it should be a 
preference setting.  But don't change the law to fight a parking ticket.

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