new windows never have focus!

Marius Gedminas marius at
Thu Jan 8 16:40:18 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jan 02, 2009 at 01:14:08PM +0100, Francisco Borges wrote:
> I have been (trying) to use Gnome since KDE4 crashes on me twice a day.
> One problem I keep having is that new windows are not getting focus.
> They are always at the bottom of the window stack.

It's mostly intentional: you don't want a popup to appear while you're
typing a sentence, so you accidentally accept one of the choices just by
pressing 'space'.  Instead, the popup appears in the background and
starts flashing in the window list.

Sometimes this doesn't work like you'd like to (e.g. when you click on a
link in an email program, and the window manager doesn't realize the
browser just opened a new window in response to your action).

> I just checked and
> /apps/metacity/general/focus_new_windows is set to "smart"

Hm.  gconf-editor shows only two allowed values here, "smart" and
"strict".  I don't see anything that would always pop up new windows on

> Is there anything I can do to fix this?

Do you use Metacity (i.e. plain old boring GNOME desktop) or Compiz (the
bang-whiz one with desktop effects)?  Compiz has more settings.  If you
run ccsm (from the compizconfig-settings-manager package), you'll find
the setting you want under General Options, in the Focus & Raise
Behaviour tab (Focus Prevention Level: Low or even Off).

Marius Gedminas
Attempts to stick to simple on-or-off options lead to monsters like gcc, which
now has so many flags that programmers are using genetic algorithms to explore
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