xubuntu app switcher

Simon Steinbeiß simon.steinbeiss at elfenbeinturm.at
Sun Apr 12 16:06:53 UTC 2009

i just have a very small proposition for any future version of xubuntu. you might
consider this useless interface tweaking, but since you very discussing many design
issues lately i thought i might contribute to that a little. one thing that's been
bugging me for ages (i'm using xubuntu since breezy) is the looks of the application
switcher (the box that appears when you press alt+tab).
i recently joined the xfce-dev mailinglist to find out whether it was themable (i have
tried zillions of gtk-themes, but none of them included that). most thankfully olivier
fourdan replied and told me how and i think this is a really nice addon to any gtk-theme
you might consider as a standard theme (maybe it's not even too late for jaunty, i don't
know about your release schedule).
one more point about that is the icon-size of the app-switcher. personally i would prefer
it to be bigger than 48px (which is what it is now). i dug a bit in the code of xfwm4 and
found the (hardcoded) parameter in tabwin.c, line 28 (version 4.6.0-1ubuntu3). olivier
assured me that it would be sufficient to tweak this line according to taste and that it
wouldn't create a big mess.

here's an example gtkrc-code for theming the app-switcher:
style "tabwin" = "default"
    bg[NORMAL]      = "#222222"
    bg_pixmap[NORMAL] = "app_switcher.png"
    fg[NORMAL]      = "#FFFFFF"
    bg[SELECTED]      = "#6C8085"
    fg[SELECTED]      = "#ffffff"
#    bg[INSENSITIVE]   = "#ff0000"
#    fg[INSENSITIVE]   = "#0000ff"

widget "xfwm4-tabwin*"             style "tabwin"

i really like the feature of putting a background image/pattern in the app-switcher,
because it removes the frame around the switcher using the bg[SELECTED] color. but that
might be just me.
(oh and of course i know that the app-switcher picks up some colors defined in the
gtk-theme, but one thing i consider quite important about it is the bg[NORMAL] setting. i
think it would be nice if this would be in line with the rest of the theme or even the
colors of the new notification osd.)

ok, that was a bit long for such a tiny issue but i hope you can get something out of

thanks a lot for maintaining the best looking (and most efficient) *buntu and keep up the

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