client side decorations

Kristian Høgsberg krh at
Fri May 6 14:24:34 PDT 2011

On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM, Peng Huang <shawn.p.huang at> wrote:
> I still remember some old windows systems which use client side decoration.
> When applications have some problems, you can not use close button to close
> them. Any the whole decoration will not be repainted anymore, just leave
> users the background color. That is a really bad UX.
> I think server side decoration is a better solution. At same time, wayland
> should allow an application to disable it, and draw its decoration by self.
> Peng

Listen, this is not OK.  You're welcome to contribute to the
discussion, but I ask that you at least read the other emails in the
thread.  I'm not asking you to go read documentation or even code,
just fucking read what other people have already suggested in the
thread, before blabbering out with your preconceived notion of what
client side decorations might be.

You obviously haven't read the previous mails in this thread or even
understand just the basics about how Wayland works.  You're replying
with a sad anecdote about how you once used a "windows system" and
couldn't close the window and the application didn't repaint.  I'm
sure that was traumatizing, but it's not relevant to this discussion.
You're not helping anybody here, you're just spreading misinformation.

I could suggest that you go back and read my suggestions, but that's
probably too much too ask, so I'll repeat them here:

 - the client can specify a rectangle (typically the title bar) where
the should interpret click-and-drag as a window move operation.  This
lets the compositor move unresponsive windows around and is similar to
what Mike Paquette described.

 - the client can specify another kind of rectangle (typically the
close button), where the compositor should expect a certain response
(window going away, for example) within a few seconds or so.  This
will let the compositor pop up a "Window didn't respond, force quit?"
dialog either immediately or on the second click attempt.

 - unresponsive windows wont go blank, the compositor has the contents
of the window and can repaint from that.  The window contents will
stop updating, but the compositor doesn't rely on the apps being
responsive to repaint the screen.  This is a key feature of composited
window systems.

This was a flame.  I don't do that often, but I'm fed up with all the
uninformed me-too that always happens in all the
client-side-decoration threads.

Have a good weekend,

> On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:32 PM, Bill Spitzak <spitzak at> wrote:
>> Sam Spilsbury wrote:
>>> Actually, I'm pretty sure in 99% of the cases out there the amount of
>>> code required for individual applications to have a window border
>>> using decorations done on the window manager side is going to be
>>> pretty much nil.
>> Size? Resize rules? Name? Icon name? Icon? Layer? Window group? Parent
>> Window? Window role? Desktop? Hardly "nil". Take a look at how many pages of
>> stuff is in the window manager hints.
>>> I really don't think this is an issue to do with client side
>>> decorations. If the window management policy can't handle the Gimp
>>> case correctly, then we need to revise our window management policy,
>>> where of course I'm open to ideas here.
>> "Window management policy" should also be client-side. I may not have been
>> clear about that. The wayland compositer almost NEVER moves or raises or
>> resizes a window. Clients do this in response to clicks or whatever. This
>> would have made it TRIVIAL to implement Gimp the way they intended, as at no
>> time would an image window raise above their toolbars, since they control
>> both of them.
>> I think it is disgusting that for 30 years now we have been forced to not
>> use overlapping windows, primarily due to the idiotic idea that the system
>> should implement "click to top" (especially idiotic because of the
>> incredible triviality of making the client do that). Every major application
>> (including Gimp...) has been forced to use a single window with a "tiled"
>> interior, and perhaps some pop-up "child" windows, because of this bug and
>> am really really hoping Wayland will finally fix it.
>> To handle locked windows the compositor certainly can move, raise, lower
>> and unmap them. It can do this if the user holds down certain keys, or if it
>> detects the application is locked up, or if the user picks menu items.
>>> On windows all we see is that applications can draw widgets inside the
>>> existing window border style. This works well in every case I've seen
>>> it - chromium, firefox, office, you name it.
>> No on Windows an application can add drawings to the title bar. It is
>> pretty clear that applications are assuming the default Vista colors and
>> button sizes and layouts when making these drawings, thus defeating theming.
>>> We still have the problem of not having a universal toolkit to handle
>>> these things, and the reality of the matter is that a lot of
>>> proprietary applications are not going to want to use these toolkits.
>> I have no idea why you think that making the window borders match is all
>> that is needed. What about the buttons and menus and toolbars and scroll
>> bars and how editing is done? If this is important I would much rather see a
>> solution that addresses all of these, rather than somehow saying the window
>> borders are "special".
>>> You cannot assume that there will be a universally adopted method to
>>> styling because we see on every single platform that there will *not*
>>> be one. The best way to enforce styling is to enforce it at the window
>>> manager level, so that the applications on the system actually obey
>>> what the user wants them to do, not some crazy idea that the
>>> application developer had.
>> And this is true on X and Windows today. People bypass the system and draw
>> their own window borders. And the result is far worse than if the system was
>> designed for this from the start. Lets not repeat these mistakes.
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