Fix focus follow mouse usability problem

Harald Braumann harry at
Mon Aug 3 08:01:58 PDT 2009


if focus follows mouse is used, all window managers I know of have a
serious usability problem: a window is focused as soon as it is
entered. Even if the pointer is just passes a window while moved
between two other windows.. In this case I would expect
no focus change. The window should be focused, as soon as the pointer
stops over the window.

My question is, if it is even possible for a WM to detect, that the
pointer stopped. If it is, I can file a wishlist bug for my WM du jour.
Though I fear it might not be possible, because the WM would have to
grab the pointer and accurately track it's movement. 

If it's not possible yet, are there plans to implement such
functionality in the X server? Like sending an event whenever the
pointer stops?

The current behaviour is so annoying, because it can have side-effects,
when a window gets the focus:

- It gets moved up in the list of recently focused windows. Thus if
you switch back and forth between two windows with the keyboard and then
use the mouse once to switch, you might move over a third or a fourth
window. Now you can't simply switch back with the keyboard. You
have to skip the third and the fourth window, which you didn't
even intend to focus, in the first place.

- Broken GUI designs, like GIMP's are unusable. The tool windows apply
to the currently focused main window. You might not be able to reach a
tool window without moving over another main window.

- Windows might remove their urgent flag, as soon as they are focused.
Again, this happens, whether or not the focus was intended.

Btw., I don't regard delayed focus/raise as a solution.

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