windows switching

Thomas Henry Sutton thsutton at
Tue May 18 17:40:19 CEST 2004

> I agree.  The current alt-tabbing is not visually intuitive.  To fix 
> it I suggest a few things.  First, what has been suggested before.  
> The small alt-tab box that displays in the middle of the screen should 
> show the icon and/or thumbnail of the window you are switching to.  
> The text in the box we have right now is no good.  Second, instead of 
> highlighting the border of the soon to be active window do this.  When 
> alt-tab is pressed every window is set to have transparency of 85% or 
> so.  The focused window will have 0 transparency.  It will be very 
> very easy to tell which window will come to the forefront this way.  
> You might even be able to forego the box with icons/thumbnails in it 
> if this is implemented well.  Some sort of hint of color in the pager 
> may be helpful for people who keep their eye down there.  Lastly there 
> should be an option in the control center to toggle alt-tabbing across 
> virtual desktops.  I know some people who really want that feature.

Would that not needlessly depend on yet another protocol? I've not read 
the ICCCM(?) or looked at the fd.o transparency, so I don't know how 
one would go about supporting transparency, but it appears to me (with 
my rather naive understanding of X programming) that this would turn a 
lot of code into an awful nest of special cases to deal with various X 

Additionally, implementing transparency would eat a lot of CPU time. 
The only reason OSX gets away with so much weirdness with window 
operations is (IIRC) the use of GL for window compositing (at the cost 
of video memory). If XFCE started depending on the presence of hardware 
graphics acceleration or of lots of burnable cycles, would that not 
shoot it out of the water in the smallness and lightness stakes?

Also, the use of pretty thumb nailing, etc for window switching doesn't 
mean that it is any more "intuitive" [read: works the way the writer 
expects]. Just look at the behaviour of Windows XP. The XP boxen I 
avoid^H^H^H^H^Huse at school do awful things when you alt-tab (the 
stupid thumbnail thing pops up and goes away and you get to wait for 
the redraw, etc), and all for the sake of some useless eye-candy.

Overall: were I to be asked to express an opinion either way, I would 
have to "vote" against this sort of "feature".

On another note: As this is my first post (after lurking for ~875 
messages), I would like to say a very big thank-you to everyone who has 
contributed to my desktop of choice. XFCE is my desktop of choice, and 
will continue to be long into the future.

Thomas Sutton

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