Big Button Game: Metacity Introduces Flexibility

Mar 25, 2010

The current button arrangement redesign in Ubuntu causes numerous bugs in GNOME and Ubuntu. The Metacity team now wants to step in.

The recent hot discussion around the redesign of the three standard window buttons to move them from right to left in the Ubuntu 10.04 window alerted Metacity window manager developers to a problem they've long been grappling with: if a designer includes specific images for the buttons in a developed theme, they can't be moved without breaking the underlying design.

A GNOME user can now freely determine where the buttons go, but themes present a special problem in that the button_layout key specifies their position in the GNOME configuration. The solution is not optimal because button_layout is persisted across themes (the global setting) so that a user can't change the positioning when introducing a new theme.

GNOME developers want to solve this problem so that future themes will overwrite the button_layout setting, which would require a new Themes v3 format. Metacity developer Thomas Thurman in his blog is rather recommending a workaround involving a separate GKeyFile configuration file in the theme directory that would parse the key-value file to set the button layout for any new theme.

Related content

  • First Look at Gnome 3

    The new Gnome desktop offers a simpler work environment – once you become accustomed to the new navigation tools.

  • Compiz 0.6.0 improves multi screen support

    The new 0.6.0 version of the compositing window manager Compiz now supports multiple x-screens and has new plug-ins.

  • Brightside and Devil’s Pie

    If the no-frills Metacity window manager doesn’t give you the functio nality you need, try the Metacity add-ons Brightside and Devil’s Pie.

  • Gnome Flashback

    If you struggle with the appearance and behavior of the Gnome desktop, the classic features of fallback mode offer an alternative in a familiar style. Lamented by many as dead and gone, Gnome 3 fallback is still alive and kicking in Gnome Flashback.

  • Gnome Do

    Information at your fingertips with actions to match – Gnome Do merges search engine and application launcher functionality to create a new and convenient tool.

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More