2008-01-19: minimal journal

A very, very brief journal entry. Metacity allows you to bind keys to horizontal and vertical maximisation of a window. Should this exist, since it’s so rarely used? Should there be a more easily-discoverable way of working? How would it work– right and middle and left click doing different things, as kwin does, or double-clicking the titlebar, or new buttons? There has been a lot of discussion about this on Bugzilla. Today your chronicler summarised the debate so far. Your two cents on the question are welcome; especially, I’m not sure how to gauge what proportion of people would actually use such a feature. (Lots of people will often tell you that they will use a feature, but you can hardly tell from that how many people don’t care.)


  1. Screwtape
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    One of the first things I do when I set up Metacity is bind toggle-horizontal-maximize to Win-H and toggle-vertical-maximize to Win-V. Most thing I do on a regular basis involve multiple windows, and usually they’re either horizontally or vertically maximized – for example, a vertically maximized editor and gnome-terminal for writing and testing code, or two horizontally maximized terminals for running scripts and watching log-files.

    I do not care if these features are accessible with the mouse or the title-bar, but I would miss them if they were gone. It’s a convenient stepping-stone between the familiar world of Windows or Mac OS, and the hardcore world of ratpoison, ion and xmonad.

  2. Eetu
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I think that vertically and horizontally maximizing is a marginal use case at best. It is hardly an intuitive one and I would guess that the only users who are familiar with such behavior are former users of other/older X vm’s and as such not really in the target group of Metacity. Let them eat Marshmallow Froot Loops!

  3. Henrique Rodrigues
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    One of the main reasons why vertical and horizontal maximization are rarely used is that people don’t really know that Metacity provides those features. I’m using Metacity since GNOME adopted it and I’ve only known that feature three or four months ago.

    One of the features I find lacking in Metacity is the ability to split the screen with two or more windows, horizontally or vertically. For example, as a use case, imagine that I want to have two gEdit windows, side by side. I could manually arrange the windows, but it could be done automatically. Microsoft Windows has this feature, by the way.

    I still prefer Metacity to everything (except Openbox, for non-GNOME environments).

  4. Posted January 20, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I am using H/V maximization and loving it each day. One thing that I might use instead is “window explosion” (in lack of a better word). Window explosion should mean that the window would maximize to fill all available space without overlapping other windows (or more specifically without causing any new overlaps). This is basically what I use H/V max. for anyway… I believe KWin got a similar feature recently…

  5. Sven Arvidsson
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m using vertical maximisation almost every day, so I would be sad to see it go.

    On the other hand, I’m fine with it only existing as a keybinding.

  6. Scott Bronson
    Posted January 21, 2008 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I use Maximize Vertically tens of times every day. I have to assume that anybody who wants to take Maximize Vertically out of the code base must have a small monitor. On a 24″ monitor, maximize shows your document on 1/4 of the screen and paints the other 3/4 of the screen white… not very useful!

    I’d be OK with doing away with horizontal maximization. But, really, Maximize Vertically is far too useful to take out.

  7. Jonas
    Posted January 21, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I use maximize vertically a lot. It’s my favorite Metacity feature compared to Windows and Mac OS.

  8. Conrad
    Posted January 22, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I also use toggle vertical/horizontal maximize a lot: specifically for the terminal where I often want to see longer lines or more lines on the screen.

    The keys I use for that are Ctrl-Alt-~, with Alt-~ for Toggle Maximize.

    Please keep this feature :-)

  9. goyko
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Please, keep this feature! It’s really useful. I agree with Henrique Rodrigues that the reason it’s not very popular is that it is hidden from the UI. As it was said above, a good way to expose it is to make the “maximize” button to act differently on middle/right click and maybe tooltip should tell that to the user.

    Best Regards