Squib of the day: same button, different position

Red colorful buttons GNOME bug 120705 points out that Metacity doesn’t allow users to put a button into the titlebar twice– so, for example, you can’t have a close button on the left and also on the right hand side.

There is no particular reason for this: it was merely an artifact of the original code which has been preserved.  However, not allowing a button to repeat has a possibly useful side-effect of providing an upper bound on the number of buttons which can appear.

Is there anyone out there who would actually want to put a button on the titlebar more than once?

Photo © Kup Kup Land, cc-by-nc-sa.


  1. Posted March 26, 2009 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Considering changing the button layout isn’t very obvious to begin with unless you live inside of gconf, I don’t see why not to allow it unless it is a colossal code change. If people want to completely obliterate their titlebar usability, why stop them?
    Though, I certainly hope distributors wouldn’t abuse it.

    It seems simpler to just say “type the buttons you want on your titlebar” than to say the same with an additional “you can only use each button once.”

  2. Simon
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    If someone wants to provide a patch, I don’t see any reason to reject it. But it otherwise doesn’t seem like a valuable use of a developer’s time.

  3. Posted March 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Strange as it sounds, I wouldn’t mind this feature, for two reasons:

    1) This would make it easier for me to experiment. Say, put minimize to the left, but keep it in its orthodox position as well, and see if I can get used to the new position.

    2) It would minimize mouse movement: whichever direction I am moving the mouse, I can minimize/close the previously active window.

    Mind you, I won’t spend any time writing code for this margin of usability improvement and I certainly don’t expect anyone else to do it :)