There is a GConf key called /apps/metacity/general/raise_on_click. It does not, as is widely assumed, cause windows to be raised when they’re clicked. You should never turn it off. Doing so will make your user experience confusing in subtle ways.
The short description of the key in the current schema says that it controls whether raising should be a side-effect of other user interactions. In other words, this key would have been better named “raise on click and also on a shedload of other random things like resizing”. The longer explanation runs:
Setting this option to false can lead to buggy behavior, so users are strongly discouraged from changing it from the default of true.
Many actions (e.g. clicking in the client area, moving or resizing the window) normally raise the window as a side-effect. Set this option to false to decouple raising from other user actions. Even when this option is false, windows can still be raised by an alt-left-click anywhere on the window, a normal click on the window decorations, or by special messages from pagers, such as activation requests from tasklist applets.
This option is currently disabled in click-to-focus mode.
Note that the list of ways to raise windows when raise_on_click is false does not include programmatic requests from applications to raise windows; such requests will be ignored regardless of the reason for the request. If you are an application developer and have a user complaining that your application does not work with this setting disabled, tell them it is their fault for breaking their window manager and that they need to change this option back to true or live with the bug they requested. See also bug 445447, comment 6.
(See also GNOME bug 326156.)
We still regularly receive bugs complaining that turning off raise_on_click breaks things. This is expected behaviour:
- We told you not to turn it off.
- raise_on_click doesn’t do what the name implies anyway.
We have to keep the key for backwards compatibility, but please, everyone, just leave this key the heck alone and turned on. Thanks. :)