Almost everything we bind keys to could be done with an external application via EWMH, and on my computer there’s no perceptible speed penalty. (I’m sure there is on slower machines.) Perhaps there should be a configure switch not to include the code to do everything except the things which pop up switchers (and another switch not to include those, in case you use superswitcher) and then we could supply a separate executable for people who’d turned them off, so that pressing the “move to workspace right” key actually did “metacity-move –right” or something. Maybe it would reduce the memory footprint on faster machines. Maybe on the other hand it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
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