In GNOME bug 80984 (closely related to GNOME bug 76672), someone is asking for the window manager to help out with drag-and-drop. The problem is that a drag-and-drop operation should not raise the window it begins in, because raising that window could obscure the window you’re planning to drop the object into.
This is a reasonable and important request. It is, however, not at all simple. Metacity is the program which decides whether to raise the window, and there is currently no way for Metacity to know you’re about to start a drag-and-drop operation.
One rather crappy workaround is to tell it by holding down Super or AltGr. This works, but it’s not elegant. The system should be able to know.
This is not what raise_on_click does. Please forget about raise_on_click. It won’t solve your problem.
The correct answer is fixing this in the EWMH. Luboš had an idea about this back in 2004 called _NET_WM_TAKE_ACTIVITY, and Elijah improved on this later with a more complicated idea called _NET_WM_MOUSE_ACTION. Getting this into Metacity is GNOME bug 152952. Whatever happens, it’s going to need changes to GTK and to various applications, particularly including Nautilus (the file manager).
Far more of a detailed writeup, including feedback from some of the people involved, is found in this entry. Your chronicler believes that implementing this is worth the fairly considerable effort to fix.
Photo © wili-hybrid, cc-by.