Strange Adventures with the GNOME Panel

Somebody on the GNOME Wiki just noticed that you can mouse-wheel over the workspace switcher applet to scroll through workspaces. This is a neato feature, and reminded me that I’ve been meaning to patch the window list and selector menu so that I can mouse-wheel instead of fumbling for the Alt-Tab key combo (and then guessing how the list has been re-ordered since my last Alt-Tab).

I cooked up a patch (whilst other people are feverishly hacking on the deskbar), then noticed that somebody had already filed one at D’oh!

So now I can scroll-wheel to do something Alt-Tab-esque. And I’ve re-arranged my two-panel set up into something experimental. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Big thing is that I’m down to only one (bottom) panel – so that I can get to the close button of my window as one of Fitt’s corners. Here’s what’s on the panel:

From left to right: window selector menu, workspace switcher, deskbar, notification area, volume control, weather applet, diskmount applet, system monitor, calendar. Everything I need, and in the two important corners: window selector (since I don’t have a space-hogging window list) and the clock (for calendar appointments).

What’s unusual is that there is no window list (what Microsoft Windows calls a “Taskbar”), and there’s no “Start” menu (which I wasn’t really using anyway, but it’s only a keybinding away – the “menu” key under the Right Shift, rather than Alt-F1 for me).

The experiment has been working for me for the last couple of days. Rather than using the window list, I slam my mouse into the bottom left corner (and maybe then flick my wrist a little to the right to get over the workspace switcher) and scroll.