Stoppt die Vorratsdatenspeicherung! Jetzt klicken &handeln! Willst du auch an der Aktion teilnehmen? Hier findest du alle relevanten Infos und Materialien:
Jump to menu and information about this site.

Sunday·22·October·2006

The mouseless side of X //at 00:48 //by abe

from the Think-Emacs!-Think-screen! dept.

Although I like the idea of a tiling and completely keyboard focused window manager, I never fell in love with Ion because the default keybindings weren’t really intuïtive (to me). A few months ago I noticed, that ratpoison is also a tiling and completely keyboard focused window manager, only with much more intuitive usage: If you know screen and it’s keybindings, you also know ratpoison and it’s keybindings: Just exchange Ctrl-A with Ctrl-T. This sounds perfect for usage on my low performance laptops, where I have small screens and usually also no virtual desktops in use.

There’s only one thing which annoys me in ratpoison: If I use a mostly mouse driven application like e.g. a webbrowser with ratpoison, I have no problems to click on links, even if the webbrowser is not in the so called “current frame”. But if e.g. click into an input field, I usually notice much too late that while the mouse works fine in the browser, keyboard focus is still in some other window. Currently they all use flwm, the Fast and Lite Window Manager.

So what I would need is a tiling and keyboard focused window manager but with “focus follows mouse” politics. And since the laptops on which I intend to use such a window manager, all have a touchpad or thumbstick, the mouse there counts as keyboard focused, too somehow, doesn’t it? :-) I wonder, if an ion3 could be configured to use the same keybindings as ratpoison. That would probably fulfil this desire.

On the other hand, there are browsers which are fine without mouse. lynx or links2 for example, so the focus problem I have with ratpoison wouldn’t occur. But what if I need or want a keyboard driven and full blown webbrowser? Ok, Firefox as well as Opera are not that bad in keyboard only use, but they still are focused on the mouse using user.

But Gecko wouldn’t be Gecko, if there wasn’t some Gecko based browser with this features: On the ratpoison website I found a link to a very interesting Firefox plugin which makes Firefox a complete new browser, a keyboard driven webbrowser named Conkeror. It has no toolbars at all, no (visible) tabs, no menus, no nothing — it shows only the website in fullscreen, a status line and a multipurpose command line — exactly like the mini-buffer of GNU Emacs.

But not only the layout, even the keybindings are very emacsish: C-x C-f opens an URL in a new buffer -eh- tab, C-x 5 C-f opens an URL in a new frame (window), C-x C-v opens a new URL in the current tab (buffer) with the current URL as editable default value, C-x b switches to another tab, C-x k kills -eh- closes a tab, C-x C-b lists all open tabs, l goes back (remember the Emacs info reader, eh?), C-g quits accidently requested dialogs or stops loading a web page, Ctrl-s and Ctrl-r give you forward and backward i-search, C-n, C-p, C-f and C-b scroll, etc. Even M-x works, e.g. will M-x revert-buffer reload the web page. (Unfortunately Esc-x doesn’t work. Yet.) And for vi freaks, there is even M-x use-vi-keys. There’s even one lynxish keybinding: \ lets you view the source.

And although it’s one of the strangest webbrowsers I saw yet, I somehow like it and also would like to see it in Debian as package, since it is the perfect companion for ion or ratpoison. Looking through apt’s package cache as well as the wnpp bugs, I haven’t found any hint on somebody already packaging it, so I’ll have a look on it and on how to to package a Firefox extension for Debian.

BTW: While looking through the wnpp bugs, I found bug #335459, which is the ITP flock, an also Gecko based browser with a lot of cool features for blogger who like social network tools.

Another nice thing I found today in Debian was the xfonts-artwiz package whose small fonts are very suitable for small resolution screens, especially if a tiling window manager is used with a e.g. 800×600 resolution. Unfortunately they aren’t available in a charset with German umlauts.

Apropos tiling window managers: Anyone tried pconsole with an automatically tiling and resizing window manager? I wonder if it’s usable. At least on MacOS X with its cascading window positioning algorithm, pconsole is a pain. — But even without cascading windows, MacOS X is a pain for keyboard users. Just think of its default behaviour when using the tab key inside a form mask: It will skip all buttons, all checkboxes, all radio buttons and all select boxes. Argh!

Comments

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: t11
Website: 
Time: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 14:26

WMII is such a window manager ("tiling and keyboard focused window manager but with “focus follows mouse” politics."), - http://wmii.suckless.org/

I use it, and it's great. The default keybindings are vi-ish, though.

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: Axel
Website: http://noone.org/abe/
Time: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 14:39

Tried it. Tried to configure ratpoison-like (or more concrete screen-like keybindings. Docs are quite shortish, there's no feedback if wmiirc failed in some way which makes expanding it quite a pain. Though it will be interesting to see if it's possible to use wmii screen-like since all the rest really looks promising. Well, maybe except that a big part of the wmii community seems to be in a flame ware with wmii's author...

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: Andre Bogus
Website: mailto:andre@m3n.de
Time: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 09:27

Hi abe,

I use ratpoison exclusively on linux since the end of 2003. Hint: If you do have one of those keyboards with more keys, you can set up your .ratpoisonrc to make the escape sequence to your liking. My notebook has a windows key on the keyboard and I use this key instead of Ctrl-T. No more clobbered apps.

I never had a problem with focus, as I always run my apps full-screen.

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: Axel
Website: http://noone.org/abe/
Time: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 14:46

Hi Andre, since a few weeks ratpoison has replaced flwm on my notebook. I'm really satisfied, but I get used to it. Ctrl-T is also fine in most cases except that the t key is to far away from the Ctrl key. When cascading screens I often used Ctrl-X instead of Ctrl-A, but that was annoying in Emacs. Maybe Ctrl-Z (on US keyboards) is better. You don't need that that often... :-)

Oh, and what I'm also missing is the equivalent to screens »Ctrl-A "« -- A window list where you can choose which window you want to switch to... »Ctrl-T w« just doesn't satisfy.

Regarding the focus: I often use the split modes, both, vertical and horizontal, so I'm stumbling over the focus every then and when...

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: Axel
Website: http://noone.org/abe/
Time: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 14:26

Hi Andre, since a few weeks ratpoison has replaced flwm on my notebook. I'm really satisfied, but I get used to it. Ctrl-T is also fine in most cases except that the t key is to far away from the Ctrl key. When cascading screens I often used Ctrl-X instead of Ctrl-A, but that was annoying in Emacs. Maybe Ctrl-Z (on US keyboards) is better. You don't need that that often... :-)

Oh, and what I'm also missing is the equivalent to screens »Ctrl-A "« -- A window list where you can choose which window you want to switch to... »Ctrl-T w« just doesn't satisfy.

Regarding the focus: I often use the split modes, both, vertical and horizontal, so I'm stumbling over the focus every then and when...

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: Ben
Website: 
Time: Mon, 11 May 2009 21:53

You MUST try xmonad! Bind mod to windows key for non-suckage. Xmonad is 100x nicer than ratpoison -- I've used both heavily.

Reply

Re: The mouseless side of X

Posted by: schvin
Website: http://schvin.net/
Time: Fri, 01 Jan 2010 16:44

+1 for xmonad

Reply

Your Comment

Spam Protection: To post a comment, you'll have to answer the following question: What is 42 minus 19?

Name:
URL or E-Mail: [http://... or mailto:you@example.com] (optional)
Title: (optional)
Spam Protection Answer:
Comment:

Tag Cloud

2CV, aha, Apache, APT, aptitude, ASUS, Automobiles, autossh, Berlin, bijou, Blogging, Blosxom, Blosxom Plugin, Browser, BSD, CDU, Chemnitz, Citroën, CLI, CLT, Conkeror, CX, deb, Debian, Doofe Parteien, E-Mail, eBay, EeePC, Emacs, Epiphany, Etch, ETH Zürich, Events, Experimental, Firefox, Fläsch, FreeBSD, FVWM, Galeon, Gecko, git, GitHub, GNOME, GNU, GNU Coreutils, GNU Screen, Google, GPL, grep, grml, gzip, Hackerfunk, Hacks, Hardware, Heise, HTML, identi.ca, IRC, irssi, Jabber, JavaShit, Kazehakase, Lenny, Liferea, Linux, LinuxTag, LUGS, Lynx, maol, Meme, Microsoft, Mozilla, Music, mutt, Myon, München, nemo, Nokia, nuggets, Open Source, Opera, packaging, Pentium I, Perl, Planet Debian, Planet Symlink, Quiz, Rant, ratpoison, Religion, RIP, Sarcasm, Sarge, Schweiz, screen, Shell, Sid, Spam, Squeeze, SSH, Stöckchen, SuSE, Symlink, Symlink-Artikel, Tagging, Talk, taz, Text Mode, ThinkPad, Ubuntu, USA, USB, UUUCO, UUUT, VCFe, Ventilator, Vintage, Wahlen, Wheezy, Wikipedia, Windows, WML, Woody, WTF, X, Xen, zsh, Zürich, ÖPNV

Calendar

← 2006 
Months
Oct
 October 
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
           
22
         

Tattletale Statistics

Blog postings by posting time
Blog posting times this month



Search


Advanced Search


Categories


Recent Postings

0 most recent of 0 postings total shown.


Recent Comments

Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert

About...

This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the IT Support Group (ISG) of the Departement of Physics at ETH Zurich.

Links to internal pages are orange, links to related pages are blue, links to external resources are green and links to Wikipedia articles, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entries or similar resources are bordeaux. Times are CET respective CEST (which means GMT +0100 respective +0200).


RSS Feeds


Identity Archipelago


Picture Gallery


Button Futility

Valid XHTML Valid CSS
Valid RSS Any Browser
GeoURL
This content is licensed under a Creative Commons License (SA 3.0 DE). Some rights reserved. Hacker Emblem
Get Mozilla Firefox! Powered by Linux!
Typed with GNU Emacs Listed at Tux Mobil
XFN Friendly Button Maker

Blogroll

Blog or not?


People I know personally


Other blogs I like or read


Independent News


Interesting Planets


Web comics I like and read

Stalled Web comics I liked


Blogging Software

Blosxom Plugins I use

Bedside Reading

Just read

  • Bastian Sick: Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod (Teile 1-3)
  • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens (borrowed from Ermel)

Currently Reading

  • Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach
  • Neil Gaiman: Keine Panik (borrowed from Ermel)

Yet to read

  • Neil Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (borrowed from Ermel)

Always a good snack

  • Wolfgang Stoffels: Lokomotivbau und Dampftechnik (borrowed from Ermel)
  • Beverly Cole: Trains — The Early Years (getty images)

Postponed