Using alt-key clicks on linux

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Mon May 29 12:33:37 EDT 2017

Mark Wieder wrote:

 > On 05/29/2017 08:30 AM, Richard Gaskin via use-livecode wrote:
 >> Personally, it seems a bit heavy-handed of the Gnome team to block
 >> a modifier key so sweepingly.  I may see about submitting an
 >> enhancement request to them to change that from Alt-click to
 >> Alt-rightclick, which seems far better given how broadly the Alt
 >> key us used on other platforms and how relatively seldom it's
 >> used for moving windows in Gnome-base desktop environments.
 > I think considering how much of a known behavior this is in the linux
 > desktop world it's unlikely to be changed. True, I wouldn't have made
 > that design decision, but I think it's something we're stuck with.

I suspect you're right.  Besides, there is one upside to losing the use 
of one of the three most common modifier keys:  it prompts us to 
reconsider the role of modifier keys on click actions altogether.

As keyboard shortcuts for menu items, Alt and other mod keys work well 
and can be very important.  But part of their importance come from being 
explicit: you can look at the menu item to learn the shortcut.

With click-related actions, mod keys that provide alternate behavior are 
effectively hidden features.  As such, most users may never discover 
them at all anyway.

This relegates them to seldom-needed things, and since they're 
seldom-needed maybe overloading clicks with different alternate actions 
for all three main mod keys (Ctrl, Shift, and Alt) would be a bit much 

So sacrificing Alt for Shift or Ctrl on click actions isn't so bad after 
all.  If nothing else it reminds us to avoid doing that to begin with. :)

Of course there are some rare cases where a shortcut action using a mod 
key with a click can make sense, such as in a drawing or layout program 
where so many things are done with mouse actions.  But even there we can 
see how other programs handle that, including LiveCode.

For example, on Mac and Windows it's common to duplicate selected 
objects with Alt-drag (or Option-drag on Mac).  On Linux this is done 
with Ctrl-drag.

If we also needed a separate action for Ctrl-drag and we also need to 
use Shift-drag, only then would be loss of Alt-drag be a problem.

But in practice I have to admit it's quite rare to see four different 
actions for a drag gesture, the default with no mod keys and then 
different actions for Alt-drag, Shift-drag, and Ctrl-drag.

If I were to find myself considering such an unusual number of hidden 
gesture features, it would seem likely I could move at least one of them 
to a right-click context menu.

 > I think the only time I really use the alt-click window-moving feature
 > is when LiveCode windows misbehave and end up too tall or on the wrong
 > monitor or behind a menubar. Which is fairly often these days.

Yeas ago I would sometimes find myself with windows whose drag bar would 
submarine beneath LC's menu/toolbar, do I made DeskView, a small utility 
that has a mini view of your screen with LC windows represented in it, 
and among other things it allows you to move windows by dragging the 
mini representations of them in its window.

FWIW, it's part of the free devolution toolkit:

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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