Window management - When using scale/spread, windows don't keep their order

Bug #730617 reported by Michael Terry on 2011-03-07
This bug affects 20 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
John Lea
compiz (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: unity

When clicking on an application icon in the launcher that has multiple windows open, a scale or expose is started, which shows thumbnails of all the app's windows. But it seems to order the windows differently each time (I think in order of which were used most recently). This prevents the user from taking advantage of muscle memory.

But I find this very disorienting. Let's say I have 3 open windows in an app that I want to switch between. It's hard to quickly do that via the launcher because I can't just zoom my mouse to where I expect the window I want will appear. Instead, I have to start a scale, then hunt and discover which thumbnail is actually the one I want. It's unlikely that I remember which window was opened, say, 2nd to last, so the current ordering isn't helping me much.

Compare with the classic GNOME session, where entries on the task switcher applet don't move. You can easily use muscle memory to get to your "unity bug" browser window vs your "google reader" browser window or whatever.

Desired Solution:

- Implement "The Spread". See and

- When this new feature is built windows will be positioned spatially.

Michael Terry (mterry) wrote :
Alex Launi (alexlauni) wrote :

It also does not respect spatial relationship which can be very disorienting. If I have two tomboy notes open side by side, and scale tomboy, it sometimes switches the left and right note.

Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
tags: added: needs-design
The Aviv (theaviv) wrote :

Why are the bug statuses marked incomplete?

According to the "Bugs statuses" page in Launchpad Help (, "[If the status is marked incomplete,] the bug report is incomplete and needs more information before it can be triaged. Bugs in this state are considered for expiry."

I would like to change the statuses to confirmed: "a member of the community other than the original reporter believes that this report describes a genuine bug in enough detail that a developer could start work on a fix."

Omer Akram (om26er) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. Please answer these questions:

* Is this reproducible?
* If so, what specific steps should we take to recreate this bug?

This will help us to find and resolve the problem.

The Aviv (theaviv) wrote :

Yes, it's reproducible.

Open a few Firefox windows, and try switching between them. According to my understanding, this can only be done by:

(1) Clicking the Firefox icon, or

(2) Pressing Alt+Grave while holding on to Alt, and using Grave to select the desired window.

Either way, a view shows up, with thumbnails of all the windows, as seen in the screenshot I attached.

The problem is that each time a user attempts to do this, the windows get reordered, based on recent usage.

The result is not helpful. It would be easier for users to switch between windows if the order maintained itself.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Aviv, Unity uses bug statuses differently from every other project in Launchpad. See <> for details.

John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-04-24
description: updated
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
assignee: nobody → John Lea (johnlea)
importance: Undecided → Critical
tags: added: udp
removed: needs-design
Tim Penhey (thumper) on 2012-06-11
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Triaged → Fix Committed
Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Medium
affects: unity → compiz
summary: - When using scale/expose, windows don't keep their order
+ When using scale/spread, windows don't keep their order
affects: unity (Ubuntu) → compiz (Ubuntu)
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Low
importance: Low → Medium
John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-09-19
summary: - When using scale/spread, windows don't keep their order
+ Window management - When using scale/spread, windows don't keep their
+ order
John Lea (johnlea) on 2013-09-20
Changed in ayatana-design:
importance: Critical → Medium
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