Fading Launcher: hard to open with stylus/pen at (0,0)

Bug #731146 reported by Paul Sladen on 2011-03-08
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design

Bug Description

The Launcher uses an activation target of the very top-left pixel on the screen. This is normally activated by throwing the mouse pointer in north-westwards and having it "funneled" on to the correct pixel.

Using a Wacom pad or stylus on a X61 Thinkpad Tablet and absolute mapping (rather than relative mapping) the top-left pixel can be very hard to hit. It is possible to open the click the distro button but this also opens the dash.

It would probably be possible to make the active pixel be a little larger, or be based on a certain distance*time threshold (so both a deep movement into the distro button, or a long but shallow movement would cause activation). Such a threshold would additionally reduce the incidence of activating the Launcher while aiming for the browser "back" button. Here, the point enters the box for mere milliseconds before the user corrects, but by that time the Launcher has already unhidden and the user must wait a second for it to hide again.

One proposed solution from Tom Jaeger via dup:


  The branch consists of two commits on top of current unity trunk. The first commit is a simplification of the autohide algorithm with no functional changes (except for rounding errors), making it a lot easier to understand what is going on. The second patch increases what is called "dead zone" in a comment. It's currently hard-coded to 50% of the height/width, which works well on my x61t; it might be worthwhile to make this configurable, though.

 status confirmed
 importance low

Low because of the rarity of Wacom devices. The target region should be
tested at 3x3 or 5x5 but this can be done for Oneiric.


Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-03-08
affects: unity → ayatana-design
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-03-09
summary: - Launcher: hard to open with stylus/pen
+ Fading Launcher: hard to open with stylus/pen at (0,)
summary: - Fading Launcher: hard to open with stylus/pen at (0,)
+ Fading Launcher: hard to open with stylus/pen at (0,0)
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-03-14
description: updated
Tom Jaeger (thjaeger) wrote :

5x5 or even 3x3 is way too small to be useful on a tablet PC. Is there any argument against making this configurable? Leaving tablet PC users in the dust because of a perceived rarity of the devices seems unfair. I'd be happy to supply a patch.

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Tom: yeah, adding another configuration box/dialogue/setting generally means that something isn't quite right (which we know in this case). Ubuntu has succeeded by having good defaults and "just work" and generally hard thinking is likely to produce overall better outcome but that won't be until the next development cycle now. Adding a new configuration option means that that code will have to be maintained going forward.

The question is perhaps what to do in the /meantime/; can we do something minimal that improves things without too much risk (btw, I'm using an X61 tablet too).

Michael Flaig (mflaig) wrote :

Making this confgurable doesn't really solve the problem. It should just work for all user out of the box.
Voting +1 for Tom's second patch (see Discription) because it doesn't really hurt other users and it solves the problem.

Maybe a stupid question but, how does this work on touchscreen devices? with touchscreens there is no mouse over imho.

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