Make "--unique" a default option

Bug #1023840 reported by v_2e on 2012-07-12
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Adam Reichold

Bug Description

I have just started using qpdfview, because I need to have only one window with documents being opened in different tabs. But I was a bit disappointed by the fact that it opens different documents in separate windows by default.

Since this "tabs" feature is the one that makes qpdfview almost a unique PDF-reader for GNU/Linux, why not making it open different documents in one window by default? There are a lot of applications that open every document in separate window, so people would rather choose qpdfview because of it's tabs feature, I believe.

Anyway, if you do not want to make this feature a default one, then why not making it possible to turn in on/off somewhere in the settings menu (and store the per-user configuration somewhere in ~/.config/qpdfview/qpdfview.conf)? What do you think of that?


Changed in qpdfview:
status: New → Fix Committed
importance: Undecided → Medium
assignee: nobody → Adam Reichold (adamreichold)
milestone: none → 0.3.2
Adam Reichold (adamreichold) wrote :


The question of whether the program is asked to open a new tab or a new window is a question of invocation and hence should be handled by the invoking entity, e.g. your desktop environment via a launcher or you via a terminal. Therefore this is not implemented as a setting _inside_ qpdfview but as a command-line option which allows for the maximum flexibility to decide in which situation which action should be taken, e.g. by suitably modify the launcher file "qpdfview.desktop". (Not only per-user but also depending on how the program is invoked.)

But since a lot of people seem to expect this as default behaviour, the upcoming version 0.3.2 will ship with the "--unique" command-line option added to the system-wide launcher at "/usr/share/applications/qpdfview.desktop" by default. I think for people just expecting this behaviour, doing it that way should be equivalent to a default setting while keeping the flexibility of a command-line option.

Best regards, Adam.

v_2e (v-2e) wrote :

  That's great! Such quick response! :)

  I have another question. I do understand that it is possible to set up the DE in such a way that it would call qpdfview with the "--unique" option. In fact, I can easily to this in Xfce. But my concern is about not very advanced users, who usually searches for the necessary features in the program's GUI.
  So, the question is: is it possible (and sensible) to add such option to the UI - in the "Settings..." dialog, which can be overridden by the command line option? In such case everyone gets what he/she needs: advanced users may use the command line option for fine-tuning, and newbies can use the setting in UI.


Adam Reichold (adamreichold) wrote :


While it is certainly possible, I would refrain from adding such an option since IMHO it would actually complicate matters if there are two ways of setting this. And I don't think that this really is a setting of qpdfview in the first place but rather a setting of the desktop environment/file manager/whatever-executes-the-program.

And while I agree that inexperienced users might expect a GUI control, I don't really feel the urge to make everybody happy. But I do agree that the default behaviour should be changed so most people's expectation will be met. Further than that, I would argue that inexperienced users become experienced users exactly by making such adjustments when they feel the need to do so. :-)

Regards, Adam.

Adam Reichold (adamreichold) wrote :

Added #1023073 as a duplicate since it is more or less the same problem.

Adam Reichold (adamreichold) wrote :

Made #1024224 a duplicate to facilitate discussion on desktop integration.

Franz Fellner (alpine-art-de) wrote :

Most Runners/Desktop-Shortcuts/... use .desktop files to start an application. If the system-wide (== default) .desktop says "--unique" the user is faced with a unique-application. If there is an open "unique"-window, e.g. pressing the launch-button only will acitvate that window. Activating windows is IMHO the job of the window manager.

Unique applications definitely make sense. A Music player, for example. Video player is another thing: You can watch a film and simultaniously watch sports (without sound). E.g. vlc offers an option to allow only one window.
Viewing documents (e.g. pdf) is not bound to one document at a time. I often have several documents open and watch them side by side. It also happens, that I view one single file in more then one window (e.g. the C++ Standard - having several paragraphs open at a time is useful, otherwise you would need to scroll around/work with bookmarks (which will reset if scrolled)/...)

But that is MY WAY to work. I can't say if the majority of the users needs to view more then one document at the same time (or one document more then once). I can live with the default and simply place a .desktop-file in my $HOME. I just hope that qpdfview won't change the executable name, the icon path, MimeType/Categories/... :D

Adam Reichold (adamreichold) wrote :

Basically, I would say that - yes - qpdfview behaves as a unique application by default now. But since manipulating the launcher file is more or less trivial and works for most desktop environments, I'd say this is a rather weak default, so now work style is really discouraged.

As several people asked for it and some people told me that changing the launcher was the first thing they did, I would try to ship it that way for next version and wait for the possible backlash. If there is substantial frustration, it can always be changed back.

(I also agree that activating windows is the job of the window manager and it is the one who actually does it. qpdfview just tells the window manager that something is happing that might need attention but the window manager might choose to ignore that. (If we don't do that, the window manager would not be able to know that the command just executed had any consequence whatsoever in another window.))

v_2e (v-2e) wrote :

@Franz Fellner:

Yes, it happens very often that one needs to see two documents side by side. But my basic idea is that there are MANY single-document PDF viewers out there, but when I started to search for a viewer which would open many documents in one window, qpdfview was one of only 2 (the second was apvlv, but I didn't try it) applications that people suggested me on different fora.
So, if somebody needs to view PDF's in separate windows, he has a lot of opportunities, and has only one or two otherwise. So why making qpdfview behave just the same way as all the other viewers do?

Basically, I like the idea with simple adding the "--unique" option to .desktop file. It is very simple and works well for me so far; and I know how to setup qpdfview for any new user.


Changed in qpdfview:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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