Comment 322 for bug 532633

I've made comments on blogs about this and I hope it will be helpful to add them here.

The layout I've seen in screenshots has already shown flaws, because whatever draws the window frames hasn't been made to adjust rounded outlines when buttons are missing. That's an "easy" fix, barely worth noting. Same goes for other complaints about broken themes.

But also apparent in those screen shots is that with the new button arrangement the buttons will either be in different places on different windows, or there will be gaps, or we will need frame controls that for some windows are always disabled. This was already a problem because of the order of Minimize and Maximize; no maximizable window is not minimizable, but some minimizable windows are not maximizable.

It was always advisable to put Close in the top-right corner because we have left-aligned menu bars in the windows. In fact, in the early days of GNOME it was decided that the Help menu item must not be right-aligned because that would place it too close to the Close button (among other reasons).

There has always been a good reason to keep Close away from Minimize and Maximize - it's too easy to miss your intended target.

Put these together and an order like Min-Max----Title----Close seems best.

But the danger of accidentally clicking Close can be mitigated by other changes. The Close button can be disabled when there are unsaved changes in a document. You still have to reopen your document, but at least nothing should be lost. In lieu of that, the application can prompt the user to save changes. Annoying, but alas.

If these things are done, then Close can be safely put next to Minimize and Maximize and it can be put on either side.

If missing-button gaps are to be avoided, disabled window frame controls will not be used, and the buttons will be grouped together, then there is one button order which is suitable for the frames; from outside to inside that is: Close, Minimize, Maximize. Change those conditions, and anything goes. (Well, almost.)

I favor getting rid of all three buttons and replacing them with . . . well, that another topic, eh?