Ubuntu

In a dual monitor setup with different resolutions, Unity places windows in the "dead zone"

Reported by Benjamin Humphrey on 2011-04-06
188
This bug affects 41 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Unity
Low
Jason Smith
compiz (Ubuntu)
Low
Jason Smith
Natty
Undecided
Unassigned
unity (Ubuntu)
Low
Unassigned
Natty
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Test Case:
0) Install unity 3.8.14 and restart your session
1) Have a dual monitor setup
2) Ensure right monitor is primary (ugly)
3) open firefox and place on left edge of left monitor
4) restart firefox

Result: firefox should not end up squished into the left side of the screen.

I have a 15.4" laptop that I connect to a 24" Dell monitor when I'm at work. The laptop has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800, the 24" monitor is 1920 x 1080.

Because the laptop sits lower than the monitor, and because of both the resolution and physical size differences, a virtual "dead zone" appears above my laptop.

The mouse can be moved into this dead zone, and when I initiate "workspace switcher" it looks like attached image [1]. You can clearly see there is a black "dead zone" below the large monitor to the right, and a huge dead zone above the laptop screen on the left.

This is a problem in itself, because the mouse can be "lost" in the dead zone and not easily found unless the user knows where to look.

But the main issue is that Compiz sees this "dead zone" as a fairly enticing place to stick windows (obviously because it reckons there is nothing there) - so whenever I start a new application (in this case a Terminal window), it spawns in the dead zone, and I can't see it. Unless I open up workspace switcher and "pull" it down into the visible area. Attached image [2].

Attached image [3] shows the setup I have, with the virtual dead zone highlighted with orange post it notes.

As a side effect of this bug, activating the Unity launcher by using the corner hot-spot becomes almost impossible due to the corner technically not existing anymore - it exists vertically, but the horizontal "roof" of the BFB is no longer physically there, so I'm constantly overshooting the hot corner. It's particularly frustrating because the launcher "peeks" out at you when you get close, but I can't actually get it to stay out because I am over shooting all the time. It's almost as if Unity is teasing me.

Other operating systems (like Windows) do this "dead zone" thing too, except that they a) don't allow the mouse to move into the dead zone and b) don't spawn applications in the dead zone.

A quick fix would be to change the Compiz "Place Window" plugin settings to have applications spawn under the cursor, but this still doesn't fix the fundamental issue and wouldn't prevent the mouse from moving into the area.

This brainstorm idea from 12 months ago highlights the issue some more: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/24412/

Benjamin Humphrey (humphreybc) wrote :
description: updated
description: updated
Benjamin Humphrey (humphreybc) wrote :
description: updated
description: updated
affects: ubuntu → unity (Ubuntu)
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Medium → High
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → High
Neil J. Patel (njpatel) on 2011-04-15
Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → Sam "SmSpillaz" Spilsbury (smspillaz)
importance: Undecided → High
milestone: none → 3.8.10

Thought I could add some more pictures...

- Monitor #1: Sony VAIO VPCEB, 1366x768
- Monitor #2: HP w2007, 1680x1050
- Video card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 Series, driver: radeon

When monitor #1 is logically positionned on left-hand side of monitor #2, I can see a small part of screen #1's display in my screen #2.
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303186032.jpg
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303186054.jpg
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303186303.png

When I logically position monitor #1 on the right-hand side of monitor #2... well... you should just take a look at the pictures.
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303186354.png
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303186384.png

Unity Launcher does not appear when approching my mouse pointer of the left of screen #1. To make it show, I have to click on BFB first (Dash shows), then click BFB a second time (Dash hides, by Launcher keep showing for a second or a second and a half, allowing me to interact with it).

I'm not sure, though, that the issue is particularly related to Unity/Compiz, because I can see the same "dead zone" when using GNOME 2 classic interface.
- http://pix.toile-libre.org/?img=1303188158.png

Sam Spilsbury (smspillaz) wrote :

Hey Benjamin,

I did some testing with the place plugin and I wasn't able to make it spawn windows in such a "dead zone" - could you let me know if this happens only sometimes or more often than not in certain situations.

As for the pointer thing, the X server confines the pointer to the actual screen size (!= monitor sizes) - I could use the edge windows there to automatically warp the pointer back into the monitor if it goes into a dead zone, but I'm not sure about the feasibility of this.

Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Sam "SmSpillaz" Spilsbury (smspillaz)
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-04-19
Changed in unity:
milestone: 3.8.10 → 3.8.12
Benjamin Humphrey (humphreybc) wrote :

Hey Sam,

Indeed, it seems to be fixed somehow. I did some simple testing. With CCSM "Place Windows" plugin set to:

Placement Mode: "Smart"
Multi Output Mode: "Use active output device"

When I reported this bug:

I had a terminal on the Unity launcher. Middle clicking it have a dozen times would spawn instances of the Terminal above the viewable monitor area (dead zone) until that was full, then it would spawn in the viewable area.

The only way I could actually use these terminals in the dead zone would be to go into "Workspace Switcher" (aka, Expo) and then drag the windows down into the viewable area.

Now:

It seems the issue has been fixed somewhere along the line, (maybe in a recent version of Compiz?) so when I repeat the same thing as above, all of my terminal windows spawn in the viewable area and can be used, exactly how it should work.

Whether this is just me being lucky, and whether it has anything whatsoever to do with my video card drivers (ie, is it fixed for everyone?) I have no idea.

What's still not fixed:

* The mouse pointer can still go into the dead zone and be lost there.
* It's difficult to reveal the Unity launcher by using the corner hotspot because it isn't really a "corner" any more. (Although, now that Unity's default behaviour is edge reveal, this has sort of had a workaround effect which makes the launcher easier to reveal anyway - but it's not ideal, and if Unity's behaviour was manually changed back to "corner reveal" by the user, they would experience this issue again with multiple monitors).
* Icons on the desktop still appear in the dead zone

Hope this helps.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-04-21
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → In Progress
David Barth (dbarth) wrote :

We'll try to see if we can get an SRU fix. However, it's more of a corner case with multi monitor management being notoriously tricky.

Changed in unity:
milestone: 3.8.12 → 3.8.14
importance: High → Low
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
importance: High → Low
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
importance: High → Low
David Barth (dbarth) wrote :

I know Neil has a lot of monitors, so the 'low' status doesn't necessarily reflect the level of priority that the team will treat this bug with ;)

Benjamin Humphrey (humphreybc) wrote :

Heh. Yeah, I think an SRU fix would be nice. I actually opened an application the other day (Inkscape) and it spawned a window in the dead zone - just when I thought it was fixed...

John A Meinel (jameinel) wrote :

Not only does it place windows there, but when you go to save a new file (such as a screenshot) to the desktop, they show up in the dead zone.

Jason Smith (jassmith) wrote :

This is related to the unity specific modifications to the place plugin

Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
assignee: Sam "SmSpillaz" Spilsbury (smspillaz) → Jason Smith (jassmith)
Changed in unity:
assignee: Sam "SmSpillaz" Spilsbury (smspillaz) → Jason Smith (jassmith)
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Invalid

I have a dual monitor setup with two identical monitors and I have a very small zone (not dead, but very small) on the left monitor. When I have a program open on the right monitor that needs to open a new window, it opens normally. When I do the same thing on the left monitor, the new window opens in the very small zone. I then have to drag it out of this zone and then I can resize the the window as needed. See attached picture.

Jason Smith (jassmith) on 2011-05-26
Changed in unity:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Jason Smith (jassmith) wrote :

Linked fixing branch

Test Case:
1) Have a dual monitor setup
2) Ensure right monitor is primary (ugly)
3) open firefox and place on left edge of left monitor
4) restart firefox

Result: firefox should not end up squished into the left side of the screen.

Jason Smith (jassmith) on 2011-05-26
description: updated
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-05-26
Changed in unity:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu Natty):
status: New → Invalid
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package unity - 3.8.14-0ubuntu1

---------------
unity (3.8.14-0ubuntu1) oneiric; urgency=low

  * New upstream bug-fix release.
    - In a dual monitor setup with different resolutions, Unity places windows
      in the "dead zone" (LP: #752098)
    - Left pixel of launcher is not clickable on session start (LP: #758026)
    - unity crashed with AttributeError in reset_unity_compiz_profile(): 'str'
      object has no attribute 'get_string' (LP: #737320)
    - unity --reset crashes with NameError (LP: #774280)
    - Bottom icon on launcher tilts when it maybe shouldn't if icons fill
      launcher nearly exactly (LP: #728949)
    - Dodge active window - launcher should not show when modal dialog is
      opened (LP: #718185)
    - Unity maximizes windows that don't support resize on launch (LP: #769781)
    - compiz crashed with SIGSEGV in sigc::signal_base::impl() (LP: #762801)
    - inactive menus becomes brighter on sub-sequent clicks (LP: #733740)
    - Unity crashes when dynamic quicklist dbusmenu contains a hidden menuitem.
      (LP: #759174)
    - Opening quicklist with launcher keynav returns focus to previous window
      (LP: #750781)
    - window's title does not fade in the right position (LP: #722178)
  * debian/control:
    - depends on compiz for some people upgrading (LP: #773253)
  * debian/patches/01_add_scp_to_systray.patch:
    - remove, upstream now
 -- Didier Roche <email address hidden> Thu, 26 May 2011 17:41:14 +0200

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Released

Accepted unity into natty-proposed, the package will build now and be available in a few hours. Please test and give feedback here. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Testing/EnableProposed for documentation how to enable and use -proposed. Thank you in advance!

Changed in unity (Ubuntu Natty):
status: New → Fix Committed
tags: added: verification-needed

I tested this and it did not resolve my issues as stated above.

I did however discover a few days ago that my issues go away when I set my primary display for the X screen in Nvidia X Server Settings ->X Server Display Configuration to my left display. I read somewhere that the Unity launcher positions it self to +0+0 and I recognised why it was in the center of my displays.

For my testing I set my primary display back to the right monitor. When my primary display is set to the right monitor and I open an application in the right monitor it opens it at the left most edge (+1680+0?) of the display which is underneath the Unity launcher. This does not occur when my primary display is set to the left monitor and I open an application in the left monitor. The application opens to the right of the Unity launcher and fills the screen correctly. This leads me to believe that that issue I am having occurs because the Unity launcher is displayed based on the settings in Nvidia while other applications do not take into effect the settings in Nvidea. I'm probably misappropriating Nvidia when I should be saying X Configuration FIle, but I don't really understand how it all works, so I'm just stating what I see and do to replicate or elevate my issues.

Come to think of it, regardless of my primary display setting, if I open an application in my right monitor it opens at the left most edge of the right display. Also, regardless of my primary display setting, If I open an application in my left monitor it doesn't open it at the left most edge of the left display, because the left most edge of the display appears to be reserved for the Unity launcher. In the case where my primary display setting is set to the right monitor (not working) any application that needs to open an additional window does so in an area that I'm referring to as being reserved for the Unity launcher(a very small zone). In the case where my primary display setting is set to the left monitor (working) any application that needs to open an additional window does so correctly as the Unity launcher occupies the area that I'm referring to as being reserved for the Unity launcher in this case.

Long story short is seems unity is opening relative to the primary display setting while the rest of the application are opening in absolute locations. Or vise versa. So, at least to me, the fix appears to be linking the Unity launcher and what I'm calling the area reserved for the Unity launcher.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package unity - 3.8.14-0ubuntu1~natty1

---------------
unity (3.8.14-0ubuntu1~natty1) natty-proposed; urgency=low

  * New upstream bug-fix release.
    - In a dual monitor setup with different resolutions, Unity places windows
      in the "dead zone" (LP: #752098)
    - Left pixel of launcher is not clickable on session start (LP: #758026)
    - unity crashed with AttributeError in reset_unity_compiz_profile(): 'str'
      object has no attribute 'get_string' (LP: #737320)
    - unity --reset crashes with NameError (LP: #774280)
    - Bottom icon on launcher tilts when it maybe shouldn't if icons fill
      launcher nearly exactly (LP: #728949)
    - Dodge active window - launcher should not show when modal dialog is
      opened (LP: #718185)
    - Unity maximizes windows that don't support resize on launch (LP: #769781)
    - compiz crashed with SIGSEGV in sigc::signal_base::impl() (LP: #762801)
    - inactive menus becomes brighter on sub-sequent clicks (LP: #733740)
    - Unity crashes when dynamic quicklist dbusmenu contains a hidden menuitem.
      (LP: #759174)
    - Opening quicklist with launcher keynav returns focus to previous window
      (LP: #750781)
    - window's title does not fade in the right position (LP: #722178)
  * debian/control:
    - depends on compiz for some people upgrading (LP: #773253)
  * debian/patches/01_add_scp_to_systray.patch:
    - remove, upstream now
 -- Didier Roche <email address hidden> Thu, 26 May 2011 17:41:14 +0200

Changed in unity (Ubuntu Natty):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released

The latest update seems to have fixed my issues. Thank you.

I'm not sure if the following is an issue, by design or some setting of mine. When I drag a window to the top, left and right the window will be prevented from going beyond the edge of the screen and show a frame that the window will be resized to if I let go of (park?) the window. This does not apply to the bottom of the screen, where it will allow me to drag the window beyond the display without showing the resizing frame. It will then show up if move (Ctrl+Alt+down arrow) to the next display down.

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