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Meta key as default instead of alt to manipulate windows

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Eneen
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Hi,

Most probably I stir up a hornets' nest, but this seems to be really old issue.
Alt+ is set to navigate windows. My idea is to set meta/super (winkey) as default.

Some apps (links below) use alt+click or alt+drag to do some things. But these are not some small apps: gimp, inkscape, krita, libreoffice, blender and freecad. I use Krita and Blender myself.
Here is list of functions related to alt+click or alt+drag inside apps that I'm aware of:
https://help.libreoffice.org/Calc/Movin ... g-and-Drop - replacing rows or columens
https://help.libreoffice.org/Common/Edi ... ic_Objects - drawing from center
https://docs.krita.org/Layers - isolate layer view
https://docs.krita.org/Polygonal_Selection_Tool - polygonal selection subtract
https://userbase.kde.org/Krita/Manual/Tools/Rectangle - change shape center while drawing
https://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-using-selections.html - selecting modifier
https://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-layer-mask-show.html - show layer mask
https://inkscape.org/en/doc/basic/tutorial-basic.html - select objects under
https://inkscape.org/en/doc/basic/tutorial-basic.html - drag selected
https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/dev/ ... lect-loops - loop select when blender is set to left click
https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/dev/ ... ation.html - rotate view when in maya mode (selectable template on startup)
https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Mouse_Model - viewport navigation
As you can see if more sophisticated manipulation is involved alt+mouse is used.

When I've googled around I've found lots of links about that issue:
http://blender.stackexchange.com/questi ... d-shortcut
http://askubuntu.com/questions/521423/h ... w-dragging
http://askubuntu.com/questions/151252/a ... e-shortcut
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=109085
https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=231877
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2919 ... ove-window
http://www.thomasso.com/2014/05/03/chan ... nder-2-70/
https://forum.xfce.org/viewtopic.php?id=2989

My point is, that changing alt to meta will eliminate these questions and make new people life easier. I'm aware of alt+drag or alt+click being old shortcuts and most linux users are somewhat used to it, but these users most probably know their system and are able to set that if they use it. If you are user of one of apps above most probably you have done it already. Alt and meta are next to each other on keyboard, so swapping them is IHMO not eliminating feature from window manager. It frees needed key and makes system use currently unused, system related that apps will not use.

Gnome devs changed that behavior almost 6 years ago, yep that's irrelevant, but here is reason why they did it:
"Some applications (mostly graphics) use alt-click and alt-drag for
actions, which conflicts with the current default; change the default
modifier to <Super>, which is already prominently used as overview
key, so using it for other window manager functionalities is pretty
reasonable."
https://github.com/GNOME/gsettings-desk ... 33c4782604

It is default behavior in Fedora now. Somehow it's not for Ubuntu both Unity and Gnome. For me swapping alt to meta is like adding meta as kickoff menu.

Best regs.
mgraesslin
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Did you also investigate which apps would break when we start using Meta instead of Alt?
Eneen
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Unfortunatelly not, but as far as I remember none of apps I'm using uses meta. I can check this of course to be sure.
Eneen
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All of apps I've listed above are multi-system and seem to use very similar (except macosx) shortcuts for linux and windows. Windows guidelines for using winkey are:
The Windows Logo keys are reserved for system level functions. Software developers should not implement support for the Windows Logo keys in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows NT-based applications

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnew ... 0/?p=24333
That way winkey isn't used by any windows apps. Although I've found exception: Evernote uses Win+A, Win+PrtScr and Win+Shift+F (not sure how it works as Win+A is win10 shortcut)
From linux native apps I'm aware of only one that used meta: emacs, although currently it uses alt. Here is list of apps that I've checked and have no meta/super related shortcuts:
thunderbird, geary, evolution, kmail, vlc, vim, kate, geany, pidgin, clementine, amarok, atom, audacity, openshot, kdenlive.
Kodi has contextual menu on winkey under windows and linux, though I'm not sure how it works.
In the meantime I've found, that Natron (new node compositor) also uses alt+mouse to move preview contents but you can also use MMB for that. Also firefox uses alt+click to save links but not by default.
I can help further but need some suggestions here.
airdrik
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In my experience Alt is commonly used as the default on Linux WMs, but I don't recall having used any apps which make use of meta+mouse for anything (granted, I haven't used very many special-purpose apps that might).
I would guess that from the perspective of applications it is probably safe to switch what is used as the default. On the other hand, I would also guess that we might get a lot of confused users used to using Alt wondering why the feature was removed (only to discover that it wasn't, only the default modifier).

At the very least, KWin makes it easy to switch the modifier: System Settings -> Window Behavior -> Window Behavior. There's a drop-down to select between Alt and Meta.


airdrik, proud to be a member of KDE forums since 2008-Dec.
tarbos
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Hi,

i absolutely support making Meta the default key here - however, i don't think this is going far enough.

In my opinion there should be clear guidelines as to what Modifiers should be used for Global shortcuts.
Currently KDE seems to follow something like:

[Start]
Global =
* Meta (which is consistent with using it for manipulating windows)
* Alt + Key that produces something non-visible (e.g. Space, F4)
* Ctrl+Alt
* Special Keys (e.g. Play, Forward, Mute)

Alt + Key with visible output (e.g. A-Z) is commonly used as accelerator (-> menu, buddies) and should never be used in a default shortcut.

Everything else is fine for non-global shortcuts
[End]

This is fine, but IMO needs to be written in the HIG. If not, there will be mapping conflicts...

As for
In my experience Alt is commonly used as the default on Linux WMs

i believe this is a remnant from the days before keyboards had a Meta key and (just like qwerty-based layouts) should be abandoned in favor of something better.
Eneen
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tarbos wrote: * Alt + Key that produces something non-visible (e.g. Space, F4)

I haven't checked other shortcuts and apps yet, but Alt+Space is used by blender. Fortunately this one is inside shortcuts settings, easier to find.

tarbos wrote:In my opinion there should be clear guidelines as to what Modifiers should be used for Global shortcuts.

This is similar what MS has done with winkey:
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnew ... 0/?p=24333

tarbos wrote:i believe this is a remnant from the days before keyboards had a Meta key and (just like qwerty-based layouts) should be abandoned in favor of something better.

I think so.
Good thing is, that meta is near alt so transformation can be really easy.

 
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