Ideas, sugestions, requests.

Bartosz Wucke (sharp@solutions.net.pl)
Tue, 12 Feb 2002 02:56:33 +0100



Hi.
I've been using Afterstep for some 4 years now, and even though I've tried 
many different desktop managers - but none provided some of the features I 
found essential and present only in AS. Here I'd like to share what I've found 
so neat, and ask for things I'd like to see implemented.

First of all, the main thing that makes most of my friends envy me my config, 
and me grin upon poor M$ Windows users with their single tiny desktop :)

Take base.xxbpp file and change the entry DeskTopSize to something like 7x7 or 
similar, depending on your config. (On small memory systems, 4x4 will do, if 
you're even wilder user than me, you may like 10x10 or so, I switched to 7x7 
after 5x5 became too few.)
Then take 0_feel.xxbpp and find entries EdgeScroll (set it to something 
between 5 5 and 10 10, for me 8 8 works fine) and EdgeResistance (set to 0 0)
Now you've got it. A HUGE scrollable desktop. One. No need for more, really.
Of course navigating this thing would be very hard, so set up a sticky winlist
and pager in decent way (my preferred setting for Pager was replacing help in 
Wharf as:
*Wharf Pagers AfterStep3.xpm,3_dots.xpm Folders
*Wharf Pager - MaxSwallowModule "Pager" Pager 0 0
*Wharf ~Folders
In this way, if I need more screen space, I just hide pager :)

Of course, it sounds all to great to be so, so now honestly I confess all the 
problems. First off, even with Pager and Winlist, I often get things lost in 
the ocean of my desktop. Second, scrolling is far from smooth, especially with 
many windows on screen. I'd like to use neat, smooth EdgeScroll 1 1 but it's 
way too slow. 8 8 is acceptably fast, though looks quite jerky.
	 The feature looks very similar to using "Virtual" entry in XF86Config-4 file, 
which allows very neat smooth and fast scroll, full virtual workspace size 
background image, doesn't conflict with other features (this too! you can 
combine somewhat oversized virtual with edgescroll without problems!) but has 
serious drawbacks, one of which is hardware limit on the workspace size 
(2048x2048 is the most I got) and the fact that new windows open often quite 
far from your physical display. (and if it's a small popup like "password" 
it's really annoying to look for them using winlist all the time.)
	Of course, I'd like to ask Sasha for improving this feature, if only possible 
(it may be X's property, not Afterstep's) - first of all could the scroll be 
faster and more smooth? Then, what about background image up to whole desktop 
size, not just workspace (would help navigating - "I've left that ssh session 
somewhere over Australia, and my newsgroup reader is in the middle of that 
typhoon heading towards Midway." ;) And if the above wouldn't be possible, 
maybe at least add option to turn off mouse cursor zapping after the 
scrolling, or make the zap much smaller? It could speed up the process 
significantly.


The other thing I'd like to contribute (unless it hasn't been fixed till now, 
I'm using AS 2.8.8 and won't change it till some significant changes appear)
Shouldn't ascommand.pl with -i or -f - quit neatly on EOF, like every decent 
shell does? In this way you can feed it commands from a pipe
(cmd | ascommand.pl -i) - so you combine it with external programs. (besides, 
[echo "Scroll +10 0" | ascommand.pl -i] works (only doesn't quit because of 
ignoring EOF) while [ascommand.pl Scroll +10 0] doesn't.)
Since I know some of Perl, while being rather lame in other languages, patch 
for this one follows:

--- /usr/bin/ascommand.pl       Fri May 18 15:54:08 2001
+++ /usr/bin/ascommand1.pl      Mon Feb 11 23:27:20 2002
@@ -130,10 +130,10 @@
      print "module_read\n" if $prompt && socket_poll_input(0, $as_socket);
      if (socket_poll_input(0, $isock)) {
        my $str;
-      if (defined(sysread($isock, $str, 1000))) {
+      if (sysread($isock, $str, 1000)>0) {
          chomp($str);
          module_send($as_socket, 0, $str) if length($str);
-      }
+      } else { exit 0 };
      }
      while (socket_poll_input(0, $as_socket)) {
        my ($i, @packet);


Next issue. Why not be consequent and move default aterm config to an 
afterstep-style config file? Some people may find writing aliases/scripts for 
things like

aterm -fade 66 -shading 50 -tr -trsb -sr -st -sl 2000 -bg black -fg green -fn 
-*-lucidatypewriter-medium-r-normal-*-17-*-*-*-*-*-*-* -sb -name xterm -n 
Lapdog -T 'My Transparent XTerm' &

may find amusing, but I prefer to use option names that mean more than -sr, 
-n, -sb or -fade. (for now my aterm alias is 2 lines long too, but I hope it 
could change?)

Next: To have bigger choice of icons I've moved all icons from various desktop 
managers to one directory, then softlinked their original icon dirs to it. 
Works fine for now, but I'd like to know if I didn't do something very silly - 
isn't it dangerous somehow?

Last but not least, I'm okay with multi-file config, but I don't like yet 
another non-dot dir cluttering my homedir. Could Afterstep chesk something 
like ~/.GNUstep when failing to find ~/GNUstep ? I don't use other desktop 
managers myself. Is it safe to softlink Library -> ., Afterstep -> . and move 
the files accordingly, so they are just one level below my homedir, not 3?

							B. Wucke

ps. I agree with Sean completely about werewolves.

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