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Old 10-12-2007, 03:26 AM   #1
jimbocho
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Multiple X apps/windows simultaneously - is it possible?

Does the window manager on the iLiad support multiple windows at once? I would like to open several X11 apps simultaneously. When I use the iLiad as an X Display, whatever X application I run always comes up full screen. But I have only tried xterm, xclock, and xlogo. They also ignore any geometry command line arguments.

However I know that mrxvt opens up in its own window, so it seems like it must be possible. What is special about mrxvt? Is there a way to make other X applications open in their own window?

Or is there a way to compile a window manager for the iLiad?

Any thoughts would be appreciated...

-Jim
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:40 AM   #2
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You might find your answer here, the application has to come in dialog style.

Don't know about multiple "dialogs" though.

I think - given the "start just one app through content lister" approach from Irex - the
window manager allows for one full screen app only.

Dirk

Last edited by DigiDirk; 10-12-2007 at 06:36 AM. Reason: Added another 2 cents... ;-)
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:04 PM   #3
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Dirk,

Thanks for the reply. If I follow the calcoo approach of setting the main window as a dialog it would mean recompiling/rewriting apps, but maybe that is the only way.

I thought the same thing that since the built-in iRex applications are all full screen, the window manager might not support it, but I noticed that with the mrxvt application someone posted to the forums, I can open multiple terminal windows simultaneously on the screen in different areas at once, so I know it is possible. I just don't know how mrxvt was compiled...

-Jim
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:10 PM   #4
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mrxvt's secret

Ah, reading the original thread on mrxvt, I see that scotty added code to mrxvt to label the main window so Matchbox treats it as a Dialog and lets it set its own size (and brings it to front). So I guess that is the answer. I will see if I can give it a try..

thanks,
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:11 PM   #5
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I'd really like to be able to open a small notes window below the iPDF window. Shouldn't it be possible for the developer community to tweak this?
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:55 AM   #6
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The problem lies within the window manager. If you want to have multiple exported windows at once, I think that the best approach would be:

a) Change the behaviour of matchbox if it's possible. It's time to try the options in http://matchbox-project.org/document...manual/wm.html
(killing matchbox and re-starting it with "-use-desktop-mode decorated" seems a good starting point).

b) compile and use another window manager. Of the extremely lightweight I would try "ahwm" (somewhat unfinished, unstable, but does its job) and "pwm" (requires configuration if you're not fond of focus-follows-mouse behavior). The pity for both of them is that as they don't have close button in titlebars, you cannot close windows using the stylus.

Hope that helps ;-)
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:10 PM   #7
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Focus-follows-mouse behavior would probably be best for the iLiad, actually. But not being able to close a window with the stylus could be a nuisance. We'd need a consistent key to use for this purpose. Maybe the dot.... or the up staircase.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:07 PM   #8
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I played around with the Matchbox settings for a bit, and I'm pretty sure that there are no options for this. After that, I read the documentation (!!) and it seems to confirm it:
Quote:
Matchbox's style of management is restrictive in nature, setting application windows with a maximized static geometry in a browsable stack or deck with only one application being visible at any time.

Different, though applicable, rules apply to other window types such as dialogs, panels and input method windows.
So it seems that matchbox is designed from the ground up to only show one window at a time. You can get around this by calling your window a 'dialog', as others have said. I don't know how much this helps, though.
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:13 AM   #9
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Oh, I meant to add, that it's trivial (of course) to have more than one program open at once. They'll just all be full-screen, and only the top one will be visible/available at any given time.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:56 AM   #10
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I was thinking about the problem overnight, and I think being able to rapidly switch between 2-3 open programs would be very helpful if we can't get multiple windows open at once. Then I could have, for example, FBReader up, reading an RTF book, and rapidly switch to Notes to jot something down. We'd need some way to cause the switch, though. Does ContentLister still own the icons at the bottom of the screen when other apps are running? Or can we get at that in some other way?
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
I was thinking about the problem overnight, and I think being able to rapidly switch between 2-3 open programs would be very helpful if we can't get multiple windows open at once.
This is what Maemo+Hildon does on the Nokia 770 and N800. It is also built on top of Matchbox, but uses a different arrangement for full-screen vs partial-screen than the iLiad with the partial screen including space for open (minimized) application icons.

Another possibility is just to implement a hot-key for switching applications. Under most window managers this is Ctrl-Tab (for two recent apps) or Ctrl-Shift-Tab to cycle through all applications. This works well on the Pepper Pad 3, which has the resources to run multiple applications but usually shows only one at a time full screen on its 7" display.

One issue with multiple apps is the likelyhood of using up virtual memory. On the Nokia's it is routine to add more swap space on a MMC card to get round this.
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:53 PM   #12
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You read my mind! I've been thinking about this kind of mod for a couple of months. It's why I did all that work on figuring out how the contentLister reads the hardware buttons.

My ideal changes would be something like this:
  1. First, change functionality. The only way to close a program would be the "escape" (staircase) key. The "books", "docs", "notes", and "news" buttons would NOT automatically close a program.
  2. Change functionality of those file buttons. New functionality would work something like this. When you push the "books" button,
    • If there are no books open, bring the contentLister to the top, in the Books directory (as normal).
    • If there ARE books open, bring up the most recent book file in its viewer. Repeated presses of the book button cycle through the open book files.
    • A LONG press of the book button brings a popup window listing all open books, which you can page through with the up/down arrows.
This way, you could have, say, a document and a notepad open, and switch to the document by pressing "docs" and back to the notepad by pressing "notes".

The problem with this is that the only way to change the functionality of those buttons, as far as I know, is to modify the contentLister. With no access to the contentLister source, the only other option is to replace the contentLister. But replacing the contentLister would be a fairly major undertaking. If anyone's interested in working on it I'd love to collaborate. I haven't been able to make much of a start on my own.

The best bet would be to use a currently available file browser and modify it significantly. I've looked at using (among other things) Nautilus and matchbox-desktop, but the former is WAY too complicated with lots of dependencies, and the latter just got a complete rewrite and I don't understand it at all. Anyone know of a simple file browser / graphical shell that only depends on GTK?
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:02 PM   #13
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Oh, it occurs to me to point out that a big barrier would be, how do we get the contentLister to NOT close the current file when a button is pressed? That is, if I press "books", the contentLister wants to close the current program FIRST before showing me the books folder. If you could avoid that, you might be able to use the existing contentLister somehow...
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jharker View Post
The best bet would be to use a currently available file browser and modify it significantly. I've looked at using (among other things) Nautilus and matchbox-desktop, but the former is WAY too complicated with lots of dependencies, and the latter just got a complete rewrite and I don't understand it at all. Anyone know of a simple file browser / graphical shell that only depends on GTK?
ROX is often used as a complete desktop, see this recent article. Note that the article has links to several other file managers. I like the look of GentooFM - as an alternative to EmelFM2 if not as a full desktop environment.
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:03 PM   #15
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I like rox-filer, it looks very promising. I want to look at the source and see what libraries it depends on, but generally I think it looks pretty good. Rox-filer is visually a good example of the kind of GUI I think would work well for the iLiad. I would add significant modification.

GentooFM is pretty much the opposite of the kind of file browser GUI I had envisioned...
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