Gnome 3 and my favorite window focus and raise behavior


Yesterday night I installed Fedora 15 Alpha to see and test the gnome-shell (gnome 3) improvements.

I stopped to test for one reason: I was not able to setup my favorite behavior for window’s focus.

What I like (this is mandatory, that’s also the one major reason why I don’t use Mac OSX daily) is that the focus follows the mouse but doesn’t raises the window !

After having “googled” a bit, I tried to install gnome-tweak-tool… but it didn’t help for this task… šŸ™

The solution is to use gconf-editor and changing the default value (click) of /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode to sloppy.

Now I’m very happy and I can continue my tests of Gnome 3.

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13 thoughts on “Gnome 3 and my favorite window focus and raise behavior

  1. Try alttabbing with sloppy focus enabled. It will focus the selected window and then immediately focus the window that’s under the mouse pointer. I find it hard to work without sloppy focus, but a nonfunctional alttab is no less problematic, so I’ve switched to XFCE for the moment…

    1. Unforunately the same here on my archlinux box, and haven’t yet discovered any parameters to change this behaviour.

  2. Hey, thanks very much to report this trick. I was experiencing the same problem.


  3. I am a bit puzzled here.

    Does Gnome 3 use Metacity as window manager?

    The reason I am asking is of course because Metacity can do really Sloppy Focus with “Don’t raise windows on click” AND a really cool feature is that it can remember the order of stacked windows =)

    Like you I need Sloppy Focus before I switch to Gnome 3.

    So does Gnome 3 really use Metacity?

  4. You just need to uncheck


    then, “mouse” or “sloppy” will work as desired.

  5. – install gconf-editor:
    sudo apt-get install gconf-editor

    – open gconf-editor

    – under apps->metacity->general
    there is an auto_raise option; turn this off

  6. The focus and raise settings are straight forward. It is not a mere tweak but a setting. Like You, I don’t use Mac OSX because of its lack of functionality. The ability to click in a windows without raising it and the ability to give focus to a window just by putting the mouse over it are a combination of features that is sine qua none.

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