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Re: Native scrollbars?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Native scrollbars?
Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 10:00:41 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.92 (gnu/linux)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> David De La Harpe Golden writes:
>  > Emacs could make the scrollbars native and this would make sure
>  > they weren't overdrawn
> Sure, but then they wouldn't be Emacs scrollbars.  XEmacs allows you
> to use either Lucid scrollbars or the native ones for the toolkit
> you're using; almost everybody[1] uses Lucid, and AFAICR almost
> everybody who does care prefers this (actual usage is of course biased
> by the choice of Lucid as default).

I think you are using "native" in opposite meanings.  David uses it for
"Emacs-specific", Stephen for "toolkit-specific".

> I suspect that going to native scrollbars would annoy a lot of users.

Toolkit native scrollbars are the default with Emacs.  They don't annoy
a lot of users apparently.  Probably also because the geek demographic
of Emacs is different from that of XEmacs.


    system-configuration-options is a variable defined in `C source code'.
    Its value is 
    " '--prefix=/usr/local/emacs' '--without-toolkit-scroll-bars' 'CFLAGS=-O2 
-fno-crossjumping -g'"

My problem with toolkit scrollbars is that they are unergonomic and
stupid.  Scroll half a screen?  Scroll backward and forward by equal
amounts without moving mouse?  Just forget it.

The overall improvement is more than with XEmacs I should say, because
XEmacs is designed "Motif-like" for two mouse buttons in general.

Nevertheless, the default are toolkit scrollbars, and I don't think that
all too many people override it.  I think the Lucid scrollbars would be
an even bigger advantage on Windows where dragging is an absolute pain
IIRC because you need to keep on the scrollbar area even horizontally,
or the scrolling jumps back.  At least that was the case on Windows

For me Lucid toolbars are important enough to recompile Emacs even on
GNU/Linux distributions where it would be available precompiled.  I also
use X resources to make them less awfully wide.  That's two changes I
consider inexpensible for nice operation out of the box.

I suspect that most mouse users on Emacs do not even know how to cut and
paste without reverting to the keyboard or menus.  So expecting them to
deal with an Athena-semantics scrollbar is probably a bit too much.


David Kastrup

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