Focus follows mouse on Mac OS X: Only $14.95!

Okay, this is it for Mac OS X for me. I want (like any sane person) focus follows mouse. A few googles later, what do I find?

Yes, for only $14.95, I can have a trivial obvious window manager feature! Plus a few other trivial obvious window manager features! Because Apple hates useful software!

No no no no no no. I’ll keep using Mac OS long enough to get a feel for the ways in which it is better than other desktop systems, and then I’ll reinstall the Airbook with Linux.

On a related note, I just installed a very nice piece of free software, Menumeters, which while GPL still had a request for donations on its page – not unheard of, but not normal either. It got me thinking about my experience turning Linux file systems consultant. I’ve had a delightful time discovering how much capital I’ve built up over the years in terms of both knowledge and reputation. This is what you’re building when you work on open source, skills and reputation – not some trivial piece of software you’ll sell for $14.95 a pop. Once you have that capital, you have lots of options, including convincing other people to help you build some nontrivial very valuable piece of software.

Post Script: Yes, you can turn on focus follows mouse for X11 apps, but X11 apps are only a fraction of the windows I use and are poorly integrated with the rest of the system – e.g., when my focus in an X11 window, the screen gradually dims because it thinks I’m not typing. Drove me nuts until I figured it out.

Post Post Script: Argh! And it won’t charge my BlackBerry 8100 via USB out of the box! I thought this stuff was just supposed to work!

8 thoughts on “Focus follows mouse on Mac OS X: Only $14.95!”

  1. The #1 thing I miss from X that I wish OSX had ?
    hold down alt & left click on a window = drag that window around.

    I’ve been using OSX for about 9 months now, and still find myself trying to do that all the time. Also, I know ‘clicky clicky is the best ui, and having to type things is the wrong paradigm’ or some bullshit, but does why have to suck that hard ?

  2. Charging a Blackberry is hard. It’s a broken hardware with unpleasant workarounds. On Linux, we figured parts of it out. But any OS, including OSX, has to have special software to tell the thing to reboot chargeable. If you don’t, it won’t charge. It’s purely down to the imbecile who designed berry’s charging controller. I know of no other device which was similarly broken.

    BTW, make sure you aren’t plugging your ‘berry into a hub. It’s a long story… There’s a certain secret to it, I haven’t figured it out. Basically, a Blackberry on a hub takes the charge command, renumerates… then crashes. I don’t know how it even recognizes that it’s on a hub. It should not be possible.

  3. You can get focus follows mouse for the terminal. That worked well for me. Inside the terminal type:

    defaults write FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

    It doesn’t work on all the other apps.

  4. This was also my experience with OS X: I wanted to like it, but the fact that I couldn’t change these sorts of things — not that there wasn’t a setting to change this sort of thing, but that there was literally no documented API or source code for me to go in and rewrite if necessary, and I even looked into it — are what brought me back to Linux. That and apt-get.

  5. WindowDragon

    I think you’ll want to try WindowDragon! It will let you click and drag a window from anywhere on the window.
    There is no binary version for leopard yet, but compiling the source from the svn seems to work OK under leopard (I’m using it under leopard). It’s a great app!

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