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Bug 102089 - emacs keymap - alt key doesn't activate menubar
emacs keymap - alt key doesn't activate menubar
Product: platform
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Window System
All Linux
: P3 (vote)
: 7.4
Assigned To: Stanislav Aubrecht
Depends on:
Blocks: 69423
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Reported: 2007-04-23 02:47 UTC by lytles
Modified: 2014-03-13 21:59 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:


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Description lytles 2007-04-23 02:47:15 UTC
in the emacs keymap, many alt key combinations are bound to actions. these same
strokes are the conventional keystrokes to enable the menubar.

on windows, the menubar menus can be accessed by pressing and releasing the alt
key, and then pressing the now-highlighted accelerator. this allows for emacs
style bindings by hold-alt-and-press-key, and the menubar by type-alt-type-key,
in short, the best of both worlds.

on linux, pressing the alt key by itself doesn't focus the menubar, making the
emacs keymap almost useless.

an unqualified press of the alt-key needs to activate the file menu in linux as
it does on windows.
Comment 1 Vitezslav Stejskal 2007-04-23 10:49:32 UTC
This will probably have to be implemented somewhere in core, if possible at all.
Activating the main menu bar by pressing and releasing alt should work
independently on what TopComponent is focused. The problem is not related to
editor nor it is related to Emacs keybinding profile. Generally, any component
that installs key bindings and actions suffers the same problem including
editors and all their keybinding profiles of course.
Comment 2 David Simonek 2007-09-14 11:48:24 UTC
I tried native Linux applications as Nautilus or Gimp and none of them uses typed Alt to access the menu. Our primary
aim is to feel and behave like native applications, so I would say that current behavior is as designed as desirable.
CCing usability guys to comment just in case I'm wrong.
Comment 3 lytles 2007-10-02 14:44:41 UTC
i've only used Nautilus and Gimp occassionally so i can't say if they're an appropriate comparison. my gut feeling is that they're solving different sorts of 
problems than NB. though now that you mention it, i've had this same basic problem with gtk in the past (looked quickly in the mailing list archives, but 
don't see the discussion). i believe that openoffice has implemented this functionality (i'm travelling in europe and can't try it here) and that this might be a 
closer comparison the the two programs mentioned.

regardless of how other programs behaive, i think there needs to be some easy way to access the menus - there are too many commands to remember the 
shortcuts for all of them, and the menus provide a nice heirarchical arrangement. i see F10 mentioned in the 69423 bug. i'll try it when i return home. i use 
shift-F10 and am ok with it (though i really wish the menu key had the same effect - my parents' box handles the menu key correctly for some apps, so 
this may be a problem with my settings) but it's still not nearly as easy as touching alt or menu.

as a point of comparison, emacs provides M-x and tab completion (and command-appropos)

one other vote for this behavior:

the number of commands available in NB itself is large, and potential plugins make the list huge. for NB to continue to scale, there needs to be a 
keyhandling mechanism that is reliable, visual and heirarchical for the seldom used commands to complement the few single-keystroke shortcuts a user 
will remember.

i guess in short, my arguement is that accessibility without useability isn't worth too much

Comment 4 David Simonek 2007-10-02 15:25:44 UTC
I think I understand and I'm reopening, changing to enhancement and passing to usability guys to have it on their radar.
Comment 5 Lukas Hasik 2008-04-10 21:23:17 UTC
moving opened issues from TM <= 6.1 to TM=Dev
Comment 6 Stanislav Aubrecht 2013-09-05 09:35:52 UTC
F10 activates the main menu on Linux.

Please reopen if the issue is still valid, thanks.
Comment 7 lytles 2013-09-05 13:31:40 UTC
f10 activates the file menu on my machine

on a windows machine, pressing and releasing alt focused on the menubar (it might highlight the file menu entry, but doesn't activate it). you could then press f for file, e for edit, n for navigate, ..., h for help to activate the named menu

on linux, pressing f10 then e results in "open project" instead of the edit menu. the only workaround i've found is to use f10 (or an unbound menu accelerator) to activate one of the menus and then use the arrow keys to move to the desired menu

even in the case of an unbound accelerator, pressing and releasing alt and then hitting the accelerator is faster and easier on the fingers than the alt+letter combos
Comment 8 Stanislav Aubrecht 2013-09-05 13:39:26 UTC
I'm not sure this is feasible, a single press of Alt key is consumed by the OS to display Ubuntu search bar.
Comment 9 lytles 2014-03-13 21:59:50 UTC
the key to open the Ubuntu unity dash is configurable
  eg i have it set to super-2

(In reply to Stanislav Aubrecht from comment #8)
> I'm not sure this is feasible, a single press of Alt key is consumed by the
> OS to display Ubuntu search bar.

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