Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

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Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby ladnalo » 2019-04-02 13:38

I'm thinking of moving to Debian Stretch. I have already started trying it out on Virtualbox, however I always get sick of GTK3. It is just driving me crazy. The more its development advances the more annoyances affecting usability and productivity are introduced which makes me end up willing to scream something like "I'm not using a damn iPad / Android tablet, this is a desktop computer!!!!" every time. Since I'm really sensitive to feature removals, dumbed down user interfaces, UI changes based on pure fashion (e.g. tabletized desktop interfaces), and the fact that EoL of Jessie LTS is near, I must find a solution. So what should I do with a piece of open-source software that has gone awry? First thing that pops into my mind is reverting the hell out of those nasty commits causing the unwanted behavior. I'm neither a maintainer myself nor a programmer. Just a sysadmin with 10 years in the field who uses Linux desktop on a daily basis with my favorite distro Debian that I'm using almost since the beginning. I highlighted desktop with bold, because it's not a tablet, not a smartphone, so I don't want it to work like a tablet or look like a tablet. I also don't care if guys at Gnome and Red Hat don't have a better idea than aping even dumber UIs of Google Android and Microsoft (Metro) with their shitty UI designs.

I try to avoid GTK3 as much as possible but there are some vital applications at which I just can't. For example, Google Chrome as well as Chromium which I wouldn't want to patch and re-compile ever. They default to the GTK3 file dialog which is the single worst file chooser ever developed. I would like to get rid of the following annoyances hardcoded into GTK3.

I also managed to recompile Xfce 4.12.3 with GTK2 using Debian Stretch source packages. So far it runs without problems. So I thought I'd do the same with libgtk-3-0 but it doesn't seem that easy at first.

1. Scrolling Indicator Cursor
Every time I scroll inside GTK3 File Chooser, a cross cursor is shown, which I don't want to be there. Default cursor used to stay during scrolling and it should stay. I'm not a lame dumb f*ck who doesn't know what sort of gesture he's just made on the touchpad. If I want to scroll, it's intentional from my side. I don't need the mouse cursor to be changed to know that I'm scrolling. If I scroll, I should see list items (files and folders) moving within the file dialog. That's enough visual response for me. I find the scrolling indicator cursor annoying. I find it offensive that it's hardcoded and I can't turn that off via gsettings or gtk.ini. I would like to turn that off. It seems to have been introduced in commit de8af768, however I need some advice on how to revert it properly as there are also further changes based on it (e.g. by commit 9eb356d9).

2. Overshoot Animation
Another annoyance that is basically aping iOS/Android scroll widgets. Since I'm still not using a smartphone or a tablet but a desktop computer, I would like to get rid of this feature completely. Which means I don't even want to mess around with CSS hacks as they're tied to particular themes. Plus I don't even want an event to be fired by the underlying GUI toolkit when I reach the bottom of the scrollable area and then try to overscroll. I don't want CPU cycles to be wasted for firing useless events like that. I just want the good old behavior. No animation, no indicator of overshooting, no overshoot events. I find the overshoot animation annoying. I find it offensive that it's hardcoded and I can't turn that off via gsettings or gtk.ini. It seems to have been introduced in commit 103e11c9, however I need some advice on how to revert the changes properly as there are a lot of futher changes based on it.

3. Recursive directory search
Most annoying of all. When I'm in GTK3 File Chooser and start typing, the file dialog will start off a recursive search traversing through all my directories, on a type-to-find basis. I can't type-ahead a file in the current directory any more, which allowed me to quickly jump to a file by typing its initial letters. The new behavior is pretty annoying, raises many concerns regarding performance, privacy and general usability. It has already been discussed in many bug reports and forums. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] A proposed patch / pull request has also been created but stubborn GNOME developers don't even want to understand why their forced recursive search is an issue. They don't hesitate to push their will down every single desktop Linux user's throat, without giving an option to restore the old behavior. It seems to have been introduced in commit b3c28e14, however I need some advice on how to revert the changes properly as there are a lot of futher changes based on it.

I don't really want to start an argument about why Debian maintainers have let all the menace coming with GTK3 into Stretch, because I'm afraid we would end up somewhere like those systemd-related discussions in the past, without finding a constructive solution. I also don't want to adapt to these annoyances. If that was an option for me, I wouldn't have created this post.

If there is no chance of maintainers doing this (which is very likely because Stretch has already been code-frozen) then I would like to ask for help on how to revert the changes that introduced the annoyances above, while maintaining stability. And I mean all of them, without any compromise.

I appreciate any help on finding a sustainable way of patching GTK3 in Debian Stretch source packages to achieve the goals above. Alternatively I'm okay with a system-wide setting in every GTK3-dependent application where I can replace GTK3 File Chooser with GTK2 File Chooser, however I highly doubt this is possible.
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby kanliot » 2019-04-04 03:01

Huh, this should make you really angry. Image https://i.imgur.com/4E2bSlf.jpg
SparkyLinux on top of Debian 10. The scrollbars are glorious.
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby sunrat » 2019-04-04 10:14

You could use a DE that is not based on GTK, or even use no DE and just a window manager. I use KDE mostly and think Gnome is a tragedy.
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby ladnalo » 2019-04-05 18:26

I'm not letting Xfce go just because of a well-ruined file chooser, until Xfce is available for (can be re-compiled with) GTK2. I really like Xfce, I'm used to it pretty well, I use it since the beginning. I love it because it doesn't change in concept, doesn't follow lame UI design fashions, doesn't get slow and bloated and is greatly configurable. User freedom is respected. I find recent versions of KDE as ruined as GNOME 3, aping the even more dumbed-down user interfaces of Windows 10 and Google Android, while being enormously bloated and wasteful on resources. The only alternative I'd go with is Trinity Desktop Environment but I repeat, I wouldn't like to switch DEs.

I really hope someone's going to help me patch GTK3 the way I described in my initial post.
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby sunrat » 2019-04-05 21:01

ladnalo wrote:I really hope someone's going to help me patch GTK3 the way I described in my initial post.


I don't mind Xfce and use it for a couple of lighter weight installations. There are a couple of things that bug the hell out of me, particularly Thunar, that prevent it from being my primary DE.
I get where you're coming from and hope you find someone to help. Unfortunately this is a user forum and there aren't many (or any) people with GTK development experience. Good luck!
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby ladnalo » 2019-04-06 09:18

Where is the place to find Debian maintainers of GTK3?
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Re: Need help on fixing GTK3 File Chooser

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-04-06 11:23

Don't break DebianHow to report bugs

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