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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable Apps
I'm in an office with a very tight IT budget so I try to push open source wherever possible. For basic image editing, I've turned some people onto Gimp. One frustrating aspect of Gimp—because it runs under X11 and is not a native Cocoa application—is that ever time you want to choose a tool from the toolbox, you have to click the toolbox to select it, and then click again to select the tool. It's frustrating when all I want to do is make a simple edit. I've just located this solution:
  1. Start X11
  2. In X11, select "Preferences...".
  3. In the resulting X11 Preferences window, select the "Windows" tab
  4. Check the "Click-through Inactive Windows" check-box and close the Preferences window.
You should now be able to click directly on a tool in the toolbox to select it, and then start working with the tool immediately in the image. No more having to first click back on the image to start your editing.
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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: mmnw on Aug 19, '09 08:03:41AM

Is this specific to some special version of X11? Because, I don't see a "Windows" tab in my X11 Preferences. All I have is "Input", "Output" and "Security". My "About" Box in X11 reads "XQuartz 2.1.6 (xorg-server 1.4.2-apple33)".



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: valx on Aug 19, '09 08:19:51AM

Same here. I'm using the version of X11 installed from the Leopard DVD and there is no Window tab in the preferences.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: rxcfc on Aug 19, '09 08:32:18AM

If you don't have the option in your preferences you can enter this in your terminal:

defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool true

To disable it:

defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool false


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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: highbulp on Aug 19, '09 09:30:37AM

I tried this, and it doesn't seem to work for me (running 10.4 with X11 installed from the developer disk). Is it a 10.5 only functionality? Or would I need to do something else?

I very much would like this functionality--the double-clicking in gimp drives me crazy!



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Aug 19, '09 05:15:31PM

For MacOS 10.4 Tiger and MacOS 10.5 Leopard:
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_ffm -bool false
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_click_through -bool true

For MacOS 10.5 Leopard with updates from XQuartz:
defaults write org.x.X11 wm_ffm -bool false
defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool true



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 20, '09 10:43:36AM

Good, but you're changing two things here. The "ffm" option is "focus follows mouse", which many long-time Unix users -- particularly those who used Irix -- will remember fondly.

It drives me nuts to have to click in a window to give it focus -- especially given that the newly focussed window pops to the front. I often find myself typing in a smaller window, referring to one or more larger Web browser windows. I wish focus follows mouse were an option for regular OS X apps, but quite often I revert to using X11 apps, rather than the native Mac apps.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: stephb on Aug 27, '09 10:39:24AM

Just to clarify, in the X11 (shown in Finder Get Info as version 2.0) that was installed on my OS X 10.5.7, these commands did not work:

defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_ffm -bool false
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_click_through -bool true

But this version did:

defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool true

Thanks for the hint and comments!



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Worked for me - thank you - n/t
Authored by: fyngyrz on Aug 19, '09 10:24:17AM

no text

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--fyngyrz



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: LostInSpace2011 on Aug 19, '09 05:14:39PM

For MacOS 10.4 Tiger and MacOS 10.5 Leopard:
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_ffm -bool false
defaults write com.apple.x11 wm_click_through -bool true

For MacOS 10.5 Leopard with updates from XQuartz:
defaults write org.x.X11 wm_ffm -bool false
defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool true



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: herbs on Aug 20, '09 06:55:33AM

Howdy,

Thanks... works perfectly.

Good Luck,
Herb Schulz


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Good Luck,
Herb Schulz



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: bhas on Aug 19, '09 09:37:15AM
Goto http://xquartz.macosforge.org/trac/wiki

where the latest X11 is available.

This Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard only.
Download version 2.4.0 (link is at the top the page).
It fixes many problems of the X11 on the Leopard DVD.
It has a Windows tab in its preferences.


Berend

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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: mstoops on Aug 19, '09 02:37:16PM

I posted the original hint, but it had never entered my mind that this tab was missing from earlier versions of X11. Berend, thanks for posting the link for everybody else.

FWIW, I think you need at least version 2.3 (currently at 2.4) of X11 to run the latest version of Gimp anyway.

Matthew



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: dronkert on Aug 19, '09 02:02:44PM

Thanks! Hadn't looked there while also having been frustrated about the missing click-through.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: boothefox on Aug 20, '09 12:01:04AM

wow! thank you sooooo much ! Never thought it possible. i'm using Gimp since 90ties on various platforms, but on mac it was a bit weird because of this double-clicking. I could even bear the ctrl+ instead of cmd+ shortucts, but this one was constantly in my way. Thank you.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: genglefins on Aug 20, '09 01:04:59AM
Very nice hint! I've been playing with X11 and GIMP lately, but a nice native option for simple editing is Seashore. it's based on GIMP, but is cocoa native so it's like a "real" mac OS X app. Free, of course.

http://seashore.sourceforge.net/

It doesn't have all the features of GIMP, but it isn't as scary at first to use and is a nice gateway toward using GIMP later.

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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: stokessd on Aug 20, '09 06:03:56AM

An even bigger thing that would make GIMP actually usable would be to revamp the nightmare of a user interface. But that will never happen because the people writing the GIMP think they are right and won't change.

As someone who uses photoshop (not perfect, but a lot better), going to the GIMP makes me feel like something very unconsensual just happened to me.

Sheldon



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: frgough on Aug 20, '09 08:04:58AM

You get what you pay for.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 20, '09 10:46:52AM
Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: buck on Aug 20, '09 05:40:27PM

You just know when there's an article mentioning Gimp that the Photoshop Phanboys will show up. They're always saying PS is better, has a better interface, is the industry standard, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Can't these phanboys just accept the fact that for most people Gimp does what they want, and that you don't have to spend $700USD on a paint program? Really.

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It's a very dark ride.



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Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: calum on Aug 21, '09 07:14:41AM
Make Gimp and other X11 programs more useable
Authored by: genglefins on Aug 22, '09 12:56:16AM

I don't think Gimp's UI is bad; I just wish there was a Mac OS native version that didn't require running X11.



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