Out of focus "power saving" and task switcher window contents

Posted on 2010-03-08 20:09 UTC by Javier S. Pedro. Status: Under consideration, Categories: Desktop.

Some applications (including base ones, like the Clock application, or the Media Player application) save power by not refreshing the display when they're not the topmost active application on the system. This works well enough right until you hit the task switcher key, and you see outdated thumbnails in the task switcher grid.

For example, if you open the Clock application and let it run in the background for a while, after you hit the task switcher button you'll see that the clock is outdated in the preview. This is documented in bug #5466 .

If you open the Media Player application, you'll see that the time slider doesn't refresh when it the background. Thus, you cannot really guess the current song position by looking at the media player thumbnail in the task switcher grid; you have to actively switch focus to the media player and let it refresh.

Of course, this is far from ideal, even from an user experience point of view. But we also want to save power...

Talk thread:

Solutions for this brainstorm


Solution #1: "Task switcher fired", "task switcher hidden" signals

Posted on 2010-03-08 20:09 UTC by Javier S. Pedro.

Provide and document "signal" that fires when the task switcher is opened, allowing applications to start refreshing their windows even if they're not the active one. When the task switcher hides, the focused application gets usual focused/active signal, the rest get a "task switched hidden" signal and stop refreshing.

Note that this solution is pretty much generic and technology-agnostic (glib signal? x11 client event?) so expansions are welcomed :)