Exposé-type behaviour in Openbox
May 23, 2008
I’ve figured it out! You may remember I was trying to get a Exposé-type behaviour with Skippy in Openbox: move the mouse in a screen corner and Skippy launches to show you all non-iconified windows on that workspace. Well, I’ve found a solution using Xautolock.
As the name suggests, Xautolock is meant to launch a screen locker, such as xlock, automatically when the mouse cursor is inactive in one or more of the screen corners. It can, however, easily be used to launch any type of application.
Here is how you can use it with Skippy. Add the following line to your Openbox autostart file:
xautolock -locker "xte 'key Scroll_Lock'" -corners 0+00 -cornerdelay 1 &
This will launch xte (-locker “xte ‘key Scroll_Lock'”) when the mouse cursor has been in the upper right corner (-corners 0+00) for a full second (-cornerdelay 1). You can specify many more options; have a look at the very detailed man page for more info. Xautolock runs very light (80 kb on this computer), so it shouldn’t slow things down.
Xte comes with xautomation. It simulates a key press, in this example of the Scroll_Lock key, which is the key I use to launch Skippy. If you launch Skippy with a different key (the default is F11), make sure to change the above xte command appropriately. You obviously need to have Skippy running for this to work. Unfortunately Skippy is not in the Hardy repositories (though it was in the repos from Dapper to Gutsy), so you’ll have to build it from source.
And that’s it! Whenever you move the mouse cursor into the upper right corner Skippy will show you all non-iconified windows. Here is a picture:
This should also work in Fluxbox or other window managers. Pekwm still has issues with Skippy, unfortunately, so this won’t work as elegantly in that window manager.