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#1 2015-07-04 19:09:52

weasels
Member
Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

I'll be straight to the point. I use Linux Mint 17 XFCE and whatever version of xfce/xfwm comes with it (don't know how to check). I can use ALT+mousewheel (or whatever other key I set instead of ALT in Window Manager Tweaks) to zoom in which works perfect except for one thing: it follows the mouse pointer.

The thing is I DO NOT WANT IT TO FOLLOW THE MOUSE POINTER, but stay where it freaking is and where I set it. (e.g add a hotkey to track the mouse pointer works too, like holding ALT+moving the mouse... I will just not press ALT). JUST THIS SIMPLE FEATURE i cannot find ANYWHERE properly.

For example, I have an old game I play via WINE, it has 640x480 resolution like all old games have, it's Windowed mode. It's too damn small. So I want to zoom it so it fits my screen better. I do NOT want to change resolution, I frequently go back and forth while playing the game to normal apps like browser, and of course with zooming it's very easy (zoom out takes like half a second if not less) and no annoying "black screen for 2 seconds" effect like when changing resolutions. Ergo I do not want to change resolutions, as that is something I can already do and don't want to, please don't suggest it.

I cannot believe in this day and age it is so complicated to just scale one part of the damn screen and KEEP it there until I choose to zoom out or pan.

I tried kmag, nope no dice, it works and it is "static" except it's a separate window, which means the ORIGINAL window has to be available/seen on the screen, which I don't want to. If I move kmag's window on top of it, it will create a "nested loop of zoom" like a nested loop of mirrors. Same thing with xzoom. I don't want to see the original 640x480 I want to zoom in it / scale it up (or have the original offscreen).

People praised gnome-mag on google, but yet apt-get install gnome-mag says it cannot find the package and I cannot find any trace of it on modern Linux distros. God dammit.


Please don't tell me to upgrade to xfce 4.12 UNLESS you know for sure it solves this and has this option to disable stupid AUTOMATIC mouse tracking when zoom... I seriously don't want to upgrade and break my system for nothing, I've already installed so much junk and "magnifiers" all of which suck, happened before with upgrading other "system" stuff like this and I couldn't use many applications (e.g those that needed PulseAudio when upgrading broke it, and I had to reinstall the whole machine, I'm not that good at tech stuff).


I'm sorry for my rant but I'm really mad right now, I've literally spent half my weekend googling over and over and over, installed so much crap, NOTHING HELPS. I just want one simple thing, a fixed zoom-in on the screen, that's it, and it is PAINFULLY unavailable.

Forgot to add, I don't want to switch window managers because of the "break the system" fear above, i don't know if compiz can do this, but I'd ideally want to do it in XFCE's window manager (xfwm?) or a simple 3rd party / separate app. Thanks......

Last edited by weasels (2015-07-04 19:13:03)

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#2 2015-07-05 01:00:56

ToZ
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From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 4,270

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

xfwm won't do this for you. Feel free to ask the developer about it by creating an enhancement request over at the bug tracker.

I did come across this program (that uses vnc and xephyr to scale windows within X). I gave it a try but couldn't get it to work exactly right. The program works, the scaling works, but I couldn't get the programs to display right. Perhaps you will have more luck using it.


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#3 2015-07-05 04:12:33

MountainDewManiac
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Posts: 927

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

If the 640*480 game you play is old enough to actually be a DOS one, lol, some of the old DOS emulators had a fullscreen option, IIRC.

Regards,
MDM


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#4 2015-07-05 05:01:20

Sideburns
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From: Camarillo, CA
Registered: 2011-03-30
Posts: 425
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Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Compiz does have a Zoom Desktop and an Enhanced Zoom Desktop, but I've not tried them so I don't know how they work.  It also has a Screen Magnifier, but that follows the mouse so I doubt that it's what you need.


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#5 2015-07-05 15:59:43

weasels
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Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Yeah that's the thing, I tried quite a few already and they all follow the mouse OR don't magnify whole screen. Well I don't really need to magnify whole screen just one specific window, if that's a better option. And the game is not DOS, many games from 1999 era were fixed to that resolution even famous ones like Starcraft which I have to run Windowed else 1) full screen is buggy and 2) I dislike the resolution change as I said, makes it very hard to switch between apps/workspaces.

In fact what I request is *easier* than implementing mouse tracking functionality, I don't understand why this is not an option when it would be easy to just disable mouse tracking.

Anyway, thanks for the link with vncdesk -- it looks promising, but a bit technical so it will take me a while to understand it. I'm definitely going to try it later though. Guess I'll have to report it as a request as you said in the meantime.

IIRC people said you can scale specific application windows in Windows 8, that's even better, but no idea as I haven't used Windows in a long while now. What I mean is that it's definitely something that is possible (just render the image to a virtual screen buffer then scale it up to real screen).



EDIT: Actually nevermind, seems someone already filed a 'bug' for this: https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11711

Looks like hard to fix this. They clearly don't know how other people use zoom, I wish there was a way to explain. I use it even while I work in other apps that need precision when ordering stuff around (yes those apps don't have zoom themselves, so isn't that what the desktop zoom should be then for?)....

Anyway thanks for the help, shame that it's a dead end (again), sigh. I wouldn't even be so disappointed and mad if I had choice but like I said I searched everywhere and there's nowhere such easy zoom that doesn't follow the mouse... and when you think that Windows does give you the option for it, it's quite sad really.

Last edited by weasels (2015-07-05 16:24:57)

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#6 2015-07-05 19:32:05

weasels
Member
Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Bad news. I tried the VNC method with Xephyr. Xephyr displays correctly. The VNC viewer also displays correctly, but it is very sluggish especially when I "move" around (like pan the camera in Starcraft).

First I thought maybe the scaling is overkill, but nope, even not scaling the output at all makes the same sluggish, it's like I have 4 FPS or something when moving... totally unplayable with the VNC. Xephyr's window, though, works perfect with no performance loss at all, but obviously is a small window (640x480). Then I tried "xrandr --output default --scale 0.5x0.5" inside Xephyr's display and nope doesn't work, not even 1x1 works (which is supposed to do no scaling).

I don't know man, I tried so many things for such a "relatively simple" thing, why is it so damn hard to get something like this. It's not like I'm asking for too much. We have even more "powerful" zoomers and all that stuff, but that's the problem they all can't downgrade to not track the mouse (I'm talking about 3rd party apps, not window managers)... and even hackish solutions like the VNC don't work because performance is too bad. I tried so long to make the VNC work but I'm lost, I don't know if it's me doing it wrong, but I spent too much time for today on it. Well actually reminds me why I got so mad yesterday, meh.


People said compiz can "lock" the screen when zooming which is the small thing I asked for. Looks like Mint XFCE came with Compiz although not activated (it's selected XFWM by default), but I never used it and I really love XFWM except for this one annoying thing (i.e unable to lock screen when zooming). I may try compiz if nothing else works, cause I really don't want to switch window managers, but I'm also wary of people saying compiz doesn't work well with XFCE and etc... meh

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#7 2015-07-05 19:44:17

Sideburns
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From: Camarillo, CA
Registered: 2011-03-30
Posts: 425
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Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

I have two computers, a desktop and a laptop.  Both of them use Fedora with Xfce and compiz.  The two work fine together.


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#8 2015-07-06 18:56:48

sixsixfive
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From: behind you
Registered: 2012-04-08
Posts: 578
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Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Why do want to run it in a window? wouldn't it not better to run it full screen in a second Xserver?

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#9 2015-07-07 00:11:55

weasels
Member
Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Well excluding the fact that it looks pretty crappy on a widescreen monitor which is supposed to run at 1080p or more, I want to run it in a window because for some games I switch the view often (switch workspaces for example). Running it full-screen implies resolution change and switching between them with CTRL+ALT+Fx is annoying. Actually I don't like resolution changes in general, I just think they're not that stable to be done that often. Sure you may think it's a nitpick but come on this "feature" I'm asking for isn't something that's ungodly complex, in fact it's easier to be done than the current implementation which follows the mouse (which probably needs more logic etc?).

I guess I will have to resort to Compiz, shame as I really like xfwm4 otherwise and Compiz has way too much crap I don't want, sigh.

Now I need to freaking learn Compiz and customize it so it uses minimal resources for what I need. I seriously do not want any of compiz' "wow factor" and other eye candy it has, but damn, I can't believe this stupid zoom function to NOT FOLLOW the mouse pointer is not available in xfwm and well I got more annoyed at the dev who said he won't work on it / won't fix it... and even if someone submits a patch he may not "merge it / accept it" into the code, which sounds like a waste of time. Don't understand his crusade against this simple option -- I mean just have to keep the center position (zoom factor is already stored i guess) and lock it there wtf?! (not to mention it would be one tick as an option at most, if he wants to keep the customization "clean" or whatever -- I don't even care if i have to edit it manually in text editor god dammit I just want it)

Yes I know switching workspaces keeps same zoom but that's not a problem I can zoom out in less than a second (or bind a key to a fixed zoom like in Compiz, but I don't want to ask for too much for xfwm, since I can't even get this simple feature in).

As a sidenote I also use it on another windows application where I have to zoom in for precision movement (so I know it's aligned properly). This isn't very crucial but it keeps the app's project layouts "cleaner" if they are aligned, and that's only possible if I can zoom in to see the pixels. But the screen moving with the mouse as I drag the layout's objects is making me DIZZY and it's beyond annoying. To be honest I don't even see the point of the "screen follows mouse" in the zoom. No matter how I use it, it just moves the screen way too much and would give me a headache if I actually had to use it all the time (i.e for accessibility).

It's the equivalent of looking through a long distance lens and rotating your view fast, suffice to say it's total chaos/dizziness/headaches. The zoom has to be locked when you do it in higher amounts but I guess that developer thinks differently.

Last edited by weasels (2015-07-07 00:15:20)

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#10 2015-07-07 17:37:51

weasels
Member
Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Just for update, if anyone is interested to do the same.

Compiz works great and most settings transferred over to it, except the Window Decoration which can only import metacity themes. I googled to download a similar theme to what I had in xfwm. Here's how to install a theme for Compiz at least in Linux Mint 17 XFCE after switching from xfwm.

  • Put it in /usr/share/themes. Make sure it is a metacity window decoration theme, it should have a metacity-1 directory inside its root folder (the theme's name).

  • Go to CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM), scroll to Window Decorations plugin, and on the line that says "gtk-window-decorator" replace it with:
    -
    gtk-window-decorator --metacity-theme THEME_NAME --replace
    -
    Obviously use your theme's name instead of THEME_NAME (the name is the root folder of the theme, i.e /usr/share/themes/Simple is the theme 'Simple', don't forget the capital on first letter, it is case sensitive).


Issues with Compiz: There's memory leaks all around, or I don't know what, but memory usage keeps increasing. It goes from 40MB to 150MB and possibly more but I didn't bother to wait, the "fix" is to restart Compiz with this command periodically when it goes out of control:

killall compiz -HUP

Put this in a launcher or a script you can call easily. Note that restarting resets your windows' positions so don't do it too often.

Anyway I prefer how stable xfwm is by far, but meh, you know the reason I switched. As a bonus, Compiz solved the flickering I got when scrolling in Firefox. No idea why xfwm still flickered even with Sync to VBlank option on.

Last edited by weasels (2015-07-07 17:38:44)

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#11 2015-07-15 21:33:10

Simon T
Member
Registered: 2015-07-15
Posts: 2

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Hey I was just passing through looking for some xrandr issues and answers when I saw your post.

You are running Starcraft (Original) under WINE? The problem is; Blizzard didn't think and they only left it locked in 640x480 mode with 256 colors. I run my Starcraft in WINE 1.7.44 using this command line; wine explorer /desktop=Starcraft,640x480 '/media/Drive D/Starcraft/StarCraft.exe'  This runs Starcraft in a virtual desktop (aka a window) I tried to get my screen to run it in a 1024x768 but it is just no good. There is a tool used as a launcher (Chaos Launcher) that makes it too big.

My system is running Kubuntu 14.04 with a Radeon HD series 5000 and the main problem I am running into is a serious lack of 3D acceleration.  My other problem is I spend too much time at the local mall digging through the old games bins. big_smile

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#12 2015-07-15 21:42:35

Simon T
Member
Registered: 2015-07-15
Posts: 2

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

MountainDewManiac wrote:

If the 640*480 game you play is old enough to actually be a DOS one, lol, some of the old DOS emulators had a fullscreen option, IIRC.

Regards,
MDM

Sure that might work for "DOS" games in DOS Box but Starcraft and Diablo II are strictly Windows and therefore WINE. WINE is overlay, not an emulator and doesn't have a full screen option. Maybe you could install XP (assuming you have it) as dual boot, but I got away from all that MS BS years ago.

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#13 2015-07-24 19:21:42

weasels
Member
Registered: 2015-07-04
Posts: 6

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Sorry for late reply, kinda forgot about this thread.

Well if you have issues with 256-bit colors or 16-bit etc in certain games, just use Xephyr as described in WINE guide: http://wiki.winehq.org/256ColorMode
It just creates a virtual X screen and it appears as a window, within which you can also use a virtual desktop (or just use full-screen mode in WINE, unless that's buggy, it will only be "full screen" to the Xephyr virtual screen).

Of course, the problem is, you still have to scale it up / zoom in because the "Virtual Screen" will obviously be small (e.g 640x480). With Compiz, you can assign a hotkey to "zoom" in to the active Window, very quickly with 1 press you zoom it almost full-screen, then assign another hotkey to "zoom out" to factor 1.0 (i.e you see all the screen), it works great and fast if you need to switch between the game and other things. (don't forget to lock the screen once zoomed in, with another hotkey, that's the important part where Compiz shines, or you can automate this process with xdotool)

Sorry to hear you have problems with 3D acceleration. Is that just in a specific old game or your entire system? If it's old game, normally I have no issues since newer PCs are more than capable of running them even "slower".

If it's the entire system, did you install AMD's proprietary drivers? I use nvidia but I have no issues with their proprietary drivers and work very good even on newer games. The open source drivers tend to suck.

Last edited by weasels (2015-07-24 19:24:23)

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#14 2015-12-03 22:24:48

chrnobel
Member
Registered: 2015-12-03
Posts: 1

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

What is the status for this?

I am really puzzled that this is not at standard feature, and am actually a bit offended by Olivier Fourdans arrogant attitude, as it to seems like he has no understanding of the purpose of accessibility.

For me it could be very useful to zoom into a part of the screen, and then lock the zoomed area, so I for instance could move elements comfortably, instead of having my nose 5cm from the screen - but if the window floats around like a drunken sailor, when I move the mouse, it is a mockery to call it a help for visual disabled.

And come on, how hard is it to implement a function that locks/unlocks the mouse following - it should be easier to deal with a locked zoom, than a zoom that follows the mouse.

So is there any chance this would ever be implemented, or can I find a another desktop that has the facility?

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#15 2018-05-07 00:11:25

markstevo
Member
Registered: 2018-05-06
Posts: 1

Re: Zoom the Desktop/Screen WITHOUT following the mouse

Chiming in that I think this would be useful as well. The XFCE screen zoom feature is awesome. I understand from the above that it is intended as an accessibility tool, but I use it for productivity. It helps a lot when dealing with huge tables of numbers in a very small font size (don't ask, but it's work related and I have no control, so there's nothing I can do about increasing font size etc.). Of course I can zoom in via the application window, but setting my screen resolution to 3840x2160 using xrandr (effectively creating a fake UHD monitor) and using the screen zoom feature is way, way quicker and easier.

I too am puzzled that this request was so summarily dismissed with what does seem like a bit of arrogance, but I think this comes from the developers being under the hammer a bit and having limited resources that they don't want to squander on frivolous feature requests. I don't think this request is entirely frivolous, however. In fact, it's a fairly obvious and widely applicable use case if you ask me. Personally, I would find it much more useful if the screen only panned when the mouse hit the edge of the visible area (similar to what you get with VNC viewers), but being able to lock the screen in position would also be useful (and it seems like others feel the same way).

Sure there are other solutions/workarounds, but having this available natively in XFCE would be so much easier and way, way more efficient. I realize that developer resources are scarce, but I humbly submit my voice to this feature request along with those above. Thanks.

EDIT: Having read the xfwm4 source code (compositor.c is the main place to look), I now realize why Olivier said it's not possible (although I still think the way he answered people wasn't very nice). The way screen magnification is implemented in xfwm4 is actually pretty neat. It _has to_ track the mouse, though, because the mouse cursor's position on your _physical_ screen needs to correspond to the actual position on your X11 display to ensure that X11 mouse events map properly to what you're seeing on screen. There's no way around this with the current (beautifully simple) implementation. It might be possible to create a non-tracking version that hides the actual mouse cursor and shows the user a "fake" mouse cursor within the zoomed area, but it would be a fair bit of work. And I'm guessing it would make more sense to implement something like that as a standalone utility rather than as a native (bloaty) xfwm4 feature.

Last edited by markstevo (2018-05-08 00:34:13)

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