Gtk3 changed scrollbar click behavior

After upgrading to Firefox 46, clicking on a page's non-active scrollbar area scrolls directly to that position.

This is quite a change. Previously, I could click on the scroll area below the position indicator to scroll down page-wise, just like the PgDwn key does.

When I wanted to scroll down to exactly this position - helpful on large documents - I simply clicked with the middle mouse button.

People using Firefox noticed this, but that issue was actually seen in 2013 already.

Restoring old behavior is possible by creating a file ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini and putting the gtk-primary-button-warps-slider configuration into it:

gtk-primary-button-warps-slider = false


The question for me is why this was changed, and more importantly why the default behavior was changed. Gnome 2 was my favorite desktop environment, but with Gnome 3 the (probably new) developers threw everything good away and did everything new, but worse. Read staring into the abyss for more info on that topic.


Another example for this total lack of respect to users is the highly controversial systemd, whose developers suddenly decided that it's better to kill off all user processes when the user logs out . This breaks user expectations; many people use nohup or screen to let programs continue to run, and to be able to resume later when they get back.

There is a config option to re-enable the old behavior, just like there is a config option to get the correct scrolling behavior back. This is not the problem.

The problem is the developer's total and utter disrespect of users and their history.


A comment in the staring into the abyss article linked above lays out my thoughts:

By giving an experimental desktop like Gnome 3 the same name as Gnome 2 with an updated version number, the Gnome developers forcibly pushed Gnome 2 out of the respositories with naming conflicts.

They didn't just add a new choice of desktop environment; they did everything in their power to eradicate a choice that a lot of people relied upon for their workspace!

This is a huge deal, because it sent Gnome 2 users scrambling to find a desktop environment that actually suits their needs . Sure, people can fork Gnome 2, and some have, with Mate. That project is now picking up nicely, and I think it has a lot more life in store for it than cynics thought at the outset.

I was a happy Gnome2 user, then was forced to Gnome3 and ditched it because it does not implement the workflow I want to follow, it broke API compatibility every couple of months so you always had to spend time to fix trivial - but needed - functionality.

I'm using the Gnome2 fork MATE Desktop Environment since several years now, and I'm happy with it. It works. It does not get in my way. That's what I care about.


The Cinnamon Desktop promises a classic desktop, built onto the latest Gnome3 foundations.

My wife had it running for two years now, but I had to remove it after upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 because after 10 minutes it became so slow that you could not get work done anymore. The cinnamon process just spiked its CPU load for half a minute or longer.

When searching the internet for "cinnamon cpu", you'll find hundreds of reports for that problem. Some are 3 years old, some are new. The problem is known, and not enough is being done to fix this.

The same computer runs Unity and Mate fine without problems, only Cinnamon makes problems.


I use Linux because I do not want to let Apple or Microsoft force things down my throat/onto my computer that I do not want. By using Open Source software, I can choose.

What currently does not work in Open Source land is stability and bugfixing. Instead of making existing software rock stable, new features are implemented. Instead of improving existing applications, software is rewritten from scratch.

I know that - for a developer - hacking new things is more rewarding than fixing a 5 year old bug only 2% of the users experience. But making software bugfree means caring about users.

Please take my money and make the software I love bugfree.

.. more

And just after I had published this article, the Gnome/Gtk developers annouce their latest brainfartidea that will not help anyone but them: Gtk 4.0 is not Gtk 4 . I'm removing Gnome and the Gnome developers from my mental list of sane software and people.

Written by Christian Weiske.

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