April 22, 2019

The StartX Files: Of Mice and Finns

Giving The Two-Fingered Salute

  • April 2, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

I have been thinking about buying a three-button mouse.

I know this idea will seem to run counter to this week's introduction of a keyboard-centric window manager, but I felt like the mouse folks should get a fair shake out of this week's column, too. Or maybe I'm just throwing them a bone.

Regardless, I have been blithely typing away at this Linux box of mine for some time now, reaching over periodically to grab my two-button mouse and click one button, the other button, or maybe (in a real demonstration of my opposable thumb's power) both buttons. I have been consigned to contend with three-button emulation.

Which is a good plan--except that often it simply doesn't work. For whatever reason, three-button emulation does not always work as advertised on my machine. My colleagues, ever eager to prove their collective geek manhood, snidely imply that I am somehow inadequate in getting my two fingers to work together well enough. My typical response is to gesture at them with one particular finger and then go look for some clue as to why I cannot consistently use the emulator.

Of course, I should realize that anything with the word "emulator" on it should be enough to send me a warning sign. Like the ad says, "there ain't nothin' like the real thing." WINE, for instance, has always given me more fits than a hound dog twitching with fleas. I would like these emulators to work, I really would, but alas, they all seem to hate the sight of me looming over the keyboard.

Which finally brought me to this fateful decision: get off my butt and get down to the computer superstore (and we all know they'll love to see me coming) and buy a three-button mouse of my very own.

This is good timing, considering what I will be reviewing in the weeks ahead: window managers that for the most part try to avoid the use of the mouse altogether.

My timing, after all is said and done, leaves much to be desired.

Comparative Culture 101: The Best Part of Finland

The last (and only) time I was in Finland, it was passing through by train on my way from Stockholm to Leningrad. It was the middle of January, I had the most God-awful sinus infection, and I was in a train station in Helsinki.

But I would soon learn the joys of socialist medicine. After a brief trudge through the Helsinki city streets, I ended up in an apothacary, where it seemed cool to dispense antibiotics without a prescription. To this day, I think I love Finland more for that than anything Linus Torvalds has ever done. Sorry, Linus.

Still, I always look favorably on the products of Finland, and this week's window managers are no exception. Even without the favoritism for the Land of the Finns, PWM and ion would certainly be high on my list.

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