Once in a while, I have a small problem with some regularity that has an easy solution. Traditionally, I write a note to myself, somewhere, and then need to hunt down the note when I need it next time. Since that’s inefficient, whenever I have one of these, I now use them as short blog posts.


In this case, I have finally found a solution to a problem that has nagged me for a couple of years, at this point. At some point, something in Ubuntu changed. I don’t know exactly when, but when clicking the scrollbar in an application, the scrollbar’s “thumb” jumps to that location, so that scrolling by screen-sized “page” only works by keyboard if that panel has focus. Normally, it’s not much of a problem; the keyboard works in many cases, and I don’t generally need sophisticated scrolling.

That said, when I’m working with an application with multiple panels where clicking anywhere might have an effect—I’m thinking of Tweetdeck, especially, which I use to read Twitter—it’s frustrating to have the scrollbar jump the page view so erratically. I ended up using a Chromium-based browser for just those rare sites.

Searching—annoyingly difficult, because the terminology isn’t entirely standard and, where it is standard, is instead obscure enough that people asking or writing about it might not have it right—turned up this Ask Ubuntu question, which provided two out of three solutions.

In ~/.config/gtk-2.0/settings.ini, add or fix this value.


This took care of Firefox. Meanwhile, in ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini and ~/.config/gtk-4.0/settings.ini, the setting changes.


Voilà. Now, everything should work correctly, after a restart…unless another GTK version has been released since I last updated this. I imagine that someone who needs later versions could monitor the relevant GTK documentation for the appropriate setting values and (I would have to hope) any new settings that might replace this one.

It’s a bit silly to jump through these sorts of hoops, but it’s all admittedly less tedious than constantly clicking too far, triggering an auto-load, and then having trouble finding where I left off. Obviously, a better solution would be for GTK to make such a non-traditional change in default behavior. It’s a bit late to fix that side of things, though.

That’s Not All…

Another significantly irritating issue that I’ve had is that, on some websites—again, Tweetdeck is an example—some textarea controls on the page will lose focus when hitting the CTRL key. Unfortunately, there’s an easy solution to this, but it requires turning off one of my favorite features: Showing the mouse pointer location when hitting that CTRL key.

It’s one of the first things that I generally turn on in an operating system. If you’re on Linux, you can find it listed in the Gnome Tweaks application. I suppose that I can turn it off when using a problematic page, then turn it back on. That’s probably fine, if annoying.

Credits: The header image is work, technology, vintage, wheel, retro, clock, by an anonymous PxHere photographer, is made available under the terms of the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.