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I prefer to have my windows grouped in the bottom panel.

Ubuntu orders the groups of windows from left to right in descending order of number of windows open in the group.

The problem is that when you close a window in a group, the number windows in the group changes and the location of the group changes in the panel which can be very disorienting.

I would like it so that when a window is grouped it always remains in the same order in the bottom panel

Is it possible that you can set the window groups to not order according to number of windows open in the ubuntu bottom panel?

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In my experience, no this is not possible. The grouping is not strictly in descending order - it is a curious mix of different factors. On my setup, firefox always gets top spot even when it has less windows than the following group. Except when there's only 1 firefox window. I still haven't figured out how the grouping works.

What is certain though is that for groups that have only 1 window in them, the ordering is controlled by the same value used by nautilus: */apps/nautilus/icon_view/default_sort_order* key. To test this, run gconf-editor, navigate to the key and change it to one of the few options available:

  • name (Default)
  • size
  • type
  • modification_date
  • emblems

You should see the windows shift around to reflect this change. Note that this also impacts the ordering of icons in Nautilus. Not terribly clever design imho. As for window grouping remaining unchanged, your best bet is to file a bug against the gnome bugzilla issue tracker for the libwnck component ("Window List" applet).

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I'd like to thank you for posting this question; I've learned a lot and changed my local setup as a result. I started looking around for the source code for the Window List applet, and looking at alternatives. Didn't actually find the source, but what I did find really ROCKS.

First a little perspective. The "Window List" applet is just an applet - nothing special, just an applet, in a panel. It's not especially blessed, or an integral part of Gnome, or anything like that. Heck, the bottom panel itself is nothing special either - it's just a panel. I used to use 2 panels, (top and bottom) but now I only use one, and (arbitrarily) it's the top one.

So, on to what I found: Gnome-Do. It's a "dock" app (when configured with the "Docky" look-n-feel) and it gives Gnome a vaguely Macintosh-y feel. I've installed Gnome-Do, and used it for the past couple of days, before writing about it here. I'm pretty sure it'll permanently replace the "bottom bar" for me in Gnome.

So, if you're ready for a change to how you manage your windows, google "Gnome do", or dive straight in:

Hope this helps!

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Does it solve the grouping problem, though? – Nathaniel Dec 4 '09 at 22:23
I don't believe the dock sorts the icons based on how many windows are open; from what I've seen, the icons stay put unless moved by the user*. So, ...yeah, it kinda does solve the grouping problem. (* You can reorder the icons on the dock by holding down CTRL and dragging them around) – pbr Dec 7 '09 at 19:22

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