Scrolling on Gnome

Tod Hansmann at
Sun Oct 2 09:47:08 MDT 2011

On 10/2/2011 9:36 AM, Charles Curley wrote:
> I have gnome 2.32 on Ubuntu Natty 11.04. It has a "feature" that is
> driving me crazy enough that I may jump to XFCE or LDX if one of those
> will get me away from it.
> In prior versions of Gnome, horizontal and vertical scrolling are
> accomplished with the traditional scroll bar, which is adjacent to the
> window being scrolled. The scroll bar is always there and runs the
> length or height of the window. To use it you click in the scroll bar;
> where you click and how determines the result you will get.
> I now see a new scrolling widget in some applications, e.g. evince.
> Others (mercifully) don't show it and retain the scroll bar, e.g.
> Firefox. The new widget looks like it was designed for mobile phones and
> other real estate challenged devices. It is a small disappearing
> tab with an up arrow on the top and a down arrow on the bottom (for
> vertical scrolling). You can click on the up or down arrow, or grab the
> slider and move it appropriately. The new widget is much smaller than
> the traditional scroll bar, making it harder to use.
> It also disappears when you aren't using it. Its location is marked by
> an even smaller colored blob somewhere along the appropriate edge of the
> window. So to use the new widget, you must first locate the color blob,
> then slide across it from the window out across the boundary. That
> makes the widget show up. Only then can you click appropriately.
> Memo to Linux devs: My desktop and laptop are not real estate
> challenged. You do not need to provide me with work-arounds for real
> estate challenged devices on my laptop or desktop. All those
> work-arounds do is get in my way. This is one of several reasons I
> refuse to use Unity (Canonical's brain dead home-brew interface which
> replaces Gnome unless you specify it at log-in time).
> My question is, how do I get rid of the new scroll widget, and get all
> my apps to use the traditional scroll bar?
It's called an overlay scroll bar, and it IS annoying, but can be 
disabled one of two ways.  You can remove the "overlay-scrollbar" 
package, or you can run this in a terminal: "echo "export 
/etc/X11/Xsession.d/80overlayscrollbars > /dev/null".  Then just re-log.

Reference from when I did this to my install:

-Tod Hansmann

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