GNOME: kiosk mode (make any app fullscreen)

February 17, 2007 at 01:07 PM | categories: gnome, linux | View Comments

I seem to remember a long time ago that GNOME had a user definable shortcut that could make any application fullscreen. I can't seem to find that in the Gnome keyboard shortcuts dialog anymore.

Update: I have since found the functionality and thus invalidated this entire post! When will GNOME learn to make things more obvious?? The short answer: Set a keybinding for /apps/metacity/window_keybindings/toggle_fullscreen in gconf-editor.

Also, if you're using Beryl instead of metacity, this option is reasonably easy to find in the beryl settings manager: "General Options"->"Shortcuts"->"General Options"->"Bindings"->"Toggle Window Fullscreen"

I like GNOME, I really do. But it's typical of the developers to hide useful things like this. Sure, it unclutters the preference dialogs.. but it sure would be nice to be able to do what should be (and even once was) simple, useful things.

Anyway, I've found a way to get that functionality back. Download wmctrl from your package manager and then do the following:

  • Run "gconf-editor" as your normal user
  • find Apps->metacity->general_keybindings
  • Find the entry called run_command1 (or any other number that is blank)
  • Enter "<Alt>F11" for a value. You can use any shortcut combination you want, it's just that a lot of applications have F11 has an inbuilt key for fullscreen mode, so Alt-F11 seems like a good shortcut for every other application while still not being a common keystroke that might interfere with others.
  • Now find Apps->metacity->keybinding_commands (it's directly below general_keybindings)
  • For command_1 enter "wmctrl -r :SELECT: -b toggle,fullscreen"
  • Close gconf-editor

After all that, you should understand my frustration with GNOME. GNOME used to have a simple way of making custom keybindings too, and now it's tucked away in a really complex regedit style interface. Disgusting really.

Anyway, if you followed all of that, you should now be able to press Alt-F11 and you'll get little crosshairs for your mouse cursor. Click any window with those cross hairs and it will make it fullscreen. Press Alt-F11 and click the window once more and it will return to the original size it was beforehand.

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