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Re: Are configuration & UI better in 4.2?

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  • Subject: [mg36860] Re: Are configuration & UI better in 4.2?
  • From: Steven <hattons at>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 03:02:58 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <an3qi2$ohv$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

P.J. Hinton wrote:

> On Fri, 27 Sep 2002, fjolsvit wrote:


> If you could post a precise description of what you expect the Delete key
> to do when depressed, we could probably provide you with a clear cut
> answer of what needs to be done.

Item[KeyEvent["Delete"], "DeleteNext"]

'Most' means 'more than half.'  

>> I want to adjust the font size used in the widgets, but again, I see
>> no ovbious means of modifying these attributes.  I suspect it can be
>> accomplished by modifying the ~/.Mathematica/4.1/FrontEnd/init.m.
>> Perhaps to an experienced Mathematica user, the syntax and semantics
>> of this file are obvious.  They aren't to me.
> The size of fonts in user interface elements is not specified through the
> Mathemtica init.m file.  It is set through an X resource.  If you are not
> familiar with resources, you may want to track down an introductory text
> on the X Window System. 

I sholdn't have to.  If I start messing with X resource settings for my user 
environment, I am sure to break something else which is configured based on 
the current settings. There should either be a GUI interface, or a clearly 
documented, and easily accessible configuration file to modify such 
properties as the size of the fonts in the GUI widgets. This is 
functionality which is rightfully expected of a modern desktop UI.

> Information on application-specific resource
> settings can be found in the Mathematica Getting Started Guide:

It should be in a clear and easy to access configuraton interface, or at 
least be redily available through the help system in such a way that 
reasonable queries will locate it.  Changing fonts does not belong in a 
section on trouble shooting, unless this is an acknowledgement that the UI 
is broken.

> The setting that you would need to adjust is XMathematica*fontList.  The
> value of the resource is an X Logical Font Description field.

And I'm sure there is some configuration file in which I could place that, 
and hope that what you think will be read by my system *will* in fact be 
read, and not subsequently overridden during xsession startup.  Things 
aren't the way they used to be back in the 1980s.  The modern Unix desktop 
has moved beyond the paradigm of openlook and motif.  See for example,, and 

>> I also find the overall look & feel of the interface to be archaic.
> That's because Mathematica relies on the Motif library for user interface
> elements.
> The appearance of these elements, such as the menu and scroll bars, would
> be the same for any other Motif application, such as the DDD debugger or
> releases of Netscape prior to verison 4.

My point exactly.

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