[xmonad] Ambiguous focus after some commands...

Allen S. Rout asr at ufl.edu
Thu Jan 5 21:39:13 CET 2012

I've recently encountered an odd focus behavior, and I'm not certain
whether I'm thinking about it incorrectly, or if it's a bug.

I do a lot of document editing in Emacs' org-mode.  (and I highly
recommend it: anyone who groks xmonad will probably find Emacs a
pleasant environment).  In that universe, you compose in a plain-text
format, and then direct an 'export' process.

On export, Emacs translates your 'org-mode' document into a LaTeX one,
then makes PDF out of it, and optionally displays it.  If you're doing
this with evince as the display engine, you get the result of the
document view updating, but no new window.

I frequently have my Evince on a screen adjacent to the Emacs, so each
has plenty of space.

So: with my focus on the Emacs, I [C-c C-e d] (control-c, control-e,
d) and watch the export process go.  Evince updates with the view of
the new document.

... And my focus is now oddly inconsistent.  The Emacs window still
has the red border by which xmonad attempts to communicate focus, and
if I do things like 'onNextNeighbour W.view' it becomes clear that
xmonad thinks my focus is there.  But my keystrokes are going to

If I had started a new client, which appeared on a currently displayed
desktop, I would expect that client to grab focus.  But I'm not
starting a new client, here; I'm sending a message to an existing one.

Or at least I think that's what I'm doing, it's possible I guess that
Evince is slaying the old process and starting anew, but I'd then
expect it to appear on the same workspace as the Emacs.

Does this ring any bells?

-Allen S Rout

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