DIY: Get 'focus follows mouse' functionality in GNOME 3

If you've been missing the "focus follows mouse" functionality in GNOME 3, Jack Wallen tells you what command line tool to use to add it.

It's funny what users become accustomed to on a desktop -- what's even funnier is how reluctant they are to give up features or functions. Take for instance this question I've been getting hit with from all sides about returning "focus follows mouse" to GNOME.

Q: GNOME 3 has no means to configure window behavior to follow the mouse. I don't like to have to click to give a window focus. Is there a way to get this back? A: Yes! Although you won't find a handy GUI tool to help you with this, you can get that functionality back with just a few commands, thanks to gconftool-2. With this command line tool, you can get both 'focus follows mouse' and autoraise functionality in GNOME 3. Here are the commands to use:

gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode mouse

gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /apps/metacity/general/auto_raise true

gconftool-2 --type string --set /apps/metacity/general/auto_raise_delay 600

Each command should be issued in a terminal window. The effects will be instant, so you can test them right away. You can change the auto_raise_delay setting to suit your needs. The setting is in milliseconds.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)