2009-10-09 Resizing Too Large Windows In X11 on Mac OS 10.4

I have a lousy old monitor with a 1024×768 resolution and I’m using Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger). When I installed the new Gimp, the Toolbox window was too tall. On a Mac, you can only resize windows by dragging their lower right corner. Unfortunately, the lower edge is not visible if the window is too tall.

I tried using Quartz Debug (DeveloperApplications/Performance Tools/Quartz Debug.app) to switch the User Interface Resolution to values smaller than 1.00; the result is that any new applications you start have their user interface scaled appropriately. But although the X11.app user interface is scaled, the windows of the applications running within it are not! That’s why any suggestions involving monkeying around with these settings such as defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 0.8 for a global temporary solution or defaults write com.apple.SystemPreferences AppleDisplayScaleFactor .75 for a permanent per-application default and their ilk will not work.

I then compiled and installed wmctrl to change the window size from the command line. But it doesn’t support the Apple window manager, quartz-wmwmctrl -l will print the help text instead of a window list.

What I ended up doing was compiling and installing the simplest window manager I know, Blackbox.

In your ~.xinitrc:

/usr/local/bin/bsetroot -solid midnightblue
exec /usr/local/bin/blackbox

You must specify the full path to the binaries. That confused me for a while!

Once you’re in Blackbox, create a new xterm window, and use wmctrl -r Toolbox -e 0,20,20,300,500 to resize the window. You can get the names using wmctrl -l.

You can use ⌘N to create a new xterm window. If you’re using X11.app and the default window-manager (replace blackbox with quartz-wm in your .xinitrc file), you can change these keybindings. Or just use ⌘click on the background to call the Blackbox menu.

To edit the Blackbox menu, I suggest you just sudo chown <yournamehere> /usr/local/share/blackbox/menu and edit the file directly, commenting out all the applications you won’t be using.

If you’re using X11.app and the default window-manager (replace blackbox with quartz-wm in your .xinitrc file), you can change the X11 default such that it always starts in full-screen mode, ie. it has a root window. Remember to use ⎇⌘A to switch away from X11. The bgetroot command im my .xinitrc just makes sure I’m not getting the terrible default black & white X11 background.

Good luck. :)

Possible pitfalls:

  1. Perhaps you need to configure and make within X11? I don’t know wether it works outside of X11.
  2. You will need the glib-2.0 library somewhere, if I remember correctly. If compiling it gives you problems, check out my notes for Mac OS 10.3.



Urmm... I hesitate to comment because honestly I’m nowhere close to understanding what this article even means, but fwiw I solved this problem in Ubuntu in single-window mode by holding alt while clicking inside the image window, which allowed me to drag it up and see the bottom. It still wouldn’t let me re-size upward because the toolbox was so tall, so I widened the toolbox until it was two columns, then I could drag the bottom of window upward.

– C 2013-01-16 22:47 UTC

Not sure about 10.4, and I think your solution will work for everything (using a WM to work the window magic), but I stumbled into this with GIMP as well, and I found a simpler hack - just removing the sessionrc file for gimp caused the window to go back to its defaults, which was then small enough that I could grab the resizer in the bottom right. Command: “rm ~LibraryApplication\ Support/GIMP/2.8/sessionrc”.

– Guy 2015-03-22 21:19 UTC


– Alex Schroeder 2015-03-22 21:35 UTC

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Note: in order to facilitate peer review and fight vandalism, we will store your IP number for a number of days. See Privacy Policy for more information. See Info for text formatting rules. You can edit the comment page if you need to fix typos. You can subscribe to new comments by email without leaving a comment.

To save this page you must answer this question:

Please say HELLO.