I have a netbook with a small screen in widescreen format (1024x600), which means that a lot of programs whose designers didn't imagine such a thing open windows that can't be resized and whose bottoms are obscured. Through Ubuntu 10.04, I took care of it with an xrandr command:
xrandr --output LVDS1 --fb 1024x768 --panning 0x768
(note the 0x) which had the effect of giving me a normal-sized virtual desktop that panned vertically, but which (somehow) the window manager ignored, so maximized windows only occupied the physical screen. The result was that I didn't have to pan unless a large dialog box popped up: nice.
In 11.04, this doesn't quite work. Everything I said above is true, but the bottom 168 pixels seem permanently blackened, so that if a large window extends down there I can't see what's in it (however, it is there: the resize handles appear, and are useful on those occasions that resizing is allowed). I imagine this is Unity-related. That defeats the purpose, so I'm trying this xrandr command:
xrandr --output LVDS1 --fb 1024x768 --panning 1024x768
(note the 1024x). Alas, it does not trick the window manager anymore, and maximized windows all go off the bottom. Question:
How do I set things up so that a "maximized" window takes up only the physical screen (or more generally, takes up a particular piece of screen)?
A related question I'd be happy to have answered instead is:
Why does the first xrandr command fool the window manager (the "0x" means, according to the man page, that panning along the horizontal axis is disabled; functionally, this is meaningless since the virtual size is the same as the physical size)? What goes wrong with Unity?
Note that the "maximize" action is necessary, since in Unity, a maximized window is styled differently: its titlebar is absorbed into the toolbar at the top of the screen, saving valuable pixels for me. Simply resizing a window is not a good alternative.
I found this question: I'd like to prevent maximize from covering one third of the screen. I was very disappointed when Compiz Maximumize appeared to do nothing at all (there's a Launchpad bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/compiz-fusion-plugins-extra/+bug/462158).
I also found the same question on superuser: https://superuser.com/questions/269966/id-like-to-prevent-maximize-from-covering-one-third-of-the-screen, which offers two alternatives. The Compiz Grid plugin doesn't help because it doesn't maximize, as I described above. I have not tried the Python window organizer, but it looks similar to Grid. In general I don't expect that clever scripts will help, because the meaning of "maximize" is controlled by the window manager itself, and so the solution should be a Compiz solution. Is there one?