idle detection

Ethan Blanton elb at
Thu Jul 26 10:30:37 EDT 2007

Sean Egan spake unto us the following wisdom:
> It seems like perhaps the best thing to do is to make the IDLEMARK
> constant, currently set to 10 minutes, use the value set in that
> preference instead, and poll that frequently when not idle.

We can do even better than this; when we are not idle, any time we do
something which causes us to *realize* we are not idle (e.g., the
"Pidgin usage" idle callbacks are called), push the timer back for the
entire idle preference period; if that timer expires, and we are not
yet "idle enough", set the timer for the idle preference period minus
our current idle time.

> When we are idle, we should poll very frequently (once a second,
> even?) to make sure we come back as soon as possible.

This is ... distasteful to me, but I really don't know what else to do
about it.  This is precisely when we want to be saving the most power.
Can we get buy-in from any desktop environments or screen saver
applications via d-bus or anything?  I realize that X11 itself has no
real solution for this just yet.  What are the screensavers doing
these days?  Do they rely on display capture?


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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