banish the mouse cursor when typing, show it again when the mouse moves
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xbanish hides the mouse cursor when you start typing, and shows it again when the mouse cursor moves or a mouse button is pressed. This is similar to xterm's pointerMode setting, but xbanish works globally in the X11 session.

unclutter's -keystroke mode is supposed to do this, but it's broken. I looked into fixing it, but the unclutter source code is terrible, so I wrote xbanish.

The name comes from ratpoison's "banish" command that sends the cursor to the corner of the screen.


If the XInput extension is supported, xbanish uses it to request input from all attached keyboards and mice. If XInput 2.2 is supported, raw mouse movement and button press inputs are requested which helps detect cursor movement while in certain applications such as Chromium.

If Xinput is not available, xbanish recurses through the list of windows starting at the root, and calls XSelectInput() on each window to receive notification of mouse motion, button presses, and key presses.

In response to any available keyboard input events, the cursor is hidden. On mouse movement or button events, the cursor is shown.

xbanish initially hid the cursor by calling XGrabPointer() with a blank cursor image, similar to unclutter's -grab mode, but this had problematic interactions with certain X applications. For example, xlock could not grab the pointer and sometimes didn't lock, xwininfo wouldn't work at all, Firefox would quickly hide the Awesome Bar dropdown as soon as a key was pressed, and xterm required two middle-clicks to paste the clipboard contents.

To avoid these problems and simplify the implementation, xbanish now uses the modern Xfixes extension to easily hide and show the cursor with XFixesHideCursor() and XFixesShowCursor().