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Now I realize this involves moving parts from 3 different companies who never intended to be soul mates and rock the bug-free verse as a super hero trio nirvana of goodness, love, and light.

Wine has settings for us to muck around with. Most notably - which windows drivers it loads, and 4 settings in the Graphics Tab (winecfg):

  • automatically capture the mouse in full-screen windows
  • allow the window manager to decorate the windows
  • allow the window manager to control the windows
  • emulate a virtual desktop

So first let me document what settings currently appear to be stable/working, at least with a cursory test:

ElementaryOS 5.1.7, last updates were yesterday (it's Sun Aug 16 2020 1:54pm PST)

Scrivener windows 7

  • OFF automatically capture the mouse in full-screen windows
  • OFF allow the window manager to decorate the windows
  • ON allow the window manager to control the windows
  • OFF emulate a virtual desktop

Excel 2000 windows 7

  • OFF automatically capture the mouse in full-screen windows
  • ON allow the window manager to decorate the windows
  • ON allow the window manager to control the windows
  • OFF emulate a virtual desktop

For Scrivener

  • allow the window manager to decorate the windows

appears to be the culprit in the black screen of death problems.

black screen of death:: the menu bar is visible, the rest of the window is a lovely black square as though the entire universe had been redacted. It won't close or respond, but eventually a "wait / quit" message might appear to get you out of black hole jail.

black screen of death:: other times the program loads but attempts to bring up a dialogBox blacks out the dialogBox and seizes up the Scrivener window

Whereas

  • OFF allow the window manager to control the windows

appears to be the culprit for the "Scrivener refuses to let any other application or multitasking-view take center stage". It becomes the ultimate attention whore. I just checked Excel and it acts the same. Given the title of the checkbox, I'm going to assume that's expected behavior and simply a poorly labeled control not truly conveying the real-world consequences.

The biggest nightmare with this setting is when a wine applications goes into lalaland. You can't bring anything to the fore to attempt to fix it. It's hard reboot time.

Lesson: don't uncheck this box unless you're insanely desperate and literally no other configuration on the face of the planet has worked


Scrivener and Black Screens Of Death

The internet has suggested using windows XP. (I asked the internet after a series of hunt&peck attempts wasn't getting me a working universe.)

Scrivener Windows XP

  • allow the window manager to decorate the windows

In the current version of Elementary OS this paring = black screen of death when attempting to open Scrivener.

In the before time (before yesterday's daily update), as far as I can recall, this paring was:

  • loading scrivener
  • black screen of death'ing scrivener dialogBoxes.

But take that with a grain of salt. Nothing was documented and memory is but a blur of "it's still not working, grrr".

Please note I am new to ElementaryOS and this trifecta has yet to be stable for very long. Though I did actually get some prose accomplished here and there before things would go sideways.

Also, I come from the land of U-bun-to from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow, and though far from perfect, the Wine/Scrivener/Ubuntu trifecta was largely functional and stable.

When things did go sideways, their process explorer was a quick "kill process" click away. (ElementaryOS Monitor wasn't letting me in on what was Scrivener or Wine or a Wine Thread Thingy and I found myself diving into the guts of linux terminals to figure out how to kill the process.)


So I originally came here to tell you about this because:

It was sort of working enough for me to type up some prose for a while. And then the only thing I did was walk away for a few hours, return, respond to the App Center "please update me!", and then Scrivener stopped responding and a reload black screen of death'd me.

So if there was an ElementaryOS update that may affect how it "decorates a window" (whatever on earth that might mean), it's possible it created an adverse effect on certain WINE applications running under certain windows versions.

I know, not necessarily an ElementaryOS DevTeam problem, but if such things affect more than just the one WINE application, there may be other users suddenly experiencing ill effects who might pipe up about it.


I am mostly just documenting this so if I ever need my own hints they are documented here.

Scrivener isn't exactly a vastly used application across linux boxes everywhere, but if I can leave breadcrumbs for a fellow traveler and help them out too, so be it.

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