Tabs vs. windows in default applications

Hi everyone. I’ve noticed that some frequently used default apps of Lubuntu, namely qpdfview and FeatherPad, open new files into new tabs and do not provide any handy way to separate those tabs into separate windows.

I find it important to be able to keep files visible on the screen side by side, usually to compare content or selectively copy text. So I find it annoying that those programs allow multiple window instances only via command line. And in qpdfview the logic of the switch (“–unique”) is surprising, which is not a good thing.

I do not know to what extent that tabs-only practice is an intentional choice of the Lubuntu community but I don’t remember encountering such problems in the LXDE-based Ubuntu I was using regularly before this current Qt-based Lubuntu 22.04.1 where I observed the described workings of qpdfview and FeatherPad.

To me, “windows only” is usually better than “tabs only”, and ability to switch flexibly between those two is probably the best.

Thank you for your sincere consideration of this feedback!

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I can’t give an authoritative response here, as I’m not using 22.04 currently, nor do I know which LXQt you’re using (ie. the older version it installs with, or new backport that is available).

I have a panel (using quicklaunch) on the left side of my screen, like Ubuntu Unity introduced with Ubuntu 11.04, where I’ve put my regularly used apps as quick to open icons; a picture of what it looked like back in June 2019 can be seen here; it’s on my lower screen & hides when the pointer isn’t hovering over it.

By right-clicking on the feathepad icon I’m offered a choice of

  • Featherpad (text editor)
  • New Window
  • Standalone window

The first option opens a new tab in my existing window (featherpad is almost always open in my normal usage), where as the other two options will open a new document in other windows.

If I use the “New Window” option, the second window is still running using the existing featherpad processes, where as if I select Standalone I’ll note another process running, ie.

guiverc@dc780:~$   ps -elf |grep feather
0 S guiverc   127869  118150  0  80   0 - 201596 do_sys 08:22 ?       00:00:02 /usr/bin/featherpad
0 S guiverc   146117  118150 13  80   0 - 163612 do_sys 10:37 ?       00:00:00 /usr/bin/featherpad --standalone
0 S guiverc   146123  123419  0  80   0 -  1584 pipe_r 10:37 pts/0    00:00:00 grep feather

All of this is using the default LXQt from upstream, but I’ve not currently got the time to boot a 22.04 system and see if it’s available using the standard (older) LXQt that came with 22.04, nor the newer LXQt that’s available in backports; however I’d hope it would available using the backports version of LXQt. (My default systems runs the development release, what is currently lunar with a newer featherpad; so even if not available on 22.04 - what I describe will be on Lubuntu 23.04)

I am running 22.04, with LXQt 0.17. I’ve tested Featherpad (never used it before, I’m a vi-kinda guy). I found out that after opening a new tab (after the initial one), I can easily grab that tab with the mouse, and move it outside Featherpads framing (in a new window). Very neat.

Qpdfview does not offer this, but after opening a new tab, I can, by right-clicking that tab, “Open copy in new window”. Click on the ‘tab’, not on the content. Less neat, but very workable. Be aware that, depending your specific situation (window manager?) the new screen may be placed just over the existing one (annoying, but still workable). Don’t know how to change that behaviour.

No command line involved here (did not test –unique). Don’t know about other tabbing applications.


Thanks for your kind answers! Fritz’s hints worked in my system.

I was looking for something in the menus, so somehow I didn’t even find the functionality of dragging tabs out of the window in FeatherPad, even though I know that such functionality is common in web browsers…


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