I recently had the great pleasure of switching over to IntelliJ IDEA after years of using Eclipse. I’m using version 8.1, and people who have been using it longer tell me that 7.x was actually better…but I digress.

I like IntelliJ quite a bit, but at first had some operational issues. Frequently, modal dialog boxes would appear without any of their controls - just blank, gray boxes. A bit of googling turned up a fix for what is apparently a Java bug, not an IntelliJ bug - just set a system variable: AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit This tells java to use the “legacy” Motif/Xt AWT implementation instead of the new (as of J2SE 5.0) XToolkit

This does fix the modal dialog box problem, however, be warned - if you’re using the Compiz compositing window manager, it causes a worse problem than it solves. It causes keyboard focus to be lost frequently. So, you’ll have mouse focus in an editor window, but you won’t be able to type anything - keyboard focus is in some other window.

The only way that I found to get everything to work is to turn off Compiz, by (in Ubuntu with Gnome) going to the System–>Preferences–>Appearance menu, and then selecting “None” from the “Visual Effects” tab. You could, of course, switch to another window manager instead.

Note that even if you turn off visual effects, AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit still causes the keyboard focus problem - you have to remove that too, if you’ve set it.

Rumor has it that this is fixed in jdk 6u12 - but the latest version in the Intrepid repositories is apparently 11.0-b15. When I get a chance, I’ll have to download the binary from Sun and give it a try.