I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it's really frustrating that years have gone by and I haven't gotten a single suggestion - not even one that didn't work, just literally nothing except recommendations for different DEs. I've already given up and installed Windows, but I keep a small partition around in case anyone ever gets back to me on this. I really want Cinnamon to be any good, because I hate Gnome3 and I hate KDE and I want something flashier than Xfce, but it's totally unusable on anything but a virtual machine/some old laptops I used to have. This is 100% my final attempt to report this massive bug, so in case you didn't bother to follow either of those links, here's a copy/paste of the issue:
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* Cinnamon version - 3.8.9 (problem existed with earlier versions) * Distribution - Manjaro Cinnamon 18.0.0 (Arch), but was able to reproduce problem on Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.1, 18.2 and 18.3 (same GPU, but CPU and motherboard now different) * Graphics hardware *and* driver used - NVIDIA Corporation GM200 [GeForce GTX 980 Ti] (rev a1), was able to reproduce problem with both noveau and proprietary NVIDIA drivers * 32 or 64 bit - 64 bit * Attach /home/<username>/.xsession-errors, or /var/log/syslog - http://www.filedropper.com/xsession-errors
I apologize for the vague title, but as I hope to explain it's a vague problem.
I've tried to run Cinnamon several times and it's had this problem for years: window focus is broken on several levels, and appears to be somehow separate for mouse and keyboard.
With no windows open, everything functions normally, I can open the menu, click on launchers, etc.
After opening 1 window, my ability to interact with the taskbar in any way is gone. I can still press <SUPER> to open the menu, but typing after doing so will pass keyboard input to the window e.g. if I did it right now I'd be typing in this issue entry text box instead of the menu search, though the menu would remain open until I hit <SUPER> again (<ESC> doesn't close it). Furthermore, while I'm free to use the mouse to click on things within the window, the titlebar is totally inaccessible. I can't drag or resize the window, nor close, minimize or maximize it using the top-right buttons.
Once a second window opens, it is completely untouchable with the mouse, neither the titlebar nor anything within the window can be interacted with via the mouse. I'm still able to switch "keyboard focus" to the window by using <ALT>+<TAB>, thus allowing me to type and attempt to navigate menus via <TAB>, but mostly it's unusable unless it's a terminal. Interestingly, even while the "keyboard focus" is on this second window, if I position it on top of the original window my clicks will go through it and interact with elements on the original window as though it weren't there. This doesn't bring the original window to the forefront.
If the second window is a "sub window" spawned by the application using the first window (e.g. a browser alert window), I can occasionally see interface elements flicker when I click them, almost as if a click was being "downgraded" to a hover. When this happens, my clicks do not propagate through the window and onto the parent window, but they still do absolutely nothing to the new window.
Steps to reproduce
I honestly don't know. Nobody in the forums has been able to reproduce, and this issue manifests not only in fresh installs but in the LiveCD environment, so it's not as if it's anything I've actually done. I'm convinced - for some reason I forget from long ago - that it has something to do with my monitors. One is a 4k monitor, and the other is a 1080p TV. They work fine in Windows and have operated pretty well in Gnome3 (though it also experiences much, much smaller issues - plus I hate it), but I've always had problems with Cinnamon, which I've experienced working fine with single monitor set-ups.
I mean, I'd expect windows to be able to gain and lose both mouse and keyboard focus, and for the taskbar and titlebars of windows to both work.