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There's a preference for this, that you are missing MacWright. Go to Preferences (command K) and choose Interface. See it?
The Auto-collapse behavior that you are finding frustrating, most people turn off.
There should probably be a preference to set the new Adjustments Panel (in itspanels options) to behave differently than the others. Maybe THIS should be your feature request. Along with the option to annihilate the Adjustments panel completely and bring back the flexible and more usable modal dialogs.
yup I see it, that's wasn't the purpose of the comment.
>auto collapse iconic panels should not close when using the panel, for example when using the Hue/Saturation panel, if you try to use the eyedropper it closes the panel.
I don't mind the auto collapse iconic panels because it gets me a little closer to the (in my opinion) interface of the adjustment curves in CS3.
The problem that I tried to define ( I may not have done a good job though) was that while using an adjustment layer and the Auto-collapse is enabled it shouldn't collapse. The concept behind Auto-collapse is to keep it expanded and then collapse when you are done, it's close but in the case where you are attempting to sample the image as in HS/ Curves, Levels etc. it will close even though you are using the eyedropper from within the adjustment panel. It makes the Auto-collapse feature unusable and it's a shame because it's not a bad workaround for the new and not so good, interface that CS4 has adopted.
So to your final point, if this feature was fixed it, you would call the adjustment layer from the layers panel as in CS3, mess around with the adjustment layer and click on a new different layer to dismiss the adjustment window, not too different from CS3..... except for my initial feature request to keep it open until I'm done using the layer.
It may be best to try it to see the problem, turn on Auto-collapse, create a new adjustment Hue Saturation layer, choose a single channel, then click on one of the eye-droppers within the HS layer... everything thing is going well, now click on the image to sample.... oops, the window closes.... this is what needs to be fixed.
If it stayed open this feature would be OK.