Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th May 2010 18:39 UTC, submitted by hotice
Gnome The problem with just about every virtual desktop implementation is just that - they're virtual. This means that beyond the ability to move windows to specific desktops, you're still looking at exactly the same desktop, no matter what virtual desktop number you switched to. A mockup for GNOME Shell is trying to take the virtual out of virtual desktop.
Order by: Score:
Interesting
by Tuishimi on Thu 13th May 2010 18:53 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

It would take a little getting used to, but it could be a good thing. How is the immediate switching done? Did I miss that in the little slideshow?

Reply Score: 2

v Slightly different than...
by tupp on Thu 13th May 2010 19:00 UTC
Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Thu 13th May 2010 19:04 UTC
mtzmtulivu
Member since:
2006-11-14


[..] why is it so incredibly hard (if not impossible) to set a different wallpaper for each virtual desktop? Why can't I have different files, folder, and mounted disks on each desktop? I'm specifically addressing GNOME here, since that's what the mockup is about - I'm sure KDE4 can do these things already (right?).


right, kde4 has "activities".

Each virtual desktop can be set to have its own completely independent activity or all virtual desktops can be set to use the same activity.

When the desktop is set to have different activities on each desktop, each virtual desktop will have its own wallpaper, its own icons, display contents of its own folder etc.

"traditional desktop" can be achieved in kde4 by setting one activity to show up on all virtual desktops and have the activity set to folder view

"kde4 desktop" can be set by setting each virtual desktop to have its own activity and to have many activities set to "desktop activity".

I cant wait to see who will match and exceed kde4 in what they have done.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Kalessin on Thu 13th May 2010 19:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Kalessin Member since:
2007-01-18

Wow. I had no clue you could do that. You could have a different wallpaper on each desktop in KDE 3, but I had no clue that you could do that in KDE 4. I knew nothing about "activities," and I thought that they just hadn't gotten around to implementing it yet in KDE 4. I'll obviously have to look into this further.

Of course, as awesome as KDE is, it's usually so awesome that you don't have a clue about a large portion of what's there and what it can do. There are probably dozens of great shortcuts that I haven't stumbled on yet, let alone full-blown features that I don't have a clue exists.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by mtzmtulivu on Thu 13th May 2010 19:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14

activities are a central part of kde4 desktop and an understanding of how they work is critical if you want to fully use kde4.

Activities have an all or nothing approach. You can set your desktop to only have one activity in all virtual desktop and all your virtual desktop will be identical(because they will all look at the same activity) or you can set your desktop to have different activity for each desktop and all virtual desktops will be completely independent of one another and they wont be able share a wallpaper or icons or anything on the desktop.

kde4 currently ship with two activities,folder view and desktop.

Folder view activity gives the "traditional desktop", the kind of desktop you see in kde3 or windows. It is basically gives a dumb virtual desktop that shows the contents of ~/Desktop folder

Edited 2010-05-13 19:49 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by tyrione on Thu 13th May 2010 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

activities are a central part of kde4 desktop and an understanding of how they work is critical if you want to fully use kde4.

Activities have an all or nothing approach. You can set your desktop to only have one activity in all virtual desktop and all your virtual desktop will be identical(because they will all look at the same activity) or you can set your desktop to have different activity for each desktop and all virtual desktops will be completely independent of one another and they wont be able share a wallpaper or icons or anything on the desktop.

kde4 currently ship with two activities,folder view and desktop.

Folder view activity gives the "traditional desktop", the kind of desktop you see in kde3 or windows. It is basically gives a dumb virtual desktop that shows the contents of ~/Desktop folder


Great, but each virtual desktop isn't independent. I can't set VD1 to be a Folder, VD2 to be a default Desktop, so on and so forth.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by phoenix on Thu 13th May 2010 21:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Great, but each virtual desktop isn't independent. I can't set VD1 to be a Folder, VD2 to be a default Desktop, so on and so forth.


VD1: Put one folder view widget on the desktop, stretch it to fit the whole screen, point it at ~/Desktop. Done.

VD2: Put a bunch of folder view widgets onscreen, pointing at different folders. Done.

VD3: Put a bunch of widgets onscreen. Done.

How is that hard?

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by ssokolow on Thu 13th May 2010 21:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

You can as long as you're in a recent KDE 4 release. (4.2 or higher, if I remember correctly)

In 4.2, you have to manually edit a config file because the UI wasn't ready by the string freeze, but in 4.3 and above, there's a "Different activity for each desktop" checkbox under SystemSettings --> Desktop --> Multiple Desktops.

For that matter, you can also use a separate activity for the MacOS-style dashboard via the dropdown box in SystemSettings --> Desktop --> Workspace.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by Morty on Thu 13th May 2010 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

Folder view activity gives the "traditional desktop", the kind of desktop you see in kde3 or windows. It is basically gives a dumb virtual desktop that shows the contents of ~/Desktop folder

And of course it's KDE so you do not need it to be simply a dumb desktop. As the folder view have access to and can use all the regular kio-slaves. You can have a virtual desktop showing remote files, with ftp:// or one of the other remote slaves. Or perhaps one containing files based on a metadata search with neopomuk://.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by WereCatf on Thu 13th May 2010 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Of course, as awesome as KDE is, it's usually so awesome that you don't have a clue about a large portion of what's there and what it can do. There are probably dozens of great shortcuts that I haven't stumbled on yet, let alone full-blown features that I don't have a clue exists.

Indeed. I still try KDE4 almost every month just plain because I don't like giving up easily, I love all the smooth animations and such, but I always end up going back to GNOME because everything is so unintuitive :/

Oh well, I don't want to transform this into a KDE4 vs GNOME fight here, everyone has their own tastes and opinions.

As for the article in question: I tried GNOME-Shell out earlier today and it sure manages to make using virtual desktops a lot easier and actually approachable even by newcomers, and this mockup is quite a good idea in that it transforms into much more than just a shell for selecting the current virtual desktop. Though, I still personally most likely won't be using them, I've never liked virtual desktops ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mtzmtulivu
by panzi on Thu 13th May 2010 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mtzmtulivu"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

The awesome thing about KDE is that you can see (and change) all standard shortcuts (like ctrl+c, ctrl+v, ...) and all global shortcuts at one place in the control center (under keyboard & mouse).

Reply Score: 3

BeOS all over again?
by jefro on Thu 13th May 2010 19:47 UTC
jefro
Member since:
2007-04-13

Kind of like what BeOS tried to do isn't it?

Reply Score: 1

RE: BeOS all over again?
by tupp on Thu 13th May 2010 20:06 UTC in reply to "BeOS all over again?"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Virtual desktops existed long before BeOS. They first appeared in the mid-1980s.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: BeOS all over again?
by The123king on Fri 14th May 2010 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE: BeOS all over again?"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

Yeh, but BeOS didn't just have virtual desktops. Each desktop (Workspaces in BeOS/Haiku) can have it's own wallpapaper and even screen bit depth/resolution settings. I'm not even too sure if it can have seperate icons on each Workspace.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by senicar
by senicar on Thu 13th May 2010 19:49 UTC
senicar
Member since:
2008-02-27

I like the idea, but having folders for every virtual desktop just doesn't seem right. The last thing I would want is have 8 (or 32 for that matter) desktop folders.

I think it would be better if the files are separated by their meta-data. You just add workspace=1 to the meta-data and that's it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by senicar
by darknexus on Thu 13th May 2010 20:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by senicar"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I think it would be better if the files are separated by their meta-data. You just add workspace=1 to the meta-data and that's it.


Nice idea, but wouldn't that require a fully metadata-capable filesystem to do correctly? Otherwise, you'd end up with dot files like those OS X generates and wouldn't that just be wonderful.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by senicar
by WereCatf on Thu 13th May 2010 20:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by senicar"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Nice idea, but wouldn't that require a fully metadata-capable filesystem to do correctly? Otherwise, you'd end up with dot files like those OS X generates and wouldn't that just be wonderful.

Extended attributes allow you to add metadata to files and nowadays almost all filesystems support those. Though, I don't know how efficient they are. And it might be better if the filesystem itself had support for easily searching and browsing metadata information, much like f.ex. BeFS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by senicar
by senicar on Thu 13th May 2010 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by senicar"
senicar Member since:
2008-02-27

Nice idea, but wouldn't that require a fully metadata-capable filesystem to do correctly? Otherwise, you'd end up with dot files like those OS X generates and wouldn't that just be wonderful.


As far as I know GNOME Activity Journal (formerly GNOME Zeitgeist) will look/search in files metadata, why not use it for this as well. Though I don't know if they use dot files. Let's hope not ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by senicar
by superstoned on Fri 14th May 2010 12:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by senicar"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

Basically, both the desktop and the apps should know what activity is on. THey should respond by showing the appropriate files, settings, background, etcetera.

This is what activities are supposed to be in KDE (basically this is the vision we laid out 3 years ago) and Nepomuk is being adapted to provide ontologies for it. So Gnome could easily follow that approach and have KDE and Gnome apps integrate in Gnome Shell and Plasma Desktop in the same way.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by senicar
by mgl.branco on Fri 14th May 2010 13:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by senicar"
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

This is what activities are supposed to be in KDE (basically this is the vision we laid out 3 years ago) and Nepomuk is being adapted to provide ontologies for it.

Yeah. I thought we were progressing towards content semantic desktops and not, like this proposal, sticking file based desktops. It makes no sense to me having multiple Desktop folders: I use no Desktop folder or use it as a download, rubbish bin folder. I think most people does the same and that it make sense no more: semantic desktops are the way to go, IMHO.

Reply Score: 1

v Comment by hotice
by hotice on Thu 13th May 2010 20:19 UTC
RE: Comment by hotice
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 13th May 2010 20:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by hotice"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Not nice what the communist editors did with my post here. This is my latest submission to Osnews (too bad I can't delete it).


?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by hotice
by panzi on Thu 13th May 2010 20:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by hotice"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

Americans use that word (communist) a lot. I don't think it means what they think it means.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by hotice
by helf on Fri 14th May 2010 01:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by hotice"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

Thanks for assuming the guy is an American.


*rolls eyes*

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by hotice
by superstoned on Fri 14th May 2010 12:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by hotice"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

Well, I frankly ONLY see americans (mostly the stupid ones) use the word 'communist' in the way the parent did. Same with socialist, Americans have no idea what it is about other than that it's bad and unamerican...

I mean, they call Obama an socialist and a communist. Well, in the EU, Obama would be a hardcore rightwing idiot and be treated like that.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by hotice
by helf on Fri 14th May 2010 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by hotice"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

Fair enough ;) The rampant ignorance *does* get on my nerves.

And I heartily agree with the Obama sentiment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by hotice
by mgl.branco on Fri 14th May 2010 13:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by hotice"
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

Same with socialist, Americans have no idea what it is about other than that it's bad and unamerican...

I think they are unaware of the historical context that lead to those social movements. In essence are unionist movements: workers movements asking for a fairer society.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by hotice
by Symgeosis on Fri 14th May 2010 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by hotice"
Symgeosis Member since:
2005-09-13

"Americans" is such a horrible, inaccurate generalization. I'm American and I (and many other people I know) actually are educated in social, political, and economic theory and understand what exactly socialism and communism are (and aren't). Lets stop assuming Americans are dumb.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by hotice
by phoenix on Fri 14th May 2010 16:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by hotice"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Can we at least point and laugh at the typos and grammar issues in your post, if we can't call all Americans "dumb"? ;) Pretty please? ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by hotice
by mgl.branco on Fri 14th May 2010 17:27 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by hotice"
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

I'm not personally assuming Americans are dumb or something similar. What I mean is that they haven't lived socialism or communism in the first person as we Europeans did and don't understand the core values of the movement. I think American society, as a whole, have put onto those word connotations that are not real because of that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by hotice
by superstoned on Sat 15th May 2010 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by hotice"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

I doubt there are many (if any) 'dumb' americans on this forum. The FOSS crowd is generally above average in terms of intelligence.

I also doubt americans are any more or less stupid, on average, than europeans. However, as is said by someone else here, there is certainly a big gap between how Europeans and Americans perceive socialism and communism. Americans have been scared by news and government propaganda of socialism and communism - while the words itself already convey they are about being social and caring about community... The words simply convey a much more negative meaning in the US than in Europe. In itself that's not stupid, but I do think the view US citizens have of communism and socialsm is much further from the truth than the EU ideas about it. Moreover, they underestimate how the bad side of esp communism has already infiltrated their country and is actually being pushed by their own government (talking about the many restrictions on individual freedom).

Reply Score: 2

The Golem pager
by tupp on Thu 13th May 2010 20:22 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

I always thoroughly disliked the concept of virtual desktops. I found them far too virtual to keep track of them - that is, until the Compiz developers came up with the simply brilliant idea of wrapping them around a cube

About eight years ago, the Golem window manager had a pager trick that was the best GUI animation in regards to usability, that I have ever encountered. This animation was very simple, yet very effective in orienting oneself within the virtual desktops.

If one clicked on another workspace, the screen would swoop through all of the desktops in between, on it's way to the "clicked" workspace. Very "spatial," and it really made virtual desktops "work."

Amazingly, Golem was tinier than most tiling WMs, but it was almost as configurable as Enlightenment, and it featured this pager animation trick (and had several others in the works). I think that the only library that it used was Xlib.

Reply Score: 4

RE: The Golem pager
by sorpigal on Fri 14th May 2010 13:37 UTC in reply to "The Golem pager"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Funny, Enlightenment DR16 had this way back in 2000. I always turned it off because it's terribly annoying, but if you like that sort of thing you can still install E16 and turn it on.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by yoshi314@gmail.com
by yoshi314@gmail.com on Thu 13th May 2010 20:33 UTC
yoshi314@gmail.com
Member since:
2009-12-14

the obvious solutions are most difficult to come up with.

i think it might actually work nicely. assuming you would be able to e.g merge back two desktops in non-painful way or easily clone one into two with little overhead

Edited 2010-05-13 20:33 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by yoshi314@gmail.com
by panzi on Thu 13th May 2010 20:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by yoshi314@gmail.com"
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

Are they so difficult? The way desktops work where like I assumed they work when I first was introduced to virtual desktops in 1998/1999 on KDE 1 (I think it was KDE 1). It caused me some confusion until I've understood how they really work(ed).

Reply Score: 3

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Are they so difficult? The way desktops work where like I assumed they work when I first was introduced to virtual desktops in 1998/1999 on KDE 1 (I think it was KDE 1). It caused me some confusion until I've understood how they really work(ed).


The idea of virtual desktops isn't difficult, but can be hard for some people to visualise. They might be drawn side-by-side in a pager,but when you switch desktops, everything just vanishes, replaced by something else - there's no sense that you're moving somewhere.

Providing a visual transition makes them a lot easier to grasp - things like the Compiz cube, or having one desktop slide of the edge of the monitor.

Reply Score: 3

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

There *is* a visual transition: The highlighted rectangle on your Pager changes.

Reply Score: 2

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

There *is* a visual transition: The highlighted rectangle on your Pager changes.


But it's not slow enough. :-)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Thu 13th May 2010 20:56 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

Considering I have zero stuff on my desktop folder I don't think I would find this that useful, but I guess it's cool for those who do.

And I agree with the comment about the compiz cube. I already liked working with virtual desktops before that, but since I got used to it I can't go back.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ichi
by Beachchairs on Thu 13th May 2010 21:48 UTC in reply to "Comment by ichi"
Beachchairs Member since:
2009-04-10

I agree, icons on my desktop drive me up the wall.

What I would really like is if each virtual desktop could have different widget layouts. Can Activities do that?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by ichi
by phoenix on Thu 13th May 2010 21:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ichi"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I agree, icons on my desktop drive me up the wall.

What I would really like is if each virtual desktop could have different widget layouts. Can Activities do that?


Yes. That's the whole point. ;)

Reply Score: 3

Comment by phoenix
by phoenix on Thu 13th May 2010 21:20 UTC
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

A mockup for GNOME shell tries to address these things by introducing the concept of multiple ~/Desktop folders. "Nowadays we have only one Desktop folder by user, that is located in /home/you/Desktop. This folder is displayed fullscreen on every workspace, and we can keep an eye on the docs on which we work the most. Unfortunately, this Desktop is single," the mockup's description reads, "So we suggest here to raise up the count of Desktop folders, and use the Gnome-Shell interface to handle them easily."


Wow! What a horrible way to do things. Instead of forcing the filesystem to fit the window manager, why not add the ability to point the "view" at any folder?

You know, like the KDE4 "folder view" widget.

Everyone complained so much about that new feature in KDE4 ... and here they are trying to re-create that feature in the most god-awful way possible.

NIH or what?

Edited 2010-05-13 21:21 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by phoenix
by WereCatf on Thu 13th May 2010 21:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by phoenix"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Wow! What a horrible way to do things. Instead of forcing the filesystem to fit the window manager, why not add the ability to point the "view" at any folder?

You're missing the point: the KDE4 approach is all manual and not that easily accessible to complete newbies. The GNOME approach is all automated and as such much more beneficial to a larger audience. Of course they could add the ability of pointing the desktop to one or another folder manually, but it'd still have to automatically create and manage those folders for those desktops which do not have a manually set destination.

"and here they are trying to re-create that feature in the most god-awful way possible."

That's your opinion. I actually see it as they taking the KDE4 idea and improving it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by phoenix
by phoenix on Thu 13th May 2010 21:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by phoenix"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

"Wow! What a horrible way to do things. Instead of forcing the filesystem to fit the window manager, why not add the ability to point the "view" at any folder?

You're missing the point: the KDE4 approach is all manual and not that easily accessible to complete newbies.


How is it not easily accessible? It's a folder view, as in "see the contents of a folder". By default, there's one folder view that shows the contents of the ~/Desktop folder, just like the default desktop everywhere. Want something different? It's a click away.

I have a desktop displaying 4 different folder views. How does one do that in GNOME?

I can setup 4 virtual desktops, each showing a different folder, without being locked into some horrible ~/Desktop1 ~/Desktop2 mess (or ~/Desktop/Work ~/Desktop/Whatever mess).

Forcing the filesystem to match a single window manager is just wrong. Period.

The GNOME approach is all automated and as such much more beneficial to a larger audience. Of course they could add the ability of pointing the desktop to one or another folder manually, but it'd still have to automatically create and manage those folders for those desktops which do not have a manually set destination.


Or, make it even simpler and make it configurable from the get-go.

[q]"and here they are trying to re-create that feature in the most god-awful way possible."


That's your opinion. I actually see it as they taking the KDE4 idea and improving it.
"

To each their own, but I still fail to see how forcing a user's filesystem hierarchy to fit a single WM is "improving" anything.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by phoenix
by Yagami on Thu 13th May 2010 22:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by phoenix"
Yagami Member since:
2006-07-15

wow ... i just wow !!!

kde's aseigo has been saying that for years and people burned him for it.

THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT of creating the folder view , and not making the default activity with the "desktop folder", but having the folder you wanted , or even more than one folder

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by phoenix
by mgl.branco on Fri 14th May 2010 13:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by phoenix"
mgl.branco Member since:
2009-07-22

Geniuses are usually ignored or criticized.

Reply Score: 2

Didn't know about Virtual Desktops"
by hibridmatthias on Thu 13th May 2010 21:26 UTC
hibridmatthias
Member since:
2007-04-11

I find this an interesting discussion.

As I learned computers through the supercomputer at college rather than through a PC then went to UNIX, I always found it funny that windows lacked it. In fact, that was the whole reason I personally adopted Linux, because I missed VDs so much (not venereal diseases)! Even though I wasnt a comp sci major, I still loved being able to flip between them, and felt castrated every time I went to a windows system...

Now the linux desktop really has something unique to it and can lead on rather than playing catch up: Increasing adoption of VDs! Given that most people just want a GUI and don't care about the power the could have, once people can get a solid grasp on and learn to appreciate their usefulness, I think they will get to like them, and this could help....

One step closer to an educated computing populace...ahhhh the dream is still alive....

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

windows doesnt have it built in, but you can easily bolt it on.

And not everyone needs "virtual desktops". Of limited use to someone that only surfs the web, does email, and IMs ;)

Reply Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

not everyone needs "virtual desktops"

I disagree. People don't know they need them. They're like tabbed browsing: until you use it you don't know what you're missing. Maybe tabs aren't right for all situations and all people, but like virtual desktops they're an essential tool everyone should have available.

Reply Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

I've tried them a few times, but never could figure out why it was any better than multiple monitors and a good taskbar/task manager. Maybe I'm not using them "right" or maybe I've never been shown how to use them "right".

Then again, I tend to work with maximised windows, and tabbed interfaces (Firefox, Chrome, Konsole, KRDC, Kate, etc).

Reply Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I do the same thing, which is why many workspaces is so good. I don't have any overlapping windows and I never drag windows around. Instead of ALT+TAB I click the pager. This also replaces clicking a task bar, which I don't have either (saves screen space). A task bar would be useless when you have dozens of open apps at a time, which I also do.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Actually, Windows XP and later have virtual desktops built-in. Sysinternals has a very nice little tool for using them.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881.aspx

Edited 2010-05-14 15:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

modded down? heh. truth hurts, eh?

Reply Score: 2

This sounds familiar
by WorknMan on Thu 13th May 2010 22:06 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Is this similar to the concept of having different home screens on Android phones?

Reply Score: 2

Create-switch-use-destroy
by PRaabjerg on Thu 13th May 2010 23:22 UTC
PRaabjerg
Member since:
2006-09-23

Interesting. I recall this being slightly confusing in Gnome, but haven't had that problem for a long time.

I have a slightly different approach to it. I'm using StumpWM, set up with my own nice set of keyboard controls.
The first thing to note here is that StumpWM doesn't have a desktop as such. No icons, no menubar, no taskbar, nothing. No space wasted on WM-fluff. This being a tiling WM, I always use the entire screen for something. Very often two tiles split down the middle.

StumpWM has a grouping concept that works much like workspaces or virtual desktops. When I start StumpWM, I just have one group. Then I have key controls to quickly create, switch between, and destroy groups of tiles/windows. Switching is not really confusing anymore because there are no fixed things on the screen, like icons, taskbar and such. So a switch always changes the entire screen, making it quite clear that I am now on a different group.

As a side note, changing to, and getting used to a keyboard controlled tiling WM was quite the revelation to me. It has allowed me to almost completely get the window manager out of my way, allowing me to get work done instead of constantly fiddling around with floating windows and other weird, useless features ;)

Reply Score: 2

love virtual desktops
by google_ninja on Fri 14th May 2010 02:43 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

I usually have 4. When I am working, I give one to evolution, two are for work stuff (typically one has a gvim instance and terminal for running tests only, the other has a few terminals and some browsers) The fourth is for personal stuff, tends to have a browser, maybe a chat window or two, or rhythmbox.

Reply Score: 3

GNOME
by vermaden on Fri 14th May 2010 05:02 UTC
vermaden
Member since:
2006-11-18

I generally use very minimalistic window manager (openbox) and a set of apps that I use and thats it, 4 virtual desktops, I know what will launch on what desktop, order generally.

I always liked GNOME about being 'interface stable', two taskbars, Application/System menus, things were generally the same no matter if You used oldschool RHEL4 or latest Fedora/Ubuntu snapshot, as opposite to KDE4 which 'start everything over' after KDE3.

I definitely do not like all that 'forced productivity' on GNOME Shell, I do not like the whole idea of it. It looks nice on mockups and screenshots, but when You would want to focus on the real things, You would think more about 'how am I even do something here, create some project to clean wallpapers, or just browse them and delete the ones I do not like', all this overhead about doing anything in GNOME Shell, now I hit a shortcut (ALT+F1/F2/F3/F4) and I am richt on my desktop to the work when I left it to (same in metacity@GNOME), but with GNOME Shell You have to 'switch mode to workspaces/projects view, then thinks what You wanted to do, then 'at last' You actually start to do somehting.

I only hope that this can be turned off and 'classic' GNOME layout will be also available.

Reply Score: 3

History repeats itself.
by axilmar on Fri 14th May 2010 10:16 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Now users want different UI screens? well, the Amiga had them 25 years ago. How ironic is that?

Reply Score: 2

RE: History repeats itself.
by siride on Fri 14th May 2010 15:26 UTC in reply to "History repeats itself."
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

Not ironic at all...

Reply Score: 2

Multiple vs Virtual
by sorpigal on Fri 14th May 2010 13:51 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

This article talks about virtual desktops but it clear that it really means multiple desktops. I see this confusion often.

Here's how I break it down:

If you have a space bigger than the screen that is logically divided into multiple screen sized sections, that's virtual desktops.

If you have multiple screen-sided areas that are not "physically" contiguous, that is multiple desktops.

Here's the simple test: Drag a window from workspace 1 until it is halfway off the right side of the screen. Switch to workspace 2. Does the window from workspace 1 stick halfway on to the screen?

If the answer is yes you have Virtual Desktops. If the answer is no you have Multiple Desktops.

It seems like most people use Multiple Desktops these days, but I can't stand them. Virtual Desktops are for me.

Now that we have that out of the way I can comment on the article. It's not a bad idea, but as others have pointed out KDE did it first and did it better. The only thing GNOME adds is a simple, discoverable and understandable UI for managing KDEs activities. This is a non-trivial task and not to be discounted, but don't pretend that this is an innovative idea.

We have got to get these kids together. This is a good place for a little fd.o sharing. Let's get GNOME to implement its nice UI and have it use the same back end as KDE uses, or one modified just enough for both systems to be satisfied. If that is done then this is all to the good.

Now me, personally, I don't like the notion of 'activities' at all. It doesn't mesh well with the way I use my computer most of the time. However, sometimes it would be a handy thing to have.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Multiple vs Virtual
by sorpigal on Fri 14th May 2010 13:55 UTC in reply to "Multiple vs Virtual"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I will just add one more thing.

It would be far more useful, to me, if this 'activities' concept included applications and not just files. I rarely work with the same files twice, but I often have a set of apps that I use for a purpose. Storing shortcuts to applications is only getting me halfway there. I want to launch the workspace and have my suite of apps--all on appropriate virtual desktops--launched for me. This is doable with sessions, I am sure, but it's an important point to keep in mind when working on this kind of thing. It's not all about files!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Multiple vs Virtual
by siride on Fri 14th May 2010 15:28 UTC in reply to "Multiple vs Virtual"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

The difference you describe is minimal, certainly not enough to merit two different terms and certainly not accepted by the community at large. Your disgust at "multiple desktops" is intriguing, given the minuscule difference between that and your definition of "virtual desktops". But OSNews has been known to be populated by zealots with interesting definitions and requirements, not derived from reality or logic.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Multiple vs Virtual
by sorpigal on Sat 15th May 2010 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Multiple vs Virtual"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

The described difference is just for identification and doesn't cover all actual differences. It's a vastly different implementation to get a similar effect. I don't have a 'disgust' for multiple desktops, they just don't work the way I work and therefore are not for me. To insult me as somehow unreasonable for wanting particular behavior out of my computer is not very reasonable or logical of you!

Any feature for which users fail to express an appreciation is in danger of being casually dropped or ignored in the future. I prefer working in a big workspace that's subdivided rather than a lot of tiny ones that don't connect and I don't want the distinction forgotten as we march forward.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Multiple vs Virtual
by siride on Sat 15th May 2010 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Multiple vs Virtual"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

But there really is no salient difference between your definitions, other than one specific feature (a way of moving windows between desktops, and not the only one in either system).

I'm not questioning your desire for that behavior, I'm questioning your terminology and categorization of technology. There is no difference between multiple and virtual desktops for all intents and purposes. What you really wanted to rant about was those implementations which lack a user-friendly way to move windows between the desktop(lets).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Multiple vs Virtual
by sorpigal on Sat 15th May 2010 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Multiple vs Virtual"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

There is no difference between multiple and virtual desktops for all intents and purposes.


Except that there is an important difference, so your premise is incorrect and your conclusion flawed.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Artopal
by Artopal on Fri 14th May 2010 13:54 UTC
Artopal
Member since:
2010-05-12

I for my part like to have 2 workspaces (virtual desktops) and expand them as needed, i.e. I'm constantly creating and deleting workspaces and lack the need of a fixed Ā«meaningĀ» for a workspace (i.e. one for communication, one for work, one for GIMP, etc.).

On the other hand, I like my files handled by the file manager in list view, not scattered on the desktop, so I never use the Desktop folder and find it to be a rather quirky metaphor.

Having different backgrounds and widgets for different workspaces would be nice; the backgrounds being just cosmetics. But for the workspaces to be a visual representation of and thus a way to interact directly with a very real folder with real contents is an annoying thought. I guess I like my desktops virtual. KDE4's folder views are a nice solution -- if you delete the view, you're not deleting the folder, aren't you?

Background: I've never used KDE, only read about it. I'm almost exclusively a GNOME user (Ubuntu) having tried Openbox (Crunchbang) and JWM (Puppy Linux), and Icewm and Fluxbox on occasions.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Artopal
by sorpigal on Fri 14th May 2010 13:59 UTC in reply to "Comment by Artopal"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I am like you and do not use "desktops" and do not have the (apparently common) "workspace named Mail, workspace named Work" scenario. What I have is 32 virtual desktops on which I keep a varying number of windows for varying purposes. Reorganizing my work is just a matter of dragging some windows around.

Before someone exclaims "OMG WTF 32?!" - I rarely use more than 7, and so far have never hit 32. That's the point: there's always an empty one when I need it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Artopal
by phoenix on Fri 14th May 2010 16:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by Artopal"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

KDE4's folder views are a nice solution -- if you delete the view, you're not deleting the folder, aren't you?


Correct, you just delete that viewport into the folder. The folder itself remains in the filesystem.

Reply Score: 2

Oh damn, here comes another change...
by Jason Bourne on Fri 14th May 2010 23:12 UTC
Jason Bourne
Member since:
2007-06-02

I am tired of these changes. The usability of these changes contributes too little for a pain of learning new stuff like this.

Take for example the KDE 4 series standard menu. I, for the love of God, am unable to understand how that menu is more useful over the old classic menu. You need to draw your own algorithm to figure where certain application is placed in the menu, by sliding trough the menu tabs and browsing its sections. Every single time you access that menu, I stop and think: "Wait, where was that last the time?"

Of course, I can make my favourite applications get fixed in menu root, but boy, never changing the standard classic menu was the best way for a monkey to use KDE. I can have the old classic menu, but since the new is the default, this matters for everyone deploying default installations and default settings: You want your friends & family being converted to Linux, don't you?

GNOME 3 is coming and I can feel a dejavu feeling resembling KDE 4 first release. Things are going to change. There is going to be really cool things about it, loads of facilities and people will praise and proclaim it. However I fear that most of it will be useless to most of us in daily computing. This will cause an exodus back to KDE, for those who wanted GNOME 3.0 to be a clever evolution from GNOME 2.0 (example: able to lasso files in list view, something that up to now, it's impossible in GNOME-current).

Now it seems that another step in a complete revolutionary direction is going to be taken AGAIN in FOSS project. I know that there is going to be a legacy mode, and it's not going to be the default mode. To me, this whole virtual desktop thing serves only to cause more confusion in my daily usability than actually solve my problems. Not counting here Mrs. Shuttleworth's Ubuntu future windicators. Enough is enough.

Heck, I'd prefer this kind of stuff never changed that much... However, there are certain people developing software thinking enough is never enough, no matter what.

Edited 2010-05-14 23:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

I am unable to understand how that menu is more useful over the old classic menu.

The developers did a good systematic usability study on it, and found it better for the most common usage patterns. But for people like you, who have an usage pattern or mind not compatible with those improvements, the classic menu is available with 2(3) clicks. So basically you loose nothing, but other users gain an improvement, making your complaining void.

Reply Score: 2

Jason Bourne Member since:
2007-06-02

The KDE4 menu is just an example I brought up. This is not human vs. monkey brains in action, like you suggest. It's also about why Vista became a commercial failure and XP being preferred as the "standard" operating system until 2014.

Reply Score: 1

sdhays Member since:
2007-03-13

"And get off my lawn!"

I felt the same way about the KDE4 K menu when I first tried out KDE 4.2; I hated it. But that lasted about a day. The combination of setting up my most frequently used applications in the favorites section and then using search for everything else has made my life SOOOO much easier. I was just forced to downgrade my Fedora 12 system at work to the ancient RHEL5 with KDE3, and hunting through menus to find the application I want got old really, really fast. The actual menu portions of the KDE3 menu are better/more intuitive than its KDE4 counterpart, but the KDE4 version makes searching through menus obsolete. And, in my experience, that's a very, very good thing.

Reply Score: 1

Smart Folders, anyone?
by s_groening on Sun 16th May 2010 18:23 UTC
s_groening
Member since:
2005-12-13

Basically, your desktop shouldn't be a folder since it indicates the contents to be more static than dynamic - at least as long a we're talking virtual desktops.

Instead, desktops - and thereby virtual desktops as well - ought to be a dynamically generated set of files and folders matching certain criteria, e.g. based on metadata or information on which files are used in respect to which projects, time or date of creation etc.

You could then have multiple virtual desktops formed around a set of choices you'll make - e.g. which file(s) to open or what project you're working on, what day's files you're looking to go through etc.

Desktops and virtual desktops in particular are supposed to reflect the way you work and most importantly, what you're working on!

Reply Score: 2

Projects should contain activities
by unoengborg on Sun 16th May 2010 23:34 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

If they introduce projects, these projects should contain the activities, and not the other way round.

I.e you start a new project, and define a number of tasks/workspaces for it, and along with the workspaces there should be a project unique desktop.

Adding projects to tasks like they do in this version feels awkward. After all you are likely to use the same files in many tasks in the same project, e.g. you may have an e-mail task and a word processing task that may share all the files in the project.

Each project should probably have some sort of zeitgeist view of all the files that have been created or used in each project.

Apart from this, there really should be a way to minimize the window in a task in Gnome shell, so that you could maximize them again without going to the main menu.

Reply Score: 2