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.
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. I know I’m one of the few, but this gave virtual desktops a “presence” for me, and ever since then, they’ve been a mainstay for me. Only on Linux though (which is now the only operating system I use, since late last year), since the implementations on Windows and Mac OS X are abysmal, at best.
While Compiz greatly enhanced the metaphor for me, a lot more can be done, still. First of all, 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?).
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.”
I won’t go into the technical and implementation details, as you can read everything and see a .gif mockup at the GNOME Shell playground. I do want to say that this is one of those things that should’ve been implemented ages ago, as it just makes so much sense.
I have four virtual desktop, for email, instant messaging and Twitter, browsing/work (OSNews, university), and one mostly empty one which I sometimes use to watch a video, keep track of BitTorrent downloads, or any other random activity. It would be great if I can show my BitTorrent downloads on just that desktop, and if I could display my work documents on just the work desktop.
What do you guys and girls think?