Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1839 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] question regarding virtual desktops (KDE)
  • From: Will Stephenson <wstephenson@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 09:23:00 +0200
  • Message-id: <201009220923.00523.wstephenson@xxxxxxx>
On Tuesday 21 September 2010 23:12:12 Oliver Kullmann wrote:
On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 01:27:26PM -0400, Anton Aylward wrote:
Oliver Kullmann said the following on 09/21/2010 01:07 PM:
But that's rather cumbersome.

Maybe its me, but a work-flow involving that many virtual screens and
that many windows seems cumbersome and confusing. I don't know how you
keeps that much context information in your head - its beyond my

It's quite the contrary: exactly in order that I don't have to keep
things in my head, I make them external. My understanding of the "desktop"
is that of a "house" (thus I think "desktop" is quite misleading), with
many rooms, for each special activity/project a dedicated room with
special equipment for that purpose, which *stays*. So I just need to
remember the activity/project, go to the "room", and there I find
everything which *reminds* me of all the details.

I've got a simple life:

one desktop for messages - normally just email
one desktop for web browsers
one desktop for file browsers and things that start from files
one desktop or terminals

Two desktops for 'scratch' - which means 'other applications'

So what's your disciple and organization?

Unfortunately there are only 20 virtual desktops, so I can't really do what
I would like to do. But so well, currently at my workplace I have "System"
for general system-tasks, 3 virtual desktops related to administrational
tasks (I work at a University), two virtual desktops regarding writing
papers, reports, books, one vt for access to the literature, one for my
open-source project, one for another research project, one for a
conference I organised, one for letters I'm writing, one for
documentation, one for the Internet, one for my web pages, one for the
calendar and such things, one for e-mail.

Hah, I just realised that these are only 16. Now I remember that at some
crash I "lost" some, and didn't get them back :-(.

At home, where I do the real work (my research), there are really 20, and
they are more related to various research projects.

Developing the virtual desktop system would in my opinion by extremely
useful, and should actually be rather simple. One needed for example some
kind of history (where have I been?). And the creation of dynamic virtual
desktops (a kind of tree-structure, for temporary projects). For example
with my open-source project, I have to open five files related to some C++
issue, at this time I realise that there is some underlying mathematical
problem, for which I open, say, 3 other files (motivated, but at a
different level), furthermore for the plans/milestones I have to open 7
more files; yet this all has to live in one virtual desktop (but that's at
least something!), and if dynamically more could be created, which would
have some specific relation to the existing ones, then it would be much
easier to interrupt the work (other projects, administrational work, ...),
and come back, and since I find the open files within a structure(!), it
would be much easier to be reminded of what still needs to be done.

Realistically I have around 10 large research projects, and, say, 100
smaller ones. The big task is to manage that --- a real "desktop
environment" ("housetop environment") would help enormously.

This kind of organized working is what the ongoing Activities work in KDE aims
to support. It's an elaboration of the classification possible using virtual
desktops by putting windows on them. Activities includes the desktop
furniture in the context - allowing, for example, a different folder to
provide the desktop icons on each activity, or a different set of app menus on
the panel. They break the conventional limitations of virtual desktops, by
allowing windows to be members of >1 Activity.

In the near future Activity hints will be available to applications so they
can adapt to the context they are running in, eg "KMail helps me focus by only
showing the mail folders relevant to the Acme project while I am using the
Acme activity" or "Kopete sets my work IM account Away when I switch to my
Social activity".

The challenge is to make this available so that it is comprehensible and
useful to those without a scientist's ingrained love of order - we've already
all had the "I clicked a button and all my programs went away" response to
virtual desktops from new users.

I hope that's interesting


Will Stephenson, openSUSE Team
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH - Nürnberg - AG Nürnberg - HRB 16746 - GF: Markus Rex
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