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Ophelia was the sweetheart to a nation overnight 
30th-Jan-2009 12:35 am
chaotik

I've had time to review more of the FUDCon 11 videos, specifically the KVM, Moksha, and Desktop videos. The KVM and Moksha videos pretty much only had me saying "neat", not that I thought they were boring, just that I saw nothing to comment further on; I think both are great ideas and I'm sure that both are only at the very beginning of their potential. This then leaves the Desktop video. But I'd like to digress before I give my thoughts about it.

I first heard of Linux through a classmate, via RHL 5.1. I dabbled with it through 7.2, then drifted away. I'm not sure what caused the drift. I think it was games. Anyway, I used Windows up until Windows 2000, when I decided to take a look at this new-fangled thing called "Fedora". I set up my system as dual-boot between Windows 2000 and Fedora Core 2. I didn't boot it into FC2 very much, simply because I already had Windows 2000 set up how I liked it, and to be completely honest, Windows 2000 wasn't terribly bad. In fact, I found that it suited my needs as a desktop well. The only thing I missed was multiple workspaces.

But blah blah blah, enough of that. How does that relate to the Desktop video? Long story short, I saw the GNOME 3.0 demo, and I don't get it. How does any of that help me get things done? Why should I worry about managing the number of workspaces I have? I'm not going to say anything about the launcher application selection since I'm sure it will go through one or more revisions before they come up with a sane scheme.

"Okay big talker, how do you think it should be done?" Well, we'll get to that in a second. First I want to show you an experiment that I'm undertaking, working within the confines of the existing technology:

As you can see, it's very similar to the GNOME default with a few significant changes:

  1. I've told nautilus to not conrol the desktop
  2. I've added a transparent panel to the right side of the screen
  3. I've moved the launchers from the top panel to the top of the right panel
  4. I've added the trash and drive mounter applets to the bottom of the right panel

This mostly works, except for a few issues with (auto)mounting, and with the clock applet not playing nice with the right panel.

What I envision though, goes even further:

A number of changes are in place here. The visible ones:

  1. No more desktop
    • No more files, media, or icons on the desktop. Use a file manager window to get at them. Media and trash are now stuck to the right side of the display, extending up.
  2. No more workspaces
    • Instead of a number of individual workspaces, there is only one solid desktop which is much larger than the display. The display need not snap to any boundary short of the actual edge of the desktop. A modifier is used in conjunction with the pointer in order to slide the display around the desktop.
  3. Only one panel
    • Only one panel, period, along the top stuck to the top-right corner, resizeable on the left.
  4. Detached menu and launchers, in their own space
    • Programs dragged from the menu can be dropped on the left hand side, which gives them their own launcher. Much like a panel, but transparent parts allow anything underneath them to be manipulated.

Of course, there are also a number of invisible differences as well:

  1. No Minimize or Maximize functionality
    • Since there are no workspaces, neither option makes sense. Instead Lower (push this window to the bottom Z-level) and Fit (fill visible display) functionality will be used.
  2. Applets on the panel will stick to a side
    • You will be able to rearrange applets as you like, but they will gravitate towards either the left or the right. If you need them separated from other applets, then... use a separator.
  3. Moving the pointer past the edge of the display will not slide it
    • In this scheme the sides of the display are important, so you can't push the display just by moving to the edge.

So there you have it. I'm sure there's a few things I missed in there. As always, comments and criticism are welcome.

Comments 
30th-Jan-2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
> I would pretty much hate to not have files on the desktop... lately I became one of those lazy guys who keep al the important files they work with (or worked with recently) on the desktop. Is easiest to find them here, is easiest to from them here.

I think a quickly-accessible MRU list of files would be better, but that would be personal taste

> I think what you are describing is "only one panel and two more pseudo-panels". And I find the most comfortable spot to have the important things at the top-left, so for me the top panel resizeable on the left would not work.

I'm not married to the layout; I'm sure some customization can be possible.

> For me minimization is the way to remove noise from the screen (I usually have multiple overlapping windows), I minimize some when I don't want the screen to be very busy, but the applications still open. Moving them down on the Z-axis will not help.

Because the workspace is no longer limited to the display, there are options other than minimizing to reduce noise. There's always Alt-dragging for moving windows off the display, and it may be possible to add the ability to "fling" windows to another part of the desktop.
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