Mac OS X and Virtual Desktop Functionality?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,579
10,893
Appleinsider claims that Apple will be building in Virtual Desktop support into Mac OS X in 2004.

Appleinsider points to an Exposé hack that shrinks all windows into a small window as evidence of ongoing work on this feature.

"Virtual Desktops" is a feature that was popularized in Unix windows managers, allowing users to invoke any number of virtual screens for improved window management. CodeTek currently offers a trialware application called VirtualDesktop which implements this functionality on Mac OS X.

Another curious Mac OS X Exposé hack is described here -- the Expose´"blob"
 

orb

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2002
41
0
This is wonderful. Until expose, I couldn't work without a virtual desktop manager. I've been experimenting with running without one. I'm mostly successful, but the screens are just way too cluttered.

The combination of expose AND virtual desktops would be incredible. Right now the codetek virtual desktop doesn't work very well with expose. I'd love to see an update, or better yet an offical apple virtual desktop solution that works well with expose...

Side note: Being able to cube spin to a virtual desktop would be very cool.
 

dho

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2003
279
0
California
Very cool

I hope thy surprise us with unexpected additions to the tradition virtual desktop idea.

They already have the cube for fast user switching...
 

rjstanford

macrumors 6502
Oct 30, 2002
272
0
Austin, TX
One of the frequent complaints my Mac users (esp powerBook users) is that the screen resolution is too low at 100dpi. Others complain that anything higher is too hard to read. With Expose, Apple has already demonstrated functional scaling of a window. Why not take this one step further and imagine a display where you can zoom in, or out, of a large, virtual display - smoothly? Multiple desktop size, single desktop convenience, plus the freedom to go wild on high-dpi monitors since users can always zoom-in or zoom-out to get the widget size that they want. Now that would be cool.

-Richard
 

dho

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2003
279
0
California
Originally posted by orb
....
Side note: Being able to cube spin to a virtual desktop would be very cool.
The could make the desktops themselves part of expose,

usage:

1. hide all widnows for current desktop
2. select item
3. show all desktops expose style and click the desired one
4. find the desired window using the current expose setup

That would be really cool
 

pyrotoaster

macrumors 65816
Dec 28, 2002
1,004
0
Oak Park, IL
Not just does this sound great, but it sounds possible.

I've got over ten Safari windows (with who knows how many pages in tabs) open on my iMac right now. It'd be great if I could have just one desktop to handle all those windows.
 

C14ru5

macrumors member
I thought the purpose of Exposé was to remove the need for multiple desktops, and that virtual desktops were a perfect substitute for the lack of extra monitors (or computers, for that matter). To me, it seems like Apple is pulling both ends of the same rope here.

I love virtual desktops like in KDE and I love Exposé, but I still can't see the benefit of using both on the same computer AT THE SAME TIME. Nevertheless, the more options the better I guess...
 

mrsebastian

macrumors 6502a
Nov 26, 2002
744
0
sunny san diego
seems to me that's what expose should be able to do right now. expose is pretty cool, but i tend use the dock and hide comands to scroll through apps. using the extra buttons on my mouse for expose, it is very convenient however for quickly getting around multiple documents open in one app.
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
built-in virtual desktop would be very welcome. i'm sure it will be implemented so that you can use expose alone, virtual desktop alone or both or none.

it would be nice to see apple do it because while codetek version is very well done, it's also a bit buggy, i think. they've issued tons and tons of updates (re: patches) for their app since summer.
 

jxyama

macrumors 68040
Apr 3, 2003
3,735
1
Originally posted by sethypoo
How do vurtual desktops work?
go to versiontracker and try out CodeTek virtual desktop. it's free if all you want is two desktops.

basically, when you run it, you can increase the number of desktops you have. you only see one desktop at a time on the screen, but you have other desktops that are hidden but functional.

if you have two desktops, left and right, say, you can slide your mouse to your right while in the left desktop and when it hits the edge, instead of stopping there, you can make the mouse slide into the right virtual desktop. so you effectively double your workspace. whatever you don't need at the moment, you can drag into the virtual desktop in the background. this will reduce clutter on your current desktop but still keep the app running and windows instantly accessible.

just imagine that the screen you are looking at is smaller than the "desktop" and not everything can show up on the screen at once...

just try it, it's easy and very powerful.
 

sethypoo

macrumors 68000
Oct 8, 2003
1,580
0
Sacramento, CA, USA
Originally posted by jxyama
go to versiontracker and try out CodeTek virtual desktop. it's free if all you want is two desktops.

basically, when you run it, you can increase the number of desktops you have. you can only see one desktop at any given time on the screen, of course, but you can reduce the clutter by grouping certain windows/apps to vertain desktops, for example. as an example, you can have four desktops, work, web, email and office, say. on each desktop, you put work related windows, safari/IE/other browser windows, Mail and hotmail and MS Office related windows, respectively.

now, let's say you are in the work desktop. all the windows you see are work related. if you now want to check out the web, you switch your desktop to "web" instead of, say, pulling up safari from the dock. the work related windows disappear because they are attached to the "work" desktop and instead, web related windows will show up... etc.

just try it, it's pretty nice.
Sweet, thank you. Woudl this work by creating multiple user accounts in Mac OS X? Or would permissions get all screwed up?
 

ddtlm

macrumors 65816
Aug 20, 2001
1,184
0
I've got 8 virtual desktops on two 1600x1200 monitors at work (on a Linux box). I pretty much never close anything, so all the work I ever do is ready to go with a few clicks.
 

Dippo

macrumors 65816
Sep 27, 2003
1,044
1
Charlotte, NC
I use Virtual Desktops all the time in Linux. It works great espicially when I am programming. Then I can have be coding on one desktop, surfing the web on another, compiling on another, and editing images on a fourth. I wouldn't know what to do without it.

There is a program for windows that creates virtual desktops but it just doesn't work all that well and it eats system resources.
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
i don't understand the causality of their logic in this article. this looks like just a neat way of showing that you have pulled all windows off the desktop. i don't see any real suggestion that this implies we will see virtual desktops. if anything, i would say that exposé is a solution to virtual desktops.
 

Steamboatwillie

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2003
215
0
Memphis, TN
Originally posted by C14ru5
I thought the purpose of Exposé was to remove the need for multiple desktops, and that virtual desktops were a perfect substitute for the lack of extra monitors (or computers, for that matter). To me, it seems like Apple is pulling both ends of the same rope here.

I love virtual desktops like in KDE and I love Exposé, but I still can't see the benefit of using both on the same computer AT THE SAME TIME. Nevertheless, the more options the better I guess...
One of my programming mentors always said to me when I tried, in vein, to convince him that "My way" was better; "When there are two or more good ideas implement them all and let the user decide"

Choice is never wrong :)
 

baby duck monge

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2003
1,570
0
Memphis, TN
Originally posted by C14ru5
I thought the purpose of Exposé was to remove the need for multiple desktops, and that virtual desktops were a perfect substitute for the lack of extra monitors (or computers, for that matter). To me, it seems like Apple is pulling both ends of the same rope here.

I love virtual desktops like in KDE and I love Exposé, but I still can't see the benefit of using both on the same computer AT THE SAME TIME. Nevertheless, the more options the better I guess...
i, for one, am a huge fan of virtual desktops (i used DesktopManager for my virtual desktop needs), and find myself wanting to use them still. expose is nice, but it does not allow for everything multiple desktops does.

with expose, you could keep every window open at the same time and then switch from one to another by viewing all the windows in shrunken view. but what happens when you have 15+ windows open at once? things are either too cluttered or too hard to read. if you could spread this out over multiple desktops, that would cut down on a lot of clutter.

expose also allows you to view just the windows for one program. this is nice, but what if i am trying to work between multiple programs? i could always shrink all the windows, but then you are back to the previous problem. by being able to put, say, all video-related programs on one "monitor," expose would then allow for a better experience with those programs.

mutliple desktops are also great for those things you want to be able to see easily, but might not want taking up space all the time (like buddy lists).

one thing that i think expose nails right on, though (and one of the things i used virtual desktops the most for), is its ability to clear the screen to let you get to the desktop with ease. this is incredibly useful when dealing with downloads to the desktop and with external HDs (though this is not as big of a deal anymore since it it much easier to get to all mounted volumes in panther).

so yeah, i think that is my longest post ever on MR and my reasons that one might want both expose and multiple desktops (also, that you could choose which to use if you wanted one or the other). i'm sure there are other reasons, but those are the first ones i came up with.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,241
3,360
Originally posted by shadowfax
i don't understand the causality of their logic in this article. this looks like just a neat way of showing that you have pulled all windows off the desktop. i don't see any real suggestion that this implies we will see virtual desktops. if anything, i would say that exposé is a solution to virtual desktops.
Here's your causality:

"However, sources confirm the further development of the virtual desktop feature, which should appear in a major upgrade to the Mac OS X in 2004, sources said." - from the article.

arn
 

shadowfax

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,849
0
Houston, TX
Originally posted by arn
Here's your causality:

"However, sources confirm the further development of the virtual desktop feature, which should appear in a major upgrade to the Mac OS X in 2004, sources said." - from the article.

arn
well, there's that, heh. but such a statement may simply be misinformation or just inaccurate. or it could be like marklar--probably worked on, but never to be released.
 

jaykk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2002
854
5
CA
Thats it

Ready to shell out another $129 next year. Looks like apple is going to come up with major upgrade every year now onwards. Not that its a bad thing..
 

MacSlut

macrumors 6502
Aug 12, 2002
250
3
Bar
Re: Mac OS X and Virtual Desktop Functionality?

Originally posted by Macrumors
Appleinsider claims that Apple will be building in Virtual Desktop support into Mac OS X by 2004.

Appleinsider points to an Exposé hack that shrinks all windows into a small window as evidence of ongoing work on this feature.
I'm not too sure how related the blob is to virtual desktops. I see similarity in solving a problem, but not that it's a coding work in progress (it may be, I just wouldn't assume the connection).

Furthermore, I really don't see Virtual Desktops coming "by 2004". That would mean releasing this in the next 2 months.

I would think Apple would want users to digest all the new features of Panther for a while before introducing new OS specific features, or even save new OS specific features for 10.4.

I hope I'm wrong because I'd love to have VDs before 2004...uh, Virtual Desktops, that's what I meant.
 

ClimbingTheLog

macrumors 6502a
May 21, 2003
633
0
I'm using fast user switching for virtual desktops. Permissions can be a bit of a problem, but rarely if the work is clearly segmented, which for work/home stuff, it's perfect. Don't forget to use filevalut to crypt your home stuff at work. Don't need to worry about the data if you leave.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.