Major flaw with Spaces (and how well it is done in linux)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by weizilla, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. weizilla macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    I've been using spaces for the last week and it has some strong points but ultimately is not nearly as good as the same feature in Linux. The best feature is that you can see all of your multiple desktops at the same time and drag windows around.
    However the worst/biggest problem/flaw is that you can't move a window from one space to another with just the keyboard. I have a macbook so using the keyboard always 5x faster than the touch pad. Moving between spaces is easy and fast with a keyboard shortcut but it seems you can't move a window to another space the same way.

    In Mac: You either have to 1.) click + hold + press the corresponding spaces button which is nearly impossible on a laptop because your fingers are so spread out. Or 2.) press the hotkey for spaces, move the touchpad cursor around, do some dragging, then press the hotkey again.

    In Linux: Hold shift + normal switching keyboard command

    So moving windows between spaces in Linux: 1 keyboard shortcut + 0.1 sec. In Mac: at least 3 keyboard/mouse shortcuts + 3 seconds.


    and i can't figure out how to open multiple windows of an application across spaces. pressing firefox dock icon throw me to the space with firefox open instead of opening a new window
  2. retro83 macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2008
    You do realise that you can simply drag a window to the edge of the screen to move it to another workspace, don't you?

    I agree that it is not as convenient as a keystroke - but it is easier than holding the trackpad down while pressing a key combo! :eek:
  3. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    The real problem is that Spaces is application-centric, not task-centric.
  4. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    Yea, I learned that too but it takes even longer because you have to drag + wait for the spaces to shift desktops + drag to center of screen. :(

    I find it really really weird that Mac has so many keyboard shortcuts for everything using every combination of fn, control, option and command possible but doesn't have anything for simple features like this. And it takes quicksilver to set keyboard shortcuts to launch applications.

    crazy designers :rolleyes:

    but i did just realize you can do expose + spaces at the SAME TIME! :)
  5. johny5 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2007
    I think spaces is really still in its infancy and hopefully Apple will listen to people like yourself to add these improvements :)
  6. pjrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    I stumbled accross an app / preference pain plugin called warp...
    it means you can decrease the time you have to wait to switch spaces, and you can use the mouse to switch spaces.

    I have to admit that spaces needs a bit of work, but it's still a great feature
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I'm typing this on a Linux system that runs the Gnome desktop. The features you like are gnome features not Linux features. You can run Gnome on Solaris, BSD UNIX and yes even Mac OS X. May as well give due credit

    Seeing as I'd been using Spaces-like virtual windows on UNIX-like systems for maybe 12 years now. I was curious to see how Apple implemented it. I wanted to see how Apple could improve on Gnome's ease of use. They didn't Gnome's virtual windows work better.

    I find I use the virtual windows a lot more on my Solaris and linux systems than on the Mac
  8. Pees330 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    I was having problems with spaces today. I had 2 word documents open and wanted each to have their own space, while I had another space to do other work in. I couldn't put each separate document in its own window. I had to keep both in the same window because of it being the same program. It's just a little annoyance that I wish could be fixed.
  9. Eluzion macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Hm, I've found it easy to move applications around in Spaces just by using the click-hold on the application you want to move and pressing the keystroke for the Space you want to go to (Ctrl-1,2,3,4).

    Personally, I wish there was a menu option for "Send to space 1 (or 2,3,4,5, etc.)" so it sends that particular application or window to another space without switching to that space (a feature which is in Gnome/Compiz).
  10. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    While I generally like Spaces as a virtual desktop implementation better than the ones I've used in Linux, I agree that this is a flaw. If you'd really like to see it fixed, I suggest sending Apple your feedback:

    This is exactly the kind of positive criticism for improvement I'm sure they'd be happy to receive. You got me thinking, and I actually just sent them my own feedback on improving Spaces on this very topic, so if more people ask for this functionality, Apple will (eventually...) implement it.

    Actually, this is a known bug with Word. Most applications you should be completely able to have several windows open across several, separate spaces. Try it with any fully Cocoa-compliant application. I just now put a second Safari window in Space #2 with my main Safari window in Space #1. That particular problem is Microsoft's own fault.
  11. steerpikegg macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2007
    Actually, I think you'll find that this is more a feature of X11 and that you can do this with just about any window manager eg KDE, Enlightenment etc

    I have been a Linux user for many years, and I think that Spaces definitely needs some serious work. It seems like most of the time was spent on the cosmetics of Spaces and not on the usability.

    I actually have turned Spaces off now as I kept losing dialog boxes and palettes for Photoshop.
  12. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    Yea that's pretty handy. I tried the same thing only using the keystroke to move left/right/up/down spaces and realized i didn't have enough fingers to properly press all the buttons at the same time. :(
  13. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    wow, that's a pretty useful program. i'm still trying to get everything (hot corners, expose, spaces) configured for maximum productivity and app will def help. thanks!
  14. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007

    Until I can associate specific documents to different Spaces, it will be only of modest value.
  15. martintyler macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2005
    It is nothing to do with X11. Each window manager or 'desktop environment' implements it themselves.
  16. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    As it turns out, you can disable the "feature" where cmd-tabbing to an app will automatically throw you into that space with the following command:
    defaults write workspaces-auto-swoosh -bool NO
    More info and source here:
  17. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I'm sort of curious as to how in only one or two clicks, you can open the pane, choose which window you want, and move it to the desired space..Not saying Spaces is better the Linux alternatives; they've had more time to mature, and are quite a bit different in some cases, but, I'm just wondering how this works..I tried using the whole Beryl thing and stuff like that, and it's cool and everything, but it's kind of annoying in terms of productivity. Maybe I'm just too used to Spaces by now, but it's become quite speedy for me on my Macbook, even having to use the trackpad :)
  18. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    how would a task-centric Spaces work? I can't visualize this.
  19. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    The question is: Will this improvement be in the form of a 10.5.x update? Or a whole new operating system release. I can see the marketing now. "130 improvements, buy 10.6."
  20. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    Spaces uses an application-centric model. You must demarcate work areas by program. So, you do Excel work in one Space, iTunes work in another Space, and Photoshop work in yet another Space. Fundamentally, this makes no sense at all and doesn't reflect how people actually work. I don't do "Excel" work. I do e.g. personal finances and Toastmasters.

    Personal Finance uses Excel spreadsheets, MS Money in Parallels, and my bank's website.

    Toastmasters uses Excel spreadsheets (club budget), Keynote, Pages, and some web pages for the website (club business).

    While tasks generally share applications, they normally have unique documents. I use Excel for both Finance and Toastmasters, but I never open my Toastmasters club budget for personal finance. Likewise, I use Firefox for all activities, but certain websites are unique to their task. I'd never open my 401k website for Toastmasters business.

    I want a system that associates individual documents with specific Spaces. I don't want to open Excel in an Excel Space. I want to open a personal finance spreadsheet and be taken to my personal finance space. And to put it together, I want a quick-launch Space system that tells it to open all commonly used Personal Finance documents for that Space -- and up comes Parallels with MS Money, my bank's website, and my personal finacen Excel spreadsheet.

    Spaces is a little bit useful. But the paradigm is wrong in a basic way. Perhaps one day Apple or someone else will create a correct multi-space system.
  21. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007


    Here's an article (one of many) addressing the same key point.

    This is precisely what makes Spaces next to useless. Virtual desktops should allow you to have multiple instances of an application open in multiple desktops, each existing independently of the other. This is how it works in Unix. This is how it works in Linux. This is how it works in Windows (with 3rd party apps like Yodm 3d, or Deskspace). However, in Spaces, applications are tied to the desktop in which they were originally opened. I don't fancy the VD manager whizzing me back and forth across desktops simply because I tried to open a fresh window in, say, Minefield. People don't work that way; it's like having all of your chairs in one room of the house, all of your computers in another, all your televisions in a third, and so on. Until Apple understands this, Spaces will remain more of a novelty than a feature most people will use.
  22. weizilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    It seems to me that Spaces is used to create 1 giant desktop composing of smaller desktops put together used in a serial fashion whereas in the other OS's, you have several concurrent desktops running at the same time in parallel. I guess Apple just designed it for a different goal in mind.
  23. mckyvlle macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2007
    London, UK
    I agree, that's how Spaces feels like compared to other implementations of virtual desktops. I use Spaces all the time on my MacBook (curse that small screen) and it reminds me "virtual viewports"... Long ago when Linux was still young, the display adapter could only display at low resolutions; but you could have a desktop that is larger than the displayed resolution. You would pan the viewport, i.e. the visible area, around your desktop to see everything that's on there.

    Although using Spaces with Exposé makes window management a joy! Looking at thumbnails of my windows to find the window I want is so much easier than looking at text in the taskbar. Text there always seem to be truncated/joined with ellipsis. Tell me again which "Mac" do I want? :rolleyes:
  24. mason.kramer macrumors 6502


    Apr 16, 2007
    Watertown, MA
    Spaces isn't a virtual desktop. It's actually a window management system. Killmoms was the first to point out the difference here.
  25. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007

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