August 17, 2007

Virtual Desktops

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsuren @ 11:27 am

For those of you on Windows: [context] Linux and Mac OSX give you "virtual
desktops", which are like multiple virtual screens that you can switch
between. Each one has its own task bar, so it gives you more flexibility to
manage your windows.[/context]

I have found that having 4 virtual desktops isn't enough for me. I now have 5.
I still have about 3 things in each task bar

I think it's kind-of since I started using Boa-Constructor. Boa takes a whole
desktop of its own, because it needs a debugger window, editor, and shell
window, and some toolbar window at the top that I've never used, but which
can't be closed without closing the whole thing.

I have also started doing a lot of development using a different user for
developing each project, and another for testing, and I find that it helps to
keep each account on its own desktop.[context]Linux (and Mac, I think) allow
multiple users *using* the same machine *at the same time*. This is illegal
on Windows.[/context]

This trend towards increasing numbers of virtual desktops is interesting,
because when I started using linux (SuSE) it only had 2 by default, (this was
enough because I only had 128MB of RAM, so having too many programs open
slowed down my computer). I wonder when I will get to 6, or even 12. When I
start using Virtual Machines, and want a new VD for each VM?



  1. And if you’ve installed Compiz/Compiz Fusion, you can make your desktops spin in a circle.

    The “Time Sharing” features Linux and OS X offer (multiple users, one box) is a throwback to when Universities had one big *Nix box. It’s not a bad throwback, though.

    And depending on which version of Windows we’re talking about, more than one user can use it, as well. Using Windows as a Terminal Server means exactly that, although they cynically charge you extra for the feature.

    Comment by Jared — August 17, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  2. Yeah, or you can just get the appropriate files from the WinXP service pack 2 Beta, where the limit was temporarily raised to two remote users and one local.

    Comment by alsuren — August 17, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

  3. I’ve had 6 VDs on linux for AGES now, AND I use them all (not all the time, but there will be periods of a few hrs whne all are in use) AND I was doing that while this laptop only had 128Mb RAM :p

    Comment by Stuart — August 17, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  4. Yeah, but
    1) you don’t have a pager to let you see them all at the same time,
    2) you can’t one-mouse-click between them,
    3) your laptop is never on for long enough to accumulate cruft on each desktop that you will “get back to later(/tomorrow)”.

    So you’re pretty much using them to give yourself enumerated alt+tab functionality. You can get that with a Windows PowerToy.

    Comment by alsuren — August 17, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

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