Re: Gnome2 and viewports

To be spared my rant, jump to the end for the important URLs.

On Fri, Feb 15, 2002 at 11:38:06AM -0800, Travis Saling wrote:
  (Here Havoc writing:)
> > What you want is edge flipping, not viewports. Edge flipping can be
> > done for either viewports or virtual desktops. . . .

(I'm not calling them virtual desktops, I'm calling them workspaces.
 "virtual desktop" is too damn long to type and it's not what they are
 called in the defualt window manager.)

Except that it doesn't make any sense for workspaces. How do you know
which workspace you'll land on when you go off a side? You don't
and shouldn't expect to because workspaces are not contiguous; if they
were then you'd expect to see some overhang on from the adjacent
workspace when a window is partially off-screen there.

Implementing edge-flipping between workspaces is like having scrollbars
in one window transfer content to another window.

> >                                          . . . The point about losing
> > viewports is that viewports/desktops are just two ways of implementing
> > "workspaces." . . .

That may well be your point, but you're wrong. There is always a viewport
on a workspace; it's to what sticky windows stick. What you're removing
is not viewports, but larger-than-viewport workspaces. For a simple example
and visual representation of a viewport on a workspace, look at gv or
gnome-gv. There's a sunken box there with a raised box inside. The sunken
box is to a workspace as the raised box is to a viewport. When the document
you are viewing fits completely on the screen the viewport doesn't go away,
it merely is able to show the entire workspace.

> >          . . .Some features are arbitrarily attached to one or the
> > other implementation of workspaces, but not for any good reason. You
> > could just as easily have one kind of workspace, with all the features
> > available.

It's not arbitrary, though some window managers suffer from poor design
or a lack of design. A larger-than-viewport workspace is like a document
window that can scroll. Multiple workspaces are like window-in-window MDI.
(Although slightly better, since they don't lock in windows.)

> Got it. The confusion in my mind was due to the fact it had appeared to
> me that it was exclusively tied to viewports - but now that I've looked
> more closely at the sawfish configurator, I can see I was mistaken.
> I withdraw the rant. ;-0

I wish you hadn't.

The most pathetic thing about this is that the standard X desktop (OSF/Motif)
now supports workspaces and larger-than-viewport workspaces (there called
a virtual screen). You can see a write-up here:

or if that's too slow:

According to that page, what GNOME seeks to eliminate is something
that, "has been long requested by many OSF/Motif users".

Greg Merchan

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