Re: Application-based launchers and multiple workspaces

On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 08:16:28PM -0500, Daniel Falk wrote:
> When I click the nautilus icon on the dash when there's another nautilus
> running on another workspace, it switches to that other workspace. This is
> a useful behavior when this is what you intend to do.
> Unfortunately, it can also be jarring and disorienting when it's not.  Has
> anyone else experienced this?  I wish there were a better way of handling
> it.
> Normally what I want to do is start up a new window for programs such as
> nautilus, the terminal, or my web browser if there's no window on the
> current workspace, otherwise switch to the window on the current workspace.
> I know you can ctrl-click of course, but you have to decide whether to
> ctrl-click or just click, and that basically involves determining not only
> whether it's running, but also whether it's running on the current
> workspace.  It's just not very efficient to have to pause to make this
> decision, and wipes out the convenience gained from offering one's favorite
> icons on the dash in a spatial fashion.
> I'm eager to get everybody's thoughts on this problem and whether there's a
> way to improve this behavior.

Alright, here's my 2c.

I'm not a huge fan of the launcher implementation either; it's one of many
things about Gnome 3 which illustrate where most of the inspiration for the
interface is coming from (go on, see if you can guess). However, I think most of
the criticism about the launcher behaviour is unjustified.

For example, the three applications you mention (Nautilus, Terminal, Firefox)
all support tabs. Surely this should reduce the need to ever open separate
windows for these applications anyway?

Also, it should be pretty obvious whether the application is already running or
not, just by looking at the icon in the dashboard. It doesn't matter whether the
application is on your current desktop or not, you can always see if it's
running. It's then fairly trivial to decide whether you want to click or

The advantage of being able to switch to a running application without having to
know which desktop it's on surely outweighs the need to think about whether you
want to start a new instance or not. Is it really so common that one wants to
have two running instances of the same application anyway?

Some things that do bug me, however:

- Nautilus should be better integrated into the desktop - IMHO, if it needs its
own launcher in the dashboard, then it's not accessible enough. Right now it
seems like its own separate application rather than a core component of the
desktop environment.

- Same thing for IM; contact lists and online accounts currently behave like
separate applications rather than being integrated into the desktop. Same
principle here - if I need to have launchers in the dashboard for these things,
then they're not integrated well enough into the DE. I believe this is already
being worked on, however.

- The alt-tab behaviour should be restricted to the current desktop by default.
If the design goal was to have one 'task' per desktop (where a 'task' may
consist of multiple applications), then surely alt-tab should not cycle over
windows related to different tasks - one should change desktops in order to do

Okay, maybe that was more like 4c. :)

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