[Usability] Re: desktop/workspaces terminology issue

On 18 Oct 2001, Havoc Pennington wrote:

> Hi,
> This is maybe a minor point, but has come up a lot as I work on
> pager/WM sort of stuff. Maybe you already discussed it too, I don't
> know. ;-) 
> I think "desktop" is an awful name for the things displayed in a
> pager, as in "switch to desktop 4 with Alt+F4."  "desktop" means
> "desktop environment" or it means the background of your screen where
> icons are displayed. There's only one desktop where you can save
> files. Icons are always the same on that one desktop. etc.
> So we already have two overloaded meanings for desktop; we shouldn't
> add a third.

Well, I'm not sure on this personally - a lot of window managers from the
times before everybody was using one of the to "hip" desktop environments
used to call what you call a "workspace" a "desktop". Especially if they
were able to give you functionality that treated them separately (no, this
does not mean having stupid limitations like "can't move a window from one
to another"). But the coming-from-cde crowd will probably cheer.

Not being able to have different icons on the different workspaces/desktops
is by the way not true - you definately can in CDE 8-) and a couple of
others so the 'not possible with gnome right now' is just a bug/mssing

> I suggest using "workspaces" for the window manager feature where you
> have different windows on different workspaces.
> Note that window managers distinguish "viewports" and "desktops."  I


> don't think we should have both; we should pick one, and call it
> "workspaces." The distinction between a viewport and a desktop barely
> makes sense to me, and I've written a window manager.  Basically the
> viewport/desktop split is just an artifact of WM authors not being
> able to decide how to implement workspaces.

I guess it's a bug trying to masquerade as a feature. If all desktops/
workspaces can have different backgrouns and you can move windows between
them, then having viewports becomes quite pointless...

Or in other words - if you have a bug that keeps you from moving windows
between desktops but can easily support large than real "virtual" desktops
then viewports might suddenly start sounding like a good idea.

> Havoc


"I don't think there is intelligent life within our solar system"
	-- Brian Behlendorf

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