• Subject: RE: RTFM (was: CPYF behavior)
  • From: boldt@xxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 08:55:07 -0500



Don wrote:
>Pardon my ignorance, but how does this differ from having all open
>applications "maximized" and using the ALT-TAB key sequence to switch
>between them?
>
>I can't say I'm overly enamored of Windows, but it does provide the
ability
>to open as many copies of your softcopy manuals as you want and switch
>between them at will.  I can't say I see much difference between this and
>having multiple printed books open on my desk.  Except, of course, the
>printed books take up gobs of space.

It's hard to visualize the usefulness of multiple virtual
desktops in X without actually trying it.  Here's a more
substantial example from my own experience:  I've played
with a Java application involving a number of packages.
In each of 3 or 4 virtual windows, I've had a folder view
of the files in the package, several editors opened to
source files in that package, and a command line session.
In yet another virtual window, I've had at least two
browsers open to the Java on-line documentation.  I can
switch between different packages or to the docs by
clicking on buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Another scenario:  I can have web browsing and e-mail on
one session, web page maintenance on another, web image
editing on a third, and some games on a fourth (to
occupy me while waiting on a large download).  Each
session has multiple related apps open and I don't have
to clutter up one session or minimize windows to work
effectively.

The difference is that you can organize your work more
effectively.  Each virtual desktop can contains a set of
related things.  On the other hand, the MS-Windows
approach seems designed to minimize the number of open
windows.  OS/2 and X are better in that one mouse button
click will bring up a list of open applications.  With
MS-Windows, you have this silly task bar at the bottom.
With more than a few apps, the text is truncated so much,
you really don't know which app is which.  (Since I've
heard so much about the instability of Win95 with
multiple apps open, I'm sure this was a conscious design
decision to try to encourage users to keep the number of
open apps down.  Unfortunately, although WNT is much more
stable, its users are now stuck with this horrid design
too!)

Another advantage of multiple virtual desktops is that
now desktop icons become useful again!  The big problem
with desktop icons is that when you have lots of windows
open, they get obscured very quickly.  On X, you switch
to an unused virtual desktop, and all the desktop icons
are usable again!

Cheers!  Hans

Hans Boldt, ILE RPG Development, IBM Toronto Lab, boldt@ca.ibm.com


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