Multiple desktops in Tiger?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Hey,



For all those people that have tested the current seeds of Tiger, does there appear to be any kind of Muliple Desktop function?



I currently use Virtue for OS 10.3 and would love it if Apple built this functionality into Tiger. My father is a Linux nut and one of his main reasons for not switching is he doesn't know if Tiger will support Multiple Desktops.



For anyone who doesn't know what this is check out Virtue's website at http://virtuedesktops.sourceforge.net/



Even Microsoft has an option to add this to Windows XP now through a download from there site. So come on Apple!
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Simple answer: No, and don't ever expect it.



    Virtual desktops are useful to only a small minority of people, and for most people Exposé is a far better solution. For a novice user virtual desktops are simply a way of losing your open windows, and are not an obvious idea. Just look at Windows where the tendency is to "maximize" a window so that it takes up all the space. Apple tends to keep to the rule of least surprise, and virtual desktops fly in the face of that.



    If you really want them, there are third parties to supply them, but Apple will not make the mistake of shipping it standard.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    pbpb Posts: 4,232member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Karl Kuehn



    If you really want them, there are third parties to supply them, but Apple will not make the mistake of shipping it standard.




    Why this is a mistake? What is wrong in builting-in this functionality to the system and leaving an option in System Preferences to enable/disable it at will?
  • Reply 3 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Because it's a niche tool, and one that will confuse many. Expose is a better solution for window management for most people. Therefore, it is a technology that on the balance will be a net negative to the majority of the consumer base, for whom it is unnecessary in the first place. Hard to justify the development, maintenance, and support costs in that light.



    Not to mention that there are a number of good solutions out there. I use CodeTek's Virtual Desktop Pro, and love it.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    pbpb Posts: 4,232member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Because it's a niche tool, and one that will confuse many. Expose is a better solution for window management for most people.





    I don't understand that. Really. What's the problem if it is disabled by default and there is an option somewhere in System Preferences to enable it?



    Quote:



    Not to mention that there are a number of good solutions out there. I use CodeTek's Virtual Desktop Pro, and love it.




    $40 for something that we have for years free under X11 \ . No, thanks.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Exposé is a niche tool, too.



    You'd be amazed/saddened at how many otherwise above-average Mac OS X users don't use Exposé.



    I see a 1 in 10 usage rate in my experience.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    I don't understand that. Really. What's the problem if it is disabled by default and there is an option somewhere in System Preferences to enable it?







    Development, maintenance, support costs.



    Quote:

    $40 for something that we have for years free under X11 \ . No, thanks.



    But we have Expose, X11 didn't. (Notice that they're all scrambling to add it... why? Because it's a really damned nice solution for the same basic problem of window management.) X11's solution was virtual desktops. MacOS X's is Expose. The number of people under MacOS X who are going to need something virtual desktopish is tiny compared to the number who will find the Expose does what they want, with fewer UI problems. If virtual desktops were simply better for basic window management, there wouldn't be the push for it in other windowing systems.



    I use virtual desktops for one reason and one reason only: I'm highly distractable. I have a 'work' desktop and a 'play' desktop. The Work desktop has a grey-blue background. The Play desktop has a bright rainbow background. I used Virtual Desktop Pro to help separate apps onto the proper desktops. All iChat windows are nailed to the Play desktop, for instance, while SubEthaEdit gets nailed in Work. If I've been playing too long (like now, really), the bright background is a great reminder that I'm not working.



    If I *ONLY* wanted window management, I'd just use Expose, I greatly prefer it for that. Heck, I use Expose within each desktop exclusively. Right now I've got 14 SubEthaEdit and 6 Terminal windows open over in the Work desktop, all for one project, one task. With Expose, it's simple to find what I want immediately. Virtual desktops won't help that, unless I were to start splitting the task into conceptual chunks, which this task isn't really suited to.



    Virtual desktops have their place, or rather, *had* their place as the premiere way of managing windows conceptually, but for 99.9% of the users out there, I can't see it beating Expose.



    I see this as yet another round of 'let me set up things manually the way I want' vs. 'let me find what I need now without prior setup'.



    We saw this with iTunes ('Why can't I keep everything in folders the way *I* want so I can find them??' 'Use the search field.' 'Oh. Slick.'), we'll see it with Spotlight ('But I have everything set up exactly the way I want, with aliases, and cross references, why would I need that?' 'So you never have to set it up again.' 'Oh. Slick.'), and we have it here ('Why do I need Expose when I can use virtual desktops to set up things the way I want?' 'Because your workflow can change on the spot, and you would have to adapt, now you don't... just quickly grab what you need when you need it.' 'Oh. Slick.')



    We're in the middle of a sea change on how users work with their data, files, and yes, windows. Management of the system is becoming less a manual task and more of a dynamic one. Virtual desktops are static and manual. Expose is dynamic.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    pbpb Posts: 4,232member
    I am not asking for virtual desktops as a replacement to Expose. Nor am I making comparisons between them. In my mind, and I see in yours too, the two serve rather different needs and are very good at that. I just ask for it as an add-on to OS X functionality. And I believe that Apple one day will come out with this.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Actually, I'm saying that they attempt to solve the *same* problem - window management. On most systems, it's hard to find that one window you want amongst the clutter. Virtual desktops and Expose both solve that problem in different ways - one with static manual setup, one with dynamic random access. They really do solve the same problem for most users.



    Now, there are some users that use virtual desktops for *conceptual* management, task A in desktop A, etc, rather like what I'm doing with my Work and Play system. These folks tend to be in a tiny minority though, and if you ask why they're doing it 'so I can find what I need' is *STILL* the base reason.



    In my case it's not. I'm not using it for window management at *all*, but rather desktop picture management as I swap between two 'modes'. That's all.



    Conceptual management is much better suited in my mind by solving the idea of 'workspaces'. ie, these four files are to be logically considered one grouping, even if they're in four different apps. Open the group, all files open. That's easy enough, I do that with aliases every day. Hide one window in one app, and the other three also hide, etc. That's a bit more difficult, but the way I see it going. ie, make a grouping of files act like one logical unit.



    That solves the other bit of what people use virtual desktops for, and does so in a higher abstraction that I think most people would find more direct. *shrug*



    Since we know Apple has dallied with this concept before (piles), I don't expect to see them come out with a virtual desktop solution. There's just no need for all but a tiny fraction of their market, and for them, solutions do exist from other parties.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    the cool gutthe cool gut Posts: 1,714member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Actually, I'm saying that they attempt to solve the *same* problem - window management.



    Virtual desktops have nothing to do with managing windows. It's about managing multiple workspaces.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Ask yourself 'why'. Why have multiple workspaces? What problem is multiple workspaces trying to solve?



    To keep the workspace uncluttered by other windows? - Window management



    To let you focus on a particular task without having to deal with other windows? - Window management



    To let you more easily find the window you want right now, without having to dig through *all* your windows? - Window management



    If there's another reason you're using virtual desktops that can't be boiled down to some form of the above, please post it, as I did for my situation.



    FWIW, I've been using virtual desktops to manage my workspaces (of windows) since about 1990 or so, on various systems. The lack of this really bugged me on MacOS X until Expose, when I had that Aha! moment of what virtual desktops really solved as an underlying core problem for their users.



    I think once you stop and really consider what the underlying problem is most users of virtual desktops are trying to get around, you'll realize that most of those folks would be better served by Expose. Sure, there are a few of us for whom Expose doesn't really cut it, but there are solutions (commercial *and free*) that let us do it anyway. I don't expect Apple to provide virtual desktops, it's not the direction they're going. If they can crack the 'conceptual grouping of files' problem, they'll have a more direct solution that is more flexible than simple manual window placement.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    chychchych Posts: 860member
    Virtual desktops, Expose, bah! Get yourself a three monitor setup and live in bliss



    Though even when I only have one monitor to use, I tend to make use of the 'hide' command religiously (and have it bound to one of my mouse buttons), and hardly use expose; virtual desktops are marginially useful to me.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    zenatekzenatek Posts: 203member
    Virtual desktops have advantages over Expose!



    I know when my father uses it he has a desktop for terminals and a desktop for browers, maybe a music one.



    He says the reason he likes virtual desktops is because he likes to have his windows arranged a certain way and in expose you can not do that... you cant make all the terminal windows appear just how you like or the browser windows appear in such a way you have set up.



    With good virtual desktops you can also have seperate desktop icons pertaining to the task you use that desktop for.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    $40 for something that we have for years free under X11 \ . No, thanks.



    Since when do you have to pay $40 for virtual desktops on OS X? There are a couple good free options, one of which has already been mentioned
  • Reply 14 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by zenatek

    Virtual desktops have advantages over Expose!



    I know when my father uses it he has a desktop for terminals and a desktop for browers, maybe a music one.



    He says the reason he likes virtual desktops is because he likes to have his windows arranged a certain way and in expose you can not do that...



    Bingo. Window management.



    Quote:

    you cant make all the terminal windows appear just how you like or the browser windows appear in such a way you have set up.



    Actually, you can, just not with Expose. Set up your Terminal windows. Press Cmd-H. Set up your browser windows. Cmd-tab to toggle. If you truly want to have all other apps hide completely, shift-opt-click on the app you want in the Dock, all the others will Hide at the same time. (That's such an easy change, I wonder if there's a Single App At A Time tool to set that behaviour in the Dock as the default? - Edit: Actually, poking through the Dock binary, it looks like setting 'single-app' to true with the defaults command might do it. Off to experiment!)



    If all you're doing is separating each app into a desktop, then Hiding the apps does the same thing.



    If instead you want to have multiple windows from one app scattered across multiple desktops, and intermixed with other windows likewise scattered, then you're looking at the workspace concept. It has its uses, definitely, but you shouldn't make the user think about how to manage their *windows* to satisfy a requirement of a much higher level of abstraction.



    Quote:

    With good virtual desktops you can also have seperate desktop icons pertaining to the task you use that desktop for.



    Desktop icons? Who uses those?



    Okay, so we've established that the current window management tools in MacOS X can't manage desktop icons. Hmmm, something wrong with that statement... can't put my finger on it...
  • Reply 15 of 21
    zenatekzenatek Posts: 203member
    I didn't know about cmd hide function. I will have to give that a try a bit more.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    It's great for when you want to focus on just one or two apps. Then you can find that pesky window you want really easily, and even faster in Expose.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    It's really all about Hiding. It's one of those habits that I picked up in 7, and it's still going strong in X. I virtually never minimize windows to the dock but rather option click into the next app that I want. I'll have several BBEdit windows open while working on my website, and when I want to take a break or go off to school, I just Hide BBEdit until I want to go back to it, and then the windows are all there in the same places. But I also have two monitors for added workspace (granted, each is only 1024x768 so I kinda need two :P )
  • Reply 18 of 21
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by zenatek

    I didn't know about cmd hide function. I will have to give that a try a bit more.



    it is definitely the most important cmd in MacOS, since when, -

    well since the classic days, - not sure about systems prior to

    system 7.



    if you come from the "windows" trench, the cmd-h concept

    is maybe pretty hard to understand, but once you get

    the idea behind, you don't want to live without cmd-h.

    Seriously, you can't.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by PB

    I don't understand that. Really. What's the problem if it is disabled by default and there is an option somewhere in System Preferences to enable it?

    ...




    For most users "Exposé" is a better (and more intuitive)

    way to manage windows.

    More experienced users can grab a virtual desktop manager

    for free, if they want. What is wrong with that policy by apple?

    To many choices are confusing.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    Exposé is a niche tool, too.



    You'd be amazed/saddened at how many otherwise above-average Mac OS X users don't use Exposé.



    I see a 1 in 10 usage rate in my experience.




    Yer experience is lacking my friend.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacGregor

    Yer experience is lacking my friend.



    If anything I would say that one in ten is high in the general 10.3 using population. I would say that about that many people know about it, and that maybe half of that number actually use it.



    I am not talking about the AIForums reading populus, but the general pupolus out there. Unless you are in tech support, you tend to make most of your assumptions from a population of 1.
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