How many virtual desktops do you usually run on your machine? This question is probably directed more towards the Linux users rather than the Windows folk. When I’m using my XP box I usually stay with a single desktop, because none of the virtual desktop solution work well on that platform. Yes, there is the Virtual Desktop Manager power toy, and about a billion other small applications that try to offer similar functionality. But most of them are clunky and do not offer me the same level of functionality that the linux does. What I really look for in a desktop manager is:
- Speed – most virtual desktop managers suffer from slow redraws, but that is probably just a XP thing
- Some sort of context menu “Send Window To” functionality. Not all windows tools offer this.
- Elegant pager integrated into the task bar
- Pager must show window outlines and and/or icons
- Need to be able to drag and drop window outlines from one desktop to the other on the pager
Last 3 items offer huge productivity gains, and yet no windows app I have seen so far managed to tackle all 5. Both Gnome and KDE have all of this out of the box.
On my Kubuntu laptop I currently have 6 virtual desktops and I’m using all of them:
I essentially use them to separate my workspaces based on the task I’m trying to accomplish. So the first desktop is dedicated to a maximized KMail instance – because I want to have a good reading surface for my emails. Similarly second desktop is pretty much just for Firefox for the very same reason – ease of reading.
My third and fourth desktops are usually reserved for IDE’s and graphical tools. Right now I have Gimp and Komodo Edit open on them. The 5th desktop is usually my “assorted xterm and gvim” workspace. I switch there if I want to edit some config files, install software and etc. My last desktop is usually running an rdesktop session to one of the Windows servers I’m currently working with.
I find that having these separate workspaces really streamlines my work. Being able to seamlessly switch from my email, to the browser and then to IDE without juggling windows is a great benefit. But what do you think? Do you like having multiple desktops? Or do you think it doesn’t really matter?
Windows people – give me suggestions for really good virtual desktop managers. I would love to see one that works as well as KDE or Gnome equivalents.
[tags]desktop, virtual desktop, desktops, pager, virtual, workspace[/tags]