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Tyler on Ubuntu: Your Virtual desktops

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

Remember when I asked you about how you used your virtual workspaces? Well, ever since then (yes, ever since last Friday. It seems like a long time) I’ve been doing my darndest to collate the data I received from you guys, and trying to decide what I thought of it all. You can read about some specifics of what I found over at my personal blog (with charts! and graphs!), but I’ll give you guys the skinny here.

The Skinny

Heres the simple version of the stats: The majority of you guys used 4 workspaces, predominantly in a 2×2 wall, but also in straight lines and some cubes. More people used even numbers than odd for the number of workspaces, and no one used 7. Most of you had particular workspaces for particular apps or tasks, and switched between them using mostly keyboard shortcuts, but also fairly often with Expo. The number one desire and hope for you workspace users? Unique wallpaper assignable to each workspaces, and/or social/work/task specific assignments for workspaces.
To me, it became quite obvious a few basic facts. Curious? Well, I kinda figured you were.

The Basic Facts

We like order; we like organization. We use workspaces to reduce clutter, even to the degree of simply not wanting a minimized icon on the taskbar. We often run all apps fullscreen on their workspace, and we switch to them even for simple tasks of checking a single email, writing a reply on an IM, or changing a song on our media player.
Many of us don’t like minimizing apps ” ever. Instead, we just switch to a new workspace, again, even for simple tasks.

So what?

Well, thats the real question, isn’t it? The way we are using workspaces is certainly not bad, but its far from optimal. In my thinking, there simply has to be a better way to approach something thats remained untouched for as long as it has. Given that our primary use seems to be as an overblown application switcher so as to not see clutter while we’re using a different application, than there has got to be something available to give us all the same piece of mind of seeing no clutter, but bringing us our apps with the same speed as a simple key combination, and allowing for full user configurable use.
But what does that mean? Well, I’m not totally sure yet. But if you have a continued interest in following where I go with all this, join me over at my blog or track me down (usually tyler-james or some variant) in the #omg!ubuntu! IRC and send me some ideas.