Re: Metacity Proposal: Grouping Windows

On Tue, 2004-03-02 at 23:40 -0700, Ryan McDougall wrote:
> The Windows-Icons-Mouse-Pointer paradigm has given our computers

Mouse + Pointer is redundant and ignores one other important factor:

IIRC it's Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointer (and there's a reason it's called
WIMP ;))

> A random, non-scientific sample of 20 junior Computer Science students
> at a major university running Ximian GNOME 1.4 on Sun workstations,
> shows that only 3 users made use of more than one desktop. All were
> running multiple tasks/windows (usually emacs, terminal, mozilla). When
> 5 students were asked why they weren't using the extra desktops, three
> didn't know what that they existed, and two didn't consider it worth the
> effort to maintain multiple desktops. This is purely anecdotal and
> *unscientific*, but hopefully illustrative.

Illustrative? The most illustrative it seems to me is of addiction to
One-Virtual-Desktop-Only operating systems like Apple MacOS and
Microsoft Windows. It's almost like that "brilliant" Sun usability study
where instead of having users that have very little (preferably none)
experience with computers they got people that already
_have_usage_habits_. That distorts any tests to their experience.

> Currently virtual desktops are very handy, but provide an inconsistent
> spatial representation,

In my job's L shaped secretary I have the computer zone in one place,
and the paper zone in another place. When looking at one of them, I
don't see the other. It is not an inconsistent spacial representation.

> 1.1.2 Document-Tabbed UIs

This is cool, but not essentially because MDI is good (it usually

Tabs are very handy for grouping themes, yes. But they are particularly
good if coupled with SDI (eg: I have different Mozilla windows, each
with several tabs; think of GNUmeric, where a spreadsheet may have many
tabs too).

> The popularity of Tabbed and MDI UIs in some applications is a direct
> result of a user's annoyance with the current status of window
> management.

Actually, for me, it has more to do with other features too.
Mozilla, for instance, worked WAY FASTER with tabs than multiple

>  Tabbing allows the user to not only automatically group
> document windows according to application (and thus according to user
> meaningful types) -- the GNOME task bar currently has this grouping
> feature, but allows the user to apply windowing transformations (resize,
> minimize, etc) to all document windows at once. The interaction is not
> passive, as a virtual desktop, rather once can actively transform all
> windows as a whole group. Currently Tabbed applications allow one to
> transform a set of document windows by issuing commands to the parent,
> ie "resize GEdit (and by implication all sub-documents currently open
> therein)", and has become a crowd favourite. 

All in all, your idea seems interesting to me, however the end result
seems far more complicated than virtual desktops really are.


+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

Please AVOID sending me WORD, EXCEL or POWERPOINT attachments.

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