"Spatial" Metacity and Integrating Workspaces (was: Re: Metacity Proposal: Grouping Windows)

Reading the proposal left me feeling like perhaps users new to GNOME are
not made adequately aware of the utility of workspaces or even that they
exist.  Admittedly, grouping windows can be useful (see the unfinished
"application_mode" option for Metacity as an example), but arbitrary
grouping feels like creeping featuritis to me.

If used properly, multiple workspaces provide every bit of the spatial
utility of "Expose" in a more usable manner.  At a glance I can see
every single window that is open and "where" it is.  No wedging
miniaturized versions of windows "as close as possible" to where they
were originally required.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure new users really
know what the workspace-switcher represents nor how to use it.  A couple
of things might make this more visible.

1) Highlighting windows and workspaces in the workspace switcher to
indicate they are "clickable".

2) "Spatial" Metacity: Some window managers (Sawfish for one) allow
automatically switching workspaces when dragging a window "through" the
edge of the current workspace.  This is more in keeping with the spatial
metaphor as workspaces are both visually and "physically" adjacent.  I'm
not sure if switching workspaces when just moving the mouse to the edge
(even after a timeout) is useful or not.  It's correct for the metaphor,
but can be really annoying.  Perhaps panel applets that handle "move one
workspace left,right,up,down on click" with corresponding arrows could
take care of that . . .
Metacity also doesn't show windows that are half in one workspace and
half in another (according to the workspace applet) in both.  Not really
a problem, but "breaks" the metaphor.

3) A minor nit that's semi-related: DND in the workspace applet.  If I
drag something over a workspace the applet should switch (perhaps after
a timeout?).  Currently, if I want to drag and drop between applications
on disparate workspaces I have to drag the apps to the same workspace,
possibly resize both apps so they fit on the screen, perform the
original drag and drop and then restore the apps to their original
states.  PITA.

4) Use the DAMAGE extension ('cause polling is sloooow and ugly) to keep
an accurate representation of the contents of each desktop.  That would
greatly enhance user awareness of what the "four little boxes on the
panel" represent.  This, of course, is dependent on us getting an X
server to replace XFree86 ;-P
Shahms King <shahms shahms com>

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