desktop as a separate window (fwd)

Not sure how this thread got on gnome-devel-list, but here's the first
post by popular demand...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 11:52:10 -0500 (EST)
From: Havoc Pennington <>
Subject: desktop as a separate window


I'm fooling with the "desktop manager" application (root window menu and
icons), see:

This will replace _part_ of the file manager. The big question that has to
be answered from the start is whether to continue with each icon as a
toplevel window, as it is now, or to create one giant window that covers
the root window. This decision has to be made from the start; almost all
the code to be written assumes one or the other approach.

Some advantages of the use-the-root-window approach we have now:
 - xsetroot, xearth, etc. still work; non-GNOME-compliant window managers 
   work better (the icons end up decorated and/or on top of real windows,
   but at least there isn't a giant window decorated and/or on top)
 - more gmc code is reusable
 - no need to handle expose events on the desktop background
 - will not require a next-generation GNOME window manager; 
   the giant-window approach will require the in-progress 
   window manager spec I think

Some advantages of the giant-window-covering-root approach:
 - it can be a big canvas; so you can have crazy transparency 
   effects and things (at least once the AA canvas supports text 
 - avoid shaped windows, which are some kind of efficiency hit
 - no need to grab the server to do rubberbanding
 - easier to embed Bonobo objects in the desktop
 - quite a bit easier to program

Thoughts on this are welcome.


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