the next step on the desktop

Mario Fux kde-ml at
Tue Feb 1 11:20:08 CET 2011

Am Montag 31 Januar 2011, 14.42:01 schrieb Marco Martin:
> On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 2:22 AM, Aaron J. Seigo <aseigo at> wrote:


Finally I have read all the mails of this thread and hope to add some valuable 
information and no redundant one.

> > back when we started the path towards plasma i said that we needed to
> > slowly evolve the desktop beyond the desktop folder with icons littered
> > on the desktop.
> > 
> > now we have activities, kick-ass containments like search and launch and
> > grouping desktop.
> the biggest thing that have to be worked on, is making applications
> activity aware, it's the only way to convince people that activities
> are -not- virtual desktops ;)

The Randa meeting and in particular the Nepomuk would be a great opportunity 
for this. We (Nepomuk) would like to integrate Nepomuk (and thus activity) 
stuff and as many apps as possible.

> > it is time to go to that next step and move people away from the old
> > ways.
> yep, I would still like to push desktop beyond the desktop, resistence
> against is so amazing that i find it harder and harder.
> we need a concentrated effort between all areas for this i think, not
> just plasma ;)
> > i was at a friend's house last night where a bunch of people gathered to
> > hang out, chat, play games, etc. there was a desktop system there
> > running plasma desktop with the search and launch containment and a
> > gorgeous translucent panel couresty of kwin.
> i do think s&l looks great in the dashboard, however i have some
> issues of it being in the desktop, will explain later ;)
> > let's try something big and new. let's make that Big Move and step away
> > from ~/Desktop.
> to me the biggest dumb thing is ~/Desktop itself, not much having
> icons on desktop (in the form of folderview applets)
> having n folderviews topic-specific goes very well with the concept of
> activities.
> the biggest hurdle is always the fact of having them in a
> background-ish desktop.
> > my proposal is this:
> > 
> > * by default, Search and Launch on the desktop
> There are several issues with s&l:
> * it's not really done for big screens, there is a sad line of icons
> sitting in the middle of the desktop
> * it's not really done for containing applets, would almost mean
> dropping desktop widgets:
>   - right now it contains widgets in a little panel like strip with
> horizontal form factor. now overly pretty.
>   - making it contain free layout applets like the desktop would look
> quite dirty since applets would cover the launcher icons randomly
> * being always mostly covered by windows limits the usefulness, as i
> said great in dashboard (this is quite true for widgets as well, but
> being smaller the problem is less strong)
> * it empasizes the concept of starting apps, (or "start menu" if you
> want) a lot, that's really something i would like to get away with

Yes. Should be more about documents and not about applications. The user knows 
about documents and "files" but shouldn't need to know about applications. 
E.g. "click on a document or media file" and not "start application xyz".

> what about having it (or something similar) that appears as a big
> sidebar of the screen when clicking on the K icon?
> > * an icon in this S&L that takes you to your desktop folder .. in a file
> > manager.
> could be, i would still rather find a way to encoourage use of
> folderview as activity relevant file containers tough
> > * a new panel layout (TBD: let's work on this together!)
> a long due thing is moving app systray items in the taskbar and even
> hiding all xembed icons by default (but, a voluntary is needed to have
> this done)
> > * improve the tasks widget to have some of the nice features of widgets
> > like "smooth tasks" with the mouse over highlights
> yeah, either the tooltip has to be improved a lot or the tasks widget
> using its own, like the widgets explorer
> > * an "activities" widget (i'll hapilly write it) that sits next to the
> > app launcher and when clicked brings up the actvities manager
> there is one on kde-look. however i remeber that you had a valid
> argument against it: it would slowly become basically a replica of the
> activity manager with most-but-not-all of its features.
> > * an activities switcher as a kwin effect (!)
> there is always the problem it would lie a bit if applications become
> aware of activities
> > * have all activities avaiable in kactivitmanagerd, even if they are
> > "stopped" in plasma-desktop
> +1
> > toughts?
> I think what this reflect, but still not really addresses is the limit
> of usefulness of the desktop window as is managed nowdays.
> both widgets or the s&l have a quite limited usage if they are in
> background, so wanting to change what's inside it seems more a way to
> go around it (that's one of the reasons in netbook and mobile the
> desktop is not a desktop window, but it wouldn't work in
> plasma-desktop)...
> also the dashboard is nice, but it's a modal thing, that makes you be
> either in "plasma mode" or not.

Then the Dashboard needs a button by default in the panel.

> i don't have an answer for this, but i feel that should be found a way
> with a slightly different window management to
> * emphasize the dashboard usage
> * have some way to make it not so modal (making clicks pass in empty
> areas with a window mask? an half-screen dashboard?)
> Cheers,
> Marco Martin

thx guys and gals

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