Virtual desktops


Anyone know if there are any virtual desktop applications in the works for OS X? About the only thing that would keep me from using OS X more regularly is the fact that one screen hasn't been enough for about 7 years...

Thanks for the suggestion; I had noticed that one there, but it didn't actually work for the OS X release version; at least, it doesn't seem to bind an application to a given virtual desktop. I suspect something may have changed from the beta to the release of OS X that's confusing it. It's version 0.6 and predates X release by about a month.

yeah that would be totally pimp to have a virtual workspace like in linux. and have a little applet in the dock that allowed you to switch workspaces, or be able to switch by moving your mouse over to the end of the screen for a little while.

i'm looking forwared for someone to port this feature over to osx.
I know that some friends and me who are Unix Engineer have reported to Apple that this feature is needed when you work on more than one Terminal.
Therfore I think that Apple does not want to implement this feature in OS X to have a Solaris CDE like GUI.

May try Xtools...

PowerBook G3/400 - OS X ONLY !

On quiet night you can hear Windows reboot...

Solaris and GUI in the same sentence? err

There is virtually no point to virtual desktops in OS X. The Dock gives you instant access to every window in every application using right-click.

I'm afraid I'd have to disagree with that one; but I come from a Unix Worstation world where I'd like to eventually replace my current Linux box with a MacOSX box.

Currently, I have 10 virtual desktops, with an average of 6 or 7 windows per desktop open. In some windows I have a "konsole" (part of KDE) running which allows me to have dozens of simultaneous sessions; most all of which are used for either local development or as secure logins to remote systems.

In some of the virtual windows I run only a web browser or two, in others, only online chat is dedicated only to "mutt" for email. It's simply not practical to reach for the mouse to get a list of windows for a given terminal session, or alt-tab through applications, causing all sorts of screen refreshes. It just gets messy and ugly.

It would be wonderful to have the slick GUI of OS-X, the applications, but also the Unix utilities all in one package. Virtual desktops are a must as a result, at least for me.

The first time I grabbed Space it didn't seem to work. I saw - somewhere - a slightly update version and when I tried that it worked/works wonderfully. It sits in the Dock as a "dockling" not an alias, and when you click on it it displays the available spaces and what apps are running in each. Sort of reminds me of old Finder, in a way, but you can launch related apps in a Space, and switch back to them as needed. For instances, I always open by browser in it's own space; email in another; terminal in a third; system prefs and calculator in another, etc. Rather than switching apps I can quickly click on Space and go the the appropriate "desktop package" I want. On my iMac, desktop space is at a premium - being able to spread apps out over virtual desktops and keep things clean is a very useful ability.
Originally posted by strobe
Solaris and GUI in the same sentence? err

There is virtually no point to virtual desktops in OS X. The Dock gives you instant access to every window in every application using right-click.

Umm. Yes. Solaris with CDE or OpenWindows or other face <em>is</em> a GUI.

Just because <em>you</em> don't have a use for virtual desktops does not mean that there is <cite>no point to virtual desktops</cite>. It just means <em>you</em> don't care for them.

Strobe, sorry about my last post. It came across a lot harsher than I meant it to.

Hahahaha :p

I have used Solaris with both CDE and OpenWindows... BOTH are so damn comfusing. The UI must have been made by some idiot! SOlaris makes much more sense as a command line OS rather than a GUI OS if these are the only 2 (or standard 2) that come with it :p

--> as for virtual desktops, have used them, they cut down on my productivity <--
CDE etc maybe confusing and feel lifeless, but they do have some good bits which can be taken forward.

CDE was brought out initially by, I think, HP "donkeys years" ago, then AIX got it SUN got it and SGI can have it also.

There are some very usefull features in CDE and a lot of detractions. The water gets muddy when scale needs to be applied, CDE looks low grade but is good when global changes need to be made that affect all machines (thousands of them), by changing the config of one centrally stored file or files. The need for the latter may not be immediately apparent but it does exist in quantity.

KDE, Gnome (Solaris next desktop) etc, both use "workspaces", so for some people they are just fine and for others they are a unwanted.

I like them, they unclutter the window, you can organize workspaces for particular jobs, they reside on LINUX, IBM, SGI,SUN, DEC/Compaq etc.

A control pannel disabling/enabling this function could possibly solve the problems between the two camps.

"Workspaces" will come anyway, weather we like it or not, thats one of the reasons for moving to a more powerfull OS, it would seem very strange to have the only UNIX system around without that facility.

I don't like CDE its just that there are some really nice features which could be transplanted.

Quick question. Is writing virtual desktops (real ones not's hiding apps) even possible for someone outside of apple? I would of thought that without the window server, core graphics source you'd be basically screwed. Won't this be yet another thing that only apple can implement, if it gets around to it?

I suggest people sit down and figure out a more ideal system before fawning over the virtual screen hack.

As for Apple I can thing if a billion things higher on their priority list. Hopefully fixing multiple monitor support is much, much higher than this.
Yup, "Dual heads" and "Workspaces" (not virtual screens, or indeed hacks) are both essential in the business that I am involved in, both from an Exploration point of view and Systems Admin of very large UNIX sites.

The companies I mean are Shell, Exxon, BP/Amocco, Total, Elf, Kerr McGee, Chevron, Mobile, Talisman, Agip, etc, etc, not an insignificant "shortened" list.

An aspiration for an Apple UNIX based system is that a PowerPC (not just IBM) machine could do this work and do desktop stuff as well, on a much cheaper machine than say an SUN Ultra 60/80, SGI Octane or an IBM RS6000.

The the Nvidia Gforce 3 (or Gforce 2) graphics card far outperforms the latest graphics cards of the three vendors above. Take a look at the spec of the SUN Xpert3D and what they charge for that alone, you could buy 2 whole Macs.

Just good solid possibilities to make money in new or other areas.

I agree, that there is a "shed load" of things to do on MacOSX and Apple has got to be burning the candle at both ends to make it work like "S eitch One T" off a shovel. It seems like Linux is a far better UNIX than a botched Darwin.

The people at are porting virtspace to macosx ( a virtual desktop manager for NeXT) whit help from apple. Anyone whit access to the core graphics API would be able to write a virtual desktop manager, but apple keeping them private for some reson. I hope apple realese these API's to the public.
I like having virtural desktop space, because its like having more resolution. Like more monitors. I mean, not wanting more virtural desktops becuase you can just resize windows and dock the apps your not using is completely wierd. I mean, yall might as well be stuck in 640x480 on my sister's Performa 636.

On a side note, has anyone looked into virtural consoles? It appears that the BSD backbone would support it. Has anyone else checked out /etc/ttys?
I've got my serial console running, but here's what I would like to know:
# Hardwired lines are marked off, by default, so getty(8)
# is quiet when they don't exist.
tty00 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" vt100 off secure
tty01 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" vt100 off secure
tty02 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" unknown off secure
tty03 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" unknown off secure
tty04 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" unknown off secure
tty05 "/usr/libexec/getty std.9600" unknown off secure
I tried turning those tty00 and tty01 on, and getty was running with them, but I didin't know how to get to them. Any ideas?
Man, I haven't done any serial hookups, but then I don't have any serial ports (besides USB). What are you using to get serial ports? Some PCI card with a snake of cables?

I'm running a beige g3 266. Its got two serial ports built in, and I have a null modem cable running to a serial switcher, and the switcher to a terminal. Its like having two more cli interfaces.
I have no idea how to get a usb serial port so that getty could use it.

If this were red hat, I'd say 'kernel hack time'. But I haven't even looked at darwin's kernel yet.
Check out the 'Terminal madness' article at for a picture of a really crazy terminal (not like mine...).

Oh, and if you are able to get a serial port card or usb deal going, please let me know!

Keep it rocking