alternative desktop concept for kde (long)

alternative desktop concept for kde (long)

Post by Soni » Thu, 20 Apr 2000 04:00:00


A few ideas for an alternative KDE desktop came to my mind, and I plan
to publish them on the web, but before, I would like to hear what others
users say. Below, you'll find a first draft of my concept, if you have
any comments, criticism or suggestions, please let me know.



Start Menu is probably not the best way to access your system's files
and programs. It is large (because of the many levels it will open), it
cannot scroll (so it will consume even more space on the screen if all
entries of a given sub-menu don't fit on the screen in a row) and it
sucks that you have to move your mouse just like in an old arcade game
(a bit up, wait until sub-menu unfolds, a bit to the left, then up,
wait, left, down, and don't click on the wrong entry, otherwise, you'll
have to start over again).
Task Bar is better. At least if you don't open too many programs so that
you cannot read the names of the tasks any longer.
But why the two of them? I mean, it's not like you need both at the same
time. And furthermore, why do you have to activate Start Menu by
clicking a Task Bar button?

So here's what I think might work better: The idea behind the concepts
of Task Bar and Start Menu is to present information the user needs most
if he/she is to work efficiently, like, those are the programs you are
running, those are the programs you could be running. Windows 95 sort of
set the standard of displaying this information by introducing the
Taskbar/Start Button->Start Menu concept, forcing users to click on this
button a million times to start programs, while accessing Task Bar is as
easy as moving the cursor to one edge of the screen. Ok, using a key,
like the Win95 key sort of eases this, but I think it's only second best
(because you still have to navigate through x sub-menus every time).

Phase One

It would be great if you could access Start Menu as easily as Taskbar
(ie. By moving the cursor to one edge of the screen), it would be even
greater if you could navigate through sub-menus without those
sleight-of-hand  tests. A very interesting concept to solve that is Side
Bar, like in Star Office or Mozilla, where you have different panels for
different categories of actions (like ?What's Related, ?Search,
?Bookmarks, ?Files). If you click on the top of one panel, it opens
inside the Side Bar, with a scroll bar, and, if appropriate, a tree
structure (like filemanagers/explorers have).
Translated to a desktop environment, things would look like that: You
move your cursor to the right edge of the screen (or left, whatever), a
sidebar appears, the default panel could be ?Start Menu, for this
example, let's say it contains exactly the same things as a standard KDE
(or whatever) Start Menu (would also provide backwards compatibility),
the top level menu appears, with a tree structure attached (ie. Pluses
in front of entries etc.) when you click on one item, the program starts
or the sub-menu unfolds inside the Side Bar, clicking on the plus (which
is minus if sub-menu is open) closes the tree again, navigating with
arrow keys does the same thing.
Other panels could be ?Tasks (what is ?Task Bar in standard window
managers, clicking on the name of a task would activate its window),  or
?Bookmarks (clicking on a bookmark would open it in the system's
standard browser), and ?Controls, where things like ?Shut Down, ?Log
Out, ?Restart, and the system's ?Settings (like KDE Control Center)
could be located.

Phase Two
So you have one easily accessible place where everything is located. The
Side Bar might be on one of the side, but it might also be a window
which is activated by a key and displays at the center of the screen or
elsewhere. But that is not everything this concept offers. I think of
the Side Bar as a window manager of its own, with the panels being
special windows. This may sound somehow starnge, maybe I'm even using
the wrong terminology (I'm no programmer or something like that), but
let me explain what this means:

A) The panels may also exist outside of the Side Bar, so you can drag
and drop (or right-click and context menu) the panels that are most
important to you to your desktop (thus restoring the old Task Bar
behavior, for instance)

B) Windows from outside the Side Bar may exist within as panels. This
gives you an enormous amount of configurability, for example, you could
take a clock program or one that monitors CPU/Memory-usage and include
it in your side bar, thus having the information you want readily
available, a MP3-player would also be an obvious choice, since many
people will start it as the first thing anyways. The content of the
program window would remain unchanged, the window itself would be
translated into a panel and be part of your personal desktop, so to


alternative desktop concept for kde (long)

Post by Neil McAlliste » Sat, 29 Apr 2000 04:00:00

I'm not certain about your proposals - seem to have some good points
certainly, but I totally agree that we need to experiment with new styles
of interface - like the kde/gnome discussion - we don't want stuck with a
standard - after all it modern GUI's work in approximately the same way
as the original MAC OS did about 15 years ago.  I'd love to get involved
in doing this sort of stuff if I had the time - maybe sometime.


* I just got lost in thought.  It was unfamiliar territory. *
*                                                           *



1. The Desktop is Dead, Long Live the Desktop

It has been said before here, but I'll say it again, the battle for the
desktop is over.  Microsoft won and will be forever hold that ground while
the rest of the world moves on to bigger and better things.

For instance, I right now am sitting at a console for a PC, with an rdesktop
window open to a Win2k desktop upstairs, another through to work, and an
Xnest to another machine in the house.  So what exactly is my desktop?  
Where is it?

If I switch over to a Windows concsole, then I use Cygwin/X and again I am
connected anywhere.

Ironically, it is easier to do this with rdesktop on Linux than with MS's
term services clients.

With this kind of flexibility, it makes perfect sense to abandon completely
the win boxen and start moving to a linux desktop where Windows legacy apps
are run through rdesktop on a Win2k machine.  The newer apps should be
browser-based where appropriate, but native unix otherwise.  

Once this begins to happen, the pressure will become enormous (more than it
already is) to do away with the Win desktop apps, because they have to be
paid for twice, once for the app and once for the connection to Win2k.  

Expect Microsoft to give new meaning to the word vicious as they attempt to
stamp out remote connections to their servers from apps like rdesktop, as
otherwise people would be doing what this student is doing.

The Student
Programming.  Think about it.

2. bind build woes

3. The desktop is dead, long live the desktop.

4. NFS Problem - partition is read-only it seems

5. concept to connect laptop(GPRS) to office desktop (VPN,ssh tunel)

6. Micro Annex Terminal Server.

7. Changing the default kde directory Desktop to .Desktop

8. Have 128MB memory, top reports only 64MB (??)

9. How can I change from GNOME desktop environment to KDE desktop env?

10. How to change gnome desktop to KDE desktop ?

11. KDM/KDE does not allow changing desktop image/no desktop links

12. Strange KDE problems, considering switching KDE for desktop from Win2k

13. kde kde.desktop problem