Mark Greenwood captain_bodge at
Sat Dec 4 02:43:32 UTC 2010

On Saturday 04 Dec 2010 02:24:22 Lindsay Mathieson wrote:
> Keep trying but I just can't see the point of activities, they don't appear to 
> bring anything to the table that Virtual Screen didn't, apart from the ability 
> to have different widgets on different screens - whoopdy doo.
> I have yet to see a concise description of what activities are or a  decent 
> tutorial.

I've yet to see that either, but here's what I use them for:

I have 2 'Desktop' activites and one 'Newspaper' activity. 
I've set 'WindowsKey+Tab' as the activity switching hotkey, works much better than the activities tab which I completely agree is useless.

On the Newspaper activity I have arranged RSS readers, weather forecasts, and various informative widgets so I can flick there and see everything quickly. I use the 'Newspaper' activity for this because it automatically arranges the widgets into neat columns and I like it :-)

For my two Desktop activites, one is named 'Work' and the other is named 'Play' (the Newspaper is named 'Rest' but that's just my vague sense of humour). Because I can associate applications with specific Acitivies, I've arranged applications I use for Work to only appear on the 'Work' Activity, and applications I use for Play to only appear on the 'Play' activity. Things I use for both (i.e. web browser) are not associated with any activity and therefore move with me when I switch activities.

This means I can very quickly switch from 'Play' to 'Work' when the boss comes round. Which would be relevant if I were not self employed, but you get the idea :-) It means that my desktop now automatically keeps itself tidy and arranged, which I like. I have different widgets on each activity which contain the shortcuts for the apps I need most when I'm doing 'Work' or 'Play'. I find I no longer suffer from 'Desktop Congestion' like I used to and I rather like it.

I agree there's probably nothing here that can't be accomplished in a different way. However I never got on with multiple desktops, I just didn't use them. 

For me the difference with activities is (a) some applications are fixed to an Activity whereas other move with me when I switch. That, for me, works in a way that multiple desktops did not and (b) different activies behave in different ways and provide a different kind of interface - try the difference between 'Desktop', 'Search and Launch' and 'Newspaper' activies. 

It's all more ways to organise your data and your work, which seems to me to be what KDE is all about. I don't even enable virtual desktops any more, not that I ever used them when I did :-)


> Problems:
> - The Activities editor crashes *extremely* regularly.
> - The Activities tab is only usable in a horizontal orientation. This is a 
> real waste of real estate on Widescreen Monitors
> - Same applies to the default panel for that matter

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