The Ubuntu Experiment

Toby Dickenson toby at
Wed Jul 30 18:18:24 UTC 2008

Derek Broughton wrote:

> OK, I consider myself an expert - can you explain how it benefits me?

You use it for switching between tasks, where you need a group of windows
for each task. (The same reason you might have more than one bench in your
kitchen, or workshop.)

So you have one desktop for your email. You also have that website open that
you have been discussing with a colleague by email. Maybe you get emails
from an issue tracking system, so you have that open as well.

But then you need to get down to work, and you need to put the distractions
of email aside. So you have another desktop with your IDE, documentation,
and test output windows. Or your CAD windows, etc. If you want to swap back
to send an email then you dont need to close down all those nicely arranged
work windows. Also note that Alt+Tab is much more useful now, because it
only cycles through windows relevant to the task in hand.

Maybe at work you wear two hats, and maybe you are part time sysadmin too.
Keep those windows on a separate desktop, and switch desktop when you
switch hats.

For dealing with an unexpected interruptions it is also handy to be able
to "clear the desktop" by switching to an unused desktop. When the
interruption is cleared you will be quicker at getting back to where you
were - and there is no chance of forgetting where you were - because your
original windows are undisturbed.

> The first thng I do on a KDE install, is
> reduce my desktops from 4 to 2, so that I can get the panel in half the
> height, but I practically never use even the second.

Once you get used to it you can remove that pager applet from the panel
because you **know** what is on each desktop. Each one has a purpose. I
dont need to see a kmail icon to remind me that everything email happens on
desktop 4.

.... and you can save even more space by deleting that now unnecessary "hide
all windows and show the desktop" button. That's what desktop 3 is for ;-)

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