Spreading applications across virtual desktops
Now let's open more applications. However, we do not want to mess up or clutter the layout and on-top exposure of the GIMP dialogs and image canvases. So, let's spread the additional applications across the other three virtual desktops.
An application will open in whatever virtual desktop is the focal desktop when it opens. You can make a virtual desktop the focal desktop by clicking on its icon on the Taskbar (Figure 3, on page 1) or the Desktop Pager (Figure 2, on page 1).
In order to open a few applications in virtual desktop 1, the desktop 1 icon in the Taskbar shown in Figure 3 is clicked. LinNeighborhood (comparable to the MS Windows Network Neighborhood) is opened in virtual desktop 1. The Virtual Desktop Configuration panel is opened in desktop 1 also.
Next, the icon on the Taskbar for virtual desktop 2 is clicked to make desktop 2 the focal desktop. Then two instances of the Konqueror file-manager are opened in virtual desktop 2. The Konqueror file-manager is comparable to the My Computer and Windows Explorer file managers in Microsoft Windows.
Let's not forget to open a Web browser. Therefore, virtual desktop 3 is brought into focus and the Konqueror Web-browser is opened in it. TOP (a Linux resources and processes monitor) also is opened in desktop 3. Of course, the GIMP already is opened in Desktop 4.
The Desktop Pager screenshot in Figure 5 diagrammatically shows these applications opened and spread out across the four virtual desktops. Please notice that KDE's Desktop Pager uses representative icons for the various applications that are opened.
For example in the desktop 2 representation, Desktop Pager shows two file folders to represent the two instances of the Konqueror file-manager opened in desktop 2. The Konqueror, World Wide Web browser opened in desktop 3 is represented by a globe (World) icon.
Desktop Pager uses Wilber, the GIMP mascot, to represent the GIMP Toolbox and dialogs. However, actual, compacted views of the image-editing canvases are used to represent the image canvases.
Figure 6 shows the same portion of the Mandrake 10.0 implementation
You can cycle through the virtual desktops by clicking on their taskbar box-like icons.
The Konqueror Web-browser and the TOP resource-monitoring utility opened in desktop 3 are shown in Figure 7. Because they have been opened in their very own, unique, virtual desktop they are not buried in the clutter of all the other applications currently opened across all the virtual desktops. Likewise for the GIMP Toolbox, dialogs, and image-editing canvases opened in desktop 4.
At the time the Figure 5 screenshot was taken, there were thirteen windowpanes opened. But because they are spread over four virtual desktops, they all are on top. That is they are on top in their own virtual desktops. It's pretty darn slick!
The limit to how many applications and windowpanes you can have opened when using virtual desktops is a function of system resources. The more hard-RAM and SWAP memory you have and the faster a CPU, the more virtual desktops and opened applications you can have. Please see the right sidebar.
The Linxux-based computer used for this Linux Virtual Desktop tour is a desktop machine running Mandrake Linux 10.0, Community Edition. It has a 300-MHz AMD K6 CPU on an Amptron motherboard with 128-MB RAM and a 40-GB Maxtor Ultra DMA 66 hard drive. This box is connected to the LAN via an integrated SiS 900 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter. Article author, Mike Angelo, built the machine.