Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Utilities (Apple) Businesses Software Apple

Virtual Desktops for Mac OS X 40

TexTex writes "Riley Lynch has released Space.dock, which brings multiple desktops to Mac OS X. He's provided the code and binaries through It runs pretty well for being a 0.7 release and sure beats hiding all your applications and just opening the one you'd like." This is a cool little program. I usually question how much I really need virtual desktops, but I never fail to use them when I have them available.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Virtual Desktops for Mac OS X

Comments Filter:
  • I never use them, in Windows I always have lots of windows, but never found virtual desktops to be helpful.
    In gnome, or kde, I have never had any more luck with them. They always seem to get in the way.
    • Re:Never used (Score:2, Interesting)

      A second monitor has alleviated the need for virtual desktops for me. And Macs do this even better than Windows machines--or at least they used to.
    • I find Virutal Desktops really helpful. I'm at work right now and must monitor 8 master servers (Terminal services). I have 3 on desktop 2, 3 on desktop 3 and 2 on desktop 4. I have a monitoring tool for batch streams running on desktop one (this usually has 4 - 16 windows itself). Desktop 5 has documents open that I have to update constantly (turnovers, procedures, recoridng utilities and contacts). On desktop 6 I have my ticketing utilities open (I have three different databases to use). On desktop 7 is slashdot and other personal use (CTRL-ALT-# to go to another screen and look like I'm working). Desktop 8 I use for e-mail (that could be put on another dekstop easily).

      This is all done under windows using Cool Desk. This is also all done on a laptop witha 14.1 inch screen and a max resolution of 1024x768. If I had all these windows minimized in the task bar they are roughly 15 pixels wide and I am unable to determine one window from the others. ALT-TABing through the windows can get quite tedious. The other option is to have my taskbar being four rows high - although this leaves little space to work or auto-hide which I can't use thanks to having to use PC Anywhere (if a PC Anywhere window is at the bottom then the auto-hide doesn't work for some reason) and Exceed (same prob as PC Anywhere).

      All in all, I could work without virtual desktops it's just a hassle to do so.

      And yes....I do need all the windows open at the same time.
  • this would be great to run a third display off of a second computer, as my powerbook g4 only has support for 2 displays- supposedly there's some support for this in OS 9 as an add-on app, but lets you put apps on a grid in a window on the main screen...

    how well does VNC work with virtual desktops?
    • This isn't really providing virtual desktops. This little app just shows and hides programs as you switch between "desktops" Because of that, VNC is only going to see the one screen.

      It's a nice implementation though. The only caveat is that you can't have windows from the same app across multiple virtual desktops.
  • Clean little app (Score:3, Informative)

    by T.Hobbes ( 101603 ) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @11:34PM (#3381791)
    It doesn't require any installation other than dragging it into the dock. From what I can tell, it simply hides/reveals windows, sorting active windows into interchangeable 'spaces'. You can access windows in another space by clicking on the program icon in the dock - that will bring the window forward in your current space and vacate that window from its former space. All in all a small, elegant, responsive program. Only 77kb.
  • How new is this? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dhovis ( 303725 ) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @11:52PM (#3381841)
    All the dates are 2001. According to everything I can find, this was released last year, and last updated for MacOS X 10.0 (retail).

    I've heard it still works with the most recent OSX builds, but it only looks new because the site hasn't been updated for a year.

    • Yup. I've used it since I installed OSX 10.0.x on my iMac. It's not new. Pretty slick. Even if all it does is hide applications, instead of providing true virtual desktops
  • ive been running this for like three months. i use it only when i have window intensive programs open and i want to surf /. as well. any real OSX user should have known about this long ago.
  • Nothing bugs me more than all those classic apps hogging my perty screen and harshing my alpha-transparency terminal buzz. I use space to create a nice little corral for them. the only quirk is that apps in a given workspace will switch spaces if you bring it into focus in a different one. That drives me nuts.
  • Virtual workspaces are easier to use and I am finding them indispensible for working with sets of applications.

    I use it switch focus very easily, with one click. Instead of switching apps via the Dock on a one-by-one basis, I switch among workspaces that have related apps open. For instance, I keep a "Comm" workspace with MSIE, Mail, First Class, etc; an "Office" workspace with MS Office apps open: etc. I also keep "Palm", "News", "Text" and "Util" workspaces. There's still a sticky workspace for common apps. You may like "Games", "Code", etc.

    Trust me, you'll be an addict sooner than you think. Ask Riley for features you want, complain about what you dislike, and expect a response. Free stuff and authors should all be this good.


  • by jkujawa ( 56195 ) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @09:36AM (#3382816) Homepage
    It hasn't been updated in a year.

    When last I tried it, about a year ago, it didn't hide windows, but applications. Which meant that you couldn't have, say, terminal windows in more than one space. Which makes it completely useless for my purposes.

    The underlying problem is that Apple hasn't released the API for the window manager, and no amount of dumping symbols from binaries, tracing, etc, seems to produce anything of value. I wish Apple would open up this window manager API, so that we can get a useful virtual desktop manager.
  • 0.8 due shortly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TexTex ( 323298 ) on Sunday April 21, 2002 @11:17AM (#3383040)
    Yes the site and the program have some shelf-life. Riley's stated that version 0.8 will released "any day now" and has been in testing for the past few weeks. It should include a global hotkey which may make swapping between these desktops amazingly easy.
    • Sounds good! Hopefully the hotkeys are fairly configurable. Personally, I like Alt-1, Alt-2, etc, which is what I use with WindowMaker. Space.dock has been sitting in my dock for about 2 months and hasn't gotten any use simply because it requires mousing over there and using a context menu. Right now, it's easier to Cmd-Tab or just click on the app I want in the dock.
  • Wasn't this released back in the Public Beta days?

    way to go, /.
  • slow down my ibook even more... Pagers in Yellow Dog slow down my ibook enough, I can't even imagine what it would do in OS/X, which is slow enough on my 64 meg of ram
  • I used this for a while a year or so ago. It's a neat app, but honestly, it's really not a virtual desktop system. All it does is hide other applications. One can have the same functionality, with an easier interface using ASM and command-tabbing through applications.

    Personally, I've gotten used to cmd-tab enough that that is pretty much all I use to switch between apps. If there were a true virtual desktop app for OS X (where I can have windows from different apps together on a desktop instead of all windows of one app) then I'd probably use it...

  • Space.dock does not actually change between virtual windows (as some have already noted). In essence all this program does is open and close groups of windows defined by the user.

    - Low wastage of memory
    - You can access any window from any virtual screen.
    - You can close all of a projects windows, even if those windows are running different programs.

    - No dragging windows between screens.
    - No 'alt-arrow' to go between virtual screens.

    All in all, it's definately not virtual screens like most unix people are used to, but it is small, clever, and it feels very 'Mac-like'.
  • There was a program call Virtual that was great. It had a floating virutual desktop bar from which you could choose which desktop you want to work with. Small representations of open windows appeared in each section of the bar. You could even drag these around to move windows from one virtual desktop to another without switching your view. You could even have a window that spanned two or more virtual desktops. Another cool feature was that the background pattern/picture was customizable for each virtual desktop, so it was easy to tell at a glance which one was active. Despite all these great features (or perhaps in part because of them), my Mac was never quite stable when I had Virtual running.

    It would be great if Apple would incorporate these features into a future revision of Mac OS X, or at least open the APIs so someone else could do the work.

  • who has been using this program for MONTHS.

    How is this news?
    • I've been using it basically since day one of MacOS X. For me it's indispensable. It doesn't slow down anything BTW...

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall