Nov 23 2010

Yesterday I posted a bit on how we plan to simplify the overview in Gnome Shell by dropping the tiled view. One thing that wasn’t so fancy about the new workspace panel – it still relied on the user to set up and manage the whole workspace environment .

It would be far more desirable to have Shell take care of most of that management stuff. Heavily inspired by zones from Moblin, here’s the latest proposal:

  • There are no empty workspaces (apart from the initial state of not having any windows open whatsoever). If there are no longer any windows on a particular workspace, it gets merged with the adjacent one.

  • To launch an application in a new workspace, you drop the launcher on the [X] target thumbnail. Similarly you can launch it onto existing workspace or move windows to a new/existing workspaces.

  • In all other aspects it behaves the same as the previous iteration.

In future we might come up with a decent rule of what applications to run in a separate workspace by default (Gimp being one of those potential apps). We need to make sure the concept of workspaces is easily understandable in this case though, as suddenly they move from the realm of optional power-tool into a core functionality. As apps can be launched from outside of the shell overview, we would probably need to make the workspace switching animation much more pronounced. One such transition might zoom out the desktop a bit, slide to the right workspace in stack verticall and then zoom in again. Obviously all this in a fraction of a second.