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#1 2013-05-20 16:00:15

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

(really) Different desktops

The short version: how can I have different icons, launchers, backgrounds (maybe even conky configurations or widgets) and program windows in each desktop?

The long explanation... While with differences (like I don't use icons on my desktops and she does), my wife and I found ourselves in a common point: it would be great to have a complete [desktop| ambient| context] for each [hat|role] that we have., with a "memory" of the tools, files, working materials, etc., that we are/were using on each.

This requirement assumes that there it's a somewhat important focus on the context and tasks at hand and so, no constant switching. In this case, if there is a small computational cost for this desktop change, that cost won't be serious because won't be so frequent.

Maybe there is some simple or alternative solution for this, but I've been unable to find it yet in Crunchbang/Linux (in Android is incredibly simple using widgets).

Any idea? smile

In any case, thank you very much just for reading and even more if you'd like to share some thoughts.

Happy crunchbanging... :-)


e

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#2 2013-05-20 17:05:15

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,956

Re: (really) Different desktops

Not a "simple" solution, at least not in OpenBox.  I've heard KDE can do this, but I have virtually no experience with KDE.

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#3 2013-05-20 17:28:48

Unia
#! Octo-portal-pussy
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2010-07-17
Posts: 4,590

Re: (really) Different desktops

Yes, KDE is the easy way out with its Activities.

On the other hand, you could just create a new user. One for you, and one for your wife. Then you both can customize your desktop to what you like and just switch acount when necessary.


If you can't sit by a cozy fire with your code in hand enjoying its simplicity and clarity, it needs more work. --Carlos Torres
Github

I am a #! forum moderator. Feel free to send me a PM with any question you have!

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#4 2013-05-20 17:35:49

fatmac
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2012-11-14
Posts: 1,948

Re: (really) Different desktops

I'll second what Unia said, just create different users, which can then be customised to taste.
(You could each use different WMs)

It will also keep your personal files separate, but you could share such as music & movie directories.

Last edited by fatmac (2013-05-20 17:39:09)


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#5 2013-05-20 17:59:23

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

Unia wrote:

[...] On the other hand, you could just create a new user. One for you, and one for your wife. [...]

Sorry, I've been terribly unclear...
We have separate users (in separate computers actually), we just found the same need. smile

I will investigate these KDE activities, but would prefer to maintain Openbox and it's liteness if it's possible. wink
What defines a desktop in Openbox if it has icons?
Maybe I can move between desktops with a script that changes things (icons, background, etc.).

Best...

--
e


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#6 2013-05-20 23:42:50

saneks
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2009-10-01
Posts: 1,018

Re: (really) Different desktops

in crunchbang 9.04 was pcmanfm as filemanager, which could be set up to manage the desktop to have icons for files and folders (shows content of /home).. don't know if thunar can do that somehow.. or just install lxde components to have a desktop environment for openbox. openbox is just a window manager.

pcmanfm: http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=1701
lxde: http://lxlinux.com/crunchbang.html

but still I don't know how to have the virtual desktops differently styled while logged on with one user.. maybe you can additionally start a script from rc.xml when changing desktops with keybinds? but I might think switching might be a bit laggy while loading new iconsets, wallpaper etc - if this is what you want.

we had some thread about changing wallpaper when switching the desktop. might that suffice?

Last edited by saneks (2013-05-21 00:04:45)


eee701 user & other lap/desktops

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#7 2013-05-21 13:14:17

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

saneks wrote:

in crunchbang 9.04 was pcmanfm as filemanager, which could be set up to manage the desktop to have icons for files and folders (shows content of /home).. [...] but still I don't know how to have the virtual desktops differently styled while logged on with one user.. maybe you can additionally start a script from rc.xml when changing desktops with keybinds? [...]

Even if a bit laggy, I will try that using pcmanfm.
When changing desktop, change on the fly:
* background,
* icons directory,
* maybe conky.

Changing to KDE is definitively too much for this only, and I really like the simplicity and lightness of Openbox.

Thank you all, I will report the results or advances if there is something valuable.

Best regards... smile

PD: the other strategy seems to use Idesk. The good thing about pcmanfm is that changing desktop dir will allow to use simple ol' directories to configure what lies in the desktop instead of messing with idesk configuration. A must for my wife. wink

Last edited by Eduardo Mercovich (2013-05-21 13:45:13)


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#8 2013-05-21 15:33:19

Unia
#! Octo-portal-pussy
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2010-07-17
Posts: 4,590

Re: (really) Different desktops

What exactly is it that you need in those different scenarios? If you only need a few programs to be opened at once during a single task (and not change tint2, your wallpaper or the theme) you could set up window rules in Openbox to have those specific applications start on their own specific virtual desktop. A simple script could launch all those programs at once and, if more advanced, could even change your tint2 and wallpaper.


If you can't sit by a cozy fire with your code in hand enjoying its simplicity and clarity, it needs more work. --Carlos Torres
Github

I am a #! forum moderator. Feel free to send me a PM with any question you have!

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#9 2013-05-23 02:00:11

shengchieh
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2009-01-07
Posts: 617

Re: (really) Different desktops

A new version of hybryde recently came out.  It runs various DE/WM.  I wonder - don't know, you have to check it out - if
you can have one DE/WM for you and one for her.

http://www.hybryde.org/

Sheng-Chieh

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#10 2013-05-24 18:03:05

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

Unia wrote:

What exactly is it that you need in those different scenarios?

The analog of having various physical offices/desktops. Each with it's own icons (documents or folders with work in progress), lauchers (chrome with specific profile, or in app mode, etc.). Different background image is desirable, but not a must (anyway, it's easy to do).

Unia wrote:

If you only need a few programs to be opened at once during a single task (and not change tint2, your wallpaper or the theme) you could set up window rules in Openbox to have those specific applications start on their own specific virtual desktop. [...]

No, that is something I'd like to do but is not the same as different desktops.
For that (like specific chrome instances with different profiles in certain desktops) I was trying to use class in the command line, but still no success with that, surely just because of bad syntax from my part.
If anyone knows how to use it (or maybe role or other thing for window identification with openbox rules) I would be very grateful. smile


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#11 2013-05-24 18:04:31

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

shengchieh wrote:

A new version of hybryde recently came out.  It runs various DE/WM.  I wonder - don't know, you have to check it out - if you can have one DE/WM for you and one for her.
http://www.hybryde.org/

Thanks, but for the moment, I would like to keep Openbox if possible.
I definite am in overflow mode to add another thing to try. wink


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#12 2013-05-24 20:06:13

brontosaurusrex
#! Red Menace
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 1,592

Re: (really) Different desktops

virtual machine for the 2nd desktop? (i guess ctrl+alt + <> should work)

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#13 2013-05-24 20:22:30

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,956

Re: (really) Different desktops

Some of our Conky wizards are doing some impressive things with interactive conkys; a full-screen Conky on each desktop maybe?

...free association from the full-screen Conky idea quickly leads me to separate fullscreen Python-gtk interfaces on each desktop...we have some Python wizards here as well...

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#14 2013-05-27 01:37:13

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

Well, it's seems that pcmanfm can almost do it: it can create icons from a specific directory and manage desktop background.

The only thing that still needs work is that I don't know yet how to change the desktop dir from the command line, since it is specified in a file and (apparently) requires login (this assumes that I will put a command for this after changing desktop in rc.xml).

Any idea for this? smile

Best...


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#15 2013-05-27 03:00:49

shengchieh
#! Die Hard
Registered: 2009-01-07
Posts: 617

Re: (really) Different desktops

Eduardo Mercovich wrote:
shengchieh wrote:

A new version of hybryde recently came out.  It runs various DE/WM.  I wonder - don't know, you have to check it out - if you can have one DE/WM for you and one for her.
http://www.hybryde.org/

Thanks, but for the moment, I would like to keep Openbox if possible.
I definite am in overflow mode to add another thing to try. wink

You use openbox and let her have something else.  Will that work?

Sheng-Chieh

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#16 2013-05-27 12:48:47

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

shengchieh wrote:

You use openbox and let her have something else.  Will that work?

Mmm... not much I believe... she will use it, but I will install, configure and maintain it. ;-)


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#17 2013-05-27 13:55:18

foozer
Member
Registered: 2013-01-14
Posts: 25

Re: (really) Different desktops

I think the best (only?) way to do this without special software or switching from Openbox is creating seperate users with a shared Documents folder. For example, the user John_work, John_home, Mary_work, Mary_home, etc.

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#18 2013-05-27 14:35:20

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

foozer wrote:

I think the best (only?) way to do this without special software or switching from Openbox is creating seperate users with a shared Documents folder

I'm not sure if I understood... we don't share documents. Each has it's own computer, users, information spaces, etc.

We share only the *need* for different workspaces, each arranged specifically for each 'hat' we may be wearing... :-)


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#19 2013-05-27 14:46:52

foozer
Member
Registered: 2013-01-14
Posts: 25

Re: (really) Different desktops

Eduardo Mercovich wrote:
foozer wrote:

I think the best (only?) way to do this without special software or switching from Openbox is creating seperate users with a shared Documents folder

I'm not sure if I understood... we don't share documents. Each has it's own computer, users, information spaces, etc.

We share only the *need* for different workspaces, each arranged specifically for each 'hat' we may be wearing... :-)

I understand. What I propose is that John_work and John_home would share John's documents, and Mary_work and Mary_home would share Mary's documents.

If you dont find it too much of a bother to relog, but you said "This requirement assumes that there it's a somewhat important focus on the context and tasks at hand and so, no constant switching. In this case, if there is a small computational cost for this desktop change, that cost won't be serious because won't be so frequent."

So it would be

/home/john/documents -> /home/john_home/documents
/home/john/documents -> /home/john_work/documents

/home/mary/documents -> /home/mary_home/documents
/home/mary/documents/ -> /home/mary_work/documents

But /home/mary_home/.conkyrc could differ from /home/mary_work/.conkyrc

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#20 2013-05-27 15:22:12

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

foozer wrote:

[...] If you dont find it too much of a bother to relog [...]

Ah, now I got it... smile
Well, maybe not that much, but would prefer not to relog if it's possible.

Right now, the only thing that prevents the pcmanfm solution to work is just the change of desktop directory on the fly.
Let me explain. As I see it, this solution would be, for each user with 3 hats, to have:
* /home/marie/Documents/hat1dir
* /home/marie/Documents/hat2dir
* /home/marie/Documents/hat3dir

Each dir has it's working files (or links to them), launchers (like chrome with --profile-directory="Profile 1" or --app X), even subdirs.

Of course, those dirs could be within Dropbox or Sparkleshare (BTW, a good/simple guide for Sparkleshare is in serious need and would be very welcome). wink

Then, in rc.xml changing from desktop1 to desktop2 (Ctrl-Alt-right) is chained with a script/command that makes pcmanfm change desktop background and desktop directory (see the excelente guide from pidsley in http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=19901). Even conky could be changed if we overwrite it's configuration file (she doesn't use it, but I would like to include the complete solution for other's sake).

What I like about this solution is that pcmanfm is light, already present in our distro, manages almost everything and gives a very simple way to interact with the desktop: she can simply move, copy and drag or drop files in a directory or desktop background, as she knows and likes to do.
No other/new mechanism or configuration is needed (like with idesk).

The only drawback is that I didn't found yet how to change desktop dir in pcmanfm using a command...


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#21 2013-05-27 17:48:41

pvsage
Internal Affairs
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2009-10-18
Posts: 13,956

Re: (really) Different desktops

Unfortunately, PCManFM and Thunar both use ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs for the desktop directory (and several other directories) and there is no way that I know of to have either file manager recognize changes there without logging out/in.

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#22 2013-05-28 21:43:44

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

pvsage wrote:

Unfortunately, PCManFM and Thunar [...] no way that I know of to have either file manager recognize changes there without logging out/in.

Ups... it seems then a dead end, except a change in code. Which is totally out of my universe now.
I will look further for other options...

Thank you very much anyway, you have saved me from wasting time searching for that solution. :-)

Best...


e

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#23 2013-05-28 21:56:55

Unia
#! Octo-portal-pussy
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2010-07-17
Posts: 4,590

Re: (really) Different desktops

I would still give KDE a go. Sure, it's heavier than Openbox but you do get awesome stuff in return for it (and unused RAM is wasted RAM big_smile). Also, KDE could be made a whole lot lighter if needed.


If you can't sit by a cozy fire with your code in hand enjoying its simplicity and clarity, it needs more work. --Carlos Torres
Github

I am a #! forum moderator. Feel free to send me a PM with any question you have!

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#24 2013-05-30 12:43:18

Eduardo Mercovich
#! Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2012-10-21
Posts: 88
Website

Re: (really) Different desktops

Unia wrote:

I would still give KDE a go. Sure, it's heavier than Openbox but you do get awesome stuff in return for it [...]

Thanks Unia... She is trying now with pcmanfm. Let's see how it is going.
I feel that even if not perfect (doesn't change desktop dir), it may be more than enough. :-)

Best...


e

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#25 2013-11-23 20:34:17

naphelge
#! Member
Registered: 2013-05-14
Posts: 74

Re: (really) Different desktops

I need exactly this solution also. I am creating a desktop using #! for my toddler-daughter and I am almost there. Because I want the desktop icons so large I also want to create different themed desktops to group them. So, for example, there would be a "creative arts" desktop with art related icons/apps, "letters and words" desktop with abc's related icos/apps, and so on. In fact I can see using 7 desktops to provide a wide-open, uncluttered experience, so that would require 7 desktops each with different wallpaper would be kewl but not necessary, but the different icons is a must.

I currently have idesk installed and config'd but I do not see any way to specify settings for different desktops. It appears as though Eduardo Mercovich has exhausted himself on the pcmanfm. I wonder about nautilus, but I was so happy when Thunar finally came out with tabs and I could let that bloat-pig go, and have since switch to spacefm and am loving it. I think I will next give KDE a go, unless there is any breaking news on how this might be accomplised with openbox and #!, which would overall be the best solution for me.

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