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How I would like to use a desktop switcher

Posted 11-12-2012 at 08:01 PM by Skaperen
Updated 11-14-2012 at 04:51 PM by Skaperen

I currently use the compiz desktop switcher. It's also what is known as a "compositor", but I really don't know what all the functions are that it needs to perform. Clearly among them is switching desktops. So I guess it places windows from some sets of windows (and other GUI objects) on to and off of the screen as needed.

How compiz is working is that is displays some effect on the screen to show how you are doing switching. Some people like the cube effect where when you make the change, it shows the desktops on a 3D cube image. I assume that limits them to 6 desktops as the cube only has 6 faces. Or maybe they can do more with a magic cube that hides more faces somewhere in the 4th dimension.

What I'm using is just a grid. I shows a grid on the screen highlighting the one I'm in, and allows me to use the directional arrow keys (with Ctrl+Alt) to slide around in this grid. I set it for zero time between desktops, so the actual desktop effect is not sliding for me. It just jumps.

I don't really want the effect. It was cute when I first tried it. I was seasick around the 9th usage.

But even what I have now is not really what I want. I want to have a key combination (keychord) to just go directly to a desktop, without even a relationship between desktops. Right now a full screen window in one desktop will dangle its shadow effect into another. For other reason I should argue that full screen windows should not have shadow effects. But that will be for another blog post.

What I want is keyboard positions relating to desktops that topologically have no other relation to each other. There is this Windows key (one on the left and one on the right) on virtually every keyboard these days. Why not use that in some way. Anyway, some keychord, whatever it might be, PLUS some other key anywhere on the keyboard, including all the FX keys along the top, plus any digit, letter, or even special character, can be used to each go to a distinct desktop. Then leave the arrow keys (same keychord) to move through them sequentially.

Suppose the operating keychord is Ctrl+Win. Then if I do Ctrl+Win+F1 I will get one desktop. Doing Ctrl+Win+6 gets another. Ctrl+Win+h gets yet another. Ctrl+Win+/ gets yet another. That would give me about 62 (64 with space and enter) different desktops.

Now compiz does have a means to configure specific keychords for specific desktops. But it is limited to just 12 of them. If this limit could be extended to at least 64, maybe even 128, that would be great. I know I could make use of 64. And it would be a lot easier (for me, at least) to go where I want to be that way. But I think it would be a lot easier to just configure what the keychord prefix is that will make the switch, and let all the other keys operate with it.

Anyone know enough about the inside design of compiz to make a patch to do this?
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  1. Old Comment
    With today's tools I am getting the kind of switching I have wanted. Today I am using Xubuntu. That's Ubuntu modified to use the Xfce Desktop Environment.

    Xubuntu includes a keyboard shortcut feature that allows programming a keyboard key stroke or key chord stroke to execute a specific command. I use this in conjunction with other features to achieve what I want to do and more.

    "lightDM" is a Display Manager that runs in Xubuntu. since it is a different project than Xfce, I believe that the base Ubuntu also runs it. LightDM allows running multiple instances of the Xorg X server, one for each user logged into the console. It runs the login greeter that asks for your password to login after you select a user from the menu.

    I also use a feature where LightDM lets me quickly jump between users. There is a special supplemental group called "nopasswdlogin" that LightDM uses. Users that are in this group have the password prompt skipped at the console by LightDM. So, when I jump to a different user it goes directly to that user without asking for a password. It also means that user can be logged in to by anyone with access to the console. So, don't use this feature unless you (or everyone you trust) are the only one with access to the console.

    Lightdm includes a command called "dm-tool" to tell it to switch to a different user. read the man page for it to learn how to use it. i use it in those keyboard shortcut keys. for example, I have Alt+S programmed to execute "dm-tool switch-to-user skaperen".

    Xfce also lets each user have workspaces. these can be switched with the "wmctrl" command. I have workspace switching programmed on keyboard shortcuts, also.

    I now have 15 users logged in (of about 40 defined, used as a layer of compartmentalizing different things I do on my laptop) and each user has 10 workspaces. This gives me enough space and lets me switch fast enough that I use full screen or nearly full screen windows and apps in each workspace. When I watch YouTube videos, I can always watch them in full screen mode (nice for HD) and still switch around easily, while leaving them in full screen mode.
    Posted 12-01-2019 at 09:01 PM by Skaperen Skaperen is offline


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