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Old 10-01-2021, 11:11 AM   #16
DavidMcCann
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Actually, I believe that virtual desktops were available as an add-on to Windows quite early (XP?) — you could download a patch from Microsoft — but hardly anyone knew about them and they couldn't be incorporated into the system because they made a lot of existing software crash.

I can't imagine doing without them. I presume those distros which don't set them up by default are a manifestation of the dumbing-down practiced to protect ex Windows users from getting confused, poor things!
 
Old 10-01-2021, 02:11 PM   #17
boughtonp
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Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
Actually, I believe that virtual desktops were available as an add-on to Windows quite early (XP?) — you could download a patch from Microsoft — but hardly anyone knew about them and they couldn't be incorporated into the system because they made a lot of existing software crash.
Yep - I was successfully using virtual desktops in Windows a couple of decades ago.

It was third-party software rather than a Microsoft patch, though presumably there had to be some form of Windows-level support for the tool to work - and it worked well - I never had any issues with crashes. (I also remember being confused that, despite whatever Linux-based OS/DE I was trying back then having native support, the functionality wasn't anywhere as good as what I was using in Windows.)

These days, I've got enough screens and don't often need to jump between contexts on a single system, so I rarely use virtual desktops for any OS, but that doesn't make it useless.

 
Old 10-02-2021, 02:09 PM   #18
mjolnir
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Originally Posted by hazel View Post
I have always found it very useful. Whatever gui I use (I like fluxbox best) I always set up the first desktop for general purpose use, the second for the internet, the third for system and administrative work and the fourth for reading documents and manuals.
I understand your point. I probably don't find much utility in multiple desktops because computers were only an integral part of my 'work force' life for a short period of time. Since I retired in '09 my life has been much more leisurely and I find no need to fill my computer screen with multiple open applications.
Just for kicks today I added another desktop to my Win10 install, booted Ubuntu 20.04 in WSL (Windows Sub-system for Linux) 2, and ran an xfce-4 desktop in an x server. Fun for a while switching back and forth but not really a necessity - for me at least.
 
Old 10-02-2021, 02:13 PM   #19
enigma9o7
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That's an interesting use of virtual desktops. A different desktop environment in each. I don't think we can do that in linux, and if we can, it'd be a waste of resources imo. But if I was running windows as primary OS, that sounds like really cool use of it. And windows never good for resource usage anyway, one of the main reasons some people (i.e me) use linux in the first place, so if I were runnig windows it'd be on some newfangled computer with tons of memory and cpu anyway (I'll no longer suffer using it on older PC now that I'm aware of linux, lightning fast even on machines a decade old...)

I guess Microsoft doing cool things these days. Already heard about wsl/wsl2 but didnt know you could run a desktop environment in a seperate virtual desktop. Very cool Microsoft, good on ya!

Last edited by enigma9o7; 10-02-2021 at 02:17 PM.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 06:27 AM   #20
Turbocapitalist
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Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
Legally it is ok to copy the look and feel of another program as long as the actual code is different.
I'm not sure that generalization stands. The specific case between M$ and Apple was undermined by the CEO, John Sculley, who had signed controversial agreement with M$ granting them, according to the judge, a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use components of Macintosh technology. I presume it was an oversight on the part of Sculley. Apparently the case enumerated close to 200 complaints of ripping off the Macintosh UI.

Quote:
A couple years later, Windows 2.0 arrived. It resembled the Macintosh interface much more closely than the first version. As a result, on March 17, 1988 — the date we’re commemorating today — Apple sued Microsoft for stealing its work.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for Apple. Judge William Schwarzer ruled that the existing license between Apple and Microsoft covered certain interface elements for the new Windows. Those that weren’t covered were not copyrightable.

https://www.cultofmac.com/470399/tod...ng-off-mac-os/
Anyway, it almost killed Apple. Later the game development for W95/W98 got tied to development for NT and that was tied to a clause preventing the same team from also developing for Apple, though not by name. That was too many levels of indirection and M$ got away with it and the best games stopped turning up on MacOS and started showing up on Windows.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 08:06 AM   #21
Ser Olmy
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Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
Well, to be perfectly fair, Windows since day-one used a fundamentally different strategy to provide windowing. Linux uses a client-server strategy, even when both the "client" and the "server" are running on the same machine. Windows, on the other hand, uses bitmaps. Which is why Windows' "remote access" clients are considerably more cumbersome and less efficient. (Just look at the source code of the various Linux clients to see what I'm talking about.)
And with Wayland, Linux desktops are jettisoning all that in order to ... actually, I'm not sure what the main purpose of Wayland is, other than being "not X."
Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
And, to be even more "perfectly fair," the strategy chosen by the Windows engineers at that time was actually defensible. But Microsoft has been obliged to live with it ever since.
And they've been hard at work trying to correct that mistake since at least 1996. Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition was released in 1998, and they've been improving both the server and the client/protocol ever since.

It seems everybody's trying to create the perfect Remote Desktop (or at least Remote Application) experience (Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce NOW, Windows 365 Cloud PC), while the developers of the various Linux Desktop Environments are busy making sure Linux won't be able to compete in that space.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 08:29 AM   #22
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
... actually, I'm not sure what the main purpose of Wayland is, other than being "not X."
In addition to being a complex, tangled code base, there are some unfixable flaws in X. See: The Linux Security Circus: On GUI isolation. Wayland and one other, I forget the name, were supposed to address those and other problems. A lot of progress was made quickly and then suddenly advancement seemed to slow or even stop, as if some want to keep X around. Now many years have passed and there has been little adoption among the distros. Also, it is really unclear, at least out here in the public, about what the current development status of Wayland is, or even what its capabilities are.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 09:27 AM   #23
Ser Olmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
In addition to being a complex, tangled code base, there are some unfixable flaws in X. See: The Linux Security Circus: On GUI isolation.
That article contains one really good point, and a lot of alarmism.

The valid point is that under X, clients have access to server events even when the client window is not in focus. That means client A can read keystrokes you're typing into client B, which is completely unnecessary and possibly a security issue, if you run untrusted applications (which people do).

But in any desktop environment, some information is shared between all clients/applications, because that's the entire idea of the environment. For instance, did you know that if you copy some text in a document you're working on, every single active application on your computer, including any web pages that are currently open, can access that text and do with it whatever it wants? *scary music*

Because of course they can; that's the entire point of having a clipboard. That's not a security issue, that's the clipboard doing what it's supposed to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
Wayland and one other, I forget the name, were supposed to address those and other problems.
There were some valid concerns, sure, and there are indeed cases where it makes more sense to throw everything out and start from scratch, rather than keep patching an old system that really wasn't designed to do what you want.

Now, on the other hand...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
A lot of progress was made quickly and then suddenly advancement seemed to slow or even stop, as if some want to keep X around. Now many years have passed and there has been little adoption among the distros. Also, it is really unclear, at least out here in the public, about what the current development status of Wayland is, or even what its capabilities are.
...one would do well to keep in mind that when you're throwing out the old to get rid of all the design shortcomings, unless you are intimately familiar with the reasoning behind the choices made by the original developers, you risk introducing entirely new design shortcomings that will end up biting you in the rear end.

(For instance, the Wayland developers' default response to critics pointing out the lack of network transparency seems to be "duh, just use VNC.")

Last edited by Ser Olmy; 10-03-2021 at 09:35 AM.
 
Old 10-03-2021, 05:47 PM   #24
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
And with Wayland, Linux desktops are jettisoning all that in order to ... actually, I'm not sure what the main purpose of Wayland is, other than being "not X."
Geez.

I read your post and wanted to disagree with you... But I can't because you're right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
And they've been hard at work trying to correct that mistake since at least 1996. Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition was released in 1998, and they've been improving both the server and the client/protocol ever since.
I also have to agree with you there. Having used RDP productively on a daily basis since around early 2017, I've found it to be very good. From a security perspective though, I'm still not 100% comfortable exposing a Windows box to the internet, so I use VPNs to alleviate my own concerns about security. That way everything can stay behind firewalls, I can access all of my machines and all of the traffic is encrypted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
Now, on the other hand......one would do well to keep in mind that when you're throwing out the old to get rid of all the design shortcomings, unless you are intimately familiar with the reasoning behind the choices made by the original developers, you risk introducing entirely new design shortcomings that will end up biting you in the rear end.
Right. And would using a complementary technology such as an encrypted VPN eliminate the security shortcomings of X? That's still not 100% clear to me, because I don't know a lot about security. It just seems that people have been saying that X is insecure for a long time. Meanwhile, security seems to have "grown up" around it to the point where those claims are possibly no longer valid...? The technology itself might be insecure, but using firewalls and VPNs we can make it secure. Would I be right in saying that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
(For instance, the Wayland developers' default response to critics pointing out the lack of network transparency seems to be "duh, just use VNC.")
That's rather terrible.

Last edited by rkelsen; 10-03-2021 at 06:27 PM.
 
Old 10-04-2021, 09:01 AM   #25
Ser Olmy
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Originally Posted by rkelsen View Post
The technology itself might be insecure, but using firewalls and VPNs we can make it secure. Would I be right in saying that?
You're not wrong.

There are indeed some issues with the design of X. For historical reasons, confidentiality was not considered when the protocol was originally designed, and likewise no-one thought about the possibility of malicious clients connecting to the X server.

The article referenced earlier in this thread made a big deal of X clients having access to all keyboard events. But surely, if a malicious application is actually running on your system, you have bigger problems than just the possibility of it snooping on your keystrokes.

So how about instead of simply running the application on your system and having it connect to the X server, you run it inside a virtualized/containerized environment? Now the hypervisor can easily filter X events (or anything else, really), and as a bonus the application has very limited access to local storage.
This would have been unthinkable in the 1970s and 1980s, but is easily achievable with any consumer-grade PC today.

We're currently on version 11, revision 7 of the X protocol (X11R7). Should it be further improved upon? Certainly. I'd even agree that sufficient redesign is warranted that one should seriously consider sacrificing at least some backwards compatibility and bumping the major version number. But I really don't think getting rid of network transparency is a good idea.
 
Old 10-13-2021, 02:47 PM   #26
obobskivich
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Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
Actually, I believe that virtual desktops were available as an add-on to Windows quite early (XP?) — you could download a patch from Microsoft — but hardly anyone knew about them and they couldn't be incorporated into the system because they made a lot of existing software crash.

I can't imagine doing without them. I presume those distros which don't set them up by default are a manifestation of the dumbing-down practiced to protect ex Windows users from getting confused, poor things!
Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
Yep - I was successfully using virtual desktops in Windows a couple of decades ago.

It was third-party software rather than a Microsoft patch, though presumably there had to be some form of Windows-level support for the tool to work - and it worked well - I never had any issues with crashes. (I also remember being confused that, despite whatever Linux-based OS/DE I was trying back then having native support, the functionality wasn't anywhere as good as what I was using in Windows.)

These days, I've got enough screens and don't often need to jump between contexts on a single system, so I rarely use virtual desktops for any OS, but that doesn't make it useless.

It was a PowerToy for Windows XP ('DeskMan.exe' aka 'Virtual Desktop Manager'):
https://archive.org/details/powertoys
https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/wind...on-windows-xp/

I'm not sure about on Vista or 7 - and even on XP it wasn't as 'seamless' as modern virtual desktops (e.g. in xfce or macOS) - the start menu/start bar still behaved as a system global if I remember right (this thread seems to confirm this: https://www.vistax64.com/threads/mul...desktops.3953/), and as DavidMcCann points out, it could cause things to crash (if I remember right running any Direct3D application in a window with DeskMan.exe running was playing with fire)).

I'm sure there were third party applications that did this a lot better - I remember a few names like 'Display Fusion,' 'UltraMon,' and 'Window Blinds' but I couldn't point to any of them as specifically offering this functionality or not. Some quick web searching indicates that, as broughtonp suspected, the underlying API has been there, there's just not been much userland implementation (beyond the Microsoft 'Power Toys' tools) - see here: https://www.howtogeek.com/195962/unl...icrosoft-tool/
 
Old 10-16-2021, 03:07 PM   #27
newbiesforever
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Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
The thread title needs some work. Laughing at an OS is every bit as futile laughing at your toaster - or going outside and laughing at some brick walls or lamp posts...

"Linux" doesn't have that feature, as Linux is a kernel - it doesn't implement features such as multiple desktops. Some window managers or desktop environments may have that feature.

I just managed to find the feature in Windows 10 - I don't have a use for it and never have had a use for it in KDE, gnome, XFCE, etc, etc, either.

With gnome being a dodgy Apple rip off, originally developed by a self confessed Apple fanboi (who now works for MS), and KDE and a few others, essentially aping the Windows desktop paradigm, focusing on MS adopting a feature which is arguably little used, seems a bit of a misfire....
The thread title stands. If you can't find humor in laughing at toasters, walls and lamp-posts, you might broaden your sense of humor. And if laughing makes one feel good, it's not futile. If I were to read some biography of Albert Camus, I wouldn't be surprised to find that he found something funny (not ironic, funny) at some point in his life.

As for saying Linux is a kernel...https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...eh-4175671773/ . You're not the only "Linux is a kernel" nitpicker on LQ.

Last edited by newbiesforever; 10-16-2021 at 03:09 PM.
 
  


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