Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
GUI KDE Technology

Will Tabbed Windows Be the Next Big Thing? 528

Posted by timothy
from the oh-for-the-love-of-gimp dept.
kai_hiwatari writes "The recently released KDE SC 4.4 Beta 1 has introduced tabbed windows as a new feature. It is now possible to tab together windows from different applications. This looks like it will be a very good productivity tool. Like the tabbed browsers, this may well end up as a feature in all desktop environments in the years ahead."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Will Tabbed Windows Be the Next Big Thing?

Comments Filter:
  • So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by drijen (919269) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:42PM (#30346072)
    Why is this a big deal?
    Fluxbox (and probably something else before *box) had tab grouping windows long time ago.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ultrabot (200914) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:45PM (#30346100)

      Why is this a big deal?

      Fluxbox (and probably something else before *box) had tab grouping windows long time ago.

      It's a big deal because a mainstream WM is finally adding it; and people don't need to lose all the KDE goodness just to get this feature.

      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @07:30PM (#30347066)
        Yeah, but you don't have to use KWin to use the rest of KDE. Once upon a time I used Windowmaker as a WM and KDE as a DE and it was pretty nice. I lost very little KDE goodness.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by honkycat (249849)

          Yeah, but try explaining that to a non-technical user. Good luck getting past the definition of a window manager.... getting it into the default install is a crucial step to making it "real" in the sense that non-gurus actually use it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mikael_j (106439)

      To my knowledge PWM had tabs before both Fluxbox and Ion (although I've heard scores of Fluxbox users who have claimed that Fluxbox was the first WM with tabs even though Fluxbox didn't even exist until some time after PWM was released (the other popular lightweight WM at the time was Blackbox and Fluxbox was, to many PWM users, basically just Blackbox with PWM's tabs)).

      /Mikael

  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot&morpheussoftware,net> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:44PM (#30346094) Homepage
    Really, what's the point of having windows not Maximized. As far as I can tell, you'd be better off with the taskbar in windows being like tabs, and being able to drag tabs together to form split pane views for side-by-side work. I hate having to manually drag the edges of windows, and I hate when they are not fullscreen (or minimized). Yes I know about "Tile Windows Horizontally" but it just makes extra fluff for the borders of each window compared to a tabbed/paned view. Pretty much a big failure on OS X that their Maximize doesn't even always make a window full screen.
    • Not sure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WiiVault (1039946) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:49PM (#30346152)
      I was under the impression that in OS X maximize sized the window to the content. For instance if the thing is small it will not expand the window and fill it up with whitespace. Seems a bit smarter to me than having an overly large window. Of course if the content spans past the dimensions of the monitor then it will go full screen to try and fit as much possible in.
      • Re:Not sure (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Firehed (942385) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:00PM (#30346270) Homepage

        Indeed - and for this reason, it's a "zoom" button rather than "maximize" (which is just being pedantic, but I figured it's worth pointing out). Anyways, when I first switched over to the Mac platform that drove me insane. After a couple of weeks I got used to the change, and after a couple more weeks found it far more useful than having a single window fill the screen. Since windows aren't taking more space than they need, it allows me to either have more windows visible (on a large monitor, anyways) or have at least some of the other apps I'm working with partly exposed so I can click to them more easily.

        Of course, there are some situations where I want maximized windows for distraction-free work, but that's pretty limited in nature (reading or writing, in the English not code sense) and many of the apps that are very text-heavy have the zoom button do a typical maximize for that precise reason.

        And still, if it bothers you that tremendously, you can always drag the window to the full screen size.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That's exactly my understanding of the way this should work, and OS X generally does it quite well IMHO. It does fail pretty bad in some applications though, notably MS Office apps. But the GP view is 180 degrees from my ideal user experience; the way Windows handles maximization of windows is one of the bigger reasons I have always preferred MacOS. I *like* being able to see other windows behind where I am when I'm working in multiple programs (which is almost always). I can't stand opening up a 2 para

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZERO1ZERO (948669) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:50PM (#30346168)
      The point of the windows is that you can drag stuff between them, you can't do this efficiently if they are maximised. And view two or more thing at once together. Manually dragging the edges of windows can suck, but in 'traditional' setups, you use the lower right corner (which is a big target) to adjust the size and the title bar (which is a big target) to adjust the position. Most Linux WMs also have ALT shortcut which makes large percentages of the windows 'hot' for adjustment.

      Taking it a step further, (or back depending on POV) the original Mac WIMP implementation has a metphor of 'the desktop' and each window represents a _document_ or a physical _thing_. Desks are generally large enough to handle more than one bit of paper for example, and usually once document doesn't take up the whole desk.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Furthermore, you can click a taskbar button, ctrl-right-click another taskbar button and select for example the menuitem that displays the windows side-by-side. Very handy, if you want to compare two documents, or if you want to display SDK info on the left and your code on the right, and so on. You can show multiple code windows on screen. Or a graph and a database table. Or dragging files from A to B. Or keeping half-an-eye on something while doing something else. GP would start to miss non-maximised wind

      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zhiroc (909773) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:53PM (#30346758)
        Something I've always liked about the "old" X windows model that I dislike about Windows (and I think Mac as well), is the assumption that the application with the focus should be the one that is in front of all others. There are a lot of times when I'd like to type into one app, say a text editor, while viewing something else, like a browser loaded with a documentation page, where I want to see the whole browser while I type, even if that means just seeing a few lines of what I'm typing.

        I know that GNOME allows a focus-follows-mouse mode, but it is partly incomplete as clicking in the window with the focus brings that window to the front. If anyone knows how to disable that, I'd appreciate it.
    • Really, what's the point of having windows not Maximized. As far as I can tell, you'd be better off with the taskbar in windows being like tabs, and being able to drag tabs together to form split pane views for side-by-side work. I hate having to manually drag the edges of windows, and I hate when they are not fullscreen (or minimized). Yes I know about "Tile Windows Horizontally" but it just makes extra fluff for the borders of each window compared to a tabbed/paned view. Pretty much a big failure on OS X that their Maximize doesn't even always make a window full screen.

      It sounds like you just want Windows 7.

      • I went to the trouble of logging in to say this and saw your post. I agree. Windows already allows a side-by-side window dragging that is very useful on a widescreen display and two documents.

        The root of the window 'tabbing' issue is already addressed in Win7, too, but with a more visual versions of tabs on the new task bar. hover/click the icon and get a list of windows a particular application has spawned. You can make it look a little different, but the idea has already been done.

        Honestly, I think it is

    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:05PM (#30346326)
      You might as well ask what's the point of having windows. The concept never really caught on in Windows, in spite of its name, but it's very useful to be able to have many things on screen at once, especially when none of them requires a full screen anyway.

      Take this web page: if you have a large widescreen monitor and you maximize the browser, you get a silly layout, with very long text lines that make reading harder. Many websites work around this problem by using a fixed width layout, but then you just end up with two large empty areas on the sides of the actual webpages; or, worse yet, they may be filled with animated advertisements. A better solution is to make the browser window only as wide as it needs to be, so you can use the leftover space to keep an eye on other things, such as your email or an IM conversation. If you have a large monitor, you can even open two web pages side by side.
      • by Ark42 (522144)
        I think most people are missing what I said here. You don't give up the ability to have two windows side by side if you can't size windows arbitrarily. You would drag the tabs into different workspaces which would create a divider bar, letting you have as many things side by side, tiled, or whatever. You just give up the extra cruft like window frames and borders. Each app gets a tab, and multiple tabs can be visible at any given time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BlindSpot (512363)

        Back in the old (3.x) days of Windows it was much more common to have actual windows. Then MDI came along and limited you to moving docs within the space of the parent window, so the only thing was to maximize the Window if you wanted to compare docs. Then toolbar and menu bloat came along so if your window wasn't maximized you couldn't see half the commands. So now I think it's probably more habit than anything else.

        Also I disagree with you. I find Slashdot and most other pages (as well as any app with

        • Re:Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @07:52PM (#30347238)
          Typographers know that overlong lines make reading harder from over five centuries of experience printing books. User interface specialists confirm it. If you like 400-character lines, maybe you're special, or maybe you simply don't know any better.
          I mean no offense, but your other remark suggests the latter: I have been browsing with a non-maximized window for years, and I can assure you that there is no "constant resizing and repositioning". You can just keep your windows at slightly over 1000 pixels wide, and it works fine for all websites.
          When you do decide to adjust things a bit (perhaps to make more room for keeping another another window visible), dragging the corner of the window (I use a Mac) is no more work than clicking on a tab or on a button in the taskbar, actions you do thousands of times a day without complaining. You're just adding maybe five clicks a day to those thousands.

          OTOH, you make some good points about the history of Windows.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by moosesocks (264553)

            Same reason why newspapers and magazines print in columns. Unfortunately, proper columns still aren't a part of the CSS specification, meaning that it'll be several years before we see them in the wild on the web.

            A draft specification has languished within the w3c for 8 or so years. Firefox and webkit both offer [quirksmode.org] their own proprietary implementations that should be vaguely compatible with the draft specification.

            IE doesn't offer support for anything of this sort. (In fact, Microsoft's own documentation of

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      I've always regarded the popularity of the whole "all windows maximised all the time" way of using a computer as a relic from the days when those using MS Windows normally ran it at 640x480 or 800x600, meanwhile the UNIX and Mac users generally drove their monitors at much higher resolutions (1280x1024 @ 72Hz was a pretty common *nix setup in the days of 640x480 @ 60Hz with Windows) and thus became used to running their windows as windows as opposed to "walls" (yes, that's meant to be a bit of mockery).

      /Mi

    • I take it that you don't have a 30 inch wide screen monitor.
      A excessively wide page is hard to read.

      • by Ark42 (522144)
        No, only 22" widescreen, but you obviously missed the point about dragging the tabs to create panes, or workspaces, where by you still get to see 2, 3, or however many windows side by side or tiled in a grid. You just lose the cruft around the window frames and the ability to see 3 pixels of the desktop between your windows because you didn't drag them exactly to be side by side.
    • Maximizing made sense when we were all using 640x480 screens. Every pixel was precious and had to be dedicated to the task at hand.

      Today, with huge, HD-resolution widescreens becoming standard, it really doesn't make much sense. I'd much rather use the extra space to display two files side-by-side than one file with lots of extra blank space. Even if I don't have enough space to show both of them completely, I'd rather have one of them peeking out to the side than covered up completely.

      • by Ark42 (522144)
        And what about a tabbed and paned interface loses the ability to see two windows side by side? You can easily have 3 windows maximized at once, with different panes and drag bars between them for resizing the 3 workspaces. I'm just talking about getting rid of the window borders and crap you don't need in order to work with multiple windows at once.
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_document_interface [wikipedia.org]

      Only difference is it's usually a menu that changes between maximised documents. We've had this in Windows for a very long time, but it's fallen out of favour. Doing it tabbed based might be the fashion of the day but won't get over the issues that led to its decrease in popularity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you option click the green button on the window in OS X, it will make it fullscreen, much like your maximize feature in Windows.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Pretty much a big failure on OS X that their Maximize doesn't even always make a window full screen.

      OS X doesn't have Maximize. It has Zoom. It's only had Zoom since version 1.0 in 1984.

      Apple's never implemented Maximize, and they've never pretended, even for a second, that Zoom is the same thing as Maximize. So the failure is you, I'm afraid.

  • Tabbed browsing makes sense. You have one application, a web browser, with multiple pages, taking up less screen space. It's tabbed so you don't have to click on a bunch of minimized windows or use Expose or whatever shiny workalike the Gnome / KDE bunch has now to find what you want, and so you aren't cluttering up the desktop with a hundred web browser windows.

    However, there is something to be said for separating out the different applications and simply clicking the icon or what have you, to switch bet

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#30346258)

      Tabbed browsing makes sense. You have one application, a web browser, with multiple pages, taking up less screen space. It's tabbed so you don't have to click on a bunch of minimized windows or use Expose or whatever shiny workalike the Gnome / KDE bunch has now to find what you want, and so you aren't cluttering up the desktop with a hundred web browser windows.

      However, there is something to be said for separating out the different applications and simply clicking the icon or what have you, to switch between them. In fact, isn't that what Windows has had for about 15 years now? Sure, the application tab bar goes on the bottom the screen by default, and is called the "Start Menu" but it is essentially, exactly what is proposed here.

      The problem is that you end up filling up the bar, and then having to collapse the bar in one of several ways, all of which are annoying.

      Expose, or whatever the Gnome / KDE equivalent is, is so much handier.

      Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that doesn't matter!

      Switcher [insentient.net] is a Windows version of Expose which offers great customization. If you want to combine the best of OSX and Windows, you absolutely need Switcher. I find myself using the taskbar 2/3 of the time, but there are definitely times when the wonderful Expose-like behavior is the most efficient way to switch between windows. Map it to a 4th or 5th mouse button.

      • Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

        If you want to combine the best of OSX and Windows, you absolutely need Switcher.

        Actually, if you combine the best of OS X and Windows, what you get is OS X.

    • Yes, because clicking on a tiny little tab with truncated text in it is SOOOoooo much better than clicking on a tiny little minimized button with truncated text.

  • We've already got the task bar, which pretty much works like tabs. Plus with the task bar you get the novel thing of being able to place multiple windows side by side, whereas with tabs and mdi interfaces in general this ability seems to be generally limited and/or removed lately (unless you open a new window of course, but this renders tabs useless)

    How is this a novel step forward?
  • How's this any different to the existing task bar, which shows a button/tab for each application? Move it up to the top if you want to.

    If every app becomes tabbed by the OS, then they are basically re-writing the taskbar.

    I think the key feature they are omitting in this article is the ability to *group* apps into different tabbed windows. So that the task bar is used to select the group of apps, then the tab to select the individual app.

  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:47PM (#30346118) Journal

    Isn't that pretty much a given feature of Chrome OS?

  • Window tabs are already here!

    They're in the taskbar.
  • Idk man, I've been using wintabber for well over a year. It's great for poorly written apps that want to open hundreds of windows. (ATT's OOS ticketing system for example). Tabbing has some nice advantages.
  • Gimmick (Score:2, Interesting)

    Sounds like a gimmick to me.

    That being said, I think in the end we're going to have tabbed windows because the future is more likely to be running in a light-weight web-browser interface to the Cloud on any device you can imagine, rather than a resource-heavy hardware-dependent Windows or OS-X environment. How long it will take to get there is the only question.

    The improvement we need in this area (are you listening Firefox people) is a way to group tabs the way I can group layers in Photoshop so that
    • by turing_m (1030530)

      in the end we're going to have tabbed windows because the future is more likely to be running in a light-weight web-browser interface to the Cloud on any device you can imagine, rather than a resource-heavy hardware-dependent Windows or OS-X environment.

      In the future how many operating systems or applications are going to be considered resources-heavy compared to the hardware of the day? These days the browser is probably the most resource intensive app I run regularly. As hardware improves, the apps shoul

    • by vlm (69642)

      That being said, I think in the end we're going to have tabbed windows because

      GUI designers need to justify their existence, so the GUI must expand. Of course this means the "content" shrinks.

      The good news, is we'll all have 40 inch ultra high res monitors.

      The bad news, is just like cable tv news channels or "modern" desktop environments, those displays will be framed to death until "your content" is about the size of a postcard and "their content" fills the rest of the 40 inch screen.

  • Correct level (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bvankuik (203077) <slashdot_bvankui ... uik.nl minus bsd> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:59PM (#30346262)

    Giving up modpoints for this: this is an awesome feature. Basically this will do what the Google Chrome browser does, except now at the correct level.Like managing window size and position, it seems to me the tabbing of windows should be done at the Window Manager level. Currently, each app tries to solve this separately. That is a waste of resources.

    • by Barny (103770)

      Agree, they could take it a step further by having a limited set of functions a window tabbed with another could share/use, for instance:

      Recently opened document.
      "Insert into ...." effectively a one click copy and past directly to the curser/field on the other app

      An interesting thing is the Eve-Online game interface has had this for a long long time, you can dock multiple windows together and then tab between them, even pull them apart again.

  • Oh, FFS ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:01PM (#30346276) Homepage Journal

    When I clicked on this story, I knew there would countless comments saying, "We've already got this, it's called the taskbar" or words to that effect.

    It's not the same thing. With windows containing tabs for multiple applications and/or documents, you don't have one taskbar; you have as many "taskbars" as you have windows open. This isn't necessarily something you'd want to do all the time, but I can certainly see how it would be useful in some situations. If I'm working on multiple code files, and for each of those files I have two or three browser windows open containing references for the specific file (a common enough occurrence in my field, which is bioinformatics; it's considered good form to put references to the appropriate journal articles in the code comments) then it would be very nice to be able to group the code and the browser windows in this way -- i.e., instead of a few code tabs in one window and a bunch of reference tabs in another window, for each chunk of code there would be associated references. If I could save those multi-tabbed windows and open them back up the same way the next time I got back to work on the project, so much the better.

    • by vlm (69642)

      It's not the same thing. With windows containing tabs for multiple applications and/or documents, you don't have one taskbar; you have as many "taskbars" as you have windows open. This isn't necessarily something you'd want to do all the time, but I can certainly see how it would be useful in some situations. If I'm working on multiple code files, and for each of those files I have two or three browser windows open containing references for the specific file

      KDE "kpager" the desktop switcher and right click configure KDE panel - uncheck "Show windows from all desktops"

      Or it sounds like you're describing emacs?

      Or it sounds like you're describing a development IDE?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        No, that's not what I'm talking about. (Since I'm on OS X, I don't know about kpager, so take this FWIW.) What I have right now is

        Window 1: BBEdit tab 1, tab 2, tab 3
        Window 2: Seamonkey tab 1, tab 2, ...
        Window 3: Safari tab 1, tab 2 ...

        What I'd like to have, or at least be able to have, is:

        Window 1: BBEdit file 1, associated Seamonkey tab(s), associated Safari tab(s)
        Window 2: BBEdit file 2, associated Seamonkey tab(s), associated Safari tab(s)
        Window 3: BBEdit file 3, associated Seamonkey tab(s), ass

  • by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdot.hackish@org> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:06PM (#30346332) Homepage

    I've been using the Ion window manager [cs.tut.fi] for years. The principle behind it is keyboard-controlled tabbed and tiled windows. There's an entire wiki list [wikipedia.org] of similar tiling window managers, which are all also tabbed window managers. Ion will also let you create non-tilled windows that are still tabbed, so exactly what KDE is now doing.

    WMs that can do this have been around forever, but it's nice that they're finally going more "mainstream". I'm still never going to use KDE or Gnome (way to heavyweight), but it's nice that they might be a more reasonable option in the future.

  • Chrome OS proposes that the apps are in the web, and put each page in a tab (or a separate window). This KDE proposal goes the other way around. All are native apps, and you can put them in a browser-like windows, tabs included. Microsoft should had done that first, as their business is more focused in apps than in web (even worse, they dont have native virtual desktops as alternate app organization/grouping as KDE), and blurring that line putting their apps on a new, web-like environment looks like an appr
  • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:11PM (#30346382)

    It's rather disappointing that even now there are still people who think that "bars" crammed full of "tabs" with truncated text are somehow a game-changing paradigm shift compared to "bars" crammed full of "buttons" with truncated text.

    More of the same, please!

    • by Xiaran (836924)
      I don't think it game changing. But there is the important difference that I only have one taskbar. With my browsing I will tend to have multiple browser windows each with multiple tabs... each window will be a different "topic" such as a particular thing I'm looking up... or a personal window with my email etc. If people are using tabs and only have one browser window then I think they are doing it wrong.
    • I personally like the idea of having tabbed windows, however in support of your argument it's worth noting that KDE 4 already supports arbitrary drag-n-drop grouping of apps into named taskbar buttons: http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/3864 [kdedevelopers.org]

  • And has had it for years. It's useful for things like grouping together PDF documents, or say, a separate terminal window to Gvim for coding and compiling, or the like.

  • So far I've tried several releases of KDE4 and every one of them has been buggy as hell. Constant crashes, graphics glitches, and general random unpolished fuckups.

    How about locking down functionality for a few months and focusing on stability? It's gotten so bad I've switched over to Gnome after many, MANY years of being an adamant KDE supporter.

    • I've found the desktop reasonably stable since the KDE 4.1-4.2 era but I have also found that the experience varies a bit between distros. It's worth trying it out under a distro with a known-solid KDE 4 implementation before making a final judgement. (You may have already tried this, just thought it was worth noting).

  • My first computer was a Compaq Presario with a Pentium 75 processor and a 650 Megabyte hard drive. It came with Windows 3.1x (not sure the exact version) but it came out the same year Windows 95 was released because I only used that operating system for a short amount of time.

    What I remember distinctly is that Compaq included this program which had a tabbed interface for organizing your applications which when I upgraded the Windows 95 the "Start Menu" felt like a downgrade.
  • Windows 1.0 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kayamon (926543)

    Isn't this basically Windows 1.0? All applications tiled onto fullscreen?

    What goes around comes around...

  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @06:31PM (#30346570) Homepage

    Don't think GNOME has done this, don't know about XFCE. Compiz can do it, plus at least some basic tiling I think. And obviously not on Win or Mac. So KDE it the most "mainstream" desktop to have tabbed windows so far. But it's far from a new invention. There has also been talk of tiling support for KWin, the KDE window manager, which would make it even more useful. Various window managers using tabbing / tiling exist, such as ion, dwm, wmii, Xmonad, etc. They're nice but I missed the integration of having a full DE (though you can get it if you try). Partiwm is a project to create a more DE-friendly tabbing window manager but AFAICS it's gone a bit off track since its creator invented xpra and concentrated on that instead...

    Friends of mine have observed that tabbing in the WM makes a lot of sense. Tab together a load of single browser instances and you have a multi-process web browser. OK, so it's not quite Chrome in security features but it's a heck of a lot simpler. Tab a load of terminals together and get a slick multi-terminal app. Tab OpenOffice together with your web browser whilst you're writing a report and researching stuff online. Tab together emacs + console running LaTeX + PDF viewer and get an integrated development environment for scientific papers. Nice.

    I'm exaggerating the simplicity slightly but the point is that things are far more flexible if commonly-needed features (how many apps use tabs these days) are provided by the platform where possible.

  • by GeLeTo (527660) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @07:00PM (#30346812)
    Haiku OS has a tabbed windows prototype - see a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccniJHjo_Uw [youtube.com] You can skip to 3:40 to see it in action
  • YouTube have it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Macka (9388) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:47PM (#30347714)

    There's a nice walk through of some of the KDE 4.4 additions in this YouTube clip [youtube.com]. The Window Grouping preview starts at 4:28 into the show.

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:50PM (#30347740)

    Isn't the point of having a windowed user interface that you can multiple windows concurrently open _next_ to each other? If you tab them contextually you then limit interaction to a single window. So, next big thing? How about, the old thing we all know?

    It's an interesting idea to group applications by task into what would essentially become an IDE. That model only works if you can save and restore the context in some efficient manner that you can tear-down and rebuild on the fly.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @10:22PM (#30348472)

    Long ago, tiling window managers were more popular than they are today. They allow you to split the screen into a bunch of non-overlapping regions and then place windows within each region, usually using some sort of tab or menu selection mechanism.

    You can still get these today in the form of Ion and RatPoison and similar window managers. Unfortunately, window managers like Ion have a horrendously bad user interface, using myriads of keyboard commands and providing little in the way of visual guidance.

    It would be really nice if some of the major desktop environments actually provided a user-friendly tiling window manager. This would mean using standard "split window" components for splitting the screen, and indicating available windows within each tile using tabs. Tabs could be dragged and dropped between tiles.

    I think this would actually help a lot of beginners, since overlapping windows still confuse many users.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

Working...