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 Rectangular grid workspace layout for Cinnamon

Created 2 years ago, edited 2 years ago.
Status changed 1 year ago

22 votes

1. Problem Description

There are people, who tend to keep many work contexts,
which results in a large amount of windows persisting
for extended amounts of time.

As the amount of windows increases, the linear arrangement
of workspaces becomes more and more stifling -- at about
seven of them, or so (this, obviously varies, from person
to person), it starts defeating our spatial memory and reflexes,
complicating window management and navigation.

Humans are comfortable with operation in three dimensions,
and so the restriction to a single dimension, given
that it limits our ability to manage windows, looks

2. Proposal

Increase the workspace layout dimensionality limit to two,
by allowing for a rectangular grid arrangement.

This will allow to untap the underutilised spatial memory
and operation resources of our brain for window management.

Note, that while three-dimensional layout would be still closer
to a more complete exploitation of our innate capabilities,
the current state of interface mechanisms, the supporting
software stack and the scope of the Cinnamon project,
in particular, more or less preclude it.

None of the listed fundamental problems with the three-dimensionall
layout apply to the two-dimensional arrangement.

3. Current Practice:

Enlightenment (both DR16 and DR17), Unity, KWin, Metacity and
Compiz allow for a rectangular grid workspace layout.

Cinnamon and Gnome Shell only allow for a linear workspace

4. Cost to implementors

Unknown, but probably relatively small.

5. Cost to users

None. This is an upward-compatible addition.

6. Benefits

Increased potential for window management.
More workflows are enabled.

7. Discussion


1 year ago

For those who are interested, an applet now exists to provide a 2D workspace grid for Cinnamon.
1 year ago

After having actually tried the implementation, I must say that
the current implementation of the idea is incomplete.

As it stands, only the display arrangement was made grid-like,
and only in a non-customizable way:
- it seems to be impossible to directly go to the workspace
above or below the current one
- it seems to be impossible to control the grid dimensions -
e.g. 3x4 or 4x3

It looks as if there is a relevant issue registered in the tracker:
1 year ago

I'd like to express gratitude to everyone who made this possible!

This is serious joy..
1 year ago

This one feature would make a world of difference to me. I've always had virtual desktops set up in a grid over the years (going all the way back to FVWM on SunOS 4.1.3u1!). I understand that many folks prefer a linear setup, but some of us don't.

What I don't understand is why when googling a way to do this with Cinnamon I saw so many folks who seemed to say that linear was the only way and that's all there is to it. I'm not asking for it to be a default, just an option.

I know that this is just a "me too!" for _deepfire, but I'm hoping that more vocal support might convince the developers to give us this one. I'd try to look at it myself, but in comparing the learning curve of becoming familiar with the Cinnamon codebase to my available time, I realize that any promise that I'd try would be a hollow one.
2 years ago


Amazingly, I did cover this part -- see section #2, starting
with words "Note, that while three-dimensional layout would be still closer".. : -)
2 years ago

Why not 3D (or 4D :D) at all.  
2 years ago

I too, miss the ability to have a 2D arrangement for workspaces.  

Other ideas from _deepfire

No other ideas.