Credits for the idea go to Mr. Fantastic of kde-artists.org forums.

KDE and other Linux-desktops offer a nifty feature many of us have learned to
love: the virtual desktops (VD). With VDs, the user can group his apps in to
different desktops , and make the desktop seem nice and tidy. But many new
users (or old users for that matter) never really got the hang of the VDs. Me
included. I know they are there, yet I only use them rarely. And while VDs
work fine, the idea could be refined for the 21st century. Presenting: The
Strip.

Description

The Strip is a system that replaces Kicker and VD's by an integrated system
know as The Strip. basic idea of The Strip is that the desktop is a virtual
area that expands beyond the boundaries of the screen. We do have something
like this already: when user moves the cursor to the edge of the screen, the
desktop can be made to switch to next VD. But this proposal takes the concept
to a next level.

When the user moves the cursor to the edge of the screen (or by using other
means, described below), the screen would smoothly start to scroll to that
direction. There would be no separate desktops as such, there would just be a
virtual "strip" of desktop, that the user could smoothly navigate. Apps could
be located in different parts of the strip, and the user could switch between
them easily.

In the bottom of the screen we would have the Navigation-strip. It would show
the strip, and the apps user has running on it. The user could launch
different apps to different parts of the strip, and they would be displayed
in corresponding location on the navigation-strip. The user could click on
the app, and he would be taken to the correct location on the strip, with the
app up & running. The Navigation-strip would contain a viewfinder or
something that show the user the area of the strip he's currently looking at.

The user could navigate The Strip using different means:

- He could move the cursor to the edge of the screen, at which point the
screen would start to scroll
- He could navigate by using the keyboard
- He could navigate by clicking around on the navigation-strip and/or by
dragging the viewfinder on the navigation-strip.

Details & Rationale

This approach could be used to reduce the amount of manual window-management,
since there would be lots more space for the windows. Instead of being
confined to dedicated desktop, there less need to move windows around.

This approach could also minimize the need for minimizing apps. But, there
might still be a need to remove the app-windows from the desktop. In this
approach, instead of minimizing the apps to the taskbar, they would be pushed
to the background (although the possibility to really minimize could still be
there). While in the background, the app-windows would be transparent and
smaller than regular windows. And when the user scrolls the strip, the
windows would stay still (the windows don't move, it's the user that moves).
This could have a cool piece of eye-candy dedicated to it:
parallax-scrolling. As in: when the user scrolls the strip, the app-windows
that are in the background (pushed back), would move away from sight slower
than the windows in the foreground would. This would give the user a
enchanced feeling of depth and 3D.

Further clarification: when you are sitting in a train and look out the
window, the trees next to the train move past you very fast, while mountains
in the background seem to be moving a lot slower. This is because the
mountains are further away from the viewer than the trees are. So having
parallax-scrolling in the desktop would (like I said) make the desktop seem
"deeper". And users would be familiar with the effect since they see it every
day in real-life.

There would be some static elements (elements that don't move when the user
scrolls the strip) on the desktop:

- The navigation-strip
- Icons and plasmoids
- the background-image

This would mean that when the user moves along the strip, the app-windows
(both active and inactive) would move about of view, but other elements would
stay put.

The desktop would contain four layers.

First Layer: The Navigation-strip
Second Layer: Active app-windows
Third Layer: Inactive app-windows
Fourth layer: Icons, plasmoids and desktop-background

The idea of layers is to demonstrate what objects can cover other objects.
Objects on the first layer can cover items on second, third and fourth
layers. Items on the second layer can cover object on third and fourth
layers, but not objects on the first layer. And so forth. Third and fourth
layers could be switched, I'm not 100% sure which would be better approach.

Opinions?

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