KDE Activities and Virtual Desktops and The Cube

As I mentioned in my last post , I was having trouble figuring out how to assign Desktop Activities in KDE 4.6 to virtual desktops. I like the concept of activities, especially being able to turn them off and on, having titles, as well as the flexibility that they provide. I never have much gone in for virtual desktops, but activities are something I want to make use of as they seem to fit what I want my laptop to do.

I would really like to be able to have these show on my desktop cube, or whichever switcher I end up liking. Unfortunately these switchers look to be virtual-desktop-only 🙁

Normally , you can consider a virtual desktop to be a sub-set of an Activity. So each Activity can have a number of desktops. However There is a way to make your desktops into activities – within that main activity.

It is actually pretty easy to set up:

First you turn off all your Activities but your main one. While it isn’t 100 % necessary, it makes things much easier as you won’t inadvertently switch activities, or in my case getting lost as to which activity/desktop I am really in.

Here, I am using the Activity Manager widget, plasma-widget-activitymanager in your favorite package manager. I find it a great tool when playing with activities.

Next, you go to your pager, right-click on it and add the number of desktops you want, in my case I have 4. Now go to System Settings, Workspace Behavior, and make sure that “Different widgets for each desktop” is checked.

Now, you can go to each of your virtual desktops and customize them. You can change the Activity type and background image by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Desktop Settings.

You can now show off some cool bits of KDE on your desktop cube.

Problem is, they are all still, as far as I can see, handled as virtual desktops. They all have the same name as the parent activity – I know I can label them in the settings, but that doesn’t appear on the individual desktops as Activities do. And you can’t turn them off and on, either. I know this may be a bit much to expect at this stage as Activities are still in my opinion are just recently at what I consider a usable state. What is really missing is a mouse action or better keyboard shortcut to switch activities like there are for desktops

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4 thoughts on “KDE Activities and Virtual Desktops and The Cube

  1. I (think) i remember a time where you could assign you virtual desktops to your activities, by clicking the button in the far right corner. But i think they removed the feature because of design stuff, not sure.

    You can also change between your activities by using the shortcut key combi: Super + Q and then Super + Tab. There is no WoW effect but it will get the job done.

    Also I would love to hear how you use your activities. I use them my self to separate work – school and fun, but i do it like you describe your settings for virtual desktops. Maybe one should set some rules for the windows so say, kdeveloper will only show up on the work activity?

    • Yes, and it is rather clunky and awkward to use 🙁
      I have assigned an Activity to a Virtual Desktop, as described above, but it isn’t to my liking.

      I use activities just as you do; I keep a Main desktop for my regular activities, a newspaper for , well, news and info – uBlog, newsfeeds, etc. I am only playing with the netbook-style Search and Launch because it is interesting to use, but I probably won’t often utilize it. Then i have a Folder view set to my ‘dumping ground’.

      I haven’t yet gotten to the point of having individual applications open on specific activities, but for, say Amarok or Dragon, having those open on a blank, panel-free activity is probably what I’d like.

      I am only scratching the surface right now, it has been fun so far

    • yes, not very srtaightforward at all 🙂

      My personal ideal setup would be to have Activities simply replace Virtual Desktops altogether, and all the shortcuts, mouse actions, switching effects, etc all be used for Activities instead.

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