n67
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Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:06 pm

Does the current version of the Raspbian GUI support the idea of multiple desktops - i.e, I'm used to Linux GUIs having multiple (usually 4) desktops that you switch around to via either a keystroke or a menu option. I'm pretty sure this used to work in Raspbian, but I can't find it now.

The idea is that if you have more windows open than conveniently fit on a single screen/desktop, you can move them to other desktops and not have as much clutter.

Note also that this feature can be a PITA - and usually is (as I explain below) - but now and again, I could actually use it. And it seems to be missing now.

Noted: It can be a PITA when you hit some random keystroke and all of your windows disappear and then you have to figure out how to get back to the main desktop (where all your windows are).
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ShiftPlusOne
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:13 pm

You can add a desktop pager to the panel and increase the number of available desktops either by using obconf or by editing the openbox config file by hand.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:11 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:13 pm
You can add a desktop pager to the panel and increase the number of available desktops either by using obconf or by editing the openbox config file by hand.
On LXDE, right clicking on the DesktopPager icon gives the option to increase the number of desktops. But it's blanked out on RPDT, any idea why?
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:15 pm

That option seems to be unavailable if obconf is not installed.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:26 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:15 pm
That option seems to be unavailable if obconf is not installed.
Confirmed, installing obconf and the option works fine.
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n67
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:45 pm

jamesh wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:26 pm
ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:15 pm
That option seems to be unavailable if obconf is not installed.
Confirmed, installing obconf and the option works fine.
OK, so I added "Desktop Pager" to my panel (menu bar) and that worked. Then I saw that "Desktop Pager Settings" was greyed out (as is noted upthread). So, I did "apt-get install obconf" and, as if by magic, it is no longer greyed out. However, clicking it is a no-op. I assume it is supposed to bring up some kind of config menu/tool, right?

Is a reboot necessary in order for it to work right?

Also, I noticed that when I have the "Desktop Pager" thing in the menu bar, there also appear icons for some (but not all) of my open windows up there. What is up with that? Dragging them around doesn't seem to do anything useful.
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n67
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:13 pm

OK, I got this figured out now.

The trick is to run "obconf" directly (from the Terminal window). Then you can bump up the Desktops count and name them, and then it works. And I figured out how to drag windows from desktop to desktop (that was the critical piece).

I do notice, though, that the desktop names set via "obconf" don't seem to stick. It is random, but I keep having to reset (some of) the desktop names. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn't. This seems to be a problem where the changes you make in "onconf" don't get immediately reflected out to the running GUI. Presumably, this will all fix out after a reboot. But I don't want to reboot...
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tcornall
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:54 pm

Ha! At first I thought Buster had 'busted' multiple desktops because although I could see that I had 4 desktops when I ran obconf -> Desktops (either from a terminal or after adding it to preferences menu via menu editor) there was no pager in the taskbar and trying to move a window to another desktop only gave me a choice of 1 not 4. So I added a pager widget via right-click on taskbar-> panel settings->add. But there was still only one pager showing. It wasn't until I went back to obconf->desktops and hit the + button to add a 5th desktop that suddenly 5 pagers showed on the taskbar, then hit '-' and one disappeared leaving 4 as initially expected. Looks like a initial settings bug to me. Anyway, now I have 4 desktops and can move windows between them and am happy-ish. Still, that's an hour of my life I'll never get back...

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:24 am

tcornall wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:54 pm
Ha! At first I thought Buster had 'busted' multiple desktops because although I could see that I had 4 desktops when I ran obconf -> Desktops (either from a terminal or after adding it to preferences menu via menu editor) there was no pager in the taskbar and trying to move a window to another desktop only gave me a choice of 1 not 4. So I added a pager widget via right-click on taskbar-> panel settings->add. But there was still only one pager showing. It wasn't until I went back to obconf->desktops and hit the + button to add a 5th desktop that suddenly 5 pagers showed on the taskbar, then hit '-' and one disappeared leaving 4 as initially expected. Looks like a initial settings bug to me. Anyway, now I have 4 desktops and can move windows between them and am happy-ish. Still, that's an hour of my life I'll never get back...
This is an ongoing bug that happened in Stretch and probably Jessie or before.

Another annoyance is when obconf is used to set multiple desktops then ALL of the keyboard shortcuts stop working.
[CTRL] [Alt] t
[Alt] [F4]
[Win logo key] etc etc all stop working
Unless specified otherwise my response is based on the latest and fully updated Raspbian Buster w/ Desktop OS.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:42 am

This is very annoying and it is disappointing that with a new release that old bug fixes are not incorporated, and are still not 6 months on.

I have tried to get multiple desktops working in openbox and have now managed to "confuse" it so that mouse clicks on window controls (move, close, shrink etc) do nothing. Can anyone tell me how to reset it? I am happy to edit .config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml Others have had this problem so a generic solution would be good.
P

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:09 am

PS "installing obconf and it works fine" is not true. obconf is available under Buster and running it (?) from "right click on menu bar" is what caused the problem.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:59 pm

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:46 am

"We don't think anyone wants to use a feature that we hide to make it hard to use" is hardly a very sensible argument ! It's pure dogma !
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:42 am

My read was more along the lines of "we don't support it, so we don't enable it by default. However, we'll fix it if it's broken as a result of something we did".

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:24 am

PeterO wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:46 am
"We don't think anyone wants to use a feature that we hide to make it hard to use" is hardly a very sensible argument ! It's pure dogma !
See also the "It's okay that Raspbian — unlike any other Linux distro — completely resets user preferences whenever we feel like it" accessibility issue.

I work in assistive technology. The Raspberry Pi could own the adaptive desktop world: it's got way more power than some of the very expensive specialist computers used in the field at 1% of the price. But the desktop interface has to be painstakingly customized for every individual user when you're dealing with assistive tech. The reverting desktop means it's something we can't even look at.
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:47 am

scruss wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:24 am
PeterO wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:46 am
"We don't think anyone wants to use a feature that we hide to make it hard to use" is hardly a very sensible argument ! It's pure dogma !
See also the "It's okay that Raspbian — unlike any other Linux distro — completely resets user preferences whenever we feel like it" accessibility issue.

I work in assistive technology. The Raspberry Pi could own the adaptive desktop world: it's got way more power than some of the very expensive specialist computers used in the field at 1% of the price. But the desktop interface has to be painstakingly customized for every individual user when you're dealing with assistive tech. The reverting desktop means it's something we can't even look at.
It's not really whenever we feel like it, but rather, whenever we cannot think of a sane way of retaining settings, when code underneath changes, either through upstream code changes or our own.
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:05 am

I think even that has been resolved now. The main problem was 'raspberrypi-ui-mods'. Now instead of backing up files and writing new ones, it just shows a message telling you how to get the new files.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:24 am

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:42 am
My read was more along the lines of "we don't support it, so we don't enable it by default. However, we'll fix it if it's broken as a result of something we did".
The "we don't support it" argument is bogus. No other disto has to "support it", it just works as is, no modifications or "support" needed. One can only conclude that the Raspbian ui mods are doing something wrong that breaks it.

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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:39 am

PeterO wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:24 am
The "we don't support it" argument is bogus. No other disto has to "support it", it just works as is, no modifications or "support" needed. One can only conclude that the Raspbian ui mods are doing something wrong that breaks it.
Beware, challenging the "temple of raspberrypi-ui-mods" is something that got me a month in the cooler this time last year.
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:11 am

I think I speak for almost everyone when I say, whatever.

We have limited resource. If we break something, we will try and fix it, but if the break comes from elsewhere, generally we don't have the resource to fix it.

As above, Simon will look in to this because we don't know what is breaking - us or elsewhere.
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Re: Multiple desktops in current Raspbian GUI?

Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:58 pm

PeterO wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:24 am
The "we don't support it" argument is bogus. No other disto has to "support it", it just works as is, no modifications or "support" needed. One can only conclude that the Raspbian ui mods are doing something wrong that breaks it.
And the bit about fixing it if it is indeed broken by something we did? If the above statement is true, then it sounds like it will get fixed.
DougieLawson wrote: Beware, challenging the "temple of raspberrypi-ui-mods" is something that got me a month in the cooler this time last year.
If I recall correctly, it was threats of violence (although meant in jest).

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