[ALUG] Anybody else ever tried fast-user-switching as context-switching?

Ruth Bygrave rbygrave at ntlworld.com
Wed Jun 20 10:26:02 BST 2007


This list is so cool! If I tried to go to my Mac user-group and ask  
that, I'd get 0 response within 100 miles, because they are all  
ghetto Mac users despite the rise of 'switching' in the past few  
years. They wouldn't know what I was on about, and Adrian says 'Why  
indeed should they?' He has a point.

>> However it sounds like what you really want to be using is  
>> workspaces (I
>> think KDE may call them virtual desktops)

Aha! Enlightenment moment! One of the big beautiful things Leopard --  
the next Real Soon Now (spring...cough cough...July...cough  
cough...October) big version of OS X to compete with Vista -- has is  
'spaces', which is virtual desktops built in.

Want! Want!
>> These have been with Unix/Linux since pretty much the dawn of the GUI
>> and I think Apple have something called "spaces" which does a similar
>> thing.
Now you've jogged my memory, I think the situation is that 'spaces'  
is available as an add-on at the moment, but it'll be a big built-in  
part of Leopard. And for my 'consumer in Aqua (Mac window manager  
AFAIK)' 'beginner open-source geek in Darwin (Mac open-source  
terminal/shell command-line)' mental model, that means, wait until  
it's in the OS properly and get into it then, because Apple will have  
done the hard work of making it comfortable and pretty, it'll tie in  
in a cleaner way, and there will be books and user groups for dumb  
users involving using Leopard as a dumb user.

(sits on hands...must not buy Leopard...must not buy Leopard...oh  
that's right, it's not available yet anyway).

>> I and I suspect many others tend to use this in a very similar way to
>> how you describe, so I will have things like email, irc and skype  
>> on one
>> desktop, open office with a half written document on another, perhaps
>> some long running copy operation or download running on a 3rd and  
>> so on.
> Yes, I certainly do this.

As you say (and as Adrian also says), this means that trying to  
kludge FUS to work as context-switching is not sensible, but that the  
behaviour I actually want would work as virtual desktops in a  
seamless manner, without the 'oops, wrong context' and 'type in the  
password to flick through accts' thing.
> I find that simple virtual desktops (not FUS) work very well for  
> creative
> writing - moving the distractions off the screen etc. can be very  
> useful.
> That's bad creative writing, mind you - YMMV.
(gigglegiggle) This would make sense for me.

> Where I've use a separate account for writing, however, that's really
> *because* it's slightly less convenient for distractions - ie fast  
> user
> switching is quite slow, or if I want to sign into my instant  
> messenger or
> work on that python problem I'm itching to solve, it's not done by
> absent-mindedly clicking the icon etc.
That would also make sense for me. I know of at least one tiny Mac  
app which is designed for creative writing in that 'take all the eye  
candy off the screen' way, so we're obviously not the only people  
with discipline problems.
> I still use separate accounts for testing desktop apps - they  
> sometimes like
> to interact with apps or mung data. To keep in touch with my own  
> apps I use
> su -l runlevelten then run kmail &, amarok &, kopete & and so on  
> and pop
Ow! Hairy!
> them
> on desktop 3 - I still get my alerts/mails in realtime from my  
> other account,
> reasonably insulated from the desktop I'm running, and instantly  
> reachable.
> Most desktop environments seem to let you do stuff like this.
> Maybe something like that would suit you?
Again, because of the consumer *and* geek position I'm starting from,  
possibly not as well as the 'wait for Leopard' idea, but it would be  
cool & elegant if I were less of a beginner geek.

> *A different theme for each account doesn't hurt either, I use a  
> nice purple
> one to differentiate my "real" account.
That's the way I tried it under XP, which was Infinitely Less Cool:  
one main mundane-name acct skinned-up to be visible, creative writing  
on the other acct... The Mac one is More Prettier.

The one thing I can see that I use where different user accts would  
make sense is that I currently run more than 1 blog for different  
contexts, but suspect that FUS wouldn't 'buy' me enough usefulness to  
make that much sense.

Regards, Ruth

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