GNOME Shell SOC Projects

Just wanted to quickly mention the three Google Summer of Code proposals that were accepted related to GNOME Shell.

David Jordan is going to work on Application-aware Window Management . This is a really interesting proposal to allow applications to expose more content to the desktop window switching than just a single toplevel; for example, to make it possible to look at all of the tabs of your web browser and switch directly to one of them. Marina will be the mentor the project.

Nathan Lo is going to work on Multiple monitor support for workspaces. The combination of multiple monitors and multiple workspaces has always been uncomfortable in GNOME. Switching all your monitors at once just isn’t what you normally want. It’s more likely that you want to keep one monitor fixed and switch another. This problem becomes more pressing in GNOME Shell where we’ve tried to make workspaces easy to use and intuitive. So the project will explore how it works to have separate workspaces on the different monitors and what the appropriate way is to present that to the user. I’ll mentor this one.

And finally, Siegfried Gevatter is going going to work on Zeitgeist Integration. Currently GNOME Shell has a very simple flat list of recent documents in the overview. We’ve wanted to move to a more time-base “journal” approach, and possibly add extra features like tagging. That is very similar to what the Zeitgeist project is about, so rather than duplicating effort, it would be very nice to just take the data that Zeitgeist is collecting and show it in the GNOME Shell user interface. This will be mentored by Seif from the Zeitgeist project.


  1. Stijn Hoop
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    “Switching all your monitors at once just isn’t what you normally want. It’s more likely that you want to keep one monitor fixed and switch another.”

    Hmm, I disagree, I actually like the fact that I can totally switch out my ‘distractions’ workspace (email, IRC, etc) to a blank slate to get to work.

    I hope it’ll still be able to keep the current behaviour?

  2. Posted April 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m really looking forward to Gnome 3 after beeing a KDE3/4 user for a long time…

    Those projects sound great, i think Gnome is heading in a way better direction compared to KDE4.

  3. Thomas Unterthiner
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Actually, you’re wrong. Switching all of my monitors is EXACTLY what i want when I’m switching workspaces. Since I’m using the whole screen-estate for doing my work (e.g. have my IDE open on one monitor and the API-documentation on the other one), and multiple workspaces for different kinds of work (e.g. one for coding and one for leasure-time, or writing e-mails, …).

  4. myxiplx
    Posted May 8, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Hmm, the multi-monitor support sounds interesting. I’ll have to have a think about how I’d use that, keep us in the loop on that one please πŸ™‚

    My first thought is that actually, I do like switching both monitors together. I keep different tasks on different workspaces, and while some things only need one screen, for a lot of stuff I’m working on both at once. Once you’ve gotten used to the space of two monitors, it’s hard to give it up.

    I wonder if this could be tied in with the Activities concept – where activities can be tied to one or more workspaces.

    Could you tie Activities to ‘Screens’ instead of workspaces? An activity that just needed one screen could then be swapped on just one monitor.

    An activity that needed two screens would mean both monitors swapping together.

    … but would you now need a ‘workspaces’ breadcrumb menu on each monitor

    … oh and I’m all out of ideas for activities that need 3 or more screens and so span multiple workspaces lol

    It has to be said, it opens up a lot more possibilities when you can switch screens independently, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys think of πŸ™‚

    I can see me wanting a 3rd screen now though:
    – 1 screen always showing emails, etc
    – 2 screens that I use for tasks, and use for switching between workspaces.


    PS. Hopefully this won’t scare you or your student off attempting this πŸ˜€

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