I’ve tried many times to switch to Linux for my primary desktop operating system. I’ve tried Red Hat, Fedora, Mandrake, White Box, CentOS, Ubuntu, Edubuntu, you name it. I always get stuck in the same places. There’s a device driver I can’t get. Or there’s a software application I have to run that won’t work. Or the user interface is just a little to clunky. Inevitably, I always end up reverting back to Windows.
One thing that I really like about the graphical user interface in a Linux installation is the concept of virtual workspaces. Essentially, I can have four different screens, each with its own applications open, and move easily between them. So maybe my web browser is on one, and I have a couple terminal windows open in another, and email is in a third. This is really convenient, because I can just switch workspaces when I want to move to those other programs.
Yesterday, Alvin showed us a program called Virtual Desktop Manager. This program provides exactly this functionality in Windows. It’s designed for Windows Vista, but I’m using it successfully with Windows XP, too. I have it configured to give me three desktops. Each of these has its own icon in the system tray. If I want to switch to another one, I just click on its icon. I can also easily move application windows to different desktops. A nice collection of keyboard shortcuts also help keep the TSPY in line.
I haven’t used it enough to know what kind of performance hit it’s going to take on my computer. And I don’t know how stable it is yet, either. But so far it has worked flawlessly. It looks like I now have another reason to not switch to Linux as a desktop OS.