Different Widgets and Backgrounds for each desktop

I just installed 42.1. The Virtual Screens config panel no longer
contains the check box for “Different Widgets for each desktop”.

The lack of that option prevents having different backgrounds and different
widget sets on each desktop. The differing backgrounds feature is a
particularly key feature for many folks.

Is this config feature found elsewhere, or will it be coming soon, or is the
capability being removed?

Still ongoing I think. They reopened the bug status on it but nothing has been resolved yet as far as I know. Activities it is for the time being.


Yes a truly stupid decision from the KDE people. Why even have multiple desktops if you can’t tell them apart :stuck_out_tongue:

Exactly! I was beginning to think I was the only one.

I still haven’t found a need for Actiivities. Multiple desktops with differing
backgrounds and widgets is more than enough…

I myself have not found use for activities either but I can envision it being used in a commercial setting. ie set up an activity for all the major functions a manager oversees each with a complete set of apps/data. But for us mere mortals virtual desktops were perfect.

You aren’t the only one. I remember this was done earlier in a KDE version change. But repaired after some time.

And this very feature, to show which desktop you are on, was in the earliest CDE versions back in the '90s. It was only a colour difference then, but it was apperently it was seen as something needed. And it still is.

Is there a bug somewhere (e.g. here in Bugzilla or in the KDE one) about this regression, so I can add my support?

I already posted it at the top. It was reported as a bug at first then things became clearer as the thread evolved, it’s worth reading the entire thread to see how things have unfolded. It’s not like they don’t already know the heat the decision has generated. But it’s still worth having your say.

I suppose it’s still early in the overall development of Plasma 5 and things will evolve and change over time, priorities will change too, I think it will come back in time. It wouldn’t be classed as an urgent priority in the mind of a developer if Activities cover the basic functionality desired I wouldn’t have thought.

Thanks. Means that it is unusable for me until it is fixed :disapointed:

Then it’s probably important that you have your say and explain why you can’t operate with just ‘Activities’ alone; the more compelling cases the quicker the change of mind, etc.

Makes you wonder whether ‘Activities’ will be altered if it’s too difficult to implement the changes in virtual desktops.

I do not even know much about Activities. I know they exist, but have no idea what they are for. In other words, I do not know for what question they are the answer.

They claim to answer this type of question “How can I switch between different desktops set-up for different applications or projects that will persist across sessions and restarts?”.

You probably have the other solution to that question. :\

I think I can understand that, but I am a humble user, I only need one such setup. But that setup includes two (only two, I am humble) desktop surfaces. And of course I want to see on which one I am at any moment.

It may be that when I realy would need a very different desktop setup, that I would create a different user. It would have the added bonus of the different working spaces being protected against each other.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough so try again re activities “How can I switch between two desktops where each one is already set up for different applications or projects?” For simple example, one desktop will be used for work on a Photography project, the other could be used for personal admin tasks such as email, personal banking, internet shopping, etc. In KDE terms that would be seen as two separate Activities: 1. Photography and 2. Personal Administration. On switching from Activity 1 to Activity 2, you would see different collections of Plasma facilities set up on the desktop. I will leave you to imagine the different KDE facilities (plasmoids, open programs/windows, etc) displayed or accessible in each case.

You on the other hand would use two virtual desktops with different wallpapers and different KDE facilities on each desktop. But not that way with plasma 5 as it currently stands, I think?

I only need to identify the desktop by it’s background (that maybe called wallpaper or whatever, but the simple red vs. blue of a past age is enough for me) and openend windows should stay on their own desktop (iconised or not).

Different backgrounds have been a feature of virtual desktops for a very long time.

I usually have 4 to 6 virtual desktops. I move between them with the mouse scroll wheel
or the pager. One desktop has my current tasks - editing a dozen or so source files in
Kate, email client, etc.
Another desktop has all of my xterms into AIX machines.
Another desktop has all of my xterms into Solaris machines.
Another desktop has my active compile sessions.
etc, etc, etc

The content of these desktops is constantly changing.
Persistence between logout/login or reboots is not desired (would be dangerous).

Yes, I guess I’ll stick with 13.2 until each virtual desktop in 42.1 can again have a distinct
background - as has been the case for many years.

It makes total sense to have them back on KDE!

The content of these desktops is constantly changing.
Persistence between logout/login or reboots is not desired (would be dangerous).

Good point. I was thinking even wrt Activities that it’s the desktop furnishings that persist not the contents of open windows. I haven’t tried activities on Plasma 5 yet.

Yes, I guess I’ll stick with 13.2 until each virtual desktop in 42.1 can again have a distinct
background - as has been the case for many years.

On 42.1, Xfce supports different background images as I discovered recently in my VM version.

If you read the main devs perspective as of 2015-08-27 on that thread, it comes down to:

Politics Wise:

One dev says he doesn’t want this feature saying “activities cover it” which I would agree with if we made an effort on making activities not suck.

Personally, I want to kill activities and virtual desktops being two separate things as right now it’s a mess. Taking the best of both. Not everyone is on board, and I don’t want to just pull rank… but dunno

Couldn’t agree more about it being a mess currently but it looks as though it comes down to the usual - extra able bodies helping out to spread the current workload around, seems no small task to amalgamate activities / virtual desktop into a single viable entity.

Maybe it is the cynic in me, but:

My impression here is that it is more a case of "Hey, I just came up with this cool idea I call Activities and I did a lot of work making it! It is so cool that everyone should use it, and so that everyone does, let us just dump the Virtual Desktops customizing! Great idea, eh?"

Also, from the way the other Bug report threads have been marked Will Not Resolve and the one has been re-opened, but there is no feedback from the devs on it, the cynic in me just gets the sense the only reason for opening the thread was to keep all of us Activities naysayers in one place, much easier to ignore than if we all open additional Bugs.

… that is the cynic in me talking.>:)

I am afraid that part of your big yellow font remark is at least partly true :frowning:

Things like these are part of FOSS I think. But they do also occur in the commercial world where then even the paying customers have a hard time to get what they want and need.

I can’t think of any use-case reason “to amalgamate activities / virtual desktops into a single viable entity”. Ok there will always be some clown who wants both in the name of freedom.

In theory they could be check-boxed as mutually exclusive options, separated to reduce complexity for developers, maintainers, and especially for users. When amalgamated on KDE4, many users were confused, mainly as to what Activities were all about, thanks to some pretty muddled documentation.