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This concept is not highly original and steals many ideas from other pages. What is concept is however is a unified form of an alternative desktop that goes in part to filling Mark Shuttleworth’s mandate to create the best desktop. This concept does not talk about colours and fonts, (as I will leave that to people that have a an eye and talent for that) however it does provide the basis for a discussion of the desktop form. For that reason this concept is called workbench to get people thinking outside of the ‘traditional’ desktop.
This concept has two ideas that are a departure form the normal. They are:
- Use panels/taskbars on the sides of the screen instead of the top and bottom.
- Have a customisable menu that uses the entire screen
There is no specific palette for this theme.
Whether we like it or not people associate an OS with the layout of the desktop. Most users can change their wallpapers but do not often change their panels and therefore this should be distinctive for other OS’s. This sidebar idea gives the OS a distinction all of its own. When you look at workable screen space, applications tend to put their toolbars on the top and bottom of the windows. Most applications tend to be read (or used) vertically meaning that the most valuable space is used by OS taskbars at the top and bottom. Gnome is especially bad for this as it occupies both top and bottom of the screen. This is becoming more and more relevant as monitors are becoming a widescreen as standard. This aspect ratio is suiting this proposal. These taskbars can be disappearing to conserve screenspace in lower resolution uses. In taskbars at the top or bottom this can be annoying as every time the bottom or top is touched (which is often) the taskbars appear. In a side taskbar, these critical places are preserved.
The menu is a contentious point on OS’s. More and more content have been added to these over the years and more complicated ways of displaying this information are used. Since most menus, when expanded, cover the screen, why not use the entire screen. I propose a menu like the dashboard application in MacOS X, in which the screen is darkened and the menu items are displayed like floating widgets. This means that customizing the menu is as simple at dragging into the area you want it to be. The menu can be brought up by clicking on the Ubuntu icon or hitting the super key. The menu can be removed by clicking the ‘X’ or hitting the super key again. This menu can also have widgets that are often used without taking the focus off the main window.
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