MoreDesk: Other Virtual Desktop Programs

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There is a selection of other RISC OS virtual desktop applications out there, some are commercial and some free. No two are the same and all provide a different set of features. To help compare them, here's the information that I've been able to gather about them.

Larger

This was a very popular commercial program which provided pinboard and backdrop features before they became standard in the RISC OS releases. It has virtual desktop functions and a window which gives a simple view of the current desktop and the surrounding space. It looks like it experienced quite a bit of feature creep, leaving it with lots of functions which some users may never have used.

The main problems with Larger, as far as I can tell, is that it isn't 32-bit compatible so won't work on newer RISC OS hardware. The virtual desktop view is rather simple and doesn't give you a view of the entire desk space, which feels rather claustrophobic.

Workspace

By all accounts, this is a popular virtual desktop program. It's free and 32-bit compatible. It doesn't provide a view of the entire desk space and employs a number of rather clunky techniques to try to work-around this shortcoming. Workspace is limited to six desktops.

One feature which MoreDesk does not provide is the ability to assign different screen modes to each desktop. MoreDesk doesn't do this because it would make the view of the entire desk space very difficult to implement. That's probably why Workspace doesn't do it. I felt that the desk space view was more important than the screen mode association stuff.

WindowMan

This is the virtual desktop manager which I've been using for years. It's free and 32-bit compatible. I had to modify my copy to make it work the way I wanted.

It was the lack of certain features in WindowMan that drove me to write MoreDesk; the lack of a view of the entire desk space, especially one in which you can move windows around, seemed vital to me. Also, pinboard and backdrop association was something I really wanted to see (I hadn't heard of or seen Larger at that point).

VirtuDesk

MoreDesk does pretty much everything that VirtuDesk does except for the feature in VirtuDesk where you can position your view at any position in the total desktop space. MoreDesk always positions you exactly on the location of a desktop in the grid.

The main window in MoreDesk gives more information about the windows which are open:

all this helps you to instantly see which window is which in the view. There is also the ‘micro’ view in MoreDesk which is compact and allows very simple selection of alternative desktops via the mouse. This simplicity of operation is on a par with the control window for VirtuDesk.

The most powerful feature of MoreDesk, which isn't in VirtuDesk, is the ability to move windows around (even move selections of windows at one time) in the main window view. You can select a group of windows, drag them into another desktop, bring them to the front or even iconise or close them.

MoreDesk also allows you to have a different backdrop image and set of pinboard icons in each desktop. The main window includes a scaled-down version of your backdrop image for each desktop. This helps you to remember which desktop contains which windows.

MoreDesk also allows windows to be ‘fetched’ into the current desktop (e.g. if the window is already open somewhere but you can't remember where).

help menu item
The help menu item

Finally, MoreDesk has much more comprehensive help documentation and fully supports the interactive !Help application.

VDesk

This is a very simple and free virtual desktop manager, much like VirtuDesk. It has a tiny view of the desk space which you can't drag windows around in. It does not provide any pinboard or backdrop association. Is 32-bit compatible.

Widescreen

I've heard this program mentioned on several occasions but I can't find it or any information about it. I believe it was free and possibly isn't 32-bit compatible.


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