Mac OS X Leopard’s new Spaces; virtual multiple desktops

“Spaces is an entirely new feature in Mac OS X Leopard, but the idea of virtual desktops — and multiple desktops — has been around for a long time,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

McLean takes a look at what’s new and different about Apple’s approach with Spaces, why virtual desktops have run into problems before, and how well Leopard’s Spaces actually works in practice.

McLean covers:
• The Origins of Spaces: Xerox Rooms
• The Mac Switcher and Multiple Desktops
• Multiple Screens on the Amiga
• Virtual Desktops of the X Window System
• Windows’ Virtual Desktop Problems
• Mac OS X’s new Spaces
• Third Party Support for Spaces
• User Accessibility for Spaces
• Everything in its Space
• Trading Spaces
• The Outer Reaches of Spaces

McLean writes, ” Spaces works so transparently, and offers so many options for organizing things just as you’d like, and makes moving windows around so effortless and intuitive, that I’ve grown quite attached to it. Now, instead of sorting through piles of open windows or minimizing so many browser windows that my Dock shrinks down into pebbles of icons, I can leave my windows all open, strewn across a universe of wide open Spaces, hopping around between them like Arthur Dent.”

Full article, with screenshots, here.


  1. i dont understand what everyone says about minimizing windows. i haven’t minimized a window since i switched. as a matter of fact, i can always tell when someone else has been on my computer when i open it up and there are windows down on my dock. to me, expose eliminates any need to minimize windows. i can just jump from one thing to another with a simple move of my mouse. that and alt-tab. clicking the button to minimize is so inefficient.

    its cool that the people who find minimizing still useful have found a better way, but i just think there has been a better way for a while now…

    that being said, im really looking forward to spaces and i hope that they can make it where you can have windows in one space and osx in the other. i wouldnt necessarily use that, but i think it would be an amazing help to those who are new switchers

  2. @ Chris,

    I’ve never commented here before, but I had to when I read what you wrote. I always hide and cmd+tab my way around my MBPro… can’t STAND the minimizing. It kills me that Adobe CS2 won’t hide and I have to minimize those windows.

    You’re right, there is a better way! I too can’t wait to see Leopard on my lappy.

  3. I do the same – hide, and cmd-tab – but it would be nice to minimze. The reason that I don’t minimize is because getting your file back you have to move your mouse over to the dock, find your document and click on it.

    the way is SHOULD BE, is if you minimize a window, you SHOULD be able to pull it back up with CMD-TAB. Then I’d be a minimizing fool. But with the dual monitor set up that I have, and the dock on the far left screen, it makes it combersome to bring it back up.

  4. I occasionally shrink my windows to the dock but I doubt I will continue that very much when spaces arrives. I’ve tried all those other multiple desktop programs for the mac such as virtue desktops etc.. but they were all awkwardly designed and confusing. They felt like they were done by a bunch of linux nerds who know nothing about simplicity and design.

    Oh, by the way. Today is my Birthday!

  5. Does anyone know if “hidden” Spaces surrender their RAM usage? I love the idea of Spaces, if applications in the hidden Spaces could run on a bare minimum of RAM, and the current Space could make use of it.

    Being on a Dual 1.4 G4, my machine is maxed out at 2 GB. After a day of keeping multiple apps running, my machine gets pretty pokey.


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