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. As a former Linux user (and a current Unix user – Mac OS X IS Unix!), there are 2 things I really miss from the old GNOME days:

    One is virtual spaces

    The other is Focus follows mouse

    Those two features made my work much more productive (some could argue, I’m OK with that).

    So, I’m happy to see one of those features in Leopard. I’d love to have an “Focus follows mouse” option right from the OS. I know there are 3rd party apps out there, but, nothing like having it right out of the box.

  2. I’ve never use minimizing, just alt+click to hide current app and then bring to fornt the choosed one.

    alt+ click
    desktop manager

    minimizing is just for special things like… errr, Ihave not an example now…

  3. Adobe CS2 apps hide all right, but Adobe chose to use a different keyboard shortcut that the rest of the Mac world. However, because each CS2 application has customizable menus, you can re-map Adobe’s Ctrl + Cmd + H combo with the expected Cmd + H combo instead. In each application (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) choose “Keyboard Shortcuts” under the “Edit” menu. It varies where the “Hide (application)” is in the list, but it’s not hard to find and make the change. Why Adobe chose to use a non-standard shortcut for such an obvious command is beyond me.

  4. From the article:

    “Interestingly, Microsoft delivered its first support for multiple physical monitors in 2001 with Windows XP, fifteen years after Apple delivered it on the Mac. That suggests that Microsoft may deliver support for multiple desktops like Leopard’s new Spaces at some point in the future, perhaps in the early 2020s.”

    Nice dig at M$. Sounds like an MDN take.

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