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Re: emacs for everything?

From: Floyd L. Davidson
Subject: Re: emacs for everything?
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 10:55:13 -0900
User-agent: gnus 5.10.6/XEmacs 21.4.15/Linux 2.6.5

Kai Grossjohann <address@hidden> wrote:
>address@hidden (Floyd L. Davidson) writes:
>It could be quite useful to use workspaces according to project.  (For
>the right value of "project" ;-)

I'm thinking this also depends on characteristics that I had not
accounted for before, which might be very different for
different users.  I am retired, and what I'm describing exists
on a workstation which is rarely ever rebooted and where I am
*always* logged in.  Physical security is absolute (and external
to the computer), so I have no need to ever log out.

In a work environment, where even so much as walking down the
hall for a breath of air means logging out, would not want to
use the same configuration.

And of course there may be an infinite variety in between those

>Hm.  At one point, I did use one of my spare workspaces for a specific
>task: for testing a web application.  So I created another Firefox
>window and an xterm, tail -f'd the right logfile in the xterm, and
>clicked away in Firefox to see what would happen.  That was a good
>experience.  However, I can't seem to get myself to using workspaces
>that way.
>Do you allocate workspaces dynamically, or are they more or less
>static?  That is, do you always have the same set of projects and do
>you always know which project will be in which workspace?  Or do you
>use the same workspace for one project today and for another tomorrow?

Technically it is about 50-50 between dynamic and static, but
the effect is just about the same as if it were totally static.
First, my FvwmPager window is set up in a 1x15 vertical matrix,
which can sit on the left side of a screen, and is adjusted in
size so that it is about 5/8" wide (on the one that is used for
the dual monitors, where it is on the right side screen and is
therefore in the middle of the entire display area), and just
less than 1/2" per desktop in height.  (The whole Pager window
is an inch or so short of the full vertical height of the

That provides me with a single vertical position as the "identity" by
which I think of each virtual desktop.

Here is a snapshot of the entire (dual) screen layout:

What happens to be in each window is fairly well set, and is
more historical than anything else.  The top window has a
"scratch" pair of xterms with a bash command line.  The next
three are pretty much assigned to specific things.  The next 4
get fairly random selection for whatever I am doing at the
moment, though that is still pretty much divided up too, as the
lower two of those are almost certainly going to have xterms
logged into other hosts on my local network.

Then there are two desktops that rarely ever get used, followed
by 5 that have specific things done (all of them are related to
web browsing, and there are 4 with opera running under different
user names).

So out of 15, two rarely ever get used, and only four of the
desktops change very often. And my mental cue as to where
something is relates the vertical position with different types
of work.  I simply do not commit to memory anything about where
I'm at when working, even when an interuption moves me to a
different desktop.  The pattern is all I need to know, not the
specifics.  If I select the wrong desktop, moving the mouse half
and inch and clicking again gets me the right one.

But... One problem with this is that if I do log out, when I log
back in the process of setting it all up again to be exactly
where I left off, is annoyingly long.  Only three xterms are
executed by fvwm as it initiates, and all of the rest of that
gets done manually.  As you can imagine, I am relutant to log
out except when absolutely necessary.

>Hm.  Ion supports the dynamic workspace allocation well: it allows you
>to enter a name, then it creates a workspace by that name.  And you
>can select a workspace by name.  This means that if you always use the
>project name as workspace name, then it doesn't matter which set of
>projects you happen to work on today.

I would guess that if a person developed the same regimen with
name selection that I have with vertical positioning, it would
be essentially identical.  The only difference is that I can
look at the FvwmPager window and sometimes, though not always,
see something odd that indicates what is on a particular
desktop, and then selection is instant.

Floyd L. Davidson           <>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)                         address@hidden

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