Multiple workspaces on Desktop: Different content on different Virtual Desktops

I have just come to Budgie from Linux Mint Cinnamon, ie installed the Budgie Desktop under Linux Mint (21).
During setup, I came across the possibilty to have multiple workplaces or virtual desktops in the actual desktop. This would be great for organising my work. But it makes sense only if I can populate these different workplaces differently. Important would be not so much different backgrounds, but different content: Files, folders, starters applets. Etc.
Is that possible in Budgie? How?
Thanks in advance!


Desktop and workspace(s) are two different concepts.

Shortly :
⋅ Panels, docks, applets are part of the one and only desktop.
⋅ Open windows are part of the workspace(s) which are displayed « upon » or « above » the one and only desktop.
⋅ Workspace area can be bigger than your screen(s) area ; desktop area can’t be bigger than your screen(s) area.

Some parts of the desktop can be « aware » of the screen they sit in ; not sure if they can be « aware « of the workspace displayed at a given time ? ? ? @vlijm @fossfreedom

What you describe was achievable under Unity, thanks to vlijm long ago :wink:

Hi and thanks for that clarification.

So order to achieve that I would have to create ‘Windows’ which contain the content I want and place those on the different workplaces?

Or is the activities function provided py KDE Plasma something in that direction?

Thanks again


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To be honest, I am not sure what to imagine from what you describe.

There are several concepts; in Unity, we have one big workspace, which is or can be divided into sections, called viewports. In Unity, we can therefore have a window, showing the right half in one viewport, left half in the “neighbour” viewport.
In most distros however, each and every workspace is actually a “real” workspace.
I indeed used some trickery and deceit in the ancient history, to seemingly have a different desktop on each of the viewports of Unity, but it was simply a quick “reorganization of the stage” .
The setup would be significantly more complicated with Budgie, without breaking in the panel’s code. For the desktop, it should be similar. That solution was for the bigger part for the sport/challenge though. Not sure if I would introduce as a released solution :slight_smile:

WIthout it, desktop does not change on workspace change nor viewport change (Unity).

Hi and thx for your thoughts.

I didn’t realise that my idea for organising my work is so far fetched. From YouTube videos I got the impression it could be feasible, for example with a KDE distro and Plasma DE. But if I was mistaken, to bad for me.

It’s kind of funny that a functionality which existed 10 years ago has just disappeared. Shows that my ideas were not shared by many … :person_shrugging:t3:

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That’s something you might achieve in KDE/Plasma but to be honest I’ve not used it much those last couple of years so i can’t give any piece of advice. It was/is indeed the « Activities » concept where by choosing one of your preset activity, you are faced with a « view » dedicated to that activity.

I’ve ended up with something more « radical » but also more « solid » : just take advantage of the fact that Linux is a multi-users system. I have many sessions ( users ) on my computers and some session are dedicated to specific « activities » while others are dedicated to a specific person.
Then each session can look and behave each totally differently.
And eventually each session is independent from others.
Or not, and sharing data between those users/sessions is just a matter of rights and permissions.

You can do that with any OS or any Desktop Environment. It’s mostly basic data organization.

I can’t speak for @JowivK but here is my interpretation.
Let’s say you have 3 workspaces :
⋅ on wrkspc 1 you want a dock with launchers A, B, C, some files and folders probably related to A, B, C on your « desktop view », some applets in your panels which make sense while you are dealing with A, B, C ;
⋅ on wrkspc 2 you want a dock with launchers D, E, F, some files and folders probably related to D, E, F on your « desktop view », some applets in your panels which make sense while you are dealing with D, E, F ;
⋅ on wrkspc 3 you … get the idea…

Each workspace has its own personality, shortcuts, panels, dock.

…all in all it’s like having 3 different sessions in one, at the same time and no DE offers that.

Mmm… It’s not ilke having… it’s exactly that : one workspace = one $USER giving the ability to instantly switch between them at any time, I’d love that.

Thanks Vlijm,
You describe it perfectly. And you reassure me that ‘I am not the inly one’…
And thanks Coeur-Noir also for that idea. It’s an interesting concept. But of course a workaround in a way. It requires more discipline to stay on one task at a time, less multitasking. (But perhaps men shouldn’t try to multitask too much anyway: they can’t really do it …:upside_down_face::wink:)
I think I will try to set it up with KDE Manjaro and Plasma. Look for a good tutorial on that. If it doesn’t work, the dedicated profile concept might be the solution.
Or, another idea: Why not use 2 or 3 virtual machines with different systems? I usually have a VM with windows open because there are a few programs which I don’t get in Linux. But of course, the hardware resources are a limiting factor there, so you can’t have very many ‘virtual workspaces’. On the other hand, I could even have a virtual android device open at the same time - some things work really well in Android…
Thanks again for your ideas, you helped me get my thinking clear.

Actually: This here is a Budgie forum, isn’t it? Budgie is akso KDE, isn’t it? So I will also try my ideas on a clean KDE Budgie machine before reverting to Plasma.

Regarding your ‘radical solution’: You have these different users working with one common ‘Home’ partition or not?

No, Budgie has nothing to do with KDE/Plasma.
Budgie is Gtk / KDE is Qt.
These are two different Desktop Environment with totally different foundations.

Budgie have common foundations with Gnome.

$HOME is not /home please be clear about places and their purposes.
‘Home’ has no meaning and may bring confusion.

There is only one /home folder at the root-tree of your system.
This folder never leaves the root-tree, be it used directly or indirectly as a mounting-point.

There is a $HOME for each human user.
Therefore those ( potentially many ) $HOME ( = /home/$USER = personal folder for an user ) may be stored directly inside /home folder or stored elsewhere indirectly in another partition mounted inside /home.

I have partitions for users’ data and don’t use /home as a mounting point.
I have symbolic links in my diverse $HOME targeting folders mounted in /media/DATA-USERS/ for visible data ( documents and medias for my many users/sessions ).

But that does not matter as long as you know how you have organized your own stuff.

I don’t like using /home as a mounting point because it’s not safe and robust enough in my context, where I have many OS, in many versions, all with many users/sessions, all using different Desktop Environments.

Using one common /home for all of these OS and DE leads only to nightmares, because hidden elements of $HOME can’t work together in such a diverse context.

By doing so I keep hidden elements of $HOME in their respective OS and DE, and I keep visible « human » data apart and safe in dedicated partition(s). I can change, add, upgrade, downgrade, destroy and ruin OS~DE without ( too much ) worrying for human data ( they are not tied to or buried into any system. )

That does not exclude multitasking, you easily switch between running users/sessions as many sessions can run in the same time.
That’s basically what Linux is tailored for. Your Linux system is a server, users’ sessions are the clients.

Good point! I mentioned the ‘Home’ partition (it’s not a folder for me) because I would want all the user profiles to share the same the same data pool .
But of course I can mount my home partition and all other partions or HDs I have, including NAS, in all the user profiles. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense for my purpose.
Thanks again for the idea!

Let me just get back to report: I have installed Manjaro with Plasma and it seems that this is a solution. I can indeed set up multiple ‘activities’, each with multiple workplaces. And for each activity (not the workplace) I can set up different work environments: Background (to know where I am), starters for the specific programs I want in that activity, and of course also specific folders and files. (Although I will prefer to place only links to the folders and files because I have a central file storage and don’t want too many files on the desktop).
I’m still going to try KDE Neon with spaces as alternative, but regarding this aspect I don’t expect any surprises.
I might also try the Budgie distro with Plasma we which seems available as a community project. But then I will stop looking.
So for myself I will declare the issue solved: The solution seems to be ‘Activities’.