Real Desktops?

Topics: Idea Requests
Mar 8, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Would it be possible to integrate also multiple real desktops as natural as if they were Finestra Virtual? /joakim

Coordinator
Mar 23, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Do you mean use multiple Windows desktop objects? The problem with those is that you cannot move windows between them. So, it would be possible, but not as useful or as natural. There is actually a Sysinternals tool that does this and it isn't the greatest. I've thought at various points about integrating with desktop objects, but it just seems too impractical for daily use.

Mar 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Not sure what a desktop objects is so I can't answer specifically, but I can explain by example what I mean:

I already today have multiple devices connected using Synergy+. Works like a charm and is extremely useful. However, the only thing that is shared besides the mouse and keyboard is text-copy. The text is really good to have shared and I use this all the time, but I lack other very basic things: drag-and-drop, copy-paste and a single taskbar. If these were shared, all frequent operations such as moving files, switching between apps and working with documents would be so much easier. That was the reason I looked at Finestra. Moving windows (client or app) between devices would be a bonus - do you mean it has been done already?

Coordinator
Mar 24, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Oh, you mean connecting real physical desktop PC's together. In that case, I would have to say no, that would require integration into the operating system on a scale that hasn't really been done before. The best you could achieve would be to use a remote desktop program to transmit the contents of a window to the other machine. It's a very interesting idea though. Essentially, you are asking for something like x-windows on MS Windows, but that's probably something that only Microsoft themselves would be able to do.

On the other hand, you mentioned that Synergy+ only shares text copies. Sharing drag-and-drop data as well as all copy-paste data is actually possible (and not too difficult) across machines, although it can't always be guaranteed to work flawlessly. Also, it would work best on Windows machines only, as drag-drop functionality differs on other operating systems (but it is definitely possible to transmit a lot more than just text). I don't know why the Synergy developers didn't add it in.

Mar 25, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Good comments - an integration of x-windows and Synergy+ sounds right. Xming server and PuTTY client has been recommended for Windows, will take a look at these. I will ask Synergy+ also, maybe this is in their roadmap already.

BTW, I am actually using multiple OS vendors also. Mac OS X (Mac mini) and Windows 7 (Asus eee top) where the Mac happens to be server. Plan to connect a Linux/Android tablet also (NotionInk adam) to get even more workspace and apps.

Coordinator
Mar 27, 2011 at 5:22 AM

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to redirect an individual window to another machine on Windows. To do so, you would need to essentially re-implement the window manager, which isn't at all feasible. However, one way it could be done is to implement a second monitor driver much like some remote desktop programs I've used. When windows are moved onto that monitor, they simply appear on the other computer. There are a lot of problems with this though. Desktop compositing would probably be completely disabled as long as the phantom monitor was enabled, which is unacceptable for daily use. There might be some way of forcing it to remain active though, I'm not sure.

Actually implementing such a driver would be a pretty major task if it is to work well with DirectX and Synergy.

Mar 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Understood. Won't even condider trying ;-). Copy-paste and drag-and-drop operations are far more frequenct anyway so it is good to hear that should be possible on some clients. Thanks for the discussion and helpful tips!