Software Review: Desktop Manager

4 05 2006

Multiple desktops are a feature which some people claim should be built into Mac OS X. I wasn’t so sure myself, so I decided to find a third-party appication and give it a whirl. The one I came across is called Desktop Manager.

Although only in Alpha status right now, Desktop Manager is open source and free. The software enables you to configure as many virtual desktops as you want (subject to available memory), giving each a name which you can choose to have displayed in a corner of the screen if you wish. To switch between the virtual desktops, you simply click a button on the menubar:

Desktop Managr Screenshot

There are many transition effects which you can set for switching between desktops, I have mine set to the ‘Cube’ transition like you would see when switching between users on the same Mac. The others can be seen in the ‘Screenshots’ section of the product website. So far I’ve found the whole experience to be very good, having as many virtual desktops as I like is very useful, as it effectively gives you a much greater work space.

Although Exposé is great for switching between windows whenyou have a few open, it doesn’t allow you to group windows based on a particular rule – its either all windows, or just the current application’s windows.

The virtual desktop way allows me to arrange my work by grouping windows in whichever way I choose, for example when I am doing web development work, I may have one desktop for the source code, another for graphics for the website, and another for previewing it in multiple browsers. Plus Exposé continues to work as you would expect on each virtual desktop!

Like I said, the software is in Alpha release at the moment, so don’t expect it to be perfectly reliable, though I haven’t yet had any problems with it. Although currently only natively for PowerPC Macs, I haven’t had any trouble running it on my Intel Mac under Rosetta.

Developer: Richard Wareham
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or Mac OS X 10.4
Download Link:
(260.8KB disk image)




2 responses

9 05 2006

They do a similar thing but i think its a little more tested, a cool video of it being used for Windows, OSX and Linux all at once here:

9 05 2006

Hey thanks for that, it looks pretty cool, I do like that you can drag windows from one virtual desktop to the other!

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