On Thu, 07 Jun 2001, Sven Neumann wrote:
 > Peter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
 >> Can GIMP be started with all the windows grouped the way I want?
 >> [... lots of complains deleted]
 >
 > Your problem is basically that your window manager sucks. If working
 > on Unix using a decent window manager, you can use a separate virtual
 > desktop for Gimp, your taskbar is able to group gimp windows, gimp
 > will remember the positions of the dialogs and reopens them where you
 > left and so on ...
 >
 > I suggest someone sits down and writes a decent window manager for
 > Win32 since we do not want to duplicate the WM functionality in the
 > Gimp application.

Hmmm...  This is not as simple as you describe.  Actually, the Windows
way (using MDI and stuff like that) is not very different from the
workspaces or virtual desktops that are provided by many WMs in X.
These are two slightly different solutions to the same problem
(grouping windows belonging to the same application - or windows that
are related to some specific task).

- In X, the solution has been implemented at the WM+user level: the
   applications create lots of independent windows, and the WM provides
   several workspaces in which the user can keep these windows
   together.

- In Windows, the solution has been implemented in the libraries that
   can be used by all applications and in the built-in WM: there is a
   set of functions for generating MDI interfaces, and the applications
   that want to use this system can have their sub-windows managed
   inside a big top-level window.

In the end, the effect is very similar: things that belong together
can exist in their own environment (workspace or top-level window) and
the user does not accidentally click on a window that is in the
background and belongs to another application.  The X solution is more
flexible because the user can choose how the windows are grouped
(e.g., having several applications on the same workspace, or the
windows of a single application spread over several workspaces)
instead of having this choice made for them by the application
developers, but on the other hand the Windows solution is easier to
use for many users (not for experienced users, though).

So there is a general problem with many X applications that are ported
to Windows.  Since most of the Windows applications use the solution
that is already provided by the system (multiple windows in one big
window), there is no need to use a WM that provides several
workspaces.  It is therefore natural for the users of these ported
applications to criticize the developers for not using the facilities
that are provided by Windows.  Sure, a WM providing several workspaces
could help the Windows users, but why should they be forced to use
this because of only one application that does not behave like all
others?  Note that such WMs exist (for example, "Zones") but they are
mostly used by those who have to run many X applications under
Windows.  Most other users would rather complain to the developers and
suggest to use an MDI interface.

I don't think that the debate is going to end soon because both
systems have pros and cons.  Maybe the best solution would be to
integrate an MDI option in the Windows port of GTK?  Then each GTK
application ported to Windows could run with all its windows grouped
inside a top-level window, if the user likes this option.  Note that
doing this only in the Windows port would simplify some problems that
are hard to solve in X, such as how to emulate the look and feel of
the WM, since the choices under Windows are rather limited.

Hmmm...  Maybe I should re-post this as an article on Advogato?

 > To make you happy a little, I want to let you know that the current
 > CVS version of Gimp adds the possibility to keep most dialogs in a
 > dock and it does this much better than that product from Adobe that
 > we are often compared too.

Yes, this is a very nice improvement.

-Raphael

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