Logins vs. Profiles

Since some time I am thinking about what could be made better on working with a desktop. I have come to the conclusion that one thing that is actually bad on todays desktop is:

  • If you log in via a desktop manager or configure your X session this is said to be a 1:1 relation user<->desktop. You can switch the window mangers but thats not really natural.
  • So for a clean separation of desktops today people need to set up different accounts – but this means they have to configure some applications over and over again.

I think there must be a better way like:

  • Rather than multiple users there is one user and one password (maybe this is the default user)
  • The user logs in with just the password – after than he is given the chance to select a profile like:
  • A GNOME session, or any other window manager oder desktop environment.
  • The chance to freeze a session state – I think this would be a real benefit – like: you are working on a graphical editing session with GIMP and inkscape, you save some files and freeze the session – you then open a mail session and send the mails. The other applications are out of the ram and do not require any CPU cycles in that time.
  • Maybe its also possible to produce workflows between some profiles/sessions.
  • It should be very easy to switch sessions and restore sessions
  • I also think every good window manager should have a revision management built in.

My usage often is that I do only use the computer for one thing – like watching tv or using it as a radio station. Sometimes I mix usages like typing a blog entry while listening – but I think this does not need to produce much load. Most of the time I try to switch between different standard setups I use often – i have no way that the desktop (GNOME) helps me on restoring such setups. Its like people never will repeat tasks. I think the desktop should help the user to configure and save some setups. This could also be something like you edit an image in GIMP and the press a button which means that the image gets saved on a specific location and also gets attached to a new mail message. Why do I have to save and select a location, then start a mail program and search the very same location and the file stored in there?

I think we need another desktop revolution. Right now all applications are build to be used perfectly standalone and also so things differently every time. But that is very rarely the case. OTOH an application like GIMP is hard to use in a tiled window manager like wmii. This is because many applications were optimized for one desktop or the other.

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