scriptable desktop UI, is it possible?

Mike Massonnet mmassonnet at
Sat Feb 7 15:52:43 CET 2009

Le Sat, 7 Feb 2009 00:34:12 -0800,
Xiong Jiang <linuster at> a écrit :

> XFCE is my top desktop UI choice and it may be the best candidate for
> the following idea, which is my wish, not to be considered as feature
> requests.
> I am tired of tweaking my desktop UI: whatever I tried, I want to try
> something new, and unable to save what I have tried except for saving
> a screen shot, and unable to easily use it again. So I am wondering if
> anyone would or have bothered to create a programmable UI through
> perl/python/ruby/java/bash/whatever script.

The configuration is saved to ~/.config/xfce4 mostly, there might be
other softwares saving directly under ~/.config.
Just tar what you need to a backup directory so that later you can
replace your current configuration.


> By using such script, you can save your UI setup easily, and pick it
> up again any time in future. You can set up your customization on a
> new installation easily, just by running the script, and you can
> create a menu to switch between different setup by just one click.
> Sounds cool enough? And more, you can design your own desktop UI and
> your own experience by just writing some script.
> Well, I actually want to try some desktop UI like this, let me name it
> as # desktop environment, or #DE, if name matters:
> The goal is to access and switch between opened or favorite
> applications or documents, and the desktop root window, quickly.
> - Desktop screen is divided to 3x3 blocks, numbered 1-9, as the layout
> of the numpad on PC-104 keyboard.
> - Each block contains icons that serve as represent either
> applications or documents shortcuts. To stay organized, user can put
> shortcuts belongs to similar category or task in same block.
> - When an application is launched, the window manager saves
> information about which block it is launched from.
> - Hot keys, such as numpad keys can be used to switch between opened
> windows, for example:
>  Press 1 and switch to the window that was launched from block 1. If
> there are multiple such windows, press 1 again will bring the next
> window in the list to top.
>  Press numpad 0 to "expose" the desktop window, showing all the icons
> and thumbnails in each block.
>  The other keys on numpad are also very useful. + - * / on numpad
> could be used to maxmize / minimize / dock-to-right / dock-to-left the
> current top window.
> . can pop up a menu.
> - If user doesn't like numpad keys, other hotkeys such as ALT-1..9 can
> be used instead.
> - Mice operation is somehow so limited, but mid-button can be used to
> "expose" all windows,
> Well the whole story is that if the UI is programmable through
> scripts, the above is just one of the many interesting things for
> experiment, and we can make much better improved / customized UI
> design very quickly. Linux distros can pick up some popular or typical
> ones as the default desktop setup. Is it fun!

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