scriptable desktop UI, is it possible?

Xiong Jiang linuster at
Sat Feb 7 18:01:45 CET 2009

Do I need to restart xfce and lose my open applications after untar a
different config in ~/.config/xfce4?

On Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 6:52 AM, Mike Massonnet <mmassonnet at> wrote:
> 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.
> Mike
>> 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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