_NET_WORKAREA and multiple monitors

Jannis Pohlmann jannis at xfce.org
Tue Aug 4 14:30:20 CEST 2009

On Tue, 04 Aug 2009 08:11:42 +0200
Yves-Alexis Perez <corsac at debian.org> wrote:

> On lun, 2009-08-03 at 15:58 -0700, Brian J. Tarricone wrote:
> > >> Basically, the spec says:
> > >>
> > >> "Work area SHOULD be used by desktop applications to place
> > >> desktop icons appropriately"
> > >>
> > >> If you include non visible area, you will end up with icons
> > >> potentially being invisible, which defeats the benefits of having
> > 
> > Right, but _NET_WORKAREA is then useless on multihead when you have 
> > monitors with different resolutions if you follow that
> > interpretation. Well, maybe not "useless" -- it does serve the
> > purpose of ensuring that you don't place things in non-visible
> > areas.  But it also artificially "hides" some (potentially large)
> > areas that *are* visible.
> Might be a good idea to port that to netwm ML (if they have one) or
> talk with metacity/kwin people about this (or even other wms).

I'm curious how others handle this, too, like notify-osd, nautilus (the
desktop part) and others. There has to be *some* kind of solution.

> Basically there's no way _NET_WORKAREA can be non-rectangular, I
> guess? So either you lose some visible space, or you have some
> invisible space. 

I have code lying around that computes the invisible areas in a
multi-head setup based on Xrandr. To do that it also has to determine
all visible areas of course. Well, actually, if you only need the
visible areas, you basically determine which outputs are connected and
then you end up with as many rectangles as you have monitors. If one
substracts the struts from that (either determined via
_NET_WM_STRUT_PARTIAL/_NET_WM_STRUT or via libwnck, and assuming they
are always at the edges), the result could be #monitors rectangles of
which we even know how they relate to each other (neighbor-wise).

Dunno if this is reasonable but we could use this to compute the areas
on which the desktop, xfce4-notifyd and others can operate. 

  - Jannis
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