It was nice to see Spaces on the feature list for Leopard (Mac OS 10.5). I’d been quite happy using Desktop Manager for virtual desktops on Mac OS X, but once Spaces was announced I think everyone working on virtual desktop software for Mac OS X pretty much threw in the towel.
Now that I’ve had a chance to play with Spaces I have some complaints. Two specific ones that really bother me, both dealing with application pinning. First, having application windows in more than one space. I generally have at least eight terminal windows (thank you iTerm) open in across several different desktops. When I tried to do the same thing in Spaces it would always open in the same desktop, the one where iTerm was first launched in. The “work around” is to open all of the iTerm windows that you want in one space and then go to the Spaces app (the view that shows you all of your desktops) and drag the terminal windows to the various spaces that you want to actually use them in. If for some reason you have to close one of them then you’ll have to go back to the original desktop that iTerm was launched in, create a new window, go back to the Spaces app and drag it back to where you want it. So it isn’t impossible to get around this behavior, but the method involved is really annoying.
My second gripe is one that I haven’t been able to work around at all. When you switch an application your are always automatically moved to the space that the app is in and it is given focus. The classic example of this for me is clicking on a link in an email which opens in Firefox. I generally will go and look at the site later, after getting through more email. Which means I want the link to open in Firefox, but be left in the same space as my email app. But I haven’t found a way to do this in Spaces, you will always be moved. What I’d like to see is that behavior being optional, perhaps only for apps that are assigned to a specific space.
So far I’m fine with everything else in Spaces, although a little pager on the desktop would be nice.
UPDATE 14 Feb 2008: This behavior can now be turned off in 10.5.2