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[I've asked this to a few friends, and they've insisted that it doesn't exist (probably true).]

Exposé does what I want to a certain extent, but I would love to have a huge organizable desktop. Exposé decides how to arrange apps itself, so I never know where to look.

My monitor resolution is 1600x1000 (for example) but I'd like to be able to move around on, say, 5000x5000. Is there an app to do this on OSX 10.5.x?

Note: I am not interested in Spaces. I'm not asking about virtual desktops in plural. I'm asking about one big virtual desktop.

Note 2: You cannot set a bigger resolution than your monitor's max res on OSX. On Windows, I've had this working on a Dell laptop just some years back.

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How do you handle the Menubar? If you pan around, and it moves off the screen, it's useless. If it stays on screen, but you can pan 'past' it, then you lose Fitts' Law. – Matthew Schinckel Aug 22 '09 at 11:28
I don't know about Fitt, but the menu bar would be a permanent part of the screen, like the manufacturer's label on the monitor. In UI anything is possible. What would you LIKE the menubar to do in this case? – Dan Rosenstark Aug 23 '09 at 22:38
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The Expose random-window positioning has been changed in Snow Leopard, now windows tile neatly. Gizmodo article here outlines this change along with quite a few others.

Now! About the zooming desktop idea: check out this video of Oberon, an operating system developed at ETH Zurich by Niklaus Wirth (author of Pascal).

picture of desktop

(The picture doesn't do it justice, the video shows things much better).

Apart from the infinitely zoomable desktop, Oberon had a whole lot of other cool features, and this article is a very interesting read.

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Fascinating answer all around, many great points. Can you explain the grid stuff in Expose, please: does it maintain any consistency from one moment to the next. I currently go crazy in 10.5.7 trying to find each app. – Dan Rosenstark Sep 11 '09 at 13:47
@Yar - As far as I could ever work out, Leopard arranged the windows based on size (maybe even only height). You can see this by opening a series of windows all the same size, then activating expose - all the windows arrange in a row. On Snow Leopard when you activate Expose the windows retain their position. If you press command-1 it arranges them by window title, command-2 arranges by application name – redacted Sep 11 '09 at 14:33
That definitely sounds like it'll work... once I'm sure Mono Winforms are up to speed (I have a port of my own that I use), I'll make the switch. Thanks! – Dan Rosenstark Sep 12 '09 at 16:51

I am not sure if you are going to get an answer to this question.

There was a range of Dell notebooks that did support this a few years back, as I remember owning one, however unless the driver and monitor supports this there will be no way to increase the screen resolution beyond the physcial capabilities of the monitor and the card.

Since Apple develop the drivers, unless they have users requesting this feature in doves, I don't think they will provide this functionality. As far as I am aware you also can't override this with an Application, none of the API's I have seen allows the extending of the desktop resolution.

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X supports this in software in many cases. But I doubt it will work while quartz is controlling that hardware. – dmckee Aug 12 '09 at 15:32
Thanks Diago. My thought is that, even with an Expose where I could "fix" the app's location, I would be much happier. Expose' is great but I have no idea where to look! Then there's Spaces... still not sure there... – Dan Rosenstark Aug 12 '09 at 16:26
I didn't mention spaces because you asked not to have it mentioned. However don't confuces Expose with Spaces. Expose is the shortcut manager that allows for various option on the corners of the desktop - Spaces is the virtual desktop manager. – BinaryMisfit Aug 12 '09 at 18:05
Thanks, no confusion there between the two utilities, but both do (in 10.5.7) work in similar ways, especially regarding the zoom out. Thanks for your answer and comments. – Dan Rosenstark Sep 12 '09 at 16:52

I had a similar sounding idea a while ago (3 years ago I think..) for a "panable window manager", and made a mockup for it:

Panable window manager concept

I'm not totally sure how usable it would be.

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Cool, thank you for that. My new thing (as of a few hours ago) is "spaces" with a 4x4 grid (huge)... then each app gets its own desktop basically. Which is how I work anyway. But then the "spaces" view makes sense. – Dan Rosenstark Aug 12 '09 at 17:49
given up on spaces, waiting for you app! – Dan Rosenstark Aug 21 '09 at 20:09
That looks really interesting. How would you move around the "desktop"? Just move the mouse? – Sasha Chedygov Aug 21 '09 at 23:13
I imagined in a similar way to panning a Photoshop document - holding spacebar and clicking+dragging, along with a keyboard shortcut (similar to Spaces' shortcuts, modifier+arrow keys) – dbr Aug 22 '09 at 1:51

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