fullscreen mode and multi-monitor setups

Lion’s been out for a little more than a day now and it’s time for my first rant. There are a lot of things I like about it but there are also a couple of things that I don’t like. Like paper cuts, they won’t kill you, but once you notice them, they will drive you batshit insane mad.

safari screenshot

One of these paper cuts is the new fullscreen mode for applications. It makes great use of the limited screen real estate on single smaller screens, but the easy and quick access in mission control is where it excels. Single smaller screen? That’s right. It doesn’t mix well with multi-monitor setups. If you’re familiar with the concept of spaces you will know that in multi-monitor setups a space consists of the two (or more) screens. And that’s part of the problem. A fullscreen application, making use of the new Lion API, doesn’t take up a single screen, it takes up the whole space. It’s goes fullscreen on your primary screen, locking any additional screen on that same space. You get the blueish-grey linen background that’s also used in Mission Control and that’s it, you can’t place any windows on it, you can’t place anything on it. It’s useless.

It defeats the whole purpose of the fullscreen mode, decreasing effective screen real estate. One can only hope that Apple will fix it. However, I have to admit, I have my doubts. I can’t imagine this remained unnoticed throughout the developer previews. The only reasonable, and most disappointing, explanation seems to be that we’re dealing with a serious case of ‘working as intended’. Let’s hope I’m wrong about this one.

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