Having both seems a bit redundant, and the latter is used more, as well as being more meaningful (IMO).

  • @PatrickMcElhaney I'm not sure I agree; a Desktop is a different thing from a desktop application, the desktop tag was just being used wrong. As this question points out: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/15331/… a desktop is a type of interface. The Android and iPhone homescreens are Desktops for example, and they're certainly not desktop machines or desktop interfaces. The tag wiki's suggested use of desktop was incorrect however.
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 22 '11 at 14:46
  • @BenBrocka Okay, reverted the synonym. I'll wait until a consensus is reached. Dec 22 '11 at 14:51
  • The current wiki description for desktop-application is "used to distinguish a desktop-application (installed on the user's machine) from a web-application." There are better words than "desktop" to make that distinction -- "client," "installable," and "local" come to mind. Dec 22 '11 at 16:10
  • @PatrickMcElhaney I'm not sure I agree with you. I'm open to other suggestions, but so far I like 'desktop application' better than your three other suggestions. It's certainly the one I've seen used the most. Jan 2 '12 at 23:51

A Desktop is a specific type of interface in addition to a type of computer. [desktop-application] fits applications designed for a desktop computer, but not questions about desktop style interfaces. We even have at least one question about these sort of interfaces.

The most common one is probably the Windows Desktop:

enter image description here

Note that desktop interfaces aren't always [desktop-applicaitons]. The iPhone Homescreen is also a desktop: enter image description here

IMO, [Desktop] should have it's tag wiki rewritten and made to focus specifically on these desktop interfaces rather than be a synonym of desktop-application.

  • Maybe desktop should be renamed desktop-metaphor or something else to avoid ambiguity? Dec 22 '11 at 15:48
  • @PatrickMcElhaney I tried searching for "desktop interface" and similar to see if there was a more formal term, I can't quite find one though.
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 22 '11 at 15:54
  • If anyone has a better term that would be great; Android and iOS call them "homescreens" but the terminology on Windows and Mac has always been Desktop
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 22 '11 at 20:05
  • I think it's a stretch to call the home screen a desktop. Lion has both a desktop and "Launchpad." The former is the base of your workspace. The latter is an app menu, having more in common with Windows' start menu than desktops. Dec 22 '11 at 21:56
  • True, Android's homescreen is much more like a desktop (which I'm also much more familiar with). Doesn't iOS have folders too though? Still seems like a desktop with only the icon space, and multiple screens
    – Ben Brocka
    Dec 22 '11 at 22:05

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