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Opencroquet

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the thwock-thwock dept.

Operating Systems 380

zymano writes "OSnews has some information about Opencroquet, a 3d operating system worked on by Alan Kay, who also is one of the inventors of Smalltalk, one of the fathers of object oriented programming, conceiver of the laptop computer, inventor of much of the modern windowing GUI. The OS is a 3D environment running through the Squeak environment on top of another operating system. It requires a supported 3D accelerator. Squeak is an interpreted language similar to Smalltalk. Could be ssslooooww. Way cool screenshot."

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gayest name for an OS yet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493193)

see topic, discuss

Re:gayest name for an OS yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493274)

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:gayest name for an OS yet = Windows (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493299)

How is croquet worse than the name windows? One is a nice solid club you can whack people with, the other is a piece of glass that breaks easily... oh wait, maybe windows fits perfectly!

Re:gayest name for an OS yet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493487)

..then I'll croquet your ass!!

PLEASE what should I do next with my life ??!

Very nice (-1, Offtopic)

maukdaddy (244282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493199)

Very nice!

Doom (-1, Offtopic)

tindur (658483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493206)

Slashdotted indeed. Is this similar to Doom?

You FAIL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493207)

YOU AND YOUR 4 MILLION SIMPSONS-REFERENCING FRINENDS ARE NOT FUNNY, ASSHOLE.

This will be posted in response to each and every "huh huh, homer wuz write!" post in this thread. Enjoy!

adfwvqrewf

huh huh, homer wuz write! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493233)

huh huh, homer wuz write!

Assuming it unusable quite soon... (5, Informative)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493208)

Summary

Croquet had the working name of Tea until recently. You will see many references to Tea in the system, in the code, and even in this document. Just
assume that when you see Tea, we mean Croquet.

Croquet was built to answer a simple question. If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far
could we go. What kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current set of
operating systems were first created.

The landscape of possibilities has evolved tremendously in the last few years. Without a doubt, we can consider Moore's law and the Internet as the two
primary forces that are colliding like tectonic plates to create an enormous mountain range of possibilities. Since every existing OS was created when the
world around it was still quite flat, they were not designed to truly take advantage of the heights that we are now able to scale.

What is perhaps most remarkable about this particular question is that in answering it, we find that we are revisiting much of the work that was done in
the early sixties and seventies that ultimately led to the current successful architectures. One could say that that in reality, this question was asked long
ago, and the strength of the answer has successfully carried us for a quarter century. On the other hand, the current environments are really just the thin
veneer over what even long ago were seriously outmoded approaches to development and design. Most of the really good fundamental ideas that people
had were left on the cutting room floor.

That isn't to say that they thought of everything either. A great deal has happened in the last few decades that allows for some fundamentally new
approaches that could not have been considered at the time.

We are making a number of assumptions:

Hardware is fast - really fast, but other than for booting Windows or playing Quake no one cares - nor can they really use it. We want to take advantage
of this power curve to enable a richer experience.

3D Graphics hardware is really, really fast and getting much faster. This is great for games, but we would like to unlock the potential of this technology to
enhance the entire user experience.

Late bound languages have experienced a renaissance in both functionality and performance. Extreme late-bound systems like LISP and Smalltalk have
often been criticized as being too slow for many applications, especially those with stringent real-time demands. This is simply no longer the case, and as
Croquet demonstrates, world-class performance is quite achievable on these platforms.

Communication has become a central part of the computing experience, but it is still done through the narrowest of pipes, via email or letting someone
know that they have just been converted into chunks in Quake. We want to create a true collaboration environment, where the computer is not just a
world unto itself, but a meeting place for many people where ideas can be expressed, explored, and transferred.

Code is just another media type, and should be just as portable between systems. Late binding and component architectures allow for a valuable
encapsulation of behaviors that can be dynamically shared and exchanged.

The system should act as a virtual machine on top of any platform. We are not creating just another application that runs on top of Windows, or the
Macintosh - we are creating a Croquet Machine that is highly portable and happens to run bit-identical on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and ultimately on
its own hardware... anywhere we have a CPU and a graphics processor. Once the virtual machine has been ported, everything else follows; even the
bugs are the same. Most attempts at true multiplatform systems have turned out to be dangerous approximations (cf. Java) rather than the bit-identical
"mathematically guaranteed" ports that are required.

There are no boundaries in the system. We are creating an environment where anything can be created; everything can be modified, all in the 3D world.
There is no separate development environment, no user environment. It is all be the same thing. We can even change and author the worlds in
collaboration with others inside them while they are operating .

The existing operating systems are like the castles that were owned by their respective Lords in the Middle Ages. They were the centers of power, a way
to control the population and threaten the competition. Sometimes, a particular Lord would become overpowering, and he would get to declare himself as
King. This was great for the King. And not to bad for the rest of the nobles, but in the end - technology progressed and people started blowing holes in
the sides of the castles. The castles were abandoned. Technology does this.

Re:Assuming it unusable quite soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493530)

"Hardware is fast - really fast, but other than for booting Windows or playing Quake no one cares - nor can they really use it"

Only nerds say this. Even done any audio processing? Compressed a bunch of files into OGG/MP3?

3D Operating System (-1, Offtopic)

Khakionion (544166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493210)

Can't get the screenshots to load...Is it like those "exporation" style 3D OSes from the game Cyberia2?

Re:3D Operating System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493235)

It doesn't look very pretty in my opinion. Just some 2D pictures and file windows floating in 3D space.

Mirror (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493219)

summary.html [mrhostbot.com]

teapot.jpeg [mrhostbot.com]

Croquet0.1.pdf [mrhostbot.com]

I grabbed the summary text and screenshot as well as the Croquet user manual in anticipation of /. effect. Thank MrHOSTBOT [mrhostbot.com] for the free bandwidth.

Oh, and people seemed to be labeled "karma whore" just because they post useful (mirror) links, so I guess I'll stick to A.C. in order to please the masses.

Re:Mirror (4, Funny)

pi radians (170660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493268)

What, are you too good for karma?

Damn elitists!

Re:Mirror (1)

RudeDude (672) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493272)

How dare I forget that there is no pleasing the masses! ;-)

Re:Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493277)

dang, if i had that i would have whored !

Re:Mirror (0, Funny)

brandonY (575282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493352)

Karma whoring anonymous bastard!

Re:Mirror - with virus (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493457)

The pdf may have a virus .. that could explain anonymity.

I can see how this will become. (2, Funny)

termos (634980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493226)

Mom, mom. My game of HalfLife is running at half the speed on this OS.
That is because the desktop is up with full 3d-acceleration, fog, per pixel lightning, stencil shadows for under the text, realtime ratracer on the taskbar reflecting the desktop at a resolution of 1600x1200.
Oh, okey! ;-)

well (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493228)

I guess I'll finally have to upgrade my 486

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493560)

Dont bother. Anyone that hasn't used squeak should know that:
  • squeak uses green threads for all things occuring in the environment.
  • if a stack overflow occurs in squeak, the environment is often non recoverable (the environment has no fault tolerance).
  • many of the io calls block and since squeak uses green threads, the environment sleeps as well.
Sure, the environment is pretty... Its also pretty useless. Spend the cash on a non-free smalltalk environment if thats your bag.

ouch.... (5, Funny)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493232)

...conceiver of the laptop computer

I hope he had good birthing hips... that sounds uncomfortable.

Re:ouch.... (3, Funny)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493315)

Actually, it was a seminal conception of his; the labour was performed by someone else.

Another #1 at f'd company... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493240)

We (Microsoft) will squish thos OS exactly like we wiped Linux from the face of this world..

Slashdotted, here's the "Summary" (-1, Redundant)

Mwongozi (176765) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493243)

Site is very slow, probably dead soon. Here is the text from the "Summary" page:

Summary

Croquet had the working name of Tea until recently. You will see many references to Tea in the system, in the code, and even in this document. Just assume that when you see Tea, we mean Croquet.

Croquet was built to answer a simple question. If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go. What kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current set of operating systems were first created.

The landscape of possibilities has evolved tremendously in the last few years. Without a doubt, we can consider Moore's law and the Internet as the two primary forces that are colliding like tectonic plates to create an enormous mountain range of possibilities. Since every existing OS was created when the world around it was still quite flat, they were not designed to truly take advantage of the heights that we are now able to scale.

What is perhaps most remarkable about this particular question is that in answering it, we find that we are revisiting much of the work that was done in the early sixties and seventies that ultimately led to the current successful architectures. One could say that that in reality, this question was asked long ago, and the strength of the answer has successfully carried us for a quarter century. On the other hand, the current environments are really just the thin veneer over what even long ago were seriously outmoded approaches to development and design. Most of the really good fundamental ideas that people had were left on the cutting room floor.

That isn't to say that they thought of everything either. A great deal has happened in the last few decades that allows for some fundamentally new approaches that could not have been considered at the time.

We are making a number of assumptions:

Hardware is fast - really fast, but other than for booting Windows or playing Quake no one cares - nor can they really use it. We want to take advantage of this power curve to enable a richer experience.

3D Graphics hardware is really, really fast and getting much faster. This is great for games, but we would like to unlock the potential of this technology to enhance the entire user experience.

Late bound languages have experienced a renaissance in both functionality and performance. Extreme late-bound systems like LISP and Smalltalk have often been criticized as being too slow for many applications, especially those with stringent real-time demands. This is simply no longer the case, and as Croquet demonstrates, world-class performance is quite achievable on these platforms.

Communication has become a central part of the computing experience, but it is still done through the narrowest of pipes, via email or letting someone know that they have just been converted into chunks in Quake. We want to create a true collaboration environment, where the computer is not just a world unto itself, but a meeting place for many people where ideas can be expressed, explored, and transferred.

Code is just another media type, and should be just as portable between systems. Late binding and component architectures allow for a valuable encapsulation of behaviors that can be dynamically shared and exchanged.

The system should act as a virtual machine on top of any platform. We are not creating just another application that runs on top of Windows, or the Macintosh - we are creating a Croquet Machine that is highly portable and happens to run bit-identical on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and ultimately on its own hardware... anywhere we have a CPU and a graphics processor. Once the virtual machine has been ported, everything else follows; even the bugs are the same. Most attempts at true multiplatform systems have turned out to be dangerous approximations (cf. Java) rather than the bit-identical "mathematically guaranteed" ports that are required.

There are no boundaries in the system. We are creating an environment where anything can be created; everything can be modified, all in the 3D world. There is no separate development environment, no user environment. It is all be the same thing. We can even change and author the worlds in collaboration with others inside them while they are operating .

The existing operating systems are like the castles that were owned by their respective Lords in the Middle Ages. They were the centers of power, a way to control the population and threaten the competition. Sometimes, a particular Lord would become overpowering, and he would get to declare himself as King. This was great for the King. And not to bad for the rest of the nobles, but in the end - technology progressed and people started blowing holes in the sides of the castles. The castles were abandoned. Technology does this.

YOU FAIL IT! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493516)

would be karma whore.

Cool man (-1, Redundant)

sahasamrat (523963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493245)

looks cool

prototype? (2, Interesting)

TobiasSodergren (470677) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493248)

Squeak is an interpreted language similar to Smalltalk. Could be ssslooooww.


Since the article is slashdotted, this comment might come out as a RTFA comment, but anyway:


Is the 3D desktop meant to be a proof-of-concepts or a real product? If the system i slow due to this Squeak, perhaps it could be translated into somthing that compiles?

Re:prototype? (5, Informative)

brandonY (575282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493399)

I think not. Compiling would mitigate the whole point. The idea is that it's a perfect virtual machine, with exactly the same code for every system, plus a tiny little bit of specific OS code in C at the very bottom. Squeak's available for so many platforms because it takes this approach. Anybody can knock out a new version in no time, while with something with Java, a new version is a major undertaking and is sure to come with its own unique bugs. Besides, Squeak is actually surprisingly fast for a true OO, VM-based system. It can even handle movie-playing and some 3D stuff with surprisingly good speed. Yay VMs!

Re:prototype? (5, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493540)

A correction to the original post:

Squeak isn't an interpreted language like Perl or Basic (usually) is. Squeak is compiled, but to bytecode. The bytecode is then JIT-compiled or interpreted. Never is the code itself interpreted.

Compiled (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493558)

There is a cross-plaform vector-based (3D) network aware GUI project underway, written in C and C++ and using OpenGL called Fresco [fresco.org] . It's still in early development, but it has a couple of demos you can run.

NFP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493250)

Not the first post, but just as good!

This is me, doing a little dance...

Ooh, yeah, ah, shake it, woohoo, ass goes left, ass goes right, oooohhh, yeah!

Now I'm all tuckered out.

Misquote (0, Funny)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493252)

When the only tool you have is a Mallet, everything starts looking like balls.

Mine are Blue and Yellow, thanks for asking.

How can an OS be 3D? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493253)

Maybe this is a about 3D _GUI_.

Re:How can an OS be 3D? (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493423)

Maybe the same way KDE and Gnome are OSes ;)

Nifty! (1)

defile (1059) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493259)

I hope Smalltalk will not be the only language you can use to write programs. I think it's cool, but there's no reason I shouldn't be able to use other programming languages I know.

Re:Nifty! (2, Informative)

TulioSerpio (125657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493349)

Squeak it's an Object ambient, not a programming lenguage alone. That's mean every thing you see is an object (the compiler, the classes, the windows, the number 3, the message "+" send to the object 5, etc. etc.).
I think the idea is to create an OS from Squeak, and opencroquet being the shell.
The language itself is used to do things like open files, if you want.
You can program in assembler, if you can. But you must think in Assembler.

Heres the really intresting stuff (5, Informative)

grazzy (56382) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493262)

Re:Heres the really intresting stuff (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493279)

backed up here: http://quake.swe.net/~grazzy/Croquet0.1.pdf

Flash? (0, Insightful)

SlightlyMadman (161529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493264)

I'm dubious of any supposedly revolutionary new OS that uses Shockwave-Flash for its site navigation. Since I don't allow that crap in my browser, all I see is a bunch of grey boxes on the left, rendering the site totally useless.

The extra bandwidth required probably isn't helping it survive a slashdotting right now, either.

Re:Flash? (3, Insightful)

psxndc (105904) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493369)

I'm dubious of anyone that assumes Flash is crap because it's misused in so many places. Flash can be amazing, especially when it's used for navigation, because it allows for absolute positioning and control as opposed to

<table>
spacer row...
content...
spacer...

Flash is not crap. Just most people using it relegate it to stupid intro movies. It allows the developer to create a completely self contained application, free of the shackles of the HTML dinosaur.

psxndc

Re:Flash? (3, Insightful)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493499)

Flash can be amazing, especially when it's used for navigation,

Flash as navigation? It allows you to completely destroy the usability of the site. Middle click to open in a new window? Gone. Right click to select "open in new tab"? Gone. Tab through links? Gone (or possibly there if somebody using flash has a clue, unlikely). Typeahead finding a link? Gone.

The reason people like flash for things like navigation is because they want to reimplement the interface. This is almost certainly a terrible idea from the perspective of most websites, and for most users.

It is also not supported by any search engines, so good luck having your site indexed (unless you provide a fallback, most flash developers don't even know how to do this).

because it allows for absolute positioning and control as opposed to

Control is a four-letter word in the mouth of a web author. I don't want you to control my interface. I want to view your site how I wish. All the w3c technologies allow this, why can't flash?

<table>
spacer row...
content...
spacer...

I think you mean <link rel="stylesheet" ...>

It allows the developer to create a completely self contained application, free of the shackles of the HTML dinosaur.

Great. But basic navigation through a normal website isn't an application. Even if it was, I'd expect it to work like all my other applications.

Re:Flash? (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493517)

And visitors care because?

People visit websites for *content* and *information*, not to drool over pixel-accurate navigation bars.
The least they could have done is making a HTML navigation bar for those who don't want/have Flash installed. But they don't even do that.
This is just Flash abuse, period.

Re:Flash? (3, Insightful)

Kombat (93720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493437)

Why? Flash is virtually ubiquitous (77% browser penetration [lycos.com] ), fast, responsive, a friendly programming API, compact, and runs on fairly low-end hardware, by today's standards.

why are people so opposed to Flash on the net? Are they equally resentful that images have "invaded" their text-only HTML world? My website uses tables ... how evil am *I*?

I mean, if you have a legitimate complaint (crashes your browser) or something, then that's fine, but I'm getting a little sick of people who consistently respond with knee-jerk negativity against anything remotely commercial, regardless of how useful and innovative it may be.

It's 2003. You don't still drive 30 mph in a '55 Chevy, why would you be so resistent to modern browser plugins?

Anyway, personally I'm glad that OS research is finally turning to the 3D realm. It only seems like the next natural progression in computer environments.

Re:Flash? (2, Interesting)

SlightlyMadman (161529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493544)

Oh, I have no problem with the concept of flash. I think that it's great that web designers have a tool like that, to provide nifty animations.

Personally, I just find it annoying and distracting, so, even though I've heard it's now possible to get a plugin for linux/mozilla, I haven't bothered. I have java turned off for the same reason, even though I make a living coding it.

The reason I complain is that (as I mentioned) they make it a requirement, in order to access the site's navigation panel. Even with 77% penetration, that means 23% of visitors will be unable to do anything except stare at the index page (which contains only a meaningless image).

Even when you're using a relatively reliable technology like images in an integral area of the site, it's standard practice to provide an alterative for those who can't or won't see them (hence the "alt" attribute).

Re:Flash? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493546)

I am not going to try to speak for anyone else, but I know that I prefer websites stick to standards. It's reassuring to know that a page I view from home can also be viewed at work, where flash is not installed. Flash creates an enormous hassle for people who do not/can not use it, web pages with missing segments, and vital information missing. That's why there are standards, so that everyone will get the same information. That's the best explanation I can provide to you on the negative view of Flash in the browser realm.

Flash is virtually ubiquitous (77% browser penetration...)

In other words, using flash eliminates 23% of your potential audience. Not to mention that the statistics in reference probably came from a sample size of 2,000 or so, and with over 507 million internet users, i would hardly consider 2,000 representative. (The number 2,000 came from the macromedia page where they explain the browser survey)

Re:Flash? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493477)

if you're close-minded enough to not even display Flash content, then you're probably too close-minded to use a new OS.

Squeak / Small Talk Truly Awesome! (2, Interesting)

notbob (73229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493273)

I've worked with some ppl from Cincom (shouts to Peter if you're still working there), and they do tons of Small Talk applications.

This stuff is kind of addicting once you get into it, it is very radically different and just a strange concept when thinking about what we're used to.

Squeak is like a living organism of an application. It just sort of evolves as you use it, giving it tons of capabilities and flexibility.

The whole thing is wrapped around really little messages being sent around and everything being just in time / real time.

Definately look up squeak and give it a try.

Bob
(all this praise from a Perl nut even)

no OS for u! (1)

XshadowstarX (655137) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493276)

If the website load time is any indication of the OS run-time, I think I'll stick with a 2-D interface. My question is why not just a 3-D Xwindows interface? Or just a 3-D desktop environment? If the OS is 3-D, does that mean that the kernel is 3D, or just the GUI?

Re:no OS for u! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493381)

If the website load time is any indication of the OS run-time


were you going for a +1 (funny) or a -1 (retarded)with that post?

Way Cool Screenshot (2, Insightful)

nherc (530930) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493293)

Way cool screenshot.

Hmm, the main link was slashdotted, so I tried the OS's website http://www.opencroquet.org [opencroquet.org] . Maybe they should change their main graphic to the "Way Cool screenshot" rather than the Monet looking Croquet game they have going on right now. They might garner a bit more interest.

mirror of screenshot (3, Informative)

oever (233119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493298)

Here's the screenshot [fenk.wau.nl]
It's not too spectacular, if you ask me.

Re:mirror of screenshot (1, Interesting)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493383)

What am I supposed to be looking at? A plain background-image, few images of guys, a window. Um, w00t?

Re:mirror of screenshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493451)

Yeah, that had to be the gayest screenshot I've ever seen. Why do these dorks bother putting their pictures up?

If you want to produce a cool screenshot, at least put up some pics of some babes. Even anime babes will suffice.

Re:mirror of screenshot (1)

binner1 (516856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493493)

Great sig. Too bad that people requiring directions on how to open and eat a muffin couldn't possibly read them anyway! <grin>

-Ben

Licensing? (2, Insightful)

big_gibbon (530793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493302)

I could well be missing something here - read the site and the article though, so at least I made an effort :)

What license is this code being developed under? It's called OPENCroquet, so presumably it's some kind of Open Source, but what flavour? Is it, in fact, Open at all?

I ask cos it looks interesting and I wanna play :)

P

Re:Licensing? (1)

brandonY (575282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493422)

If it's Alan Kay, my guess is that it uses the Squeak License [squeak.org] , except that it might have been a special case because they took Squeak from Apple. So I guess what I'm saying is that I have no idea.

real 3d (1)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493318)

I think I'd rather wait til we can have genuine 3d displays for this sort of thing...then this would be okay. But I think it isn't too good looking, and I've seen other programs that simply open up over the standard windows shell, and they look about the same as far as capabilities.

Re:real 3d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493555)

We already have real 3D displays which are almost, but just not quite, affordable. If we're just talking display, then you can get stereoscopically capable HMDs for less than 1000 USD, and some as low as 650USD. Even the cheap ones now are 800x600 pixel LCDs, not the measly 140,000 pixel ones available a few years ago.

If you want a head tracker with that, you pay another whack. But then, for 1000UKP I can buy a decent stereo enabled HMD and a head tracker. How big a monitor do you want? I want mine as big as a house and be damned to finite extent displays.

There isn't anything particularly magic about any of this hardware: it's bog standard stuff. The cost is purely because of low production volumes. The more people that buy, the cheaper it gets. If someone like Dell got involved bundling this stuff and it took off as a real alternative, then the price would half in 12 months.

I'm pretty annoyed that the hardware /hasn't/ taken off. We have it, it's available. The problem is that no software uses it except 3D applications, and most gamers would rather have a 21" monitor than watch RPGs fly past them (or into them in my case) in full eye-refocus-required 3D.

VRLover....

Wicket. (2, Funny)

viper21 (16860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493320)

Insert witty Wicket joke here.

And what happens if two Croquet machines have packet collisions? Which one gets to make the croquet shot?

-S

Re:Wicket. (-1)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493365)

I think you mean Cricket.

Or may be Croquette [reference.com]

But this is about something called Croquet.

fyi

Re:Wicket. (1)

viper21 (16860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493502)

No, I definately mean Croquet. Does nobody in america play croquet anymore? I mean wicket too, not cricket.

http://www.croquetamerica.com/gams-rls.asp [croquetamerica.com]

-S

Re:Wicket. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493523)

The croquet that has wickets, you mean? Like here [mauicroquetclub.org] ?

Re:Wicket. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493370)

cricket is wicket. croquet is lawn.

I want to see it... (3, Funny)

myLobster (528056) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493322)


"Way cool screenshot."
That sort of link is red rag to a bull...
Slashdotted already...

it's a stretch (2, Insightful)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493325)

The OS is a 3D environment running through the Squeak environment on top of another operating system.

OK, I didn't RTFA, but...if it runs on top of another OS, it can't really be called an OS itself, can it? I mean, win95 jokes aside, isn't it just a fancy GUI then?

Re:it's a stretch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493407)

All it needs to do is present a complete hardware virtualization layer. As long as that is done, it wouldn't matter if you run the OS "on top" of another OS, or as the native OS, everything will work exactly the same (albeit slower in the former case).

Re:it's a stretch (3, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493514)

Yes and no. Squeak itself is an operating system which is usually hosted on another OS, like Unix or Windows. However, it is possible for it to run on the bare metal, and there has been some work towards that end. You can even write new hardware drivers in Smalltalk. This is x86 only so far- most people are content to run it ontop of another OS for now, so there hasn't been a huge push towards getting rid of the inferior host OSes quite yet.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493330)

There are apps that do this sort of thing for os X. It seems like a good idea to begin with, then, as more files are opened on the desktop (or whatever it should be called) things start getting really confusing. A 2D system is much simpler, however, I think the guy has some good ideas. Good luck.

3D OS (2, Insightful)

SirLantos (559182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493331)

If I am reading this correctly, they have made a 3D OS. Does anybody else here feel that, we (as a community) are putting way to much emphasis on the those two little characters 3 and D?

Couldn't we be spending our time trying to figure out how to make an easier to use, less complex OS? Something that isn't scary to people who have no idea how to use computers. Perhaps then we would see what a computer revolution would be all about.

Or maybe we could spend the time figuring out how to make computers more secure, so people wouldn't be afraid to put private info on it. Thus making it so that people are more likely to use them for everyday purposes.

But, no we decide we want to go 3D.

Makes you think, does the geek community really want computers to be used by everyone? Or do that want something only they themselves can understand?

Don't mod me down because you dissagree, if you disagree make a good argument about it.

Just my humble opinion,
SirLantos

Re:3D OS (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493547)

Couldn't we be spending our time trying to figure out how to make an easier to use, less complex OS?

Nobody uses complex numbers in their OS afaik. They are keeping that for when 3D is outdated. The only thing they still have to figure out is what a filesize of 35446-474i kb means.

3D Operating System? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493339)

Is that anything like a mauve database?

Please distinguish between an operating system (e.g. linux), and an operating environment (e.g. KDE).

2 trends... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493344)

in this week we had articles about ultratiny and fast operating systems and GUI, like Contiki [slashdot.org] and now one that goes in the other direction, 3D, object oriented, high hardware requeriments, running on a interpreted environment, etc. Can't be done an average desktop/operating system, that is maybe not as tiny as Contiki, nor as object oriented as Opencrocket, but try to be good enough in each of this categories?

crossplatform 3DNA (1)

Wino (655084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493347)


While we're on the subject of 3d GUI, you should really check out 3DNA [3dna.net] if you haven't seen it yet... well worth playing around with.

Think Quake meets Windows Desktop.

WOW! HOLY CRAP! THIS ROCKS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493348)

So he has a 3D walpaper, and different sized windows overlapping each other... where the fuck is the 3D? Hell I could make that screenshot under FVWM! Or even some crap OS like Winblows

Does anyone else get the feeling (3, Insightful)

arvindn (542080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493355)

... that this guy's ideas are always way ahead of his time?

Like smalltalk. Early 70s, IIRC. The problem of managing increasing software complexity, which object orientation (partly) solved, became significant only much later.

I don't think 3d enviromnents are an idea whose time has come. Slowness is only part of the problem. We really don't have the software infrastructure to scale UI complexity to those levels. Maybe for special applications, but not as a general UI design paradigm.

There are no boundaries in the system. We are creating an environment where anything can be created; everything can be modified, all in the 3D world. There is no separate development environment, no user environment. It is all be the same thing. We can even change and author the worlds in collaboration with others inside them while they are operating .
Certainly futuristic.

Re:Does anyone else get the feeling (1)

__past__ (542467) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493500)

Except for the 3D part - and I'm not convinced that it is a good idea - this sounds a lot like the Symbolics LispMachine OS, Genera. Which was really, really cool.

However, I wonder if the "no boundaries" way of things is still a good idea, given a machine connected to the hostile Internet. I wouldn't want a cracker end up in an "everything can be modified" environment.

Re:Does anyone else get the feeling (1)

binner1 (516856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493537)

Plus, just think how easily lost/confused users get with 2D desktop...throw in a third dimension, and it's game over for the IT support crew!

-Ben

oh cool (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493361)

Another new and innovative desktop experience the OSS community can mindlessly start copying !!!

A quote from the summary: (2, Interesting)

Elledan (582730) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493368)

"Hardware is fast - really fast, but other than for booting Windows or playing Quake no one cares - nor can they really use it. We want to take advantage of this power curve to enable a richer experience."

Does anyone else here read this as 'expanding the software to fill the available space (CPU-cycles & memory bandwidth)'?

Instead of focusing on enabling 'a richer experience' let us focus first on what is wrong with the current 'solutions' we're using and realize that 'doing more with less' is more than just common sense.

Don't tell me you really think that an OS like Win2k/XP or *NIX/*BSD is the 'be all, end all' of running software on a computersystem. Heck, over 10 years we'll simply laugh at those archaic things we're using (including countless hardware devices), much like we look back at using punch cards.

In other words, nothing to see here. Wait until we realize the mistakes we've been making and start from scratch again.

the slashdot effect (0, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493372)

I wonder what an incoming slashdotting would look like on a 3D operating system...my vote is for something not unlike the big "charge!" scene in Braveheart

Smalltalk misconceptions (5, Informative)

jarober61 (598836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493380)

It's cool to see Smalltalk getting noticed, but the misconceptions continue to run amok. Smalltalk is not typically interpreted - like Java, it's a JIT'ed language. The major commercial versions all use a JIT, and there's an experimental one for Squeak around - check the Squeak home page at http://www.squeak.org If you are curious about the commercial implementations - all of which have free downloads - check out this site: http://www.whysmalltalk.com

Good Show! (1)

kinnell (607819) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493389)

Now we can enjoy the thrill of croquet, even on rainy days or in winter. I can't get to the website, because it's slashdotted, but it sounds almost as exciting as Championship Bass Fishing. Will there be a linux version?

Real Estate (5, Interesting)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493392)

While I've never used a 3D GUI (other than Quake), the problem I perceive from the outside looking in (so to speak) is that a 15 inch, 19 inch, or even 24 inch computer monitor is an awfully narrow window through which to view the world. My eyes can flit about the physical 3D space of my office quite quickly, but if the virtual 3D space I want to view is larger than my screen, I can't move my eyes beyond the screen edge without using my hands.

Until this problem is overcome, either with giant screens, head-mounted displays, or some bizarre gesture-controlled scrolling (like head tilts), I can't see 3D GUIs becoming more than a curiosity because they consume too much 2D screen space without giving enough virtual space back.

not slow (4, Informative)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493403)

Squeak's byte code engine is better than Perl's or Python's, and there is a JIT available (although it's nowhere near as good as Sun's JIT for Java). And you can translate time-critical stuff into native code using a batch compiler and some manual intervention.

But raw execution speed isn't all that counts. Because Squeak has everything in one address space (unlike Gnome/KDE) and doesn't need to load anything on the fly (unlike Java), it's actually very responsive and uses comparatively little memory.

I don't think Squeak or anything based on it is going to replace mainstream desktops now or in the future. But it is an interesting platform for experimentation. It's also historically interesting because you can see the kinds of environments people already had available in 1980 (Smalltalk-80 is contained in Squeak).

I'm sad to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493404)

... I have never played cricket in my entire life!!

PLEASE, what should I do with my life ??!

Inventor of the notebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493406)

I was at Data General CORPORATION when they released the first true notebook. I don't remember him there, and I don't believe he did invent the notebook.

What you say???? (1)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493424)

Why?

That's really all I want to know. Why? The screen shot doesn't show me any compelling reason to want a 3d desktop and I've never seen any 3d desktop's that offer anything that will help me to increase my productivity.

So again my question is, why? Why is this a good idea?

Re:What you say???? (2, Funny)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493431)

Because 3D is one more D than 2D... it must be better. :)

Where's the beef? (2, Flamebait)

timeOday (582209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493433)

Ah, yes, the old.. "operating systems haven't changed enough recently, so let's change them... somehow... anyhow" routine. "The OS doesn't use enough computing resources. Maybe we can figure out a way to make it less efficient. Surely this will help the user somehow... wouldn't it?"

Of course the phrase "3d Operating System" is a non-sequitur in the first place. But then again, are they developing an OS at all?

The system should act as a virtual machine on top of any platform. We are not creating just another application that runs on top of Windows, or the Macintosh - we are creating a Croquet Machine that is highly portable and happens to run bit-identical on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and ultimately on its own hardware... anywhere we have a CPU and a graphics processor.
OK, so it's not even remotely an OS - just yet another attempt at a useful 3d GUI which could conceivably one day run on specialized hardware.
There are no boundaries in the system. We are creating an environment where anything can be created; everything can be modified, all in the 3D world. There is no separate development environment, no user environment. It is all be the same thing. We can even change and author the worlds in collaboration with others inside them while they are operating
Just like a lisp machine (except 3d graphics somehow play into it?) Woohoo! You can hack the OS while you write a letter to grandma!
There are no boundaries in the system. We are creating an environment where anything can be created; everything can be modified, all in the 3D world.
No pesky memory protection, no cumbersome file permissions! I'm freeeeee! Hey, stop reading my email!

I'm not sold on 3d (1)

madgeorge (632496) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493442)

I like the desktop layout of current operating systems. I never cared for virtual desktops or any demos or screenshots I've seen of 3d operating environments. Why? Dunno. Guess I don't need any more encouragement for getting lost in my work. I already have MMORPGs for some good, long sitting sessions without the newest Matrix OS by Tron Industries Inc.

Interesting idea, and I hope companies continue to test where they can go next with machine abstraction layers, but so far I'm not sold.

--madgeorge

Why isn't a 2D OS enough? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493445)

I don't get it...

So you can "shrink" windows by increasing the "distance" to them? But you can resize windows already...

So you can layer the windows on top of each other? You can do that already -- with transparency too, if that's preferred...

Why use a 3D OS? Do you actually work faster in it, or what?

Croquet virus would be like... (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493475)

I wonder what a virus on this would look like...

A window that constantly moving away from you

A window that is always behind you

A spherical window

Makes all your windows bounce off each other in a low gravity environment

Actually, these all sound kind of cool.

Metaphor still broken for breakthrough usability (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493489)

You still get windows behind windows, and windows far in the distance are only useful for images, not text. Then again, I can't read the article until it is available. Must be a 3D web server.

Squeak (0)

Stimpy2319 (162655) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493490)

Squeak is a type of Smalltalk. In fact I am fairly certain that it follows all of the standards set forth by Smalltalk/80. Sorry I don't mean to flame but I just thought that you all should know.

Functionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5493498)

How, exactly, is implementing a "3D" environment on a 2D screen going to improve functionality, useability, etc?

The folks who most need further functionality on the desktop are professionals who generally use a high amount of system resources (coders, 2d/3d graphical artists, live motion rendering folks, etc).

By reducing the amount of system resources that a computer can dedicate to doing what the user WANTS, and using them to pretty up the graphical interface into nice little 3D view, are we really adding anything USEFUL?

You still will need ways to get to programs behind other programs (a task bar). You will still need to drag and drop windows. You will still need a form of right click or "quick access" menus.....

FUNCTIONALITY is the key word in any OS distribution. Adding 3D effects to an operating system does nothing for functionality. Nothing at all.

Could be slow... (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493505)

Squeak is an interpreted language similar to Smalltalk. Could be ssslooooww.

Maybe, but bearing in mind we currently have multiple gigahertz computers, most of the 3D graphics is dealt with by hardware, and interpreters are usually at worst only 20x slower (at the very worst), this means that your program will run as slow as machine code did about 4 years ago; but the graphics will go at full speed. I'll think I'll survive.

Also, Java is "interpreted" (actually it's typically a JIT, but it behaves like an interpreter), and that's currently about half the speed of optimised C or there abouts.

Also, check out dynamo [umd.edu] , which is a machine code interpreter that interprets the same machine code as the machine it runs on somewhat faster than the microprocessor executes it (atleast about half the time anyway). It actually performs run time optimisation like code rearrangement and stuff, it's very clever.

Anyway, interpreters are not always slow; and they are usually plenty fast enough in practice.

I think quite a lot of FPS games have interpreters in them anyway to run the game code.

Not what I expected (1)

JohnCub (56178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493512)

I waited and waited for the screenshot to load and finally it did. I guess I expected more than transparancy tricks in the window borders. It's great that it compiles on a good number of platforms, but I don't think it's quite enough to make the masses switch.

Honestly, it reminds me of the windows alternate shell, LiteStep [sourceforge.net] which also plays transparancy tricks and lives on top of another os, giving a customizable look and feel not available with the host OS. Honestly I'm surprised nobody's made this point yet.

Just begging for a Slashdotting... (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493524)

When you put a high resolution screenshot on a server named "Minnow" you should expect nothing less

Google cached image (2, Informative)

vosbert (544192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5493545)

Since the screenshot is slashdotted,the image on the left I presume is the screenshot (although a little small and hard to see) Small google cache of screen shot [google.com]
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