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Sun Wants to Make Linux 3D

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the frantically-building-a-future dept.

Sun Microsystems 545

gruenz writes "Linux Planet writes in this article about a project inside Sun developing "an experimental 3D successor to Java Desktop that they believe will change the way we interact with computers." A demo is available from Sun. 'In the demonstration, Jonathan Schwartz, vice president of Sun's software group, increases the transparency of a window so that you can see through it, turns a window on its side so that it sits at the edge of a screen like a book on a book shelf, turns a window completely around and leaves a note on the back, and takes a database of CDs presented as physical CDs, that you flip through, reading the labels, just as you would with real CDs, until you locate the one you want.'" It's called Looking Glass, in case you've heard that name before.

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I Know This! (5, Funny)

dupper (470576) | about 10 years ago | (#8644015)

This is Unix! [monash.edu.au]


Re:I Know This! (1)

2sheds (78194) | about 10 years ago | (#8644053)

As Alan Partridge might say... 'Jurassic Park!'

Re:I Know This! (1)

biobogonics (513416) | about 10 years ago | (#8644142)

Jurassic Park

Of course. Better that than "Dr. Strangelove". My first association for "Looking Glass" was the perpetually flying alternate command post for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the cold war. Let's hope using this interface does not start WW3. Or perhaps you'd like a nice game of chess???

Re:I Know This! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644068)

Ok, I give. I know that is from some movie where a teen is about to start hacking on a system. A girl I think. Wait a minute..Jurassic Park? Give me credit even if I spelled that wrong please. I think that is it, and the interface was like candy, 3D everything.

Re:I Know This! (2, Informative)

hplasm (576983) | about 10 years ago | (#8644118)

It's IRIX, it's SGI, it's called File System Navigator. Different thing from Looking Glass.

If they want to be innovative and supportive... (2, Flamebait)

gregwbrooks (512319) | about 10 years ago | (#8644018)

.... they might start by posting the video in non-proprietary format!

Re:If they want to be innovative and supportive... (3, Informative)

Krik Johnson (764568) | about 10 years ago | (#8644073)

Sun's Java desktop comes with Realplayer installed. So its not a problem for customers of Java Destkop, who are most likley to use it. For everyone else there is Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu], the universial media player!

Re:If they want to be innovative and supportive... (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | about 10 years ago | (#8644171)

For everyone else there is Mplayer, the universial media player!

I was under the impression that video apps like Mplayer (and xine, and ...) are universal loaders-of-open-and-proprietary-DLLs-and-.so's, in conjunction with a universally bloated skin managers.

I think the grandparent post is right: there are Open formats and there are Closed formats, and Sun's not going to win over idea-sharers by providing media that's encumbered by idea-hoarding technologies.

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644021)

first post?!

Eye candy is nice :-) (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 10 years ago | (#8644024)

If you look at the XDirectFB [directfb.org] screenshots you can see what it looks like using the DirectFB X-server :-) The server has the ability to make windows transparent/opaque by degree as focus is lost/gained or hidden/shown. Very nice :-)

If this gets the go-ahead (and if it's open source), it'll be even nicer. The DirectFB X-server is still a standard 2-D environment, with all that entails. I can't see much use for attaching sticky notes to the "backs" of windows, but I'm sure someone will come up with one :-)


Re:Eye candy is nice :-) (2, Funny)

bofkentucky (555107) | about 10 years ago | (#8644148)

I can't see much use for attaching sticky notes to the "backs" of windows
Password lists, more secure than on a post-it under the keyboard or in the desk drawer.

Re:Eye candy is nice :-) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644223)

The server has the ability to make windows transparent/opaque by degree as focus is lost/gained or hidden/shown

There's a utility called "Glass 2k" for Windows that does the same thing. It works with Windows 2000 and Windows XP - and it's completely hardware accelerated. It was mentioned in November 2001. On Slashdot [slashdot.org].


Sounds interesting (5, Interesting)

plazman30 (531348) | about 10 years ago | (#8644025)

This would be very nice to see. But I wonder if this is something that may leave the average home user confused.

I believe the ultimate goal of Linux desktops should be to make the computer as easy to use as a Mac.


Re:Sounds interesting (2, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | about 10 years ago | (#8644043)

Would a 3D desktop be more difficult to use ?

There are more to it than just the desktop, but it sure is a start, and if you've tried Sun Java Desktop system .. it's VERY easy to use as well.

Complicated (1)

millahtime (710421) | about 10 years ago | (#8644122)

"Would a 3D desktop be more difficult to use ?"

I don't believe the word diffucult describes it best but complicated. Linux should try to make it as uncomplicated to use as a mac. Put my little old mom on a 3D desktop and she would be lost.

Re:Complicated (2, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | about 10 years ago | (#8644147)

Have you even seen the video ? Does it look confusing at all ?
It's basically a regular desktop with 3D features. I seriously don't see why you would lable it complex. The coding behind it is complex yes, but that doesn't mean the desktop is complex or difficult to use.

Re:Sounds interesting (0)

LoboRojo (758260) | about 10 years ago | (#8644078)

I believe the ultimate goal of Linux desktops should be to make the computer as easy to use as a Mac.
... and Macs as cheap to buy as Linux PCs!

Re:Sounds interesting (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 10 years ago | (#8644103)

I believe the ultimate goal of Linux desktops should be to make the computer as easy to use as a Mac.

Why not easier? :-)

Re:Sounds interesting (4, Insightful)

WTFmonkey (652603) | about 10 years ago | (#8644178)

Yeah, it seems like it'd have a very high Coolness Factor, which usually bears an inverse relationship to the Usefulness Factor.

The first example that comes to mind is the CD thing mentioned in the blurb. Why the hell would I want to flip through CDs? That's the EXACT REASON I ripped them to my computer to start with, was so I could see a nice, flat list rather than hundreds of individual CDs.

Flipping a window around to put a note on the back seems like the kind of dumbass thing I'd do with my homework, and then I'd forget I wrote the note and totally ignore it anyways. Come on, on the back??

Like I said, sounds very cool, if not all that useful. I'd rather put that extra 3D rendering power into some badass games, personally. Offtopic, but I was playing through Freespace again last night (for about the fourth time). What a great game! I love the "spaceships fly like airplanes" genre and there just haven't been enough recently. That's what we need... not "easy as a Mac," but "as fun as a PC."

Re:Sounds interesting (2, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | about 10 years ago | (#8644196)

The ultimate goal of Linux desktops should be the ability to set it up to work exactly the way you want it to, not to imitate the Mac.

I don't give a shit about the average home user. I like focus-follows mouse, magic desktop borders and transparent thingies. I don't think the goal of Linux desktops should be to take away all the things I like about them. If this new-fangled interface is good, people will use it, the average home user can use a stripped-down KDE set to emulate Windows or Mac if he/she wants to.

Hey! Asses! (-1, Troll)

Tom7 (102298) | about 10 years ago | (#8644028)

A 3D window manager is a dumb idea. Stop wasting money on it!

Re:Hey! Asses! (1, Redundant)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 years ago | (#8644061)

A 3D window manager is a dumb idea. Stop wasting money on it!

ok, now imagine it written entirely in Java....

that statement just made 6 developers here gag and spit coffee...

Re:Hey! Asses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644213)

Score:4, Interesting

Uh-oh! You just gave some Java developers a bad idea!

Re:Hey! Asses! (2, Insightful)

aliens (90441) | about 10 years ago | (#8644063)

Agreed, unless they come up with a way to increase productivity, which this doesn't seem todo, why are they wasting time on it?

Let's see, 3d graphics of CD's or a simple text field where I type in 'Bandname' and hit enter.

Add to that the fact that 3d seems best navigated with a mouse and suddenly you realize that you're moving away from a keyboard interface which works better than a pointing device.

Re:Hey! Asses! (0, Troll)

MoonFog (586818) | about 10 years ago | (#8644065)

If you saw the video you'd notice that he talks about this being open source, or at least with an "open community". This being Sun, that probably means the Sun public license, but I still doubt they throw that much money at it.

Re:Hey! Asses! (5, Insightful)

Pratfall (626113) | about 10 years ago | (#8644082)

"A 3D window manager is a dumb idea. Stop wasting money on it!"

How is trying to replicate the natural interface that we use every day a dumb idea? Do you stick every piece of paper that is on your desk to your face? I think it's much more natural to reach for something you want than to maximise/minimize it.

Re:Hey! Asses! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644216)

How is trying to replicate the natural interface that we use every day a dumb idea?

Because they're not replicating the natural interface. You still only interact with this with a 2 dimensional pointing device. You can't reach in and touch these objects, you have to translate your intended 3D action into a 2D representation of that action and then the software then has to try and translate that back into a 3D action.

The interface is exactly why these 3D desktops are a dumb idea.

Re:Hey! Asses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644108)

Completely agree. I want speed. Make something that feels like BeOS running on a slamming fast CPU, only make it feel that way when running on a 1Ghz processor. Then I will be interested, until then I will run whatever is fastest, most consistent, and stable.

Re:Hey! Asses! (2, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 10 years ago | (#8644165)

I dunno. I think this kind of thing is like the stuff you see on the catwalks; it's a vastly over the top representation of what you'll actually see on the street.

Some of the stuff they are describing actually sounds somewhat similar to what we have now, for example "turns a window on its side so that it sits at the edge of a screen like a book on a book shelf". This is really little more than rolling a window up to its title bar and rotating it 90deg to save space on the desktop accompanied by some whizzy 3D effects. It's really just a logical progression of the simulated 3D effects GUIs obtained with the advent of 2D acceleration that utilises the latest 3D hardware to do it for "real".

True, it's not necessary, particularly resource friendly and the potential to seriously screw up the human-computer interface is greater. Even so, I won't be at all suprised to see features from this "Catwalk" on the street in Gome 3, KDE 4, Longhorn, and MacOS XI.

Tux, (2, Insightful)

dupper (470576) | about 10 years ago | (#8644037)

meet Bob. Bob, Tux.

Seriously, isn't this what MS tried to do (the literal objects representing files and environment, not the 3D part)? They're probably trying to beat Apple to the punch (this is a plausible, and, by many, expected course for their 'ease-of-use' direction; maybe a new WM for iMacs, only?), but how quickly we forget Microsoft's little "innovation", ten years earlier.

Re:Tux, (1)

mydigitalself (472203) | about 10 years ago | (#8644162)

no, i would say that was quite different. Bob was a user interface designed around a metaphoric real-world office. this demo from sun predominantly lends 3D properties to windows so that you can, for example (in the dvemo) flip oer your Mozilla window and write a little note on the back of it.

admittidly there are other real-world capabilities that they demonstrate - for example the cd catalogue they use; but in general its very different to Bob.

Lots for little (0, Troll)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | about 10 years ago | (#8644044)

I'll save you the trouble of this little PowerPoint presentation:

Pages and pages of "data" culminating in the punchline of Scott McNealy flailing about and screaming "I am God here!"

Remember... (4, Funny)

MarkMcLeod (759072) | about 10 years ago | (#8644045)

When Zero Cool and his 'leet group of hackers infiltrated the Gibson. That's what this reminds me of, infinite ammounts of stupid. Except better. Sort of.

Yes its cool (0, Flamebait)

Krik Johnson (764568) | about 10 years ago | (#8644049)

I have used it, and it sure beats using a plain 2D KDE (even though the lovley kermamik interfaces looks 3D). I just hope sun decides to be innovative unlike the Gnome team who remove features, really annoying when you can't extract files from the context menu because the Gnome developers thought it would make it "bloated"

Re:Yes its cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644111)

but wait, arent you using LINUX!!!!!!????? i thought it was supposed to be so `super duper eleet and configurable in every way`? what, you cant configure it to extract files from the context menu if you want? oh dear...

Re:Yes its cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644201)

WTF? Extracting files from the context menu is pretty simple. Go back and look at it again.

Sun: Last people to design a UI (2, Interesting)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#8644050)

Great, now we're going to get UI innovations from Sun? That's the last thing Linux needs: Sun has no history of doing _anything_ at all interesting in terms of UI work.

And secondly who wants to flip through CDs like in real life looking for the one you want? Aargh. Hey, let's emulate a frustration of the real world ("Where's my All Saints' CD?") on the desktop. Hey, let's ignore any metadata we might have about the CD (artist, title, genre, ...). Hey, let's not do a search engine, let's do a linear search using fancy graphics. Woopee!

Linux does not need some fancy graphics on the desktop to make an impact.


Re:Sun: Last people to design a UI (5, Insightful)

squaretorus (459130) | about 10 years ago | (#8644099)

Linux does not need some fancy graphics on the desktop to make an impact.

It does need them to make some very specific 'impacts' however. Take your average user - give them something that works, is pretty, and is genuinely useful and they will jump for joy.

Even simple things like plugging a digital camera into my laptop (XP) and having it come up with the 'would you like to save these?' option - Yes - Then pick a slideshow from Explorer - it all worked so smoothly and quickly that my better half almoost pooped her pants with 'computers are getting good' excitement.

XP looks shit - but its easy to understand shit with landscape wallpaper and nice fonts. Linux looks shit and its kinda scary shit with penguins or nekkid chicks for wallpaper and white fonts on black... scary!

Re:Sun: Last people to design a UI (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 10 years ago | (#8644208)

XP looks shit??

It's like saying a blank piece of canvas "looks shit" because it's blank. You make it what you want. Head on over to deviantart.com and check out their visual styles if you're not convinced. With the right style, it's the best looking OS out there (OSX included, seeing as it can graphically emulate it to near completion).

Re:Sun: Last people to design a UI (4, Informative)

DrWhizBang (5333) | about 10 years ago | (#8644186)

Sun has no history of doing _anything_ at all interesting in terms of UI work.

Actually, Sun invested heavily in usability studies that have been used by the Gnomers in developing their HIG and Sun usablility testing directly influence the Gnome 2 release.

Not that disagree with the usability concerns of trying to mirror the real world in computer space, but hopefully we have seen enough bad examples (MS Bob, IBM apps from late nineties) that we can use this kind of technology properly.

Re:Sun: Last people to design a UI (1)

mydigitalself (472203) | about 10 years ago | (#8644210)

do you always know what CD you want to play? i've got one of those big CD sleeve case things that stores about 100-odd discs. often when i'm in the car i'll open it onto my lap and flip through the pages until something i see catches my eye and then in the CD player it goes.

i'm also really not into this statement:
Linux does not need some fancy graphics on the desktop to make an impact.

my best friend just brought his "regular user" wife a Mac and she just loves it. why, pretty big chunky graphics and well executed user interface. the current trend in UI design is "task-orientation" which is essentially articulating features tucked away in File-> View-> right,click etc... in a more human interface. i don't disagree with you that one should also have search capabilities, but don't right off the average joe user who is impressed and enjoys such graphics - they are the majority and they are the ones who will buy/install and make linux on the desktop gain usage.

Re:Sun: Last people to design a UI (2, Funny)

sdcharle (631718) | about 10 years ago | (#8644222)

Sun has no history of doing _anything_ at all interesting in terms of UI work.

Well, that's an American tradition, esp. in politics. Watch the ads: 'I have no experience working with other people to create and get bills passed. I am teh Washington outsider! Vote for me!'

Sun is just applying this winning formula to technology.

Cool, but applicability? (4, Insightful)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | about 10 years ago | (#8644059)

I think this is a very cool development. Don't get me wrong. But this is not what Linux needs right now.

There is a huge push to make Linux a true desktop OS that non-tech-savvy people can use. I take the example of the typical Slashdot mom--she can probably open Outlook or IE and perform all of her e-mailing and Web surfing tasks just fine. Present her with KDE or Gnome, though, and it's scary and unfamiliar. And all of this fails to break Microsoft's strangehold on the desktop which is as much a product of Linux's unwillingness to adopt a unified GUI standard as it is Microsoft's anticompetitive practices.

How about developers concentrate on two things--firstly, agreeing on a cohesive Linux desktop experience and forget about the Gnome/KDE fragmentation/flamewars that plague the Linux community, and secondly, writing the next generation of desktop apps for Linux, getting those perfected and at a level of usability and stability to rival Microsoft's offerings.

It's not a 3D desktop that going to get Linux on desktops. It's going to be a solid, stable, easy-to-use standarized GUI experience with mature, full-featured apps that surpass the functionality that Microsoft's and other vendor's Win32 apps bring to the table.

Re:Cool, but applicability? (4, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | about 10 years ago | (#8644214)

Present her with KDE or Gnome, though, and it's scary and unfamiliar.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Modern versions of KDE and Gnome are now so advanced that they are just as easy to use for a normal Mom to use.

Example: A few months ago, I showed KDE 3.1.x, running on my Slackware laptop, to my wife (who is also a mom, by the way). She is not a power user, but she is smart and she knows Windows and Microsoft Office pretty well.

Within 5 minutes, with only minimal explanations from me, she had opened KWrite, KMail and Konqueror and was happily checking her email and writing a small document, all the while surfing on the web.

She even went as far as saying: "What's so special about Linux? It's almost the same as Windows!"... *sigh*

So, please, let us stop this nonsense about Linux not being ready for the desktop, and not having quality apps. It's simply untrue. And more and more people, corporations and governments are realizing this and switching to Linux.

This being said, I agree that a lot of average users would be very challenged by a Linux installation and configuration... But that's how people like me make money after all!

It's not a 3D desktop that going to get Linux on desktops.

Now, that , I can agree on. 3D desktop is a waste of time.

Video Drivers? (3, Interesting)

WARM3CH (662028) | about 10 years ago | (#8644060)

3D graphics on the accelerated cards without video drivers? Anyone? I mean, at least for the most interesting news would be to hear about opensource, fully functional video drivers for major cards. By itselt, 3D desktops are not original ideas, lots of people have good ideas about them but only if Sun or anyone else could push nVidia or ATI to provide what we really need (and miss) in Linux, then I'd be impressed.

Killer App (1, Insightful)

moberry (756963) | about 10 years ago | (#8644062)

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the "killer app" theory, if your not then it goes like this. Every operating system must have an application that will make users buy the computer just to use it. For apple it was Visicalc, for DOS it was Lotus. If this 3D desktop works, then it could very well be the definative "killer app" for linux.

Re:Killer App (2, Insightful)

palad1 (571416) | about 10 years ago | (#8644150)

If this 3D desktop works, then it could very well be the definative "killer app" for linux.

And what exactly would you do with this 3d desktop? In terms of productivity? Does reordering translucent windows on your virtual bookshelf all day long count as productivity?
I think not.

In your post you mention Visicalc for apple and Lotus for Dos, and I agree they did drive these oses, but this is just another window manager , and has nothing to do with an application.

Now, if this environment exposed an API that allowed a given developper to use 3D Widgets in order to move out of the 2d windowpane concept, maybe we could be on to something. Especially for Data Analysis tools, but right now, as a standalone WM on top of 2d Widgets, this is completely useless.

Re:Killer App (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | about 10 years ago | (#8644163)

It's an interface, not an app. What would you use this "killer app" for, anyway? Opening up your not-quite-microsoft-office-compatible Office suite?

Nice idea, but a killer app has to be an application. This, at best, could be a killer interface. But, to be a real success, it has to have something to interface with, ie good software.

If Linux wants to get into more homes, the fragmentation needs to be reduced. Microsoft has a unified cohesive view of their operating system. In the OS world, it can vary completely between two colleagues, let alone communities. Until that's sorted, this is just expensive pissing in the wind.

Re:Killer App (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644189)

Maybe if it was 10 years ago and 3D on your PC was still a novel concept. It doesn't have enough novelty to make people buy, and it doesn't exactly add a lot of functionality over 2D desktops (looks needlessly complicated to me)

Re:Killer App (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644204)

Yeah, keep talking out of your ass, asshat.

yet another 3D desktop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644064)

wow. exciting stuff. /me assumes bored expression and pantomimes masturbation.

Re:yet another 3D desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644188)

/me assumes bored expression and pantomimes masturbation.

Would that be circular stroking with your index and middle fingers or would that be a cupped hand moving up and down diagonally? On second thought, since you're probably a pussy, I would wager the former.

Sun's Credibility? (1)

Arch_dude (666557) | about 10 years ago | (#8644067)

Is it just me, or has sun lost its credibility in the open source community? They seem to be very ambivalent about Open Source, and I no longer trust them. Linux: Sun says yes/no/maybe Java License: Sun can't decide SCO: Sun has a relationship with these scuzballs, or maybe not. I'll just wait for an unambiguously open 3D desktop.

Confusing (2, Funny)

NewNole2001 (717720) | about 10 years ago | (#8644069)

Just think how confusing it would be when the machine locks up and all the windows start spinning like a ballet company on crack.

This again!? (5, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 10 years ago | (#8644070)

I can't believe this. Sun has resorted to this old pipe dream!?!

If Sun wants to know about 3d user interfaces, look in 3d games. They have 3d engines readily available but they still use 2d interfaces? KISS

Put the resources towards someting that can actually do the company some good. I don't know what that is, but it couldn't be this.

I wonder what Sun's shareholders are thinking right about now.

Re:This again!? (1)

Trigun (685027) | about 10 years ago | (#8644083)

Put the resources towards someting that can actually do the company some good. I don't know what that is, but it couldn't be this.

Think 'Minority Report'...

Here we go again (4, Insightful)

martingunnarsson (590268) | about 10 years ago | (#8644071)

I really think this interface looks great and runs smoothly, but I've heard the phrase "[...] change the way we interact with computers" way too many times by now. Apple's OS X is the most "modern" user interface I've used, and it's still just a bunch of windows and a pointer. How much can you change in the GUI without confusing Joe Sixpack too much?

As long as it's good! (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | about 10 years ago | (#8644085)

As long as you can navigate faster and easier with it (after some adjustment period of course), I'm all for it!

However, 3D desktops usually fall because of usability problems. Not really surprising, as most people (I know there are peculiar non-standard devices that deviate) are still using a 2D device (mouse) to visualize information on a 2D surface (monitor) to navigate in a 3D environment. Guess where the obstacle / incompatiblity with the I/O devices usually lies... :-P

I'm not trying to troll (-1, Troll)

Operating Thetan (754308) | about 10 years ago | (#8644086)

But we haven't even got a standardised 2D desktop to compete with Windows. WTF are they doing putting the cart before the horse, and what's the point of making a resource heavy desktop for an OS that prides itself on portability?

Someone has to do this. (3, Insightful)

Adolph_Hitler (713286) | about 10 years ago | (#8644094)

This is the kind of thing which has to be done, yet no one wanted to do it because it wasnt profitable.

Linux needs a facelift if its to be successful on the Desktop. Let's thank Sun for wasting their money becase now Linux can take on and beat Longhorn.

This is less of a waste of money than mono

This is really old news, but it's still cool (5, Interesting)

haggar (72771) | about 10 years ago | (#8644095)

I saw a demo of Looking Glass. It rocked. And yes, I do see potential uses for this technology, not least for some serious storage management. Or complex document management. Or large EDA tool integration. The possibilities are fascinating, and don't tell me you "don't see them".

But, this demo was so long ago, by now I thought every nerd on earth knew about it. I am surprised Slashdot psoted it as news.

WindowBlinds (2, Interesting)

pcraven (191172) | about 10 years ago | (#8644096)

StarDock's [stardock.com] WindowBlinds and its related FX software can 'shrink' a window to the desktop. You are supposed to soon be able to hold a shift key and shrink the window while keeping the content interactive.

Unfortunately I can't find a link describing that part of the software right now. It hasn't been put out as a full release yet.

I find that more useful than turning a window on its side. But not useful enough I actually use it.

Nothing to do with Java (4, Insightful)

shamir_k (222154) | about 10 years ago | (#8644097)

The Java desktop system is really nothing but a branding strategy by Sun. Its basically a linux box with Java and Staroffice. The "Java" tag is an attempt to benefit from the hype around Java.

But if Sun is going to use this as a platform to innovate, it could help Linux a lot. Sun has the marketing dollars to push the adoption of this platform, especially in emerging markets where Windows isn't entrenched already. We could see a whole new generation of users who are more familiar with Linux via JDS, than with Windows.

Show me the code (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 10 years ago | (#8644112)

I will not be impressed until I can see the Code. I could imagine some real innovation behind that if it where to be released into the wild. Until I see the code it is about as interesting to me as the next Microsoft product release.

it's old, it's a dupe, it's been done before (4, Insightful)

selderrr (523988) | about 10 years ago | (#8644113)

And additionally, there are a few windoze crappies of that kind : google [google.com]

The example of flippin CD cases is the exact proof why this tech sucks : I'm moving away from pgysical cases towards a hierarchical, multi-layered view of my mp3s with iTunes.

Sun, read my lips : I don't want to handle physical objects on a computer screen
here's [google.com] another google for ya.

Looking Glass? (1)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | about 10 years ago | (#8644115)

I certainly hope they make out better than the last famous Looking Glass. For those who won't know, Looking Glass was a video game company who made Thief and System Shock, amongst others. They made excellent games, but didn't excel on the business side of things apparently and went bankrupt a few years back.

already been done (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644125)

The ultimate 3D desktop is here [unm.edu].
But I think desktops and GUIs are a sham anyway. Unix became what it is because of the console and the shell, not some pretty icons and tranluscent windows.

Command line is still better (1)

PhuckH34D (743521) | about 10 years ago | (#8644135)

I didnt see the movie yet ( it takes forever to load (did sun get slashdotted? :P)) But I still like the command line more than that stuff I think. I even like the command line better than gnome/kde/enlightenment/...
And, since I run on older hardware, it probably wont run very well on my computer anyway.
I mean upgrading if it gives you better productivity, ok thats cool, but upgrading for eye candy is just plain stupid.
(I wonder if it comes with Emacs BTW (or vi) :P)

Web Book and Web Forager (2, Informative)

gameweld (215362) | about 10 years ago | (#8644137)

Web Book and Web Forager [acm.org] were tools created by Xerox Parc which allowed you to organize webpages into books, which could be placed onto a bookshelf or table.

You could interact with the pages, and move them around the desktop. You could flip through the pages like a real book. This paper was done in 96.

Getting rid of monitors (1)

ChiTown (764587) | about 10 years ago | (#8644143)

Hopefully this 3D desktop idea is so successful that it becomes a step towards replaces monitors with some type of wireless goggles. Only then do I believe that the UI will be truly revolutionized.

Conceptual software or the real thing? (2)

Mxyzptlk (138505) | about 10 years ago | (#8644144)

Sun seems to send out two different messages at the same time...

On one hand: it is a conceptual software that is not intended for market ("experimental proof of concept", and the quote from Tom Murphy "I think in and of itself, it has a big wow effect. It's cute to see these things like 3D animations of stuff moving around and think of collaborative space, but how does it make my business more productive?")

On the other hand: it seems that Sun is quite serious about Looking Glass ("rapidly working to formalize the implementation", "Sun has made it clear they want Looking Glass to be a part of the open source community and to get open source community buy-in on the project").

I think that Sun has not made up their own minds yet - it will be quite interesting to see what Sun is going to do next, how the open source community will respond, and most importantly what does Sun really want out of Looking Glass? In the long run, more market shares, yes, but how?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644151)

Some people from Sun demoed this at my university last week. Looks nice, felt snappy. Not sure how useful it is, though.

By the way... the OpenGL compositor used in OSX can do this already. []

Good stuff (1)

barcodez (580516) | about 10 years ago | (#8644155)

Well I say good on Sun for trying something which hasn't been done successfully before. So it's an old idea; video phone is an old idea that's only just about coming into everyday use and even then only by a few, however I have no doubt that it will be widespread sometime in the future. Other things humans didn't get right straight away: flight, television, radio, lightbulb. So to the nay sayers I say wait and see and to Sun I say good on you. At least this company is spending money on innovation and not litigation.

This is _old_ news (0, Troll)

zilver (729686) | about 10 years ago | (#8644158)

Why was this posted? Does anyone even "need" to use their applications in a 3d-environment? I think it would be mainly frustrating and slow. (java, anyone?) A speedy terminal and a lean windowmanager (xfce) is my cup of tea.

Sun wants to make Linux 3D (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644160)

I dunno...the 2D version fits a lot better in my CD case.

this has been tried many times (1)

holy_smoke (694875) | about 10 years ago | (#8644167)

but I have a hard time believing that it will every amount to anything. A computer is not a bookshelf. its just not intuitive to think of it that way for me, and maybe thats a by-product of learning computers as they exist today. Still, all the fancy graphics and animations add unnecessary clutter and delays it seems to me.

Take online shopping for example: I like to see closup pictures and _maybe_ 3D panoramas of what I am buying, but just as important is plain old text that outlines the specs. Online shops that indulge in too much Flash or animation annoy me and interfere with my shopping objective. It is the same with computers. I run Linux with a minimalist interface, and XP with themes disabled and "set to performance".

I am sitting here imagining all the elements on my screen acting like the demo in the article, and I can't help but feel that it would actually interfere with my ability to use the computer efficiently. Perhaps thats my opinion but my opinion as a user matters to me.

Also, wouldn't that just add yet another failure point and/or security risk to the architecture of the OS?

Why do we humans feel the need to constantly complicate our lives in the effort to simplify them?

Lame idea. (4, Insightful)

macpell (726325) | about 10 years ago | (#8644176)

The reason I keep all of my music on my computer is because it's NOT like flipping through my CD collection.

Translate this for me please (1, Troll)

amigoro (761348) | about 10 years ago | (#8644190)

"One of the things we wanted to do was revisit the paradigm that's been around for a long time and unlock some of this [updated] capability of the hardware and create a more compelling and more useable experience for the desktop users. We believe the Linux desktop is a compelling desktop and there's no reason it should be standing still or following any other platform for features for the user, so we embarked on Looking Glass and we are rapidly working to formalize the implementation,"
-Juan Carlos Soto, the head of Project Looking Glass

Can anyone tell me in simple English what Mr Soto meant?

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3d Porn! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644193)

This could make porn a whole lot more exciting!

linuxplanet advertising? (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | about 10 years ago | (#8644203)

I find it odd that I was presented w/ an ad for MS Windows Server, comparing it's TCO to that of linux, showing that Windows Server TCO is lower than Linux's.

I realize that they probably have little control over the advertising they display on their site, but come on!

Oh for heaven's sake, not again... (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | about 10 years ago | (#8644206)

Rubbish, the lot of it. Point by point:

  • increases the transparency of a window so that you can see through it
    Marvellous. Just as users of current operating systems have ben doing for years anyway.
  • turns a window on its side so that it sits at the edge of a screen like a book on a book shelf
    Hmm. Potentially interesting as a way to pick between open windows, but doesn't Expose perform this task in a better manner?
  • turns a window completely around and leaves a note on the back
    Ah, how terribly useful. Hidden, non-obvious information in a GUI. Superb.
  • and takes a database of CDs presented as physical CDs, that you flip through, reading the labels, just as you would with real CDs, until you locate the one you want.
    Except that in the real world I can never find the bloody CDs, because I can't remember where I've put them. I can navigate a media player interface far faster than I can hunt for CDs, and I can use more search criteria too (album, artist etc.)
Nope - stunningly unimpressed. A computer GUI is an abstraction of the real world, not the real world itself. Applying the same clutter you find in the real world would make the interface worse, not better.


Tried using translucent "3D" windows before (2, Informative)

earthforce_1 (454968) | about 10 years ago | (#8644212)

It was a novelty I turned off fairly quickly - text on windows underneath makes things hard to read. The best analogy is to try and read a collection of transparencies on your desk. If they are stacked on top of each other, they quickly become unreadable. Your pencil and paper desk isn't really 3D either. The same thing with voice recognition. Speaking text to your computer wears pretty thin too after a while, and imagine trying to do this in a crowded office!

Anything that involves waving your arms about to manipulate things in 3D won't work either. You will get great exercise, but try doing this for 8-10 hours a day.

But let the research continue - maybe somebody will eventually hit upon a way of interacting with your computer in a way that improves upon what we have. My bets are with a set of glasses with a "heads up" eye movement tracking display, projected in front of you. We just have to figure how to do this without giving users splitting headaches from improper/inadequate motion compensation.

New Revolutionary UI Developments (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 years ago | (#8644219)

Brought to you by the makers of CDE.

*Yawn* Problem with a 3D environment is that it's pretty much useless on a 2D display. Call me when you make it immersive.

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

CrazyTalk (662055) | about 10 years ago | (#8644230)

"I know this! This is Unix!"

Once again, life imitates art - or, movies about dinosaurs coming back to life.

microsoft research had a similar concept demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8644231)

look it up on google
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