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Sphere XP Makes GUI 3D

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the i'll-believe-it-when-i-can-use-it dept.

GUI 386

Cypherus writes "I came across a link for a 3d desktop environment. "The SphereXP is a 3D desktop replacement for Microsoft Windows XP. Taking the known concept of three-dimensional desktops to its own level. It offers a new way to organize objects on the desktop such a icons and applications. Check the videos and screenshots to get the idea.""

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865605)

fuck you anti-slash. fuck your reposts. go die.

Walk Thru? (1, Funny)

dkaimal (645075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865606)

Does a 3D Gui mean I can walk through my spreadsheet?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865608)


fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865610)


/. effect (3, Funny)

Professor Cool Linux (759581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865612)

Let the melting begin...

Re:/. effect (1, Funny)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865629)

it's already toast. They must really be running it on XP :-)

Re:/. effect (2, Informative)

net_oholic (222829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865656)

It was over before it even started.

Google cache of the front page, for what its worth - sphere

Re:/. effect (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865675)

I'm a subscriber, and the videos were already non-responsive before this story even went from red to green...

Re:/. effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865782)

it seems to still want to load all the images from and since all i really want to see are the pictures, well, no it doesn't help.

Re:/. effect (2, Interesting)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865879)

Well here is a link [] , while you are google, please do a search for HTML in 10 minutes []

frish prosht! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865613)


oh yeah, and spherexp is actually awful if you try it

TOAST!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865614)

toaster,toaster toaser, do you have toast in you yet i think []
so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Im not a toaster!!!!!!!!!!And one more
thing........YOUR A TOASER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND A COOKIE WITH MILK SOAGE
MILK!!!!!!!!!!AND A BUTT WITH POOP IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Old != Bad (4, Insightful)

sinclair44 (728189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865618)

Do people actually think these are EASIER to use than the traditional 2D/command line interfaces? Or is it just coolness?

Re:Old != Bad (4, Insightful)

xactoguy (555443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865671)

It would be easier in the fact that effectively it gives you more desktop space, and without the complete separation of virtual desktops. Say you have a document, a calculator, and an IDE open. You want to use the calculator with both the IDE and the document. With a virtual desktop you couldn't do that, and with a traditional desktop you'd constantly have to be switching, because most likely you'd have the IDE and document fullscreened. With this, you merely put the calculator between the IDE and document, and rotate your view accordingly.

Re:Old != Bad (2, Insightful)

badriram (699489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865713)

With this, you merely put the calculator between the IDE and document, and rotate your view accordingly.
And that is easier than hitting Ctrl-Tab or Alt-Tab... give me a break

Re:Old != Bad (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865800)

the poster was explaing how the 3D environment makes things easier. Asscork.

Re:Old != Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865824)

And he pointing out that it is not exactly easier to use... cork in ass pissing you off

Re:Old != Bad (4, Informative)

tweder (22759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865730)

I've found Apple's Exposé [] works wonders for the tried and true Desktop metaphor.

Throughout my workday, I've got dozens of PSDs open in Photoshop, twice that many documents open in BBEdit, plus other essentials like Safari, Firefox, Explorer, VirtualPC, Suitcase iChat, iCal, iTunes and Mail.

Exposé helps me find exactly what I'm looking for. Fast.

It's truly one of the few things I never knew I always wanted once I started putting it to use.

Re:Old != Bad (1)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865754)

I do get your point about providing a 3rd dimension for organizing "flat" application windows, but in my opinion, the "virtual desktops" provided by KDE/Gnome/Nvidia-display-drivers/etc. work more intuitively.

I'm not sure rotating a virtual perspective to look at various flat windows is a big win over those existing tools.

If the applications themselves were consistently rendered in three dimensions, rather than just flat windows, the user would already be having to deal with pivoting their perspective, and then I could see your point better over a 2d windowing system.

Of coruse, I haven't yet read the article yet, because it has melted down under the slashdot effect. :-P

Dade Murphy... (5, Funny)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865619)

Finally, the technology of the 1995 movie "Hackers" meets the present. ;-)

Re:Dade Murphy... (2, Informative)

badriram (699489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865742)

Oh and dont forget the UNIX system in Jurrasic Park either.

Re:Dade Murphy... (3, Informative)

ActiveSX (301342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865858)

That was an actual program. 3D File System Navigator [] .

Frustrating (2, Informative)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865620)

I can imagine using this and always turning my monitor or my head so I can see the ones that aren't exactly lined up straight. Sorta like an older laptop LCD that loses brilliance when the angle's off. Since the desktop's concave, I'd also expect my windows to "slide" around toward the middle.

Of course, it might just be a matter of adjustment.

Re:Frustrating (4, Informative)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865760)

The focused window comes up and is displayed in the normal "2d" manner. You can't even interact with windows that aren't on the 2d plane beyond dragging them around, and their window contents don't update realtime.

slow site already? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865621)

the site is already slow.... after only a few minutes....

3D input devices (5, Interesting)

Matt Moyer (763238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865623)

I really don't think the 3d desktop will be feasable until we have some form of useful, cheap, and easy to use 3D input device. Anyone work with this sort of thing?

Re:3D input devices (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865674)

A trackball would be a perfect input device for this. Namely, the Marble Mouse from Logitech.

Re:3D input devices (4, Informative)

ewhac (5844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865700)

There used to be one: The SpaceORB 360 [] . Sadly, it's not made any longer. SpaceTec later folded and had its assets acquired by LabTec, who still manufacture high-end 3D input devices, mostly targeted at the CAD market.


Re:3D input devices (1)

pseudochaotic (548897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865732)

Not to mention real 3D output. I mean, it's cool and all, but it won't be worth it for me until i can see it in real 3D.

Re:3D input devices (2, Insightful)

Bobdoer (727516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865756)

What? Joysticks aren't cheap enough for you? If you can use it in Quake, why can't you rig it up to work the same way for your 3D desktop?

Re:3D input devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865857)

What? Joysticks aren't cheap enough for you? If you can use it in Quake, why can't you rig it up to work the same way for your 3D desktop?

You use a joystick for quake?

*rolls eyes*

Old fashioned is still the best... (0)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865798)

Anyone work with this sort of thing?

I have an old-fashioned pair of cardboard glasses with blue and red cellophane lenses that work really well with specially crafted images. Well they make the boobs stand out anyway...

Uh Oh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865624)

Videos and screenshots in a slashdot article. Sure. That's going to work.

Apple did it before... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865627)

It's called Expose.

Re:Apple did it before... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865766)

apple raped yo mama too.

window managers (-1, Offtopic)

ducatier (669395) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865628)

Black box for windows ( is also a great desktop replacement. I've been using if for a few months now it works well.

My first reason to download the .NET Frameworks (-1, Offtopic)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865636)

If, like me, this is the first program that makes you want to download the Microsoft .NET frameworks, use Windows Update rather than the link on the site. Go to if you're running IE.

The Windows Update system is distributed, and it'll be much faster than using And while you're there, grab this week's security patches...

Videos (-1, Offtopic)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865639)

Anybody know why the videos don't play in Mplayer under OS X?

This is actually looks kinda cool, the still screenshots make me think it's a 3D answer to Apple's Expose. Might have to try it at work...

Re:Videos (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865736)

I am not a Macintosh/Apple expert, but I don't think these computers can play videos. They are built with old technology, usually absolutely obsolete, these computers are usually sold to people without any computer knowledge so they can use it to do their taxes, read/write recipes or play 'solitaire'.

Computer experts use Windows XP Home edition.

Re:Videos (1)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865873)

Heh. Right before I saw this response, I stuffed a paper envelope full of old-fashioned 1040 forms, so I guess Macs aren't even good for that, huh?

Google cache.. (4, Informative)

Pranjal (624521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865641)

..two posts and it's slasdotted. Here is the Google Cache [] .

Re:Google cache.. (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865663)

That's okay. Today, even Slashdot isn't immune to being /.ed :)

Re:Google cache.. (1)

Surye (580125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865672)

...for a link who's purpose is screenshots. I think we need a good image cacher, Like The Way Back Machine [] only a little more up to date.

Why do you tempt me so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865643)

Why does /. ever bother posting links to images? We NEVER get to see them, the sites are already /.ed by the time we move our mouse to the link!

Re:Why do you tempt me so? (0)

kjamez (10960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865867)

i am sure this has been covered before, but why doesn't slashdot go ahead an mirror a page in like so when a link to a [seemingly] interesting article will still work. or maybe just mirror the images, or oh hell, nevermind.

OT: What I want from a 3D GUI project (4, Interesting)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865649)

What I have yet to see on any sort of 3D gui, is a thought out plan. (If anyone has please link)

I would like to see some thought like a list of limitations that the 2D GUI paradigm currently has and how a 3D GUI could address these issues while not producing a huge long list of its own problems.

Until then, this looks cool, but is in no way a step forward, back, up or down. It's just kinda there.

Re:OT: What I want from a 3D GUI project (3, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865738)

I know what you mean. I've seen a few 3D desktops before (I've seen this one before, plus Sun's 3D demo which I liked) and they all seem to be pushing the 2D paradigm into 3D. No one is really "using" 3D, they all seem to be making a 2D desktop where the 2D windows can be put "in the background" or something like that for the use of 3D. Nothing really "innovative".

Like I said, I really like the way Sun did their 3D desktop demo, but it's still not really a 3D desktop, just a 2D desktop with a 3rd deminsion.

Re:OT: What I want from a 3D GUI project (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865864)

Any 3D GUI is going to have to account for 2D programs running around its environment, just like Windows had to account for DOS programs and Linux GUIs always let you have command line windows.

Somebody's got to get a 3D desktop environment stable before anybody bothers developing on top of that platform.

So? (1)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865651)

Whoa, video and screenshots. That sites gonna die soon.

From what I can see of the thumbnails, this doesn't look that interesting... more like regular Windows Explorer panes set at slight 3D angles... I don't see anything like a paridigm shift or anything. Although I guess this wasn't intended as such..

Not impressed (4, Insightful)

Lurgen (563428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865653)

3 Dimensional interfaces like these (especially Suns new project) are just annoying. They don't represent any signficant increase in productivity, they aren't going to make your system easier to use - they just look cool, and that's enough to grab attention.

The downside of these interfaces is the ridiculously high processor and memory requirements. All that extra graphic manipulation comes at a price, and I for one don't see any reason to waste processor cycles. What I'd much rather see is somebody developing a faster, more lightweight UI that is a nice combination of OSX and Windows XP. One that chews up LESS memory (instead of more, like this), one that speeds things up.

Then I'll be impressed.

Re:Not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865755)

I agree.

But I also think that the desktops thatwe have today a really showing their age. The desktops metaphor is fine if you are just working on documnets -- text, code, etc. but the process is useless when it comes to other types of media, such as video.

The desktop metaphor is over used, over done, and is what is holding back the useability of computers. We need new systems,new interfaces to provide better ways to visualise networks, rich media formats, communications etc.

The desktop as we know it is no longer adequate

Re:Not impressed (3, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865801)

I accually think that this is more a "Cargo before the boat" type thing. 3D interfaces would be great. If I could interact with them in a 3D manner.

Take a look at the interfaces used in the matrix 2 and Minority Report for examples of what I mean by 3D interfaces.

Re:Not impressed (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865827)

I think I was drooling when I saw Minority Report...

Re:Not impressed (1)

rhayes000 (256905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865836)

Remember when people said the same thing about going from Dos to windows. It was just a pretty upgrade and dint improve usability. There are still people who think using a command prompt is better but ease of use has gone the way of a windowed gui.

Re:Not impressed (3, Interesting)

Lurgen (563428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865875)

People who said that about Windows were obviously not paying attention. Being able to carry out multiple tasks in parallel, to have several applications available to facilitate workflow, that's dead simple to justify.

Bear in mind that the windowed nature of the Windows GUI wasn't the big step forward - the multiple application, flexible workflow side of things is what truly mattered (working in windows had been around for ages, just look at the Mac, or even better GEOS on the C64!).

Having a pretty 3D interface to do the same thing? I'm not convinced. Gimme something truly revolutionary.

Re:Not impressed (2, Interesting)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865848)

Ok, so don't use it. You don't have to use Windows or X or OSX today either. You can stick with the command line, or fvwm or something nice and lite so you can use your processing power as you see fit.

But since hardware is cheap, and most regular users don't use the power of the machines they have anyway, why not let them choose a desktop like this? For them it could greatly increase the easy of use of a computer, perhaps letting them do their jobs better or enjoy their experience on the computer more.

Isn't that more important than wheter YOU think Looking Glass or this particular 3D desktop is annoying? If this thing really is annoying and hard to use, it'll go the way of NextStep, and AmigaOS and all the other desktop systems that nobody in mainstream society uses.... ...but what if it really does work better than what we have now?

Re:Not impressed (3, Insightful)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865876)

The downside of these interfaces is the ridiculously high processor and memory requirements. All that extra graphic manipulation comes at a price, and I for one don't see any reason to waste processor cycles.

Yeah, the 2D GUI will never take off - what a waste of CPU and memory! Remember when 2D graphics acceleration was a selling point of video cards? They relieved your CPU of the burden of the 2D GUI's bitblits and fills.

These days many people already have a 3D accelerator capable of doing all the 3D number crunching required - "wasting CPU cycles" is a moot point.

Re:Not impressed (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865895)

The downside of these interfaces is the ridiculously high processor and memory requirements. All that extra graphic manipulation comes at a price, and I for one don't see any reason to waste processor cycles

But is raw horsepower or memory a problem any more? Longhorn will be moving GUI support to the graphics sub-system and we have already seen in an earlier Slashdot post what a high-end DX9 graphics card is capable of now.

what kind of a sick joke? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865654)

Ok, obviously this thing was going to get slashdotted. it's a .sk (slovakia?) for god's sake. I think that anyone who submits articles from obvious weak websites should create a miorror on geocities and/or notify the site owner of the impending slashdot.

Ugh (1)

LochNess (239443) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865655)

Looking at the screenshots, that just looks like something that would get in the way more than anything else.

Oh, nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865657)

But...why? I mean it's eye candy, but what functionality does it add?

I'd use a 3D desktop if it's useful, not because it looks fun to toy with for 15 minutes.

I used it last week... (5, Informative)

Jack William Bell (84469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865667)

I used it last week for a day and was quite impressed. It isn't perfect, some major bugs, some missing features and a slow memory leak that requires you to stop and start it every hour or so. But very usable.

What I thought was most cool about it was that it is very close to something I have been saying I wanted for a long time, except that I want to rotate the 'world' around me using a foot controller. In any case Sphere might just be pointing the way to a new GUI paradigm we can use for real work, something other than the 'desktop'.

Re:I used it last week... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865711)

So what was revolutionary? What sped your workflow up or increased the useability of the desktop? You seem to have positive remarks and yet you give no specifics.

Also, does EVERYONE have to use the word "paradigm" ( and most often misspell it )? GOD I hate that word. Corporate middle management buzz phrase BULL S***. Expand your vocabulary people. /rant off

Re:I used it last week... (1)

Zarbuck (590310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865806)

I also was playing around with this last week. (thanks to another news site) I like it but found a few probblems with it...

Wallpaper looks really bad affter it has been put on a spheer...
Drop down menus didn't drop down...
Some icons didn't end up on the desktop...
Links/shortcuts on the desktop didn't work...

With all that said I still have to say that I like it and with new releaces it might really become something worth useing.

3D GUI is just the next step. (1)

SuperBug (200913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865893)

One thing about this GUI that makes a lot of sense is the massive amount of desktop space it offers. Right now, I have 6 desktops in Linux in single head mode, and 12 in Dual head mode. This is an alternate form of multidimensional GUI personality. I recently got the 3DDesktop switcher and really do like it. More for it's gee-whiz aspect, but it does have some usefullness to it.
Now, back to the subject at hand. This desktop is a sphere. Literally, with the user's viewport as the "center" of view. The reason this is nice because there is also depth taken into account. So you have lots of desktop space in the form of layers, and overall spherical realestate.

In short the inside of the sphere has a "size" in which the user can place many layers or use a spherical plane and place things oriented as a normal 2D desktop viewport might be, just you can look a little to the right, left, up, or down, and you have more. As for the increase in productivity. I could use this in Linux, really easily. Two spheres to replace my entire 12...oh..yeah. :)

Its not a bad idea (2, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865670)

Imagine if someone came up with a VR desktop for linux that would work with those 3d would finally have something jaw dropping to talk about that would be really cool. Instead of a clunky mouse, use a goggle to grab your windows with get this ...handles...not some silly virtual hand like in the olden crappy vr days...combine that with a virtual keyboard and youve really got something.

Re:Its not a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865794)

OK, OK... give me your copy of Neuromancer... c'mon, it won't be so hard... there's a good geek... good geek! Here's a cookie.

Re: (-1)

seaswahoo (765528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865681)

'Tis a got slashdotted. I realized this only after the thumbnails page was loaded, so I could only get snapshots of the thumbnails...they are here [www.people] and . [www.people]

Re: (-1)

seaswahoo (765528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865689)

Those links are here [] and here [] . Sorry, I was using the URL while still referring to the local server (I type in www.people instead of because it's on the LAN and I'm lazy).

Superstring XP (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865686)

Next comes Superstring XP, which works in 26 dimensions.

3D? (1)

deathazre (761949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865698)

I don't see how exactly that is supposed to be 3D, everything's on the same sphere surface except for the window that has focus. You could do the same thing with a large virtual desktop. Then there's the fact that when a window is on an angle you can't really read what's in it too well due.

Re:3D? (3, Informative)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865750)

You can use the mouse wheel to move windows closer/further, or to move the camera position in and out. It is in fact 3d.

Project Looking Glass (3, Insightful)

dominator2010 (735220) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865709)

What about Sun's Project Looking Glass that's on their Java Desktop System?

Here's a link []

The video's... (1)

brain_not_ticking (722737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865721)

Has anyone else noticed that the video's are literally video's of the monitor, and not captured by software?

I wonder how a desktop environment like this would affect software used to capture a users interaction with their desktop...

Re:The video's... (1)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865780)

It works with VNC... I was playing with it a few days ago and used VNC to show some people who were far away.

Hmm, 3D Desktop... (4, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865733)

This (SphereXP) is almost painful to use. Not that it's a bad design (it's very interesting), but I've seen the videos from a while back (I'm working on something that competes along these lines, have to keep tabs...). Two things I would say to the coder: 1.) CSGL is no longer being developed. Switch to Tao ( 2.) Try and keep the amount of effort (moving around, switching tasks) to a minimum. Download the videos, you will see what I mean. Lots of bad clicking and scraping while moving around the sphere.

The biggest problem I've run into (again, I'm working on something in the 3D Desktop arena), is that in windows, you cannot jack the Paint APIs (easily). So you can't just grab a window and throw it into OpenGL. Additionally, you can't modify the source (closed-source) to grab the windows...Which I am attempting to rectify with some assembly code, but it's still a pain.

The nice thing about Tao? Cross-platform (somewhat). As for my program? It will be released after I finish the assembly.

Download worked. (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865735)

The download worked for me. Is the size on disk really 120 KB? I don't feel safe about running it.

Re:Download worked. (1)

axis_omega (771398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865799)

I tried It, you need to install the csgl library first, and then unzip sphere 0.75 and execute. No virus found. Beware it takes a bit of resource, 68 meg ram on my computer... Its fun and cool but, its not making anything more efficient.

Re:Download worked. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865847)

Yep, that's the right size for the zip file. The actual executable uncompressed will be 100k.

You'll also need the 372k csgl.dll file moved into your "system directory". (CSGL itself is a SourceForge project for a C# langauge graphics library.)

This program also requires .NET Frameworks... grab those at Windows Update if you need them.

In short, this is definitely not a "ready for primetime" program. It's got the core functional parts, but it clearly doesn't have the code to handle specific situations that lead to bugs. It's a nice proof of concept and that's about it.

3D space GUI (1)

famouswhendead (771397) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865740) / i noticed this before and it never got mentioned on /. (did it?) 3D space on desktop mmm. Not very interesting till the actual desktop was 3D it is fun though but you could just as well work in a node/ composite flowchart system like programs like shake, flint etc and what would be good and better implemented history tracking in my OS

Another repeated story? (0)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865768)

Wasn't this on /. a couple of weeks ago? Or perhaps it was

Ultimately, I suppose it doesn't matter since and /. regularly "borrow" stories from each other anyway. Would it kill you to provide some originality?

A good alternative (1, Interesting)

openSoar (89599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865786)

I've been using this [] for some time now and like it a lot. Typically, the major problem with these applications is texture management - something that isn't an issue in the 2D world - and this one seems to do it very well on my ancient GeForce256. Once Longhorn comes out (:)) then this kind of thing will become more prevalent, if for no other reason than much of what you need to do it is built into the OS - video here [] . The other approach is not to make a desktop replacement, but create a while new platform [] .

Re:A good alternative (1)

agent oranje (169160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865899)

... Once Longhorn comes out, I'd find it absolutely hilarious if someone made a virus to use Microsoft's new GUI rendering technology as they used it in their demo. Imagine the joys around the office when all of the sudden, the windows on everyone's screens start spiraling around, flying through space... Ahh... refreshing.

Get me outta here... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865789)

This program is in desperate need of documentation, it's not exactly clear how you're supposed to do much of anything. I was able to get it to run, but I couldn't find any way to exit the program short of logging out of Windows.

Programs that expect to rewrite the rules of user interface should at least share a copy of the new rulebook.

Re:Get me outta here... (1)

axis_omega (771398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865890)

With windows XP, CTRL-ALT-ESC. Brings you the Windows Task Manager. Find the sphere.exe process and click on End Process. That will stop it. And you'll see how much mem it eats too... :)

Computers now officially too fast (1)

Tehrasha (624164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865795)

When you can waste clock cycles on crap like this. Long live the command line!

Another 3d desktop (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865809)

Rooms3d [] is a very immense desktop environment that views each "room" as a folder, with clickable objects as the items in the folder.

For example, a cool-looking dungeon would be the Control Panel, and wooden crates would be display, hardware configuration, etc. Like I said it's very immense and thourough but extremely cool.

missing something (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865810)

where's the valid research showing the time and effort put into usability studies regarding this? where are the documented usability testing and trials, including focus groups?

i wonder sometimes if people sit back and analyze their own projects, because this one seems to have relatively little benefit for any users, average or power user. the simple fact is 3d or eye candy doesn't make a person use the computer faster or easier. it's a balancing act between prividing ascetically pleasing environments that function easily

Site Digest: /. compensation (2, Informative)

WasteOfAmmo (526018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865812)

Here is what I could grab from the site before it fully succommed:

Overview: The SphereXP is a 3D desktop replacement for Microsoft Windows XP. Taking the known concept of three-dimensional desktops to its own level. It offers a new way to organize objects on the desktop such a icons and applications. Check the videos and screenshots to get the idea.

The project was under "heavy" construction, but now it is open for testing. Everybody is free to try it out. Every response ( is appreciated.

Please keep in mind that project is more of a vision. Due to the limitations of Windows I'm not able to do everything as I would like to. I know it is still not very usable, but I'll try to make it work as I can. I hope when there's time for it, this theory will have a satisfying implementation.



The interaction human-computer has gone a long way since the invention of personal computers. In the beginning there was only a simple command-line interface (CLI), which was not a very intuitive interface. The only widely used device that you could use to interact with the computer was the keyboard. People needed a lot of skills to operate computers. New ways have been opened with the evolution of hardware and software. Inventions such as mouse or graphical user interface (GUI) changed the way we interact with the computer and allowed massive spread of computers. Working with the computer got easier, faster and more effective. The two-dimensional graphical user system is now established as the preferred interface for most users. It can be found in any of the major operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and the X Window System. There has been made only a little progress since its invention. Declining hardware prices and increasing hardware capabilities allow us to make the next step and make interfaces more intuitive and more effective.

A core part in creating any new environment is to provide a metaphor for intergrating visual elements into a recognizable and copmprehensive framework. The name of the application is "The Sphere". This name encapsulates the main idea behind the project. I'm not trying to simulate reality. The main inspiration comes from the way we recognize reality. My design is based on the human perception of the world.


The Sphere is theory of an 3D workspace. The SphereXP is an example of the theory. The environment is user-centered. It is represented by a sphere. The user is exactly in the middle of it. All objects are situated around the user. He can easily turn around and manipulate with the objects. All the objects that users are used to having on their regular desktop are now integrated in a three-dimensional environment. . There are icons and applications. They can be move around according to some rules. You can bring them closer to the view port or send them back.


Too much freedom of movement may cause disorientation. Therefore I chose to apply strict rules for moving in the environment. The user cannot go outside the designated area - the sphere. I call this type of navigation spherical. The view port is always facing apart from the sphere center. Once the user sets the distance from the center, the view port can be only rotated around it. This makes the navigation easier and prevents the user to get to an angle where he cannot see anything. A simple tool is used to ensure effective navigation and to prevent the user to get lost. It is a minimized version of the sphere situated in the right bottom corner. It provides an overview of where the view port is pointing and where all the objects are.

Limited control of the layout

The only thing that the user is allowed to change is the background image. This ensures that this environment will have the same functionality and layout on every computer. Users have to get used only to one environment.

Use of the mouse

A key to taking advantage of any new interactive environment is providing an effective way to navigate in the system. The mouse has become a standard way of communication with the OS. It is a quick and effective way to navigate in a 2D workspace. I wanted to give the users a feel they are working with something they have known for years. Therefore I chose the mouse as the only device for navigation. I took the basic functions like moving of objects (left mouse button) and context menu (right mouse button) as they are in Windows and added extra features for navigation. This enables the user to work with my application without any new skills and does also not require changing the habits drastically.

What is it?

-The SPHERE (SphereXP) is a 3-dimensional workspace for Windows. It replaces and extends the regular desktop. It offers a different way to organize elements of the operating system like programms, icons ... Although the app is experimental, the concept can serve as a theory for the future.

Is it the first project of its kind?

-No. There are similar projects (Microsoft TaskGallery, 3DTop, Win3D, Rooms3D), but the Sphere is not a copy. It takes the concept of 3-dimensional workspaces to its own level.

Current version?

Current version of the SphereXP application is 0.75

Used technologies

-Microsoft.NET 1.1 (C#), OpenGL (CSGL Library)

Currently supported platforms

-Windows XP

So it intergrates regular 2D windows programms in a 3D environment?

-Yes, but it also provides an API for creating true 3D programms

How do I controll it?

1) You drag & drop objects in the environment. While holding an object with the left mouse button, you can move it back & forward using the scroll.

2) You can rotate your view by pressing the scroll and moving the mouse.

3) you move your viewport backwards & forwards by moving the scroll.

4) You run and switch applications to working mode by double-clicking them.

That is the jist of the site.


Damn /. lameness filter held this post up by a good 5 minutes:

  • News section had to go - /. says to much whitespace!!!!
  • Page separation had to go - /. says to many 'junk' characters!

That says it all... (2, Funny)

PhuckH34D (743521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865823)

"Please keep in mind that project is more of a vision. Due to the limitations of Windows I'm not able to do everything as I would like to."
That says it all...

Mirror of program (3, Informative)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865829)

The site is pretty thoroughly slashdotted. I grabbed it a few days ago, so... mirror [] . You'll want one of the sphere zips and the cgsl library.

3d? (0, Funny)

Zazi (601795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865832)

You don't need a 3d viewer to see that that site has been slashdotted!

Google Link (1, Informative)

AlphaSector (676934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865838)

Here's the google link:

3d browsing comes and goes (3, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865861)

These thing have come, and they go just as quick. I've seen 3d browsing being pimped at the internet browsing crowd, the hard disk space hogging investigating tools, and various other browsing tools. It always fades away because people hate it. It takes students an entire semester to get comfortable modeling in 3d and thinking in a three-dimensional space. Some don't even get it after the semester is up. I know a couple students that will never really get it. They are pushing this on Joe Average?

In 3d rendering enviroments and cad programs, a sharp and tough learning curve is anticipated and acceptable. But in web and file browsers it is not. File and web browsers must be intuitive. Ittuitiveness is a myth however, there is no human instinct that associates double-clicking with running a 'program'. It is merely congruent with expected behavior. Same with volume controls where increasing volume is anticlockwise. If I made a volume dial where increasing volume was clockwise, people would be righteously pissed because it clashed with expected behavior.

And that, in a nutshell, is why it will fail.

Re:3d browsing comes and goes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865901)

It is interesting to note that car volume controls are clockwise but consumer electronics volume controls are mostly anticlockwise.

Yeah its offtopic. But its interesting. And there's probably a very good reason for it.

3dwm (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8865880)

remember 3dwm anyone? looks like its dead now. 3dwm website []

first impression - sucks (2, Interesting)

knodi (93913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865881)

I tried this out last week, it relatively sucked. Framerate was about 0.5 per second, visual defects were everywhere, just seemed like an interesting concept wrapped in bare proof-of-concept code.

Screenshots since main site is down (3, Interesting)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8865889)

PC INpact Screenshots []

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