View Full Version : Real 3D on the Desktop!

12 December 2003, 10:01 PM
Sun is showing demos of their project Looking Glass.

It's still at proof of concept stage, but shows real promise (I think :) ).

It's true 3D on the desktop unlike what Apple and Microsoft do, witch brings up some great metaphors to work with.


12 December 2003, 10:22 PM
I've been waiting for someone to do this for along time :)

Glad it's SUN they should pull this off nicely

12 December 2003, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the article. Very interesting demonstration there. I think this would be a great innovative way to navigate the pc, but then is it practical to watch a movie backwards, or tilt your windows to view them from another angle? I think this technology is very "neato", but I don't really see any necessity for it... What they should do is incorperate a more graphically inclined interface similar to the direction apple is going, but with 3d icons, not windows. Anyway, is this a whole new OS, or linux based? I missed that.

12 December 2003, 10:36 PM
Wont be able to see that one :(

Dont use Realaudio Viewer, and they offer no other option.

12 December 2003, 10:46 PM

My guess is that they'll use it on Java Desktop System (witch is basically SuSE Linux) further down the road. As of today, it's just a Java app. A proof of concept.

The examples they gave are probably not the best, and I'm sure with time more and more cool metaphors could be put to use.

Still, it's good to see someone trying new stuff.


yes, it's only available as streaming realvideo. sorry. :(

For those who can't see it, there is this screenshot, but it's a poor substitute:

click here! (


12 December 2003, 01:59 AM
this should be easy to implement on Longhorn with Avalon technology. Maybe the Aero team is looking into such stuff too...

12 December 2003, 02:44 AM
For all the people who don't have Realplayer or RealAlternative, here is a link to a mp4 file:


12 December 2003, 08:49 AM
thanks a lot gein... :thumbsup:

I hate realplayer...

12 December 2003, 11:55 AM
looks like a waste of processor but i have no idea how all that works

12 December 2003, 07:20 AM
Here's something along those lines that you can download and try now:

3DNA (

12 December 2003, 11:42 AM
Yeah, at first sight it looks pretty impressive, but by the end of the video, it just comes across as a bit gimicky. This whole idea of rotating the objects/windows to "allow you to find the objects that are hidden" is a bit dauting. I mean, why should they be hidden in the first place. I don't have that problem now, why introduce it as one?

12 December 2003, 02:19 PM
I think it's kind of gimmicky, too. However, if you're running Mac OS X you can try out this 3d desktop file system browser which is actually pretty cool, yet is just as gimmicky. It's free and quite fun to play around with. Check out the screen shots.
Since it seemed to be a student project, I imagine Apple could do a lot more along these lines if it wanted.

12 December 2003, 02:34 PM
Thanks for posting that link betelgeuse.

I played with this awhile ago, and I found it to be too buggy to actually work in. But now that's it's got some updates to it, I'll check it out and see how it looks again.

12 December 2003, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by wgreenlee1
looks like a waste of processor but i have no idea how all that works

It most likely runs largely on the graphics processor.

There are requirements in the DirectX9 specs for graphics
processors to support multithreading, specifically to facilitate the
sort of thing that this seems to be... though I was only able to
view the screenshot that Gein helpfully posted. (Thanks!)

That's not to make a comparison between this and whatever MS
is cooking up, just to point out that this probably won't require
all that much from the host processor to implement with modern
graphics hardware under the hood.

12 December 2003, 05:34 PM
I agree with Thalaxis, this probably won't slow down the CPU at all. Like the OS X 3D desktop program linked above, Sun's OS probably just uses the Graphics Card, and provides little hit to the processor.

I still don't see how it could be anymore intuitive or usable than the standard Desktop UI that we all know. Like for instance, that OS X 3D desktop is super slow to navigate. Could be because I'm not use to it, but it's not up to par with the typical point and click interface I am use too. We'll have to see what comes up in the future I guess.

Crazzy Legs
12 December 2003, 09:52 PM
just remember when color monitors and computers were first being advertised. Some people thought it would be stupid, and a waste of time. Well, this might be just that. But don't forget we won't always have 2d monitors, and I'm not talking about current 3D monitors, I'm talking about real true 3D displays. When we have those, it might be nice to have a 3D desktop. Maybe not, maybe it will slow people down. Perhaps 2D allows things to be easier for us to navigate in. But then you have some that might like 3D work spaces. Either way. This sounds like a good step in the right direction

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