Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Nov 2017 20:37 UTC
Java

Almost 14 years ago, way back in 2003, Sun Microsystems unveiled Project Looking Glass, a 3D desktop environment written in Java and making extensive use of Java 3D. The demo, by Jonathan Schwartz, always stuck with me over the years, and since YouTube recommended the demo to me today, I figured it'd be interesting to you remind you all of simpler times, when flipping windows around and 3D rendering in Java actually managed to get us excited (something no other project would ever manage to... Wait.).

Project Looking Glass was developed for about three years, and it actually saw a 1.0 release in late 2006. It's one of those random projects exploring what we then thought could be the future of computing, right before the iPhone came onto the scene and changed everything. While nothing came out of Project Looking Glass, Schwartz' demo did teach me the phrase "arbitrarily clever", which I'm unusually attached to.

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SUN
by Alfman on Tue 21st Nov 2017 00:05 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

"So again, this is a new way of looking at how applications should be built and what a world could look where you are free from having one company define what was going to be done and instead look at what a community could do with an open platform that everyone can innovate around."

Sun never got enough credit for everything it's done. They were a positive influence and did so much to promote the open source community. Alas, this idealism did not serve them well in the real world. They were beaten by the microsofts, oracles, apples, who make their billions by pushing for exclusionary market control and hampering opportunities for third party innovation.

Idealism makes for great lies, but rarely for good business models ;)

Reply Score: 4

Interesting Uses
by dekernel on Tue 21st Nov 2017 01:49 UTC
dekernel
Member since:
2005-07-07

One of the best uses...if I remember correctly was the true virtual office. I wish I could remember the name of the project, but it allowed complete interaction for remote people just like being at the office. I really thought it would catch on as remote employees became more accepted, but apparently I was incorrect.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Interesting Uses
by emptyset on Tue 21st Nov 2017 13:19 UTC in reply to "Interesting Uses"
emptyset Member since:
2017-11-21

You might be thinking about Project Wonderland (now Open Wonderland).

Reply Score: 2

gimmick
by nicubunu on Tue 21st Nov 2017 08:57 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

I remember when everyone around used to install Compiz with the desktop cube and showing it off and just a bit later they completely forgot about it. Because such 3D effects like those provided by Looking Glass or Compiz may look spectacular, but they do not really improve your workflow.

Reply Score: 4

RE: gimmick
by Delgarde on Tue 21st Nov 2017 09:10 UTC in reply to "gimmick"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Because such 3D effects like those provided by Looking Glass or Compiz may look spectacular, but they do not really improve your workflow.


I'd have to agree. It's one of those features that looks absolutely awesome in a demo, but is entirely useless when it comes to real world use. Fun to build, but not as world-changing as the marketing team would like you to think...

On that note, anyone remember VRML? Lots of hype in 2000 or so, but died a relatively quick death once everyone realised it was useless. Now I'm seeing lots of WebVR demos, and they look awfully familiar... but I have little expectation that it'll go anywhere...

Edited 2017-11-21 09:12 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: gimmick
by jbauer on Tue 21st Nov 2017 18:19 UTC in reply to "gimmick"
jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

I remember when everyone around used to install Compiz with the desktop cube and showing it off and just a bit later they completely forgot about it. Because such 3D effects like those provided by Looking Glass or Compiz may look spectacular, but they do not really improve your workflow.


Neither do the new minimalist monochromatic fad that has taken over UI desigh these days, but at least you could feel we had left black and white CRTs behind...

Reply Score: 1

LINUX CONF AU 2004!!
by Darkmage on Wed 22nd Nov 2017 19:33 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

I was at Linux Conf AU 2004 in Adelaide (my hometown) and got to see Project Looking Glass in action. It kicked ass for 2004. I can't stress enough how futuristic it seemed back then. It's a damn shame what happened to Gnome and Sun. During the presentation Sun mentioned that they'd spent over $100 million on UX/UI testing/research and they were donating all of that effort to Gnome. The resulting Gnome 2.0 Desktop environment is to this day the best Linux desktop I've used.

Reply Score: 2

RE: LINUX CONF AU 2004!!
by ssokolow on Wed 22nd Nov 2017 21:49 UTC in reply to "LINUX CONF AU 2004!!"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I always felt GNOME 2.0 had too many UX decisions that were optimized toward people not me and got tired of looking up how to change them.

(eg. MacOS Classic-style spatial file management may be easier for granny to understand, but it's a MAJOR pain to spend so much time manually closing the windows for folders you were just passing through.)

KDE 3.5 was much easier to make efficient. (But then, that always has been my perception. GNOME is for people who want defaults you can learn to love. KDE is for people who already know what they want.)

Edited 2017-11-22 21:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

OSX
by MahRain on Fri 24th Nov 2017 08:23 UTC
MahRain
Member since:
2008-06-05

I just realized this is the Dock from Mac OS X Leopard, and I think Windows is using some of the 3D effects since Windows 7 as well.

Reply Score: 1