Software developer Stardock has unveiled its first-wave Windows Vista plans for its desktop enhancement suite, Object Desktop. Amongst the Vista-specific software it is working on is a Windows Sidebar gadget creation extention for DesktopX (which will support WPF/.NET creations too) and a Windows Vista specific version of WindowBlinds.
Stardock Outlines Object Desktop Vista Plans
About The Author
Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda
2006-11-15 11:00 amrapont
I agree – a long time ago I used to be a stardock subscriber when I was on Win2k. I’ve since moved to Linux, but I also found their themes to be of “average” quality – there were lots of them, and looking at the screenshot quickly they looked good, but in practise you got tired of them pretty quickly.
It really annoyed me (after spending $50 for the program) to see them introduce “premium themes” which were actually quite nice, but at $10 a go!
2006-11-15 12:46 pmCoxy
Because the people making them are not Designers, they just happen to have downloaded Photoshop off P2P and spend every spare hour making god awful GUIs, with colours choosen just because ‘they look nice’ or ‘i like blue’.
If they were competent designers they would be working for clients not making GUIs.
Edited 2006-11-15 12:47
2006-11-15 8:43 pmSphinx
For sure, my first thought was, “Can’t do much worse.”, and then I look at the screen shots… ugh. They do have some rather handsome widgets going for them though.
Edited 2006-11-15 20:43
Konfab wasn’t the first to have the idea of small applications, they were on the mac in the 80’s
2006-11-15 9:03 amThom Holwerda
That’s only partially true. The Desk Accesories on the old Macs served a different purpose than widgets do today: in the old days, they were supposed to give the MacOS the illusion of multitasking– they were not applications or whatever, they were in fact drivers.
So, the end result may have been the same, but the purpose and method are completely different.
2006-11-15 9:22 amKroc
This discussion is also as old as the 80’s. Desk accessories predate the Mac. Anybody who used a System/360 or AS/400 might know the secret key command to bring up a calculator you could move around the screen.
Edited 2006-11-15 09:22
2006-11-15 9:51 amtruckweb
Not this silly war again? Who did it first? Who cares really? As long as we have something nice to use, I’m happy with it.
Now, lets get back on the show and talk about Object Desktop. I’m happy to see that Vista is good with skinners. Looks even great!
2006-11-15 3:54 pmhelf
yeah, really. I dont see why people care so much.
2006-11-15 12:07 pmAlleister
Ah, those funny fanatics… they turn every day into an comedy show… “but Apple invented penicillin earlyer… around 1645 when they freed the holy land from the unbelievers…”
Now, those modern desklets are simple programs or sometimes skripts running in some sort of desklet server.
The novel thing about them is supposed to be, that they can be easily created even by rather inexperienced programers and that they are usually themed, i.e. not using standard operating system controlls.
“Desk Acessorys” have some different background: the early Mac OS was so much crap that it could not run *two* programms at the same time, as opposed to real operating systems. So for the sake to let at least an calculator run without you haveing to take a break from what you are working on, they invented an dirty hack to stuff some simple apps into their os in the form of drivers (wich is about the *last* way you would want a programm to run… imagine a big red blinking “BAD IDEA” here).
So the genius part of having those things is not that they are small programms. Every OS i ever used had some small programms and it is such an OBVIOUS idea not to make only huge apps that i doubt anyone would dare to demand credit for it.
2006-11-15 4:40 pmtryphcycle
“the early Mac OS was so much crap that it could not run *two* programms at the same time, as opposed to real operating systems”
yea… a real OS like DOS, hummmm? from what i recall…. DOS was BRILLIANT at multitasking!
2006-11-15 5:08 pmrcsteiner
I remember doing 2400bps Xmodem downloads using a TSR comm program called Invisible Link around 1990 or so under MS-DOS 3.3, and it was nice to be able to use WordPerfect 5.0 in the foreground while grabbing files in the background.
Oh wait… You were joking. Maybe you needed to learn more about how to effectively use DOS. 🙂
Edited 2006-11-15 17:11
2006-11-15 6:07 pmtryphcycle
“Oh wait… You were joking. Maybe you needed to learn more about how to effectively use DOS. 🙂 ”
Ill keep that in mind… now that its 2006… and DOS has not been remotley relivant for 15 years!
2006-11-15 6:35 pmsomebody
Ill keep that in mind… now that its 2006… and DOS has not been remotley relivant for 15 years!
That’s where you’re wrong. I know quite a few people (mostly companies) still run their DOS software. It is true that DOS is not really relevant in these years, but still relevant enough to be mentioned, remembered or even used.
2006-11-15 11:03 pmtryphcycle
“That’s where you’re wrong. I know quite a few people (mostly companies) still run their DOS software. It is true that DOS is not really relevant in these years, but still relevant enough to be mentioned, remembered or even used.”
ok… so yea… there are 3… maybe 4 people out there that for history sake run DOS…. i’m sorry… but did’nt i say RELEVANT?
2006-11-15 6:55 pmEl-Al
“Ill keep that in mind… now that its 2006… and DOS has not been remotley relivant for 15 years!”
Try as I might, I can’t for the life of me imagine that MacOS 8 has been relevant for an equally long time…
However, this kind of discussion achievs absolutely nothing. Umberellas at dawn…anyone?
2006-11-15 8:03 pmStephenBeDoper
So you don’t use any stores that contain POS systems?
2006-11-16 5:56 amSoulbender
TSR != multitasking
2006-11-15 7:37 pmAlleister
As opposed to Unix. Back in those days i prefered an usable OS over an graphical OS.
Of course, nowadays i would not want to miss an GUI, but if you think an mashine could not be usable without, then you are wrong. And before you ask, yes, Unix already was brilliant at multitasking. And then came the days of joy, amiga brought an mashine that was usable *and* graphical.
2006-11-15 11:07 pmtryphcycle
“And before you ask, yes, Unix already was brilliant at multitasking”
news flash!…. an operating system first developed back in 1969, appears to have been able to multitask better then…. 99% of the oSes shipped as last as 1995!!!
how could it be!
2006-11-16 12:35 amAlleister
“news flash!…. an operating system first developed back in 1969, appears to have been able to multitask better then…. 99% of the oSes shipped as last as 1995!!!
how could it be!”
It has nothing to do with devlopement time. The theories about Operating Systems is what you learned in your computer science courses and the implementation inside of such a tiny system isn’t going to keep an developer too much time. Mac OS got real (preemptive) multitasking in an incarnation of OS X (i don’t rember with what version it came, but it wasn’t 10.0) so it took them 20 years to implement an decent multitasking kernel. And actually they only archieved it in the end by throwing away Mac OS all together and take something already existing.
Mainstream Windows got preemptive multitasking with Win2k, though i think even NT4 had it.
Amiga had it in 1985… so no newsflash here… Apples OS developers just weren’t qualified enough.
2006-11-16 5:16 amjtfolden
You have it a little wrong there, Alleister. OS X has been pre-emptively multitasking in all versions… not only since 10.0 but also before that in “Rhapsody” and all the way back to 1986 when it was known as “NeXTSTEP.
2006-11-15 9:36 pmMollyC
DOS’s version ot desktop accessorites was TSRs (terminate and stay resident programs). And pre-OS7 version of Mac OS required Desktop Accessories because the OS didn’t support multitasking. And apps had to call SystemTask(&evt) each time through the event loop to ensure that Desktop Accessories weren’t starved of CPU time. Pre-OS7 Mac OS wasn’t any better than DOS at multitasking.
I’m gonna theme my Vista back to XP’s Luna :-).
2006-11-15 12:01 pmKroc
I’m sure it won’t be too long either until someone comes up with a classic theme that isn’t as ugly as sin.
2006-11-15 4:37 pmtryphcycle
well… i am going to theme my vista to match my brown zune…. and my brown Xbox360 shell…. and my brown rattle canned best buy box that my custom build gaming PC lives in! and of course, that will match my mister hanky collection!!!!!
2006-11-15 5:48 pmB12 Simon
Sounds like you’d love Ubuntu ;o)
2006-11-15 6:14 pmtryphcycle
Ubuntu is brown? more brown than Vista is? i dont think so!
2006-11-15 9:57 pmStephenBeDoper
Huh huh, you said “brown,” Beavith.
“Something very very cool but unannounced
We are also working on something very very cool in partnership with Microsoft but can’t yet publicly discuss.”
I wonder what this might be…
2006-11-15 12:47 pmKroc
Whatever it is, let me guess, ‘only available in Premium or Ultimate versions of Vista’ ¬.¬
2006-11-15 5:52 pmThanhLy
Actually I think it might have something to do with DX10. Shader code to do something fancy perhaps?
Hopefully the skins will take full advantage of Vista’s new architecture, and they’ll be created by real graphics artists. I particularly like this one (minus the start globe) – http://www.stardock.com/media/stardockvista/index.7.jpg
I think there’s a misconception by some people here that Stardock is the one who makes the skins for WindowBlinds and other skinning programs. We don’t.
Stardock makes the software. Users make the thousands of skins that are out there and some are pretty good and many are..well not so good.
In the past year or so Stardock has started to contract professional designers to make some skins (the “premium skins referred to above”) which do tend to be a step higher because they are done by professionals.
But as for how skins look, I happen to be in the camp that didn’t think XP (Luna) was exactly a marvel.
My gripe about Konfabulator was the blatant assertion by its developers that they had somehow invented something new.
There wasn’t a single feature in Konfabulator that hadn’t existed in DesktopX for years. And DesktopX wasn’t obscure, it had millions of downloads even back then.
In my mind, whether someone thinks the idea originated with desktop accessories or something else it irrelevant. The point is that Konfabulator most certainly didn’t invent the concept given that it was a sub-set of DesktopX which is part of Object Desktop.
When will it all end? I admit to being a stardock customer of yore. I was using OD on OS/2 way back. Updated to OD for Win2k, partly because I couldn’t stand the native NT4->Win2k gui. OD gave that OS a little more NEEDED functionality (IMO) but the eye candy for eye candy’s sake is, as another poster has already pointed out, tiresome after only a short period of time.
Vista on the other hand, is as far as I can see, already pre-loaded with eye candy. I don’t really see the point in adding even more…still each to his own.
As my Stardock account has lapsed and I have no intention of upgrading to vista anytime soon, I see no point in renewing it.
I do like Multiplicity though, Stardock have made some really useful contributions in areas like this.
2006-11-15 7:50 pmAlleister
I agree about the lack of neccesetiy for more eyecandy, but i wouldn’t deny that there is an market for this.
So far there doesn’t seem to be an possebilty to change the look of vista other than some default themes and color settings.
I thinkt to most of stardocks users it is more important that it looks different from default than if it looks better.
When i see typical Casemods, there seem to be very very few who try to archieve something that is actually pleasing to the eye.
2006-11-15 11:08 pmtryphcycle
“When i see typical Casemods, there seem to be very very few who try to archieve something that is actually pleasing to the eye.”
not everyone has style!!!!
“Try as I might, I can’t for the life of me imagine that MacOS 8 has been relevant for an equally long time..”
i agree…. however… OS8 multitaked better than the OS refered to at the start of this thread…. and better than DOS….
and as with 99% of the treads on this site….. non of this means a damn thing! stairing at a wall would be a much better use of time!!
2006-11-15 9:33 pmMollyC
“OS8 multitaked better than the OS refered to at the start of this thread…. and better than DOS…. “
It multitasked better than DOS, but not better than Vista (if that’s what you’re referring to by “the os refered to at the start of this thread”. OS8 used cooperative multitasking; it was no better than Win3.x in that regard.
2006-11-15 11:12 pmtryphcycle
“It multitasked better than DOS, but not better than Vista (if that’s what you’re referring to by “the os refered to at the start of this thread””
my bad! thats was not the tread i was refering to! sorry. i guess i was refering to a “sub-Thread”
I’d like to know if all developers have access to the same APIs that Stardock has access too in Vista? I’ve never payed for Object Desktop because the memory footprint was huge and the themes were @#$%.
Sure maybe Stardock did not create there themes but they were responsible for there image.
They have always clamed that WindowBlinds rendered more quickly then XP native themes but it was clearly not the case for me.
I understand the API mess in XP that Stardock had to work with and I’m very open to tring the future software to allow Stardock to change the image I have of them but… time will tell.
Maybe I should start an open Explorer replacement for Vista called Liamond LOL <— BAD JOKE
Edited 2006-11-15 19:52
2006-11-15 8:30 pmAlleister
Why should there by any special API for stardock? Everything they did so far was based on documented APIs.
What they do is clever, but it’s not magic.
There are some Explorer replacements as well, like Litestep.
Programming those kind of apps does require rather profound knowledge of how Windows works, but nothing they do is based on secrets.
2006-11-15 10:28 pmdraginol
“I’d like to know if all developers have access to the same APIs that Stardock has access too in Vista? I’ve never payed for Object Desktop because the memory footprint was huge and the themes were @#$%. ”
WindowBlinds uses around 2 megabytes of memory. By contrast, the DWM on Vista currently uses around 80 megabytes. Huge is a relative term. On my Amiga I could multitask apps on 512K. But Object Desktop programs never were resource hogs.
Stardock, btw, gets no special access to APIs.
“They have always clamed that WindowBlinds rendered more quickly then XP native themes but it was clearly not the case for me. ”
I don’t know what to say to that. I guess it depends on your video card and system I suppose. WindowBlinds 5 has been benchmarked by plenty of magazines at this point and always ends up faster. (ExtremeTech and FilePlant are two I recall in particular).
“I understand the API mess in XP that Stardock had to work with and I’m very open to tring the future software to allow Stardock to change the image I have of them but… time will tell. ”
I think Vista will help in the sense that anyone capable of running Aero will have to have the kind of video card that would already have run Object Desktop programs well on XP.
As for the quality of the content people create for Object Desktop programs — the easier you make it for people to do stuff the more not so good stuff you’ll get. Microsoft Gadgets (and Dashboard widgets) are good examples. We know what is capable of being done. After all, there’s an Aero skin on XP.
I was into this whole scene, back “in-the-day.”
Since then, I matured, and followed my physician’s advice, “remove-the-tumor.”
Linux Rules, save a lot of your money, and contribute to a distro of your choice!
And I thought all the Stardock “features” would automatically come with Vista… 🙂 But it’s nice to see that the developers of Stardock still found some stuff they could improve in Vista, so it’s not that perfect MICROS~1 claims it to be… business as usual.
I’m excited to see how creative people can get, but jesus how come every single theme they created there is so ugly?? They’re all so over done, they look like GUIs for 8 year olds.