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3D Window Manager
X Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday November 03, @08:39AM
from the bells-and-whistles dept.
xmda pointed us to a website for 3Dwm which, as the name implies, strives to be a 3d window manager for X. They talk about hardware that it might be useful with, and show some screenshots. It looks very rudimentary, but its a pretty interesting thing none the less. I'm just wondering how long with have a good 3d display and 3d input device that would make this really fly. And for that matter, will flatland be better for coding anyway?

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    Utterly pointless (Score:1)
    by rde (rde(at)ireland(dot)com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:45AM EST (#3)
    (User Info) http://www.irelands-web.ie/rde
    Yet utterly cool.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:3, Insightful)
    by jilles (jgurp@yahoo.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:13AM EST (#43)
    (User Info) http://www.ipd.hk-r.se/jvg
    I can see the point of having a 3d windowmanager. I find that 2d windowmanagers get really messy when you open more than say 4 or 5 windows. Basically you have to resort to tricks like virtual desktops or minimizing the windows since the average screen is too small to put more than a few windows next to each other.

    A 3d desktop together with some other features could solve this problem. It would for instance also be nice if you would never have to start an application explicitly. Many palm top computers already have this feature and I think it is time to introduce it to the desktop also.

    Of course just a enormous plane with flat windows sticking out of it is not very usefull. People are bad at keeping track of more than say 7 or 8 things at the same time. That's why menus are tree like structures (i.e. you don't put your zillion options in one big menu but you use multiple menus and submenus to organize your menuoptions). The same should apply to windowmanagers. I want to be able to organize my windows in a hierarchy. I also want to be able to have one window in multiple places in that hierarchy. A 3d structure could help to organize this.

    The screenshots are really cool, though I don't see the point of working in the gimp window while looking at it at an angle of 45 degrees. It is great for finding the window, though.

    A 3d windowmanager would also allow for 3d widgets, I didn't see any of those in the screenshots. Now coming up with usefull 3d widgets would really be a smart thing. Implementing them is probably not so difficult.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:2, Insightful)
    by rde (rde(at)ireland(dot)com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:37AM EST (#70)
    (User Info) http://www.irelands-web.ie/rde
    Basically you have to resort to tricks like virtual desktops
    I don't consider virtual desktops to be a 'trick'. I did as a windows user, but with linux (perhaps simply because I've gotten used to them), I find them indispensible and ridiculously easy to use.

    I want to be able to organize my windows in a hierarchy
    Hrm. I'm currently using four different desktops for four discrete tasks; there are multiple windows on some of these but most of them have only a single window. Any heiararchy I imposed on these would be entirely arbitrary, mostly unhelpful and probably a waste of time. Granted, your use may be different, but I don't see any advantage to 3d desktops. Of course, when one with a proper 3d interface (one that ignores all prevailing 2d paradigms) comes along, I may well change my mind.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:2)
    by jilles (jgurp@yahoo.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:59AM EST (#87)
    (User Info) http://www.ipd.hk-r.se/jvg
    "I find them indispensible and ridiculously easy to use"

    Sure its much better than without windowmanager. But nevertheless it's a solution to the problem that you can't keep track of 20 or so windows in one screen. Basically the solution consists of hiding the windows you don't need at the moment. I know one guy who routinely has 30 to 40 xterms spread all over his 16 or so virtual screens. Putting that in one 2d screen would be rediculous. Spreading them over 16 desktops only works if you can remember where to look for each window.

    Most computer users also open and close applications. Suppose you wouldn't have to do that. A good linux pc doesn't need rebooting so the only reason to close an application is to save on memory resources. Suppose you could automate this. I.e. if memory is needed, apps that are not in use are swapped to your HD. When you need them again they are swapped in (of course this would be nonsense for commandline apps). If you take into account that one app may have several windows, the number of windows in a system increases quite a bit so you need a good way to organize them.

    Of course you can argue that you don't want to see them all at the same time. But you still have the problem that from time to time you are looking for a particular window. 3d workspaces may help in finding your window faster.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by warrior (mdreesen@spamproof.cse.unl.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @11:27AM EST (#123)
    (User Info)
    Suppose you could automate this. I.e. if memory is needed, apps that are not in use are swapped to your HD

    Your linux PC already does this. It is called Virtual
    Memory. I don't know what algorithm linux uses, second chance
    clock, maybe? But, it swaps out memory pages that haven't
    been used for a certain period of time.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by slashdot-terminal on Wednesday November 03, @11:29AM EST (#125)
    (User Info) http://www.debian.org
    Ok maybe I am new to the concept but on a regular machine (not a server console) that many terminals is not only overkill but almost suicide. Now I am not saying that linux would crash but it would be far more likely to take a really long time to respond. Case in point I have a machine that I wanted a little more hd space on. I had the e2compr patch in the kernel to compress things so I decided last night to compress the libraries in /lib and the gimp ones in /usr/lib/gimp or something like that. Well I started the application and waited this morning by about 7am or so it was still not finished with the load screen. The machine wasn't in a crashed state but it wouldn't respond to any commands mouse events in a timely manner or even allow me to quit the window manager. I was forced to restart the machine with the reset button. the point is if you find that you are having a hard time keeping things straight just do one important task at a time or at least a few. Maybe even use say splitvt to organize the window into halves and cut down on the number of xterms used in the first place. What might be better is to have say a tree structure with labels and things using XML or whatever is en vouge and label things with text with the task being accomplished. that way organization would be better. I could just see some large multidimentional grid system with a never ending sea of windows. I don't know about confusion but I have to move a mouse around in that see of crap I would soon get so lost I might just cry.
    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. - George Orwell, "1984", 1948 If you want a picture of the future,
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:2)
    by jilles (jgurp@yahoo.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:15PM EST (#173)
    (User Info) http://www.ipd.hk-r.se/jvg
    Actually my friend is working on a sun, a pretty old one too.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by cxreg on Wednesday November 03, @10:12AM EST (#95)
    (User Info)
    Well actually, if you think about it, you *are* using a 3d desktop already. Just consider the Virtual Desktop Dimension. This is just making that a visual dimension instead of a virtual one. I can see how some people would prefer that to the model you are currently using.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by D.L. on Wednesday November 03, @09:40PM EST (#233)
    (User Info)
    Any hierarchy I imposed on these would be entirely arbitrary, mostly unhelpful and probably a waste of time. Granted, your use may be different, but I don't see any advantage to 3d desktops. Of course, when one with a proper 3d interface (one that ignores all prevailing 2d paradigms) comes along, I may well change my mind.

    Someone else posted somewhere about the idea of organizing work topics by 'rooms.' This appeals to my sensibility; creating more of an office instead of a desktop. However, I think that you cannot simply ignore all prevailing 2d paradigms, as you suggest, because there are certain tasks which are inherently two dimensional. Typing text comes to mind, as does graphic manipulation of 2d figures.

    I think partially abandoning the concept of windows may help. Suppose in your 3d space you have a ball which represents your word processing application/document. Navigate to it in 3d, grab it, and it switches your view to the canonical 2d representation. A key combination returns you to 3d space. Furthermore, some applications will be inherently better in 3d; CAD and some graphing functions would be best represented that way. You could grab the object in 3d space which represents those apps and have your relevant data expand out into the 3d space. A windowed interface becomes cumbersome in this case.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by dead sun on Wednesday November 03, @10:29PM EST (#235)
    (User Info)
    What I would like to see, expanding upon the CAD comment, is a 3d environment, with the typical title bar, except it would have four faces, then a cube of a window, not flat, but see through. That way, say a CAD object, would be represented in 3d space, being rendered from whatever angle you wanted to see it from. It would kill the top, front, side view that plagues many programs, IMHO. Then a person could rotate the "window" which is more a cube, or rotate around the window, take your pick, allowing a better grasp of the object. Perhaps for familiarity sake the top, front, side view could rotate along so you always see them flat, and presto! a nicer CAD program. I think, at least for the casual, untrained user of such a program, ad 3d window manager might be a boon.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:23AM EST (#120)
    "Basically you have to resort to tricks like virtual desktops or minimizing the windows since the average screen is too small to put more than a few windows next to each other. "

    Or use multiple monitors like you've been able to do with Windows for a couple years. Multiple desktops works ok too, personally I prefer the route KDE/CDE takes to it rather than FVWM..

    The 3d window manager sounds like a good idea in theory, but since your screen space isn't really any larger you'll still run into the same problem of desktop clutter, you'll just have some apps on edge making them harder to read. Maybe if it were done with something like a Doom engine where your apps would be displayed on the walls of the rooms it would be better.

    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @01:01PM EST (#166)
    And multiple screens like AmigaOS Intuition, EPOC32 (it's surprising how similar epoc32 is to the amiga os...), or Enlightnment...
    Exactly! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @01:12PM EST (#171)
    Maybe if it were done with something like a Doom engine where your apps would be displayed on the walls of the rooms it would be better.

    Right, because most people are comfortable with the spatial reality of walls, hallways, and doors than with objects floating freely in arbitrary spots above a simple plane.

    My question is, in terms of "navigability", would the Doom Desktop Environment be a quicker, easier, space to navigate?

    That is, is it easier to walk over to the web room from the desktop publishing area, or to hit ALT-TAB?


    Re:Exactly! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @01:19PM EST (#178)
    Maybe not exactly Doom...how about just being in the center of a square (hexagonal etc) room where you could turn to face the different walls, but couldn't actually leave the room. Switching 'desktops' would simply be a matter of turning around then.
    Re:Exactly! (Score:1)
    by Tool-Man (t1m.taylor@1name.com (s/1/i/g to get real email)) on Wednesday November 03, @07:51PM EST (#227)
    (User Info)
    My question is, in terms of "navigability", would the Doom Desktop Environment be a quicker, easier, space to navigate? That is, is it easier to walk over to the web room from the desktop publishing area, or to hit ALT-TAB? Well, since Quake, the concept of teleports is a natural tool (to Quake gamers at least) you use to get somewhere fast. Pressing Alt-Tab could either a) teleport you to the room with the application that is next in the focus list or b) pop up a bunch of teleporters, each labeled with the particular app and you just walk through the teleport of your choice. I believe this would be a very natural analog to Enlightenment's focus list or MS Window's Alt-Tab and Ctrl-Tab. Indulge me as I take this a bit further. With the advent of "see through" portals in the latest incarnations of First Person Shooters, you could also provide a means to manipulate windows through the portal. So, just as I can drag and drop a window from one virtual desktop to another, I could shoot my grappling hook through a portal, yanking a window back into my current room, and optionally drop it through another portal. This may sound silly, but after hours and hours of playing Quake, I can imagine myself using mechanisms like this and eventually being able to work and navigate productively in a 3D environment. It is also my opinion that flat, 2D windows will always have a place in 3D virtual environments. In meatspace it is convienient to be able to shuffle off a pad of paper to some other area of my desk, but when I have the pad of paper in my "foreground", I tend to position it and my head in such a way that I'm looking at it head on. In a 3D environment, I anticipate that any 2D window I'm actively using will be oriented as to be flat. Additionally, I imagine much usefull overlap between applications with 2D and 3D interfaces as there currently is between CLI and GUI apps. Sometimes it might just be more efficient to type 'ps' followed by 'kill pid' than to hunt down a rogue process and shoot it to death with my phaser. Conversely, I might prefer the metaphor of shooting a monster with my phaser "set to stun" for 'kill -20' and "set to kill" for 'kill -9', especially if I don't understand the concept of PIDs and signals. The moral of the story is, 3D virtual environments offer some unique opertunities for innovation in user interfaces. IMO, First Person games are indirectly leading the way by providing concrete usability data on (successful) 3D virtual environments.
    -- If both of us agree, one of us is not necessary
    Re:Exactly! (Score:1)
    by Tool-Man (t1m.taylor@1name.com (s/1/i/g to get real email)) on Wednesday November 03, @07:58PM EST (#228)
    (User Info)

    My apologies for the poor formatting of my previous post. Despite the fact that I used valid /. HTML formatting tags, despite the fact that I did use Preview (several times), and despite the fact that I submitted my post with "HTML Formatted" selected, my post had all formatting stripped :/



    Now, excuse me as I test Extrans and see if I get any better results.


    -- If both of us agree, one of us is not necessary
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by Mr_Plow on Wednesday November 03, @11:36AM EST (#131)
    (User Info) http://home.san.rr.com/filth
    I think more than anything, you will increase your perceived desktop real estate (see the bottom-most screenshots) and make it easier to conceptualize and keep track of your open windows. However, from the looks of most of the screenshots, being able to view a 2d web browser at a perspective angle seems counter-productive.
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Better living through auditory saturation.
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @01:12PM EST (#170)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    it will still get messy when you open up more than 4 or 5 windows. It will just be messy in 3d. You won't be able to see through windows to the ones behind them in 3Dland. So instead of moving your mouse to the point on your "2D" screen and clicking you have to move your mouse in 3D space. Taking longer to get there.
    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    N-Dimensional Window Manager (Score:1)
    by Bizzaro (bizzaro@bc-no-spam.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @01:13PM EST (#172)
    (User Info)
    That's why menus are tree like structures (i.e. you don't put your zillion options in one big menu but you use multiple menus and submenus to organize your menuoptions). The same should apply to windowmanagers. I want to be able to organize my windows in a hierarchy.

    The Loci Project has its own window manager and desktop system which place icons and application windows into a tree structure...literally.

    This screenshot shows program icons connected or 'piped' according to their hierarchy. Double clicking on an icon reveals or hides the program's window (shown as a 'label' widget in the screenshot). And the desktop can be scrolled around in all directions.

    Now imagine having dozens of programs running. With traditional window managers, you would have them all open on the desktop and/or represented by buttons on a taskbar or by icons. How do the programs relate to each other in a hierarchy??? You have no idea: that information is never shown anywhere! With Loci, you always know the hierarchy, because the windows are attached to the icons, and the icons are connected with lines.

    Note: Loci is a combination of a desktop and a graphical programming language for the management of data processing projects. It is not a general purpose desktop.

    This sort of thing has cropped up before. And it has always been due to human error.
    H-A-L Niner Triple Zero

    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:2)
    by MikeBabcock (mikebabcock@pobox.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:39PM EST (#182)
    (User Info) http://www.linuxsupportline.com/~pgp/
    I think my favorite feature of this would be to push a window away from me for a minute ... making it smaller but still visible, etc. It would also be nice if there were clear definitions in window creation of peer windows vs. modal child windows because a child could cause the parent to be "pushed away" a little, making "stacking" obvious. Peer windows, OTOH could sit on top of another window normally.

    - Michael T. Babcock <homepage>
    - PGP Key 0xC2F837FD
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:2)
    by jilles (jgurp@yahoo.com) on Wednesday November 03, @03:29PM EST (#205)
    (User Info) http://www.ipd.hk-r.se/jvg
    Interesting idea. An enhancement would be to have applications present different views at different distances. Another idea would be to take a user on a tour along different windows to let him/her perform a task (also great for training since people are good at remembering routes).
    Re:maybe not so pointless (Score:1)
    by sporty on Wednesday November 03, @01:41PM EST (#183)
    (User Info)
    WindowMaker and enlightenmnet don't suffer from this. You can change the z-order with arrow keys.
    Hrmmm (Score:2, Interesting)
    by GaspodeTheWonderDog (gaspode_@hotmail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:45AM EST (#5)
    (User Info)
    Having a standard bs'ing session with some of my old college buddies we talked about this sort of thing. However, I am of the firm belief that a 3 dimensional window manager is just a crutch to getting to the 4 dimensional window manager. Then the 4 dimensional window manager is a crutch to a 5 dimensional...

    What we really need to do is determine what an 'n' dimensional window manager is, what it would be and how it would work. I just can't see a 3d wm doing anything for me that I couldn't do with a 2d wm. Ah well, just my two cents worth.
    This space for sale
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:2, Funny)
    by rde (rde(at)ireland(dot)com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:46AM EST (#7)
    (User Info) http://www.irelands-web.ie/rde
    I've already got a 4-D window manager. I had great fun coding it; I spent most of next week on it.
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:1)
    by Yeshua on Wednesday November 03, @08:53AM EST (#19)
    (User Info)
    Does this mean we'll have to know matrix methods just to use our new X^n window managers?.....where did I put that file???.....have you checked the orthogonal plane?
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @01:19PM EST (#176)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    thats funny. You can't visualize 4D much less code a wm for it.

    lenght x width x height x ?

    read a book called "Hyperspace"


    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:2)
    by Cuthalion on Wednesday November 03, @03:12PM EST (#201)
    (User Info) http://fridge.auspice.net/~cuth
    coding 4d is way easier than visualizing it.

    Disclaimer: I'm not as smart as I think I am.
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @03:35PM EST (#206)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    its still not possible
    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    Not that difficult to code a 4-d WM (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Mr. Piccolo (justin.kolodziej@vms^H^H^Hmarquette.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @03:49PM EST (#208)
    (User Info) http://vmsb.csd.mu.edu/~4wg7kolodzie
    Actually, you can in fact write a sort of 4-dimensional window manager. Here's how:

    Most regular window managers have the concept of multiple 2-dimensional "workspaces" (which, being 2-dimensional, might better be called workplanes). Now, and in fact Enlightenment actually does this, you can think of these workspaces as stacked on top of each other, with z = n for workspace n. Changing workspaces would then mean setting the viewport so you view the plane z = n.

    I might add that this system can in fact be thought of as 3-dimensional because it takes 3 numbers to specify completely a window's position in the environment.

    Now, if you have a 3-dimensional workspace, and you have multiple workspaces you can select, then it will in fact take _four_ numbers to completely specify the window's location (workspace, x, y, z). Therefore, this is a FOUR-dimensional window manager!

    Depending on how you number the workspaces in the (Mo/Less)tif window manager, it could also be a four-dimensional window manager. Numbering them as:

    1 2 3
    4 5 6
    7 8 9

    makes it three-dimensional. If, however, you take advantage of the fact that the pager is itself two-dimensional, you can number them as:

    (1,1) (1,2) (1,3)
    (2,1) (2,2) (2,3)
    (3,1) (3,2) (3,3)

    Then you need 4 numbers to specify the position of a window again, making the workspace 4-dimensional.

    One last thing: depending on the workspace structure, windows that are presistent over all workspaces could be thought of as 3 or 4 dimensional themselves...

    As far as visualizing 4-dimensional objects... the standard procedure is to show many 3-dimensional slices of it over time.

    Note by this definition, space is 4-dimensional because you need the time, as well as X, Y, and Z coordinates, to locate things.

    Rudy Rucker is probably the best at writing books about dimensions greater than 3. The two I know of are "Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality", which is out of print, and "The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes" which you can still get from Fatbrain.com.
    WARNING: THIS POST MAY BE CONTENT-FREE. To mail me, press BACKSPACE where you see ^H.
    Correction: (Score:1)
    by Mr. Piccolo (justin.kolodziej@vms^H^H^Hmarquette.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @08:51PM EST (#231)
    (User Info) http://vmsb.csd.mu.edu/~4wg7kolodzie
    Ignore what I said about mwm, as the pager doesn't work that way after all, but as a virtual desktop.

    DOH!
    WARNING: THIS POST MAY BE CONTENT-FREE. To mail me, press BACKSPACE where you see ^H.
    visualisation of 4-space (Score:1)
    by Rozzin (rozzin@operamail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:10PM EST (#229)
    (User Info) http://i.am/rozzin/
    You can't visualize 4D much less code a wm for it.

    That's a bogus statement.
    Note that a `dimension' is defined as an `axis' or `direction' or `way' along which something is measured. Most of us have likely navigated in 4+-space (meaning `four dimensions or more'), which may or may not have been graphical.

    Transcending 3-space graphically can be a rather diffcult task, but I'm rather convinced that that's so simply because of our self-limiting to the mundane n-space that we've spent our entire lives experiencing.

    I've visualised, graphically, in more than three dimensions (more than four, including time-changes), and it's really not that trying, until I think something like, `how do I reduce this to 3-space', whereupon it is reduced back into 3-space.

    As for writing code that lets the computer `visualise' 4-space..., it's been done. Code has been written that lets the computer visualise higher dimensions, and, for the most part, it's no more impressive than the computer dealing in 3-space, because these machines' computations are not inherently based in 3-space.

    The thing that I have most problems with, as far as undersanding (n>3)-space is how trigonometric functions work, but, hell, I can understand how boolean operations can work when the operands can have more than 2 (true/false) values, so it shouldn't be too bad, if I spend some time on it;)

    Whether an (n>2)-space-based environment has any use, and to which kinds of applications it really would be useful, I'll address elsewhere...

    -rozzin.
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:3, Funny)
    by jandrese (jandrese@vt.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @02:33PM EST (#192)
    (User Info) http://www.cslab.vt.edu/~jandrese/
    Of course you run into nameing problems.
    4Dwm is what SGI uses as the window manager on its Irix systems, fortunatly it is not a true 4D windowmanager, or I'd have to replace my brain with one from a 4 dimentional being (and they're hard to find!) just to use it. :)
    Re:Hrmmm (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @04:09PM EST (#210)
    I belive that Linux needs something Radical and Innovative to push it over the other Ose's. With projects such as KDE we are just using someone elses (Microsoft's) ideas as to how a User Interface should operate. Don't get me wrong. KDE is great and that is what I actually use, but I think we need something totally visually and functionally awesome so that people will look at it and say..."Wow..I want that". A 3D windowing environment might just provide that...
    Oh no, not useless... (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Enoch Root (elijah[at]hushmail[dot]com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:47AM EST (#9)
    (User Info)
    This is not useless! It's just way ahead of its time!

    And if they complete it (which I hope they'll do... Hope these images are not just GIMPed up!), it means that the moment the holographic display monitor hits the market, Linux will run it first!

    Quick, someone begin coding the drivers! :)

    "Knowledge = Power = Energy = Mass"
    -- Terry Pratchett's Law of L-Space in
    Guards! Guards!

    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by technos (technos@crosswinds.net) on Wednesday November 03, @08:58AM EST (#24)
    (User Info)
    We really don't need a holographic display system. There are plently of existing, low cost systems that just play tricks with your eyes. (Shutter goggles, binary TV glasses, red/blue shifted images, etc)
    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." -- Albert Einstein
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by Eraser_ (hawk@lomag.net) on Wednesday November 03, @10:36AM EST (#110)
    (User Info)
    We *really* dont need computers either, but we all have one(+). Wouldnt you want to be the first one on your block with a holographic monitor to play Quake in a truely 3d environment? Possibly Half-Life TFC as a sniper? now that could be very fun... maybe a multiple zoom scope? :)


    I think that looks pretty cool for a 3dwm. Especially in the early beta stages, i hope it progresses to mainstream.
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:33AM EST (#128)
    That's just one step away from having something like a holodeck to play quake on. Wonder how long people will play quake for if the safeties turned off?
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:01AM EST (#113)
    and Mr. Insightful,
    why can't you code the driver? you want it first, didn't you.
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:2)
    by Foogle (foogle@adelphia.net) on Wednesday November 03, @08:59AM EST (#25)
    (User Info)
    Why would Linux run it first? It doesn't even sound like these guys have a Linux port of this system. Yes, the speculated that it would run on a 3D accelerated PC running Linux, but the machines they were testing on were SGI's: An Onyx and an O2.

    So I guess when those holographic display monitors pop up, Irix will run it first :)

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
    - They Might Be Giants

    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @09:36AM EST (#67)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    lest we forget that SGI is using Linux and has dumped Irix...
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by Foogle (foogle@adelphia.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:43AM EST (#75)
    (User Info)
    Not even remotely. Irix is still alive and well right now, and Linux certainly doesn't fully support the SGI hardware. Yes, SGI has made inroads into really getting use out of Linux, but it's a far cry from replacement.

    Regardless, the point still remains: This 3DWM isn't running on Linux yet.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
    - They Might Be Giants

    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @01:37PM EST (#181)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    OK, I concede both points. So? What you're saying is, "it's not on Linux, it's on Irix." Well, woo, doggees.

    This, as far as I can tell from the documentation, is an OpenGL environment that displays flat X windows within a 3D environment. This can be done through hardware-accelerated OpenGL (even Mesa...I have a Voodoo3 myself :^)

    The point is, this probably won't be all that hard to port to Linux. I see it as a non-issue as to which system gets it first. And I hope this doesn't dissuade anyone from producing similar, yet different, systems. It might be interesting to see if anyone could do the same thing with FreeWRL or Crystal Space, or go even further and propose a new type of server with a new type of toolkit/interface. Time shall tell.
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by Thomas Charron (tcharron@ductape.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:46AM EST (#78)
    (User Info)
    ONLY on the x86 platform.. ;-P
    Re:Oh no, not useless... (Score:1)
    by NickElm (d97elm@dtek.chalmers.se) on Wednesday November 03, @12:40PM EST (#159)
    (User Info) http://artoo.hemmet.s-hem.chalmers.se/~crozius/

    Of course we have a Linux port! The development machine I use at home (and yes, there is a lot of that kind of development going on) is a Linux box using Mesa and GLUT. Still, I must say that the Onyx2 does push the polygons a tad bit faster...

    (Of course, we have yet to release any code, but I'm hoping that will change quite soon...)


    Nothing Extraordinary (Score:1)
    by dianos (dianos@nozpam.thepentagon.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:49AM EST (#10)
    (User Info)
    Most of the screen shots just showed a 2d-plane floting in 3d-space. They could at least make some talking head or something to make it look more interesting.
    Re:Nothing Extraordinary (Score:1, Offtopic)
    by j a w a d (E-Mail me at -- jawad@nycap.rr.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:18AM EST (#48)
    (User Info) http://jawad.cyvox.com/
    Sure beats a talking paper clip eh? TAKE THAT, MICROSOFT!


    jawad
    Re:Nothing Extraordinary (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Bwerf on Wednesday November 03, @09:24AM EST (#52)
    (User Info)
    I guess the point was to have window manager, ok a talking head would be cool, but that's not what a window manager is all about. I think it would be much cooler to know what benefits you could draw from a 3dwm. ie the windows that aren't in focus are moved 3 dm back so they aren't as large instead of using that little thingie with the different desktops and windows on it(I lost my mind and can't for the world figure out what it is called).

    If you have any other ideas about the benefits, please post them..at least they can't be patented by any evil company then. ;)




    --
    Sätt dig själv i centrum - slå följe med A-lagarna
    Cart before the horse? (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Slamtilt (slamtilt@mwahahahaha.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:49AM EST (#11)
    (User Info) http://www.mwahahahaha.com
    It looks very cool, but before it moves from being cool to actually being useful, I think the whole GUI metaphor would need to change to something that makes intelligent use of 3 dimensions. Then we could produce apps which used that metaphor and the 3D window manager would be more than just eye-candy.
    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:2)
    by Suydam (brian@SPAMR00LZ.rickjames.sapien.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:19AM EST (#49)
    (User Info) http://www.have-a-brew.com/
    It goes beyond that even. The entire use of the computer in its current state practially screams 2 dimensions. We've replaced paper, pencil, paintbrush, canvas, books, and letters written to loved ones with virtual counterparts on a computer screen....but all of those things are 2 dimensional. Even the computer display is 2-D. I don't see a 3-D window manager being useful for that precise reason. ... we don't even envision ourselves using computers for 3-D stuff really....sure there are fancy VRML mockups of virtual libraires and museums that look 3-D....but that's about it.

    Sure is cool to look at though :) Maybe they'll turn it into a screensaver. Windows has that annoying "flying windows" screensaver. It would be cool to have it do that but with the actual windows that were open on your desktop...and in 3-D...

    Uh...yeah...whatever.


    Man + Beer = More Man.

    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:2)
    by Cuthalion on Wednesday November 03, @09:37AM EST (#69)
    (User Info) http://fridge.auspice.net/~cuth
    The other issue is that people visualize 2d space very easily. The degree to which people can internally represent 3 dimensions depends on the individual, of course, but typically it's a lot lower. 4d's even worse. :)

    Disclaimer: I'm not as smart as I think I am.
    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @10:18AM EST (#98)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    2d "space" is a plane with no thickness. So it's not space.

    and...

    Visualizing a 4th dimension by a 3 dimensional creature is impossible. Its like take the cartesian coordinate plane. That's 2d. Then make a line perpendicular to those 2 lines. Thats Z and 3d. Then make a line perpendicualar to X, Y, and Z. You can't. You would have to visualize the 4th dimension do to that. And us 3ders can't. Go out and get a book called Hyperspace.



    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:1)
    by mcnert on Wednesday November 03, @11:14AM EST (#115)
    (User Info)
    2d "space" is a plane with no thickness. So it's not space.

    It may not be space as we typically think about it (eg, outer space or something), but a plane can most definitely be a space, and the xy plane is a space in every mathematical way (ie, vector space, metric space, etc) that the xyz 3d space is, simply with one less dimension to worry about.


    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @12:40PM EST (#160)
    That is because you are grabing a combination from 3d space, if you want to go to 4 you will have to find your answer someplace else. I have been working on mental visualization and can get 5 demensions for straight data. The other two being time and colour. btw colour is analog and can be used just like a demension in space
    Re:Cart before the horse? (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @12:55PM EST (#164)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org


    I would like to see some documentation. I am very interested in visualization of 5 dimensions by a 3 dimensional being. That would be a revolution of the science world. That is nobel prize type stuff. Could someone please post a link to this guys work.

    I am standing behind the theories of Einstein, Hawking, and Chin. No 3 dimesional being can visualize 4 dimensions of space.



    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    I disagree. (Score:1)
    by Mr. Piccolo (justin.kolodziej@vms^H^H^Hmarquette.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @03:02PM EST (#200)
    (User Info) http://vmsb.csd.mu.edu/~4wg7kolodzie
    No 3 dimensional being... except Rudy Rucker!

    I suggest you read his "The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes", which is in part about exactly what you claim is impossible, and also contains sections on curved space.

    Also, Geomview's NDview does something of the sort. To be precise, it draws 2-dimensional projections of 3-dimensional projections of 4-dimensional strucures, and I believe you can even use more dimensions than 4.


    WARNING: THIS POST MAY BE CONTENT-FREE. To mail me, press BACKSPACE where you see ^H.
    color is a dimension? (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @02:56PM EST (#198)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    how could color be a dimension? how could you program a window manager in "time"? That fscking hilarious. ROTF
    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    Re:color is a dimension? (Score:2)
    by Pascal Q. Porcupine (p a s c a l @ t r i k u a r e . c x) on Thursday November 04, @01:01AM EST (#239)
    (User Info) http://trikuare.cx/
    In his defense, I'd like to point out that you could use a wavelength of light as a specifier. We perceive an approximation of visible-light wavelengths as combinations of three in particular, but they're actually separate wavelengths. Remember your elementary-school "physics" where your teacher took you outside on a sunny day with a prism... :)

    But anyway, I can see where he's coming from. If you have points at, say, 1,1,1,1,1 and 1,1,1,1,2 (assume 1=red, 2=green, 3=blue) then it'd be visible as a yellow point at 1,1,1 (assume it's a holographic display or something).
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
    Quine "quine?" "'Quined' quined" quines "quined."

    Sounds like something I've seen before. (Score:2)
    by blazer1024 (blazer@i.hate.spam.selectpath.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:50AM EST (#12)
    (User Info)
    Sounds too much like the movie "Hackers". So, when we're bored, we can pull up a file manager, and spend 15 minutes trying to find X configuration files? Sounds... interesting.

    Well, I suppose it would be fun to have. As long as I can make my X session look like something else. Like an old castle, with each room being an icon. Yeah yeah.

    Re:Sounds like something I've seen before. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @02:16PM EST (#188)
    Ah, "Hackers".... when we start having to use joysticks to fly around the file system, that's when we KNOW we've gone waaaaay to far with this 3D thing...
    3-D window manager for 2-D apps? (Score:2)
    by generic-man (jweill@andrew.cmu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @08:50AM EST (#13)
    (User Info) http://www.weill.org
    I remember reading about Synapse on Slashdot before, and it looks somewhat better. I haven't used either of these, though. Still, on the 3Dwm page, it looked like all of the screenshots were just 2-D screenshots horribly distorted to be viewed at an angle. These weren't 3-D applications. Personally, 3-D window managers won't be ready for prime time until there are plenty of decent 3-D applications that people can use.
    Exactly (Score:1)
    by nano-second (fetid@swamp.bog) on Wednesday November 03, @09:05AM EST (#33)
    (User Info)

    I have to agree with you. When I saw the distorted screen shot with GIMP in it, it occured to me that while a 3D space was a cool concept, it would be a burden for many of the apps we run now. Imagine trying to use the GIMP at that angle... ridiculous, you wouldn't have any idea what you were doing.

    This makes me think of the virtual computer worlds of cyberpunk novels. That would be cool. I have nothing against 3D wm's, I just don't think they'd be useable yet. I know I'd spend most of my time with it twisted so that it looked just the same as my normal 2D wm. I think it's going to be just a fun toy for awhile, but I'm sure its time will come.
    ---
    Linux, the choice of a GNU generation

    I think we're missing the point here (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @01:32PM EST (#179)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    With a good navigation system (I just tried out a demo of Homeworld, which, I realize, is just a game) this would be quite useable. A hideable panel much like we use now would make this work well...also having preconfigured navigation points (this is done in VRML) set to the location of each window would be beneficial.

    Remember, if our 2D overlapping-window interface were so great, there would be no reason for windowlists, taskbars, etc.
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Re:Exactly (Score:1)
    by Kablooie!! on Wednesday November 03, @02:49PM EST (#196)
    (User Info)
    I see it this way: For _real_ 3d apps, we'll have a truly 3d interface, using whatever cool whizzo input devices/paradigms get developed. For 2d apps, however, they'll show up in a window hanging in space. That window interface is what 3dwm does. Now all we have to do is add the rest. :)

    Grant/Kablooie!!


    Another delivery made, another satisfied customer.

    what would run better in a 3dwm? (Score:1)
    by jonmay on Wednesday November 03, @08:50AM EST (#14)
    (User Info) http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~mayj
    While the idea of a 3d window manager is neat, there isn't much use for it so long as we don't have any 3d software to run off of it.
    As the screen shots imply, a 3d wm basically is a really awkward way of organizing your windows. Make the manager 3d and you really shouldn't be storing windows anymore. (Maybe figurines?)

    Or to put it another way, in the real world we keep our important documents on a desk top, not in a milk crate.
    Good idea guys, but a little too far ahead of its time at this point.

    Re:what would run better in a 3dwm? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @05:18PM EST (#213)
    I think that 3d apps would be the main reason for having a 3d window manager. Just think of having photoshop open , and choosing colors on a rotating ball, same with the operating system itself.. this IS the future of computers...
    Anyone remember "Out of this World" (Score:2)
    by Masem (mneylon@engin.umich.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @08:50AM EST (#15)
    (User Info) http://pinky.wtower.com/mneylon
    I remember this game on the Amiga, later ported to other systems, but not with the same quality. In any case, the initial sequence of the movie showed a guy using a '3D desktop', which was done using a holographic cube.

    This looks very cool. But I do agree, the current computer paradime is very hard to put into a '3d mode' for nearly all applications.


    "How could this [Y2K Bug] be a problem in a country where we have Intel and Microsoft?" -- Al Gore

    Re:Anyone remember "Out of this World" (Score:1)
    by technos (technos@crosswinds.net) on Wednesday November 03, @08:56AM EST (#21)
    (User Info)
    Unfortunatly, the raised holocube was still showing flat images. (The same system the CAVE based 3Dwm uses) Myself, I always thought it looked a little like a cube of jello. (In the Amiga version)
    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." -- Albert Einstein
    Actually it's "Another World" (Score:1)
    by hasse (hansjorg@removethis.stud.ntnu.no) on Thursday November 04, @04:00AM EST (#244)
    (User Info) http://antisocial.dhs.org/~hasse/
    One of the really classic games. Getting all mushy and nostalgic here. And yeah, that holocube thing looks nice.
    Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)
    by Foogle (foogle@adelphia.net) on Wednesday November 03, @08:51AM EST (#16)
    (User Info)
    Hey, how does this work out? I was under the impression that the WM just handles the border, resizing, etc. of Windows in X. If that's the case, then how does 3DWM show a window from a different angle? Wouldn't it be more like a replacement for the X server?

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
    - They Might Be Giants

    Re:Hmm (Score:2)
    by PigleT (spodzone@netscape.net) on Wednesday November 03, @08:55AM EST (#20)
    (User Info) http://www.glutinous.custard.org/
    If it does the sizing, it is doing positioning. It's also responsible for choosing how to draw borders around windows, so doing angled lines shouldn't be that hard.

    But what next? Instead of "autoraise" timing, will there be a "flyby" setting so that you point at it and it goes flying past your head?

    If people start using that thing that blows holes in windows in X apps, it'd be at least one step closer to my dream of having a quake-like interface as a WM.
    Imagine that set up like an office - whiteboards for knotes, and when the manager walks in... ;)

    ~Tim -- .|` Clouds cross the black moonlight, Rushing on down to the circle of the turning world .|`
    Re:Hmm (Score:2)
    by Foogle (foogle@adelphia.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:30AM EST (#62)
    (User Info)
    It has to do more than that. It actually has to change the way each window displays itself on the screen. The Window Manager is not in charge of displaying a window on the screen, just managing it -- so this WM would either have to include it's own X server or somehow hook into an existing server. Otherwise it couldn't perform the angular transforms on the contents of windows.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
    - They Might Be Giants

    Re:Hmm (Score:1)
    by raster (raster@rasterman.com) on Wednesday November 03, @12:42PM EST (#161)
    (User Info) http://www.rasterman.com
    -> Hey, how does this work out? I was under the
    -> impression that the WM just handles the border,
    -> resizing, etc. of Windows in X. If
    -> that's the case, then how does 3DWM show a
    -> window from a different angle? Wouldn't it be
    -> more like a replacement for the X
    -> server?

    yup - what you see here is NOT a Window Manager the ONLy way to accomplish this is for the "so called wm" to be a proxy Xserver - that means it likely advertises an X Display on :1 and you run aps there - it acts as a full X-Server and thus gets all the client requests for drawing, input etc, and translates them. This means an extra layer of abstraction that makes things considerably slower since now all rewquests have to go through another application then later go through X. I toyed with this idea once for the sake of being able not to do 3D but to be able to lkeep miniature icons of applications (their windows) AND keep them up-to-date snapshots in E so you coudl see all programs running miniaturised - thus being able to see when something interesting happend abe be able to maximise them again... but the overhead of having to proxy ALL cals and then maintian a whole X-Server to boot ditched the idea.

    I'd like to see how far this gets - but moving 2D apps into a 3D world isnt that useful. I sytill maintain we need a whole 3D windowing system from scratch where apps create 3D objects and allocate 3D areas of space for these objects, not 2D windows of pixel data like its done now. That's where the future is for 3D - but this also hangs on the need for commonly available cheap 3D input devices too - the mouse has become the 2D input device - we ned a 3D one (powerglove or somehting) thats cheap, accurate, and everone has on - also 3D displays (stereoscopic so we can get deth cueues) are also necessary IMHO.
    --------------- Codito, ergo sum - "I code, therefore I am" --------------------
    Re:Hmm (Score:1)
    by NickElm (d97elm@dtek.chalmers.se) on Wednesday November 03, @01:03PM EST (#167)
    (User Info) http://artoo.hemmet.s-hem.chalmers.se/~crozius/

    Right. The only reason we called it "3Dwm" was because people generally know what window managers are (I guess we could have called it 3Dws for "windowing system"...) and thus would be more likely to understand what 3Dwm was all about. And yes, it is indeed a proxy Xserver (a hacked version of Xvfb) which communicates with the actual 3Dwm application using shared memory.

    As for the relevance of simply displaying plain old 2D applications in 3D, again, you are right. But 3Dwm is really a prototype for im3D, the Immersion3D User Environment (no homepage yet, but there are some docs on the 3Dwm website), which will be a full 3D windowing system but which will still retain support for running normal X applications, so hopefully, things will improve here...


    GGI cube... (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @08:53AM EST (#17)
    Hah! I'd been wondering why no one had done this yet... Well, its good that this has been taken care of, now I don't have to make myself do it. ;-) Check out this screentshot, of Xggi running with 6 screens, each screen mmapped to the texture of a 3D cube which can be rotated : http://www.ggi-project.org/images/cube_withxggi.jpg
    Re:GGI cube... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:13AM EST (#44)
    This screenshot seems like something much more useful in todays world of 2d applications. It's cool yet it could be quite functional too....just rotate the cube to a new "desktop" and keep moving. -Venom
    Re:actually someone HAS done it (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:25AM EST (#54)
    Syanpse
    3D and HOLOGRAPHY (Score:1)
    by evguenii on Wednesday November 03, @08:53AM EST (#18)
    (User Info)
    Any ideas about holography devices real soon :) ?
    Re:3D and HOLOGRAPHY (Score:1)
    by sien on Wednesday November 03, @09:46AM EST (#79)
    (User Info)
    Real 3D displays are a real problem. Where I work we are desperate to get a really good simple working one ( www.reachin.se ) . Unfortunately the only solution we have found is a CRT refreshing at 120 Hz and a pair of crystal eyes.
    We have tried various lenticular lense type things, and they were all crap.
    The only 2 promising ones we have seen are a british group (forgotten the URL) using holograms and a group at NYU ( the nearest URL I can get is http://www.mrl.nyu.edu/perlin/ ).
    Something to notice... (Score:1)
    by odysseus_complex on Wednesday November 03, @08:58AM EST (#22)
    (User Info)
    Also notice that the main point of 3dwm is to run in a 3d immersive environment, or CAVE system. On the user level I can see this hearkening to that goggles-and-interactive-glove thing in Johnny Mnemonic. From a user interaction standpoint, this is really cool! I can't wait until I can have my computer project holograms that I can manipulate in 3d space.

    The only question is, would the underlying X-protocols have to change for a truly 3d world?

    Is this the future of desktops? (Score:1)
    by Trevize on Wednesday November 03, @08:58AM EST (#23)
    (User Info)
    This looks like a cool development.

    I mean, I'm just thinkng of 3d displays and stuff like that. Don't you think this is the way to go?
    That's what you'll be calling "full immersion".


    Need better input and output devices. (Score:4, Funny)
    by Dast (cfy1@ra.msstate.edu.spamtodevnullplease) on Wednesday November 03, @08:59AM EST (#26)
    (User Info) file:/etc/passwd
    None of this is going to be too useful until we get some good input and output devices to use with it. Think about it, how well does a mouse that moves around in 2d work in a 3d environment? Same with your monitor, it is very limiting in a 3d environment.

    What we need are gloves and goggles. Then this will become somewhat usefull. Think of all the desk space you could have. All you have to do is turn your head to a blank area. Don't like where an application is? Grab it with the glove and move it. With even more input devices, the implications for pr0n are unthinkable. ;)
    M-x spook
    Re:Need better input and output devices. (Score:1)
    by Signal 11 (signal11@mediaone.net?Subject=Slashdot) on Wednesday November 03, @10:10AM EST (#93)
    (User Info) http://www.malign.net
    Well... how good do you play quake with a mouse? Quake is a 3d environment... what makes you think you couldn't have a window manager that emulated that type of environment? You wander around, find what you're looking for. Combine that with right clicking to pull up a shotgun and shoot zombied processes and you got yourself the most geeky wm to date. =)

    The gloves-as-a-input-device has been tried. Ever use a touch-screen? If you have then you'll know that if you use it for more than a few minutes you get guerilla-arms - you get tired quickly. What good is a 3d environment if you can't use it for more than 10 minutes at a time? Goggles would be cool... especially if you combined it with a kind of augmented reality. You could literally virtually redesign your bedroom to /be/ your window manager.

    However, this technology is *far* from pointless. And the stuff about a mouse being a less than ideal input device... yes... I consider /every/ input device categorically to be less than ideal. Until they can wire my brain directly to my computer input... there won't be an optimal solution. That doesn't mean we should stop using computers just because we don't have "the best" possible solution available. Use what you have... that's the engineering motto.



    --
    What goes up, must come down. Ask any system administrator.
    Current I/O devices work just fine (Score:5, Informative)
    by SurfsUp (surfsup@domain.com) on Wednesday November 03, @10:47AM EST (#112)
    (User Info)
    None of this is going to be too useful until we get some good input and output devices to use with it. Think about it, how well does a mouse that moves around in 2d work in a 3d environment?

    It works just fine. I know, because I have done it, quite a lot. BTW, don't think of my remarks as criticism - I'm just addressing some common misconceptions about 3D interfaces.

    Same with your monitor, it is very limiting in a 3d environment.

    Think of your eyes. Close one eye. You can still function perfectly well in a 3D world, right? So, no, a 2D monitor is not limiting in a 3d environment. Your eyes present a 2D map of a 3D world to your brain, the same as a 2D montitor does. The actual limitation is good motion and viewpoint control - this is a software issue much more than a hardware issue.

    What we need are gloves and goggles.

    Bzzzt. No. Have you ever tried it? You look like a space alien for one thing, the goggles shift around on your head, your hands get sweaty, and your arms give out after a few minutes. To convince yourself of this, try holding your arm straight out in front of you for 5 minutes. Your fingers are also a lot less accurate as positioning devices then you might think, especially without kick-ass force feedback, which won't be out of the labs any time soon.

    Then this will become somewhat usefull.

    It's going to become useful even without those things. Again, I'm not speculating because I've been using this technology for a few years. Once you've used it you'll find good ol' 2D desktops as restrictive and uninteresting as a green 25x80 text mode display. Probably.

    Think of all the desk space you could have. All you have to do is turn your head to a blank area. Don't like where an application is? Grab it with the glove and move it.

    Yes, correct. These are reasons why 3D desktops are good. Also consider: no more scroll bars - you just move your point of view instead. For graphs of functions, no need to pick a scale or limits - you just move closer if you want to zoom in, and the graph goes off to infinity if it wants to. For 3D graphs, no need to pick the viewpoint - you pick your own viewpoint, and fly around if you have to, to see the details. No need for zoom in general, for anything, you just move closer and further away.

    There aren't really any disadvantages to a 3D interface that won't be solved in time, and by this I mean not very much time, which you might suspect from the screenshots you're looking at. To prove this to yourself, consider that any 3D interface can be turned into a standard 2D interface, e.g., by pointing you directly at a 2D rectangle containing your screen view at a distance that maps texels one-to-one to pixels, and keeping you from moving or turning.

    -- Surf says: A good maxim to live by is to always live by good maxims
    Maybe, maybe not. (Score:2)
    by Dast (cfy1@ra.msstate.edu.spamtodevnullplease) on Wednesday November 03, @11:21AM EST (#119)
    (User Info) file:/etc/passwd
    "[The mouse] works just fine. I know, because I have done it, quite a lot."

    Could you give some more info on that? I use my mouse to play q3test a lot, but it doesn't have any depth to it. I just point it in a particular direction and I can hit whatever happens to be closest to me in the line of sight. How could I select a 'window' that sits behind another 'window" in my line of sight.

    "Think of your eyes. Close one eye. You can still function perfectly well in a 3D world, right? So, no, a 2D monitor is not limiting in a 3d environment."

    Function perfectly well? Um, no not really. Try doing that and judging how far away that football that is flying toward you is. And how fast it is coming. But that is not really that big of a problem. The problem with the monitor is the narrow field of view. Trying to view a 3d world through a monitor is like having your vision limited to a small square about a foot in front of your face.

    I do agree, however, that these problems will be solved over time. And I certainly look forward to my gloves and goggles. :)
    M-x spook
    Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score:1)
    by Karellen (karellen@boreworms.com) on Wednesday November 03, @12:06PM EST (#150)
    (User Info) http://www.boreworms.com/karellen/
    Goggles?

    Best idea I've read recently (can't remember where; probably on one of the boards here) is for HUD contacts.

    Full '3D' (i.e. perspective altered for each eye) coverage of your eyes' viewable areas, with controls to make the 'background' variably translucent/transparent.

    That would be cool. (If not without its problems, e.g. power/RGB input)

    sigs? sigs? We don't need no steenking sigs!
    Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score:1)
    by miahrogers (jeremiah@widomaker.com) on Wednesday November 03, @02:15PM EST (#187)
    (User Info) http://www.widomaker.com/~otis
    good idea, but i woulnd't want to be the beta tester. If a program crashes on your computer the worst case scenario is that you loose your computer. But if a contact seg-faults you could be in for blindness.

    matisse:~$ cat .sig
    cat: .sig: No such file or directory
    3d input devices (Score:1)
    by DGolden (david.golden@ireland.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:16PM EST (#174)
    (User Info)
    The most comfortable setup for 3d navigation I've used is the one I use for playing Descent 3.

    I have my right hand on a logitech trackball,
    and my left hand on a MS sidewinder joystick.

    Trackball - pitch and heading
    Stick vertical axis forward/back
    stick horizontal axis - not used
    stick twist - roll
    stick hat - slide left/right/up/down
    stick trigger - afterburners

    I use the trackball buttons and wheel for weapons,
    the stick buttons for countermeasures and
    inventory.

    I just wish the descent 3 linux port was released,
    so I wouldn't have to boot into windows anymore.










    Re:Maybe, maybe not. (Score:1)
    by jheinen on Wednesday November 03, @10:07PM EST (#234)
    (User Info)
    You can get along perfectly well in a 3D environment with one eye. If you couldn't, the FAA wouldn't issue pilot's licenses to people with only one eye. It is fairly easy to get a one-eye waiver from the FAA. You just have to demonstrate that you can fly the plane safely.
    3D paradigm hip or hype? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @04:55PM EST (#211)
    OK everyone's drooling over the concept [and depictions of said]but what will 3D WM's really do for the way we get work done? Yes the world I interact with is 3D and humans (and others) are built to interact with same. However all the ideas for bringing the experience are unweildy at best.
    Try this thought experiment on for size.
    Imagine you wanted to compose a report for the board meeting that's happening next week. How would you acccomplish the task using the 3D paradigm? Be precise as possible [and realistic]. First step is? ..and so on. Hmm.. not as easy as it appears. Breaks down in places too.

    Re:Current I/O devices work just fine (Score:1)
    by Schifter on Wednesday November 03, @05:38PM EST (#214)
    (User Info)
    I rather think a spaceball would be a better input device than either a mouse or VR gloves (ugh). Especially since it was designed for 3d in the first place.

    Use scroll-wheel mice for 3D (Score:1)
    by /dev/joe (dev@no@joe@rcn@spam@.com) on Wednesday November 03, @12:07PM EST (#151)
    (User Info)
    Microsoft has made mice with scroll-wheels ubiquitous in the PC world. Why not use the mouse for the two most common dimensions of movement (up-down and left-right, for a window manager) and use the scroll wheel to move forward and backward? Then, if you're stacking your apps one behind another, you'll use the mouse like normal to move around its window, and the wheel to jump from one app to another (although with that somewhat-disorienting walking-through-walls effect).

    /dev/joe

    3DWM useless without 3D display and 3D mouse (Score:2)
    by Greyfox (nride@uswest.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:01AM EST (#27)
    (User Info)
    I've been kicking around this idea for a while and though it's cool, it'll only really come into its own with 3D displays and 3D input devices. You could probably cobble something together with some of the optical displays popular in wearables these days and perhaps a web-cam set up to track hand motion. It'd be kind of neat to reach "into" the display and manipulate a program. It'd also be kind of neat to map 2D programs like Netscape onto objects like cubes or polyhedrons which you could then rotate to find the program you're looking for.

    It's a cool idea though, gotta admit :-)

    Someone had to put all that chaos there!

    Is it just me... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:01AM EST (#28)
    ...or are the folks saying, "How dumb and useless without loads of 3d apps to run in it." missing a huge freaking point? Point being that how the hell are you supposed to _create_ 3d apps in the first place without a 3d environment to do it in? It seems the folks working on this project are trying to provide that base to work from. Sheesh.
    How's this for an idea... ? (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Squeeze Truck (http://) on Wednesday November 03, @09:03AM EST (#29)
    (User Info)
    Could X be hacked in such a way that it was double-headed, but displayed nearly the same thing on each monitor?
    Next all you would have to do is take apart 2 pair of crummy LCD glasses (where each eyepiece is the same screen) and reassemble them so each eyepiece goes into a different video card.
    Therefore, IIRC, you could have a truly 3D Linux system, and change the depth by altering the relative positions of windows on each monitor.


    What do you think sirs?
    Re:How's this for an idea... ? (Score:1)
    by CvD (costynSPAMMERSDIE@bigfoot.kawm) on Wednesday November 03, @10:20AM EST (#100)
    (User Info)
    This would be really cool and I would imagine, not too hard to implement. It could be the implementation of the display without the 'holographic display' needed. Kinda reminds me of an episode of Beyond 2000 from long ago. They had split up the screen in 2 parts, and if you crossed your eyes just right, you saw everything in 3D. They had a camera for each eye. It worked fantastically well, and required absolutely no extra hardware to implement it, just careful alignment of the camera's.

    Now all we need is an intuitive way to display everything. Which brings me back to the Kill-A-Process-Using-Doom interface. Wouldn't it be neat if you wrote a Total Conversion for Doom or Quake, used the split screen (or two monitors) and you'd have a true 3D interface.

    What they've done here with 3Dwm looks pretty cool, but what's the point of viewing a Netscape window from different angles? It's still a 2D plane... I don't see the point, frankly. Having a larger desktop space (to deposit your various windows on) is easier to conceptualize (and work with) than having various 2D planes (containing windows) left, right, on top and behind you.

    Cheers!
    Re:How's this for an idea... ? (Score:1)
    by cryoboy on Wednesday November 03, @05:45PM EST (#215)
    (User Info)
    I was thinking of taking advantage of the limited viewing angle of a TFT display. Why not construct a TFT type display where the light channels were etched in such a way(and at such an angle) that each eye would see a different image of the same display.
    Re:How's this for an idea... ? (Score:2)
    by Pascal Q. Porcupine (p a s c a l @ t r i k u a r e . c x) on Thursday November 04, @01:06AM EST (#240)
    (User Info) http://trikuare.cx/
    There was an article a few months ago on /. on a holographic LCD display which did that sort of thing. Probably easy enough to find with the search form, but I'm too lazy right now :)
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
    Quine "quine?" "'Quined' quined" quines "quined."
    The pager should be 3D (Score:1)
    by Leon on Wednesday November 03, @09:04AM EST (#30)
    (User Info)
    I think a 3D pager would be cool, but I need my desktop to be in 2D to get some actual work done. A 3D pager would probably not be as efficient as a 2D pager, but at least it should look good.
    3D GUI and CAVE (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:04AM EST (#31)

    To use this on a desktop will look silly. You must have a CAVE installation.

    I don't know how many of you who have actually tried a CAVE. You wear shutter glasses and walk around in a room. Images are projected on four or six walls. You then experience an illusion of actually beeing INSIDE the image.

    Imagine walking into Netscape using your hand to manipulate the links...

    Catch-22 and Thoughts (Score:2)
    by schporto on Wednesday November 03, @09:04AM EST (#32)
    (User Info) http://me.udel.edu/~donohue
    OK this really is kinda stuck as so many people are saying. I mean all of its apps are 2D, when it really is 3D. And what good is a 3D window manager if you don't have any apps for it. But how can you develop 3D apps if you don't have a window manager to run them in. Ohhh circle logic.

    But slightly different if you want to start getting into theoretical ideas about it let's see. Imagine you are an engineer and designing something (or even to make Hemos like the idea a nano-something :). Well now you can have a real walk around kind of idea. And maybe there are chalkboards around that you can write notes on that are saved. Or even a calculator floating by you whenever you need it. But the 3D app really is the modeler of whatever. This would be great for graphic artists (imagine being in the world you are designing), engineers (seeing what you are building), doctors doing virtual surgery, etc.

    The ideas are there you really just have to stop thinking in terms of flat info. Which I'll admit is difficult as everything today is 2D. Newspapers, books, computers, tv, just about everything is 2D. Except the real world.

    The biggest thing this 3Dwm needs is actually a good way of displaying it. You really do need a virtual environment to use it effectively. Which they have in the Cave(?) but not every home user will have, well untill they come out with holographic monitors.

    -cpd
    Engineering in 3D (Score:1)
    by afniv on Wednesday November 03, @09:57AM EST (#86)
    (User Info) http://www-sgc.colorado.edu/~nagle/
    I do engineering in 3D using analysis tools based on CAD programs. Whether your WM is 3D or not does not make a difference to me. As someone mentioned before, it's always 3D information on a 2D surface (monitor screen). So a 3D WM or a 3D tool (like I-Deas) are in the same boat as far as I'm concerned.

    What I would find revoluntionary is an actual 3D world where you could literally "walk" around a particular part of system to see how it fits. Then I could alert the designer to potential problems before hardware is made. In my business, you don't get to build many (if any) variations of the hardware. This is were 3D pays off.

    As someone else put it succinctly: "Use goggles and gloves".

    ~afniv
    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
    "One could be happy if the air were as pure as the beer"
    The whole window idea (Score:2)
    by Otto on Wednesday November 03, @09:06AM EST (#34)
    (User Info)
    The whole window idea just doesn't seem to work for a 3d environment. I don't see any good way of porting it either.

    Probably, the only way anyone is ever going to get a true 3d gui to be accepted is to write a ton of new "3d" apps for it. The 3d object idea is a good one.

    Another problem is controllers. The mouse is a pretty poor 3d manipulation tool.

    Another problem is the screen. The screen is a 2d window into your 3d gui? No, until some form of holographic display, you'll still have a hard time getting this accepted.

    Here's what it all boils down to: Everything you currently have in terms of hardware and software is linked to that 2d window metaphor. None of it fits a 3d metaphor. Trying to link them together is trying to use the 3d metaphor with hardware that doesn't fit and with software not made for it. Just doesn't work.


    ---
    "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." - Lazarus Long
    Re:The whole window idea (Score:1)
    by Nezumi-chan on Wednesday November 03, @01:56PM EST (#185)
    (User Info)
    Another problem is controllers. The mouse is a pretty poor 3d manipulation tool. Actually, that doesn't seem that much of a problem. Say, a two-button mouse with a wheel, such as are pretty common on the market today. Hold down the right button, you can move side to side or up and down. Move the mouse without holding a button to move the pointer within your field of view, and move the wheel to go forward and back along your line of vision. Seems pretty straightforward. Althought the rest of your points seem valid, at least at first glance.
    Re:The whole window idea (Score:1)
    by NickElm (d97elm@dtek.chalmers.se) on Wednesday November 03, @03:59PM EST (#209)
    (User Info) http://artoo.hemmet.s-hem.chalmers.se/~crozius/

    The whole window idea just doesn't seem to work for a 3d environment. I don't see any good way of porting it either.

    Windows aren't really compatible with 3D workspaces, since they are essentially two-dimensional entities. We recognized this when designing 3Dwm, but our main objective was to get a working prototype running (and we did). The next step in our development is spelled im3D (though we might have to stick with 3Dwm with all the name recognition it has gained by now), and we aim for it to be a true three-dimensional UI platform. In im3D, there are no longer any windows; we call them rooms for lack of a better word, and they are convex polyhedrons (i.e. cubes, icosahedrons or more general, non-symmetric shapes as well). Whether this is an ideal arrangement remains to be seen, though...


    Improved Desk Top Model? (Score:1)
    by thales (thales@linuxstart.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:06AM EST (#35)
    (User Info)
    Way Cool, It could help create a new desktop model, Make it easier to organize. We've been stuck on the same basic desktop since the Mac came out in 1984. Unfortunally it will probelly lead to far more Bloatware than useful aps. "Upgrade to our NEW IMPROVED 3D version 7.0 !!!"
    Computers run the world. Nerds run the Computers.
    Unconvincing (Score:1)
    by Stephen (sret1@cam.ac.uk) on Wednesday November 03, @09:08AM EST (#36)
    (User Info) http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/
    I must say, I find their web site thoroughly unconvincing. I mean, all their screenshots are only of flat windows from awkward angles. Even their descriptions don't explain why they're doing it, what advantages a 3D window manager has over a 2D one.

    Maybe this is the way of the future. But they haven't convinced me of that yet.
    The intended platform for the window manager (Score:2, Insightful)
    by ashpool7 (ashpool7 at (send me no junk) mindless dot com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:09AM EST (#37)
    (User Info)
    Everyone in this thread seemingly ignores the fact that the window manager's intended platform is not a 2D computer screen, but a 3D CAVE, such as the 3D-CUBE mentioned on the homepage. Of course this idea seems stupid to all "flatland" users because you don't use X in a room where you are immersed in a 3D environment. Being able to run on Linux or any other unix is simply a by-product of using the X development environment.

    This is a very interesting development for the CAVE environment, as it allows users to interact with X windows without leaving the room and going to a terminal. A CAVE user can start from 3Dwm in the CAVE and switch to other simulations while still in the environment. There is a CAVE at Virginia Tech where I go to school that might be interested in such an application....

    Re:The intended platform for the window manager (Score:1)
    by FigWig on Wednesday November 03, @09:27AM EST (#55)
    (User Info)
    But mapping the 2-D image onto a plane is a trivial solution to the problem. Pretty much useless if you ask me. (which nobody did)
    Re:The intended platform for the window manager (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @09:45AM EST (#77)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    That kind of thinking is the same reason you don't have a Xerox computer on your desktop (what's the point, this is useless, just forget it, show the nice Apple people your toy so they can make a billion damn dollars with your idea.)

    I think the point may be (and I'm just guessing) is to, at first, have apps to run in a 3D environment. We're going to need that crutch, after all...
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Re:The intended platform for the window manager (Score:1)
    by Afrosheen (mail@dev.null) on Wednesday November 03, @10:17AM EST (#97)
    (User Info) http://randomstatic.virtualave.net
    Um, hate to shatter your perception of reality but Microsoft made more by stealing the idea from Apple than Apple made LICENSING the idea from Xerox. But from what I understand, this interface would only be worthwhile with 3d peripherals/displays. 3d Sound needs to come with it also.

    Suddenly, I realized, everything had gone terribly wrong. --Hunter S. Thompson; Fear and Loathing in LV
    Re:The intended platform for the window manager (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:25AM EST (#121)
    so i'm chilling in ma cube made of 6 SGI's and projectors, and think i'm gon check ma emails, right? i pulled the 3dWM and run aterm and almost hit the wall selecting this aterm icon, and then selct another icon for an onscreen keyboard, and boom it comes and now i'm typing like a fly on the wall answering email...

    what's the point? well cuz it's kewl.

    What uses would this have? (Score:1)
    by Mumble01 (michael@ici.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:10AM EST (#38)
    (User Info) http://home.ici.net/~michael/index.html
    I'll all for trying new interfaces to make computing more intuitive. And I have to admit that the ability to view ordinary desktops and applications in three dimensions *is* pretty cool.

    But how can a third dimension make using a computer easier or more useful? The only thing I can think of right now is a different way to list inactive applications. Instead of listing them on a taskbar or a dock, it might be easier for people to remember the "location" of the app in virtual 3D space and go to it by "walking" there, the same way we do in real life.

    I suspect that the fundamental way we view applications will have to change before a 3D interface starts to make sense.
    Re:What uses would this have? (Score:1)
    by Arctic Fox (charyna at ellipsys dot com) on Wednesday November 03, @10:36AM EST (#111)
    (User Info)
    What did people think of when the first 2D GUI came out?
    All they knew before was "1D" command lines.

    I see your computer actually becoming a "tower". Like a building. In the basement, there is the kernel. Running the place so to speak.... 1st floor is the log in level, and each floor has certain specialities. GIMP on the graphics design floor, games in the game room. There would be a library that would have the "blueprints" (config files), and archives.
    Of course you'd need to integrate the DOOM killing zombies (becase they'd be on different levels, you'd need an elevator or stairs).

    You dont know what this could become....

    Ignore this .sig

    Let's do it the Cyberspace way... (Score:1)
    by [CommercialMan] (caz@wip3out.de) on Wednesday November 03, @09:10AM EST (#39)
    (User Info) http://www.wip3out.de
    It looks like ppl are trying to get the desktop work the way as Gibson has described the Cyberspace. I doubt this will be useful until we are able to get away from 2D screens. Which, of course, will take at least a few more weeks. =)= Nifty but useless as long as "true" 3D is flattened by viewing devices.
    "Right about now, the geek soul brother, check it out now, the geek soul brother..." -- based upon Fatboy Slim's "Funk soul brother"
    Re:Let's do it the Cyberspace way... (Score:2)
    by PigleT (spodzone@netscape.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:23AM EST (#51)
    (User Info) http://www.glutinous.custard.org/
    Me, I hope if goes further than the desktop idea altogether. Roll on the Metaverse from SnowCrash! :)

    Actually, I was wondering if CORBA was an appropriate vehicle to start implementing such a thing. A proper 3D environment (read: window manager level) might also be useful. Now for some networking and graphical *speed*!
    ~Tim -- .|` Clouds cross the black moonlight, Rushing on down to the circle of the turning world .|`
    Re:Let's do it the Cyberspace way... (Score:2)
    by bgarrett on Wednesday November 03, @09:51AM EST (#83)
    (User Info) http://www.memesis.org/garrett/
    As long as you're restricting CORBA to the relatively high-level stuff ("draw a button") rather than putting it in front of the equivalent of XLib ("draw a pixel here, paint it red"). The project to watch for this approach is probably Berlin; they already support the notion of CORBA communication between client and server, where the "toolkit" code is effectively on the server. It's a small step from there to writing a server that creates 3d objects, with no application rewriting necessary (unless your app wanted to manipulate things in 3d itself).
    Nothing worth doing is worth doing today.
    3D (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Hard_Code on Wednesday November 03, @09:12AM EST (#40)
    (User Info)
    I think 3D can be usefull for some things. Lot's of research goes into human interfaces and factors. One thing 3D could do, for instance, is to "push back" or "fold away", applications which were being used less. Say you have 5 windows open, but only are using 2 of time most of the time...the other 3 slowly move backwards on the z-axis so they cause less clutter. Instead of having "desktops" you could simply have "areas", regions of 3D space housing applications.

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla
    Re:3D (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:34AM EST (#65)
    Hehehe... That's all I need to worry about: my windows running away from me on my desktop. ;-)

    Actually, all seriousness aside, it'd be kinda nice if it had a little physics built into it so that I can hit things in my "virtual office" just like in my real one... Windows can go skittering off into the distance at a swipe of my virtual hand.

    Actually, for that matter, windows and apps should feel pain.

    Now we're talkin'...

    Re:3D (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @10:29AM EST (#108)
    Microsoft Screaming Bitch 2000 ;)
    Re:3D (Score:1)
    by matthead (mattguy@usa.net) on Friday November 05, @05:32AM EST (#245)
    (User Info) http://members.xoom.com/matthead

    I'm all set to write Bitch-Slapper 1.0. Netscape really pisses me off sometimes, but there's not much I can do to it now- I'd only damage my computer!

    Speaking of which, I was at a Staples last week, and they had a computer set up with a "Punch the Clown" program running. Anybody else seen this? A camera is looking at you, and if movement occurs toward the clown (which is drawn on top of the camera picture), then the clown gets "punched." A beginning, but a neat way to take out aggression toward computers.


    - Matthead
    full screen antialiasing... (Score:2, Interesting)
    by jmatthew3 (matt.miller::duke.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @09:12AM EST (#41)
    (User Info)
    i think one of the things really holding back some of these 3d window managers is really good, fast, full screen antialiasing. People have spent a long time developing nice smooth fonts and pretty slick little icons to make window managers look nice.

    When you translate that into a 3d window manager, you get all the aliasing effects associated. Now, once 3d cards get to the point where they can do high-res with fs-aa, we might be able to see 3d window managers be a reality.

    I'd love to see my windows in 3D with full screen antialiasing at 1280x1024 (my monitor only goes that high)

    3dfx's next part supposedly out in february-march, code named "napalm" will most likely have the fill-rate and full screen antialiasing capabilities to do some pretty good 3d window-managing.

    also, with their t-buffer's depth of field and motion blur, you could get some pretty cool windowing effects... windows out of focus could literally be "out of focus" and windows could blur as you move them. neat!

    i can't wait.
    Re:full screen antialiasing... (Score:1)
    by Mark__ on Wednesday November 03, @10:27AM EST (#106)
    (User Info)
    also, with their t-buffer's depth of field and motion blur, you could get some pretty cool windowing effects... windows out of focus could literally be "out of focus" and windows could blur as you move them. neat! ---- no, it would just give you a headache
    Re:full screen antialiasing... (Score:1)
    by rmull on Wednesday November 03, @12:44PM EST (#162)
    (User Info) http://www.rpi.edu/~mullr
    Is fill rate really that much of a consideration? I mean, you have one polygon for a window, plus whatever decorations you choose... not that much at all.
    --------------------------------------------

    You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. -- Ziggy

    eye candy.... (Score:1)
    by emmons (dale.hates-spam@really-hates-spamers.emmons.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:07PM EST (#169)
    (User Info) http://www.dale.emmons.com
    you could get some pretty cool windowing effects... windows out of focus could literally be "out of focus" and windows could blur as you move them. neat!

    Yes, that would look kinda cool... but how practical is it? Look at windoz' attempts at an active desktop... it looked cool (at least to some people) on paper and in proposal, but in reality it sucks. It would look cool to have out of focus windows blurred (which we can already do without 3d, btw) but it would be a major pain in the ass when you're trying to compare things in separate windows. Same goes for motion blur.

    I do think that 3d worlds have enormous potential to enhance computing... but let's be realistic. It must serve a purpose, because 'neat!' gets old really fast.

    -----
    #!/bin/perl -sp0777iX+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0j]dsj $/=unpack('H*',$_);$_=`echo 16dio\U$k"SK$/SM$n\EsN0p[lN*1 lK[d2%Sa2/d0$^ ----- oops.
    Re:eye candy.... (Score:1)
    by jmatthew3 (matt.miller::duke.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @02:56PM EST (#199)
    (User Info)
    yes, neat gets old pretty quick.

    the point of my previous post was that it would be possible to get high-res antialiased 3d, which is very necessary for it to be viable.

    window managers, for the most part, should be some combination of pretty, clean, and fast. without some hardware doing good AA, it's not clean, and arguably not pretty.

    i'm not arguing the usefulness of a 3d desktop, rather its possibility and the necessity of good aa in hardware.

    i'm not sure how it will become useful, though i think it's definitely possible for it to happen.
    Re:full screen antialiasing... (Score:2)
    by Pascal Q. Porcupine (p a s c a l @ t r i k u a r e . c x) on Thursday November 04, @01:15AM EST (#241)
    (User Info) http://trikuare.cx/
    Bah, the T-buffer is an overmarketed and underpowered accumulation buffer. Other 3D cards have had this capability for quite some time, but nobody uses it because it's such a killer on your framerate.

    You don't need artificially-induced focusing effects. The fact that the only part of your eye in-focus is the fovea is blurring enough.

    As far as antialiasing: that's not really necessary either, except along the edges of objects. Within objects, mipmapping and bilinear/trilinear filtering take care of the other bits. (Mipmapping actually does a lot more for aliasing effects than filtering, btw.)

    Motion blur is a sucky effect, too. It'd just eyecandy which would only get in the way in the case of a windowing system. THen again, Enlightenment has all that stuff for annoying (and slow) windows-flying-everywhere and the like which just makes your system slow.
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
    Quine "quine?" "'Quined' quined" quines "quined."

    I can think of applications (Score:2)
    by Ratface (cookie@nospam.yoyo.org) on Wednesday November 03, @09:12AM EST (#42)
    (User Info) http://cookstour.org
    I have actually seen the Chalmers 3D cube at an open day. I have to say that compared to some other VR type projects I have seen before, it wasn't so impressive. However, the idea of building a window manager for such a space is quite interesting.

    It's certainly not somewhere one would want to work normally - it's no desktop computer replacement. However, imagine working on a project with a group of people - let's say an architectural project.

    Now can you see the use of being able to work in a 3D space which it feels as though you are immersed in? Sure, this is not something which would be possible with the current implementation, it would need some specific applications for working in such an environment, plus some sort of control mechanism for people to affect the environment.

    Other possible uses could include product mock-ups, collaborative work on molecular modelling, educational presentations and more.

    While the cube wasn't so interesting as a plain VR app, it is REALLY interesting as a new possibility for immersive computing.

    "Give the anarchist a cigarette" - Alice Nutter, Chumbawumba Cookstour
    3D volumetric displays are a reality... (Score:1)
    by Wohali (joant-nospam-please-at-ieee-dot-org) on Wednesday November 03, @09:15AM EST (#45)
    (User Info) http://joyce.eng.yale.edu/~joant
    Y'all need to check out Actuality Systems. These guys have some stellar technology which is just on the verge of being available. I actually went to college with the founder of the company, and this summary in the online-WSJ (no subscription required) of Gregg Favalora's technology is an incredible read. Among other things, he's won the BFGoodrich Collegiate Inventors Competition and the MIT $50,000 Entrepreneurship Competition. Watch this guy...and get in on his IPO. :)


    "But always she's the spectre of uncertainty I first endured, then faded, then embraced..."

    Object modeling (Score:1)
    by Fats on Wednesday November 03, @09:16AM EST (#46)
    (User Info)
    I think designing my objects models for complex projects would benefit from 3D desktops. Not just 3D desktops though, a real 3D monitor would be quite useful.
    A full object model nearly always goes behond the boundaries of my desktop/paper which implies different abstraction levels on each page. This not so bad, but a full 3D model representation would be really nice.
    SGI (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:17AM EST (#47)
    They're behind the times...SGI had 4Dwm a long time ago... ...of course, it was 2-dimensional, not 3-dimensional, and it sucked, but who cares anyway?
    The window manager for DOOM sysadmins ;) (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:23AM EST (#50)
    Finally now you don't have to start up a copy of Doom to go hunt down a misbehaving process. Well ok kill -9 would work too, but that has no style. ;)
    D-I-Y 3D Window Managers, in Three Easy Steps (Score:2)
    by jd on Wednesday November 03, @09:24AM EST (#53)
    (User Info)
    1. Download Mesa or OpenGL
    2. Examine GL-MAME, to see how it handles projections of non-GL bitmaps.
    3. Implement the window manager in such a way as it projects onto a surface, rather than dumping basic bitmaps into a rectangle.

      AFAICT, that is -all- these people have done, in essence. Produced an OpenGL Window Manager, with some basic support for projections. That's it. So much for the "amazing new technology". But, there again, it's genuinely innovative. Yes, it's been done before with MAME, but not (AFAIK) with a window manager before.

      If the Linux folks want to beat this to being the first working, open 3D environment, just add OpenGL support to Gnome and/or KDE, and you're there. It's nothing fancy, after all.

      BTW, that's VIC they have in that third window, not RAT. VIC's the video tool, RAT's audio. Honestly! I'm not sure how far I trust people who can't tell the difference between a picture and a sound. (Well, other than for those folk who have cross-wired senses, and hear images, but that's different, and even then, they could tell the difference between RAT and VIC.)

    Re:D-I-Y 3D Window Managers, in Three Easy Steps (Score:1)
    by NickElm (d97elm@dtek.chalmers.se) on Wednesday November 03, @12:31PM EST (#157)
    (User Info) http://artoo.hemmet.s-hem.chalmers.se/~crozius/

    Oops, you're right. That is VIC running, not Rat. Sorry about that, but that text was written in a hurry long after we actually took the snapshot.

    As for the Linux and the Open Source people beating us to the 3D-dimensional desktop, well, as far as we are concerned, we are the Open Source people. 3Dwm is still under heavy development and in the initial "cathedral-like" mode before being introduced to the bazaar, but we do aim to release the source under a free license. Instead, be wary of what http://research.microsoft.com/ui/TaskGallery/default.htm">the opposition is doing.


    an other 3D window manager (Objective reality) (Score:3, Informative)
    by nanick on Wednesday November 03, @09:27AM EST (#56)
    (User Info)
    Check out the screenshots :

    http://www.oreality.com/synapse/screenshots.html

    to download the demo check out the following :

    http://www.oreality.com/synapse/download.html

    Erwann


    Re:an other 3D window manager (Objective reality) (Score:1)
    by Mike Buddha (mike.buddha@eudoramail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @06:14PM EST (#219)
    (User Info)
    Objective Reality is cool, because the utilites are 3 dimensional also. With 3dwm, you have a 3d interface for 2d applications.

    The thing that I don't like about Objective Reality as that if they are going to make 3d applications, why not make them so that they take advantage of their 3d environment? They mimic their 2d counterparts in 3d. Why does the file manager look like a window? Wouldn't it be better if it looked like a room? There has to be a better way to take advantage of the 3d environment, other than making windows look 3d.

    by Mike Buddha the #1 Carrot-Top Fan!!! He got red hair! He so funny!
    3D Already? (Score:1)
    by FigWig on Wednesday November 03, @09:28AM EST (#57)
    (User Info)
    Aren't we all using 3D window managers already? I can send windows to the bottom of a stack and view several at once. Sure seems like 3D to me.


    Re:3D Already? (Score:1)
    by theHippo (theHippo@englandDOTcom) on Wednesday November 03, @10:24AM EST (#103)
    (User Info)
    In technical (image processing) terms that's 2.5D, i.e. stacking of 2D layers to create 3D. This is not true 3D since the depth information is not present by default.
    Wrong Metaphor (Score:1)
    by splinter (dull_boy_jack@hotmail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:29AM EST (#58)
    (User Info) http://www.deimos.org
    to move into a 3d WM we must first lose the windows metaphor for aplications. the 2 just arent compatable.
    Re:Wrong Metaphor (Score:1)
    by Mark__ on Wednesday November 03, @10:20AM EST (#99)
    (User Info)
    to make a 3d wm worthwhile, you'd have to actually be using 3d apps, 2d apps in a 3d environment is just a gimmick methinks... 3d web pages ne1 ??
    Re:Wrong Metaphor (Score:1)
    by ToastyKen (ToastyKen@hotmail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:59PM EST (#186)
    (User Info)
    I completely agree. The whole concept of windows is based on a 2D interface. People need to really get thinking on effective 3D GUIs.
    Oh... God (Score:1)
    by JavaFox on Wednesday November 03, @09:29AM EST (#59)
    (User Info)
    A 3-D window manager is probably as useful as that hacked up DOOM that lets you kill processes with a a shotgun!
    Re:Oh... God (Score:1)
    by Mark__ on Wednesday November 03, @10:17AM EST (#96)
    (User Info)
    A 3d wm might actually let you kill processes with a shot gun :), isn't this also a step forward for 3d VR??
    Re:Oh... God (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:54AM EST (#147)
    Yeah!
    And if you tip over that box containing /proc there's a bfg under it. =)

    Mikael Jacobson
    Nop, black and white is better for coding. (Score:1)
    by bluGill (hank@black-hole.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:30AM EST (#63)
    (User Info) http://www.black-hole.com/users/henrymiller/

    A True black and white, no greys monitor running a high resolution is the best thing for coding. Nothing else even comes close, easy on the eyes, no extra distracting colors that add nothing to the expirence.

    Right now I only have one program on my screen that uses anything but black and white, and it is a calander app my boss wants me to use. (Fortunatly it doesn't take that much screen spave, and the colors are not bright)

    The only reason black and white isn't more common is most games need color. (Some non-lynx users would point out web sites, and a few sickos would admit they need porn, but we all know that coding is all there is in life, games are just to keep the kiddies busy while we use the old 386+linux+old monitor for real coding.)

    Re:Nop, black and white is better for coding. (Score:1)
    by Steeldrivin (j_hendry@ix.nospam.netcom.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:43AM EST (#74)
    (User Info) http://shrike.depaul.edu/~jhendry
    Grays are nice too, especially if it's a grayscale monitor and not a color-monitor-running-in-grayscale.

    My old NeXT monitors (black, white, 2 grays) are still a favorite. Wish affordable grayscale monitors were still easily available.

    The ambitions are: wake up, breathe, keep breathing.

    Re:Nop, black and white is better for coding. (Score:1)
    by Eponymous, Showered (jase@deadbeets.nospammie.com) on Wednesday November 03, @11:41AM EST (#136)
    (User Info) http://jase.deadbeets.com
    You use black and white? Wussy. I just use black. Even easier on the eyes. You should see how much code I crank out!
    Imagine the possibilities (Score:1)
    by eyeball on Wednesday November 03, @09:34AM EST (#64)
    (User Info) http://www.spacehaven.com/jmartin
    Imagine what it will look when people do to the 3d window managers what Enlightenment and others did to the 2d window managers...
    Re:Imagine the possibilities (Score:1)
    by Black Parrot on Wednesday November 03, @12:03PM EST (#149)
    (User Info)
    Yeah, we could get away from the "point and click" metaphor and start catching widgets in little fishnets instead.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
    [991015: Now they're saying Maybe February.]
    Still need some work... (Score:1)
    by Dunkahn on Wednesday November 03, @09:37AM EST (#68)
    (User Info) http://www.multimania.com/dunkahn
    This 3DWM will be cool when you'll be able to make a window look like a paper-ball and then throw it in a trashcan as to kill the app. Ho yeah, it would be cool if we get a 3d-neko or 3d-Penguin's eyes too... We at least need that !
    Life wouldn't be this fun without Kenny.
    Re:Still need some work... (Score:1)
    by Dunkahn on Wednesday November 03, @10:24AM EST (#104)
    (User Info) http://www.multimania.com/dunkahn
    Ho yeah, I was wondering when they will implement themes. Imagine Laetitia Casta's theme in 3D ! wow
    Life wouldn't be this fun without Kenny.
    3D is a red herring (Score:1)
    by Steeldrivin (j_hendry@ix.nospam.netcom.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:38AM EST (#71)
    (User Info) http://shrike.depaul.edu/~jhendry
    One of the advantages of computers is that they allow you to transcend the limitations of the body.

    One of those limitations is the 3D coordinate system which our bodies must operate in. This 3D environment increases the effort we have to expend to get anything done.

    3D interfaces just recreate that limitation in a digital form, again increasing the effort required to get work done.

    What's faster, looking for a file by slowly walking through a maze of chambers, or using 'find'?

    In cyberspace there are more useful dimensions than X,Y,Z.

    The ambitions are: wake up, breathe, keep breathing.

    Re:3D is a red herring (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @09:51AM EST (#82)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    Combined with a vocal interface, and some intelligent "window management", this could be a really efficient interface.

    Imagine being in a totally immersive environment (which the developers are) and feeling like you're standing in a room. On the wall, strangely enough, Netscape.

    With confidence, you state loudly and clearly, "Go to Slashdot." Just as you expected, you get your fave news site. You remember that you needed to do some changes to your system. "Give me a terminal." Suddenly, a terminal screen (probably a 3D-managed xterm) and a keyboard pop up in front of you.

    Farfetched, but it would be hella cool.
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Re:3D is a red herring (Score:1)
    by Steeldrivin (j_hendry@ix.nospam.netcom.com) on Wednesday November 03, @09:55AM EST (#84)
    (User Info) http://shrike.depaul.edu/~jhendry
    What does 3D add to this? The voice-recognition is possible in current environments.

    I see no benefit to having Netscape in a window that looks like a wall. For one thing, it's more work to change apps. I'd rather click on another app's icon than have to dance around and crane my neck every which way.

    The ambitions are: wake up, breathe, keep breathing.

    Re:3D is a red herring (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @11:35PM EST (#237)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    Well, I concede that, but the point is, there are ways.

    Sadly enough, you're forgetting that there is one sector of the computer industry that has researched and gotten damn close to perfection on using 2D devices and screens to control 3D environments efficiently: the gaming industry! While I haven't played with it much, Homeworld seems to have a (kinda) nice interface.

    What about the current situation we're in? If one doesn't have a taskbar or some sort of windowlist present, one still has to "dance around" if several apps are running...I remember what a pain Win3.1 was. And don't tell me that root-window menus are ideal either...they're not. And adding a rollup-window feature is just a copout.

    True, we'll still need menus and taskbars in a 3D environment...but so what. It won't be as hard as you think. In fact, it will be easier than what you do now. Just use your imagination.
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    Eye Candy.. (Score:2)
    by Thomas Charron (tcharron@ductape.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:40AM EST (#72)
    (User Info)
    Wow, someone has actually out-eyecandied Enlightenment. ;-P

    I wonder if there would be any plans in the future for this to also support some of the rudimentary 3D glasses that are out there, and some sort of 'glove' interface. I would simply LOVE to be able to just 'grab' a netscape window and move it somewhere in VR space, grab another window, make it full screen, etc..etc..
    Re:Eye Candy.. (Score:1)
    by MartyC on Wednesday November 03, @09:49AM EST (#80)
    (User Info) http://www.martyc.f9.co.uk/
    Well from reading the 3Dwm site it seems that that is exactly what they are trying to do with the whole thing. The window manager is designed for use in there 3dCube virtual reality environment.
    -- "Sponges grow in the ocean. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen."
    Re:Eye Candy.. (Score:1)
    by Priestess (pre@dalliance.net) on Wednesday November 03, @10:24AM EST (#102)
    (User Info)
    ...rudimentary 3D glasses that are out there, and some sort of 'glove' interface. I would simply LOVE to be able to just 'grab' a netscape window and move it somewhere in VR space, grab another window, make it full screen...

    Make a window on a goggle set full screen? Lordy, what could that mean? It fills the whole of 3d space as seen through the goggles?

    Re:Eye Candy.. (Score:1)
    by Thomas Charron (tcharron@ductape.net) on Wednesday November 03, @12:16PM EST (#155)
    (User Info)
    Take up a large portion of the viewable area, and follow the POV, so, it'd be like 'Locking' it in front of you, no matter where you turned..
    Re:Eye Candy.. (Score:2)
    by Pascal Q. Porcupine (p a s c a l @ t r i k u a r e . c x) on Thursday November 04, @01:18AM EST (#242)
    (User Info) http://trikuare.cx/
    God, I already see *enough* of Netscape wherever I turn... ;)
    ---
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
    Quine "quine?" "'Quined' quined" quines "quined."
    Life Imitates (Bad) Art (Score:1)
    by Industrial Disease on Wednesday November 03, @09:42AM EST (#73)
    (User Info)
    So now we can build a user interface much like the one we all made fun of in Jurassic Park. Yay. With stuff like this, skinnable windowing systems, web-based interfaces and the like, we can finaly produce user interfaces just as silly as the ones Hollywood has been cranking out for years. Makes me want to enter "WHY?" on a keyboard and crash the entire network.
    "Violence on TV only affects children whose parents act like TV personalities." -- David Byrne
    Ideal use: nested X displays (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:43AM EST (#76)

    I read once about a 3d interface where each item
    within the 3d "universe" could be an X server.
    This seems like the ideal way to use a 3d
    interface.

    Mark

    Missing the point... (Score:1)
    by EverCode (murphy@nospam.cedarnet.org) on Wednesday November 03, @09:50AM EST (#81)
    (User Info) http://www.insitedesignco.com
    Their demo is just that, a demo. It is just an evolutionary step towards a 3D GUI.

    I personally believe that 3DGUI has no future for normal computing, but might have some vertical applications.

    More useful in interfacing would be to have advanced voice recognition, so you can tell your computer to run processes in the background while you are working, and it can tell you status updates, give reports, read news, e-mail, etc. all while you are still typing a doc, or coding or whatever.

    Whatever happened to the dream of voice recognition people used to have?

    EC


    Re:Missing the point... (Score:1)
    by Mark__ on Wednesday November 03, @10:10AM EST (#92)
    (User Info)
    you can tell your computer to run processes in the background while you are working --- but wouldn't it be funky to have these processes quite literally in the background ?? (probbly get a crooked neck tho :P )
    This has to be... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:57AM EST (#85)
    ...the most moronic, useless thing that I've seen in quite a while. Projections of 2d windows onto 3d space, which is then reprojected back onto a 2d window (monitor)?!? The only reason having a 3d window manager would make sense is if there was actually 3d hardware to display it. Until then, it's an enormous waste of time.
    Re:This has to be... (Score:1)
    by Mark__ on Wednesday November 03, @10:08AM EST (#91)
    (User Info)
    and the only reason that 3d hardware will be made cheaper and better is if the software is going to be there ..... don't you just hate these situations ?? ;)
    Re:This has to be... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @10:21AM EST (#101)
    moron yourself, this is to be used in a real 3D environment.
    Re:This has to be... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:43AM EST (#138)
    so that no one but the 5 richest kings of Europe can use it right? nice try maybe when pigs fly.
    Re:This has to be... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @01:19PM EST (#177)
    3D hardware? What the hell do you think that big structure on their main page is? This is for caves, not your 14" Packard Bell monitor.
    we've been doin this for a while...in OpenGL (Score:1)
    by lemmingEffect (hoherbe@DIESPAMDIE.cns.iit.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @10:02AM EST (#88)
    (User Info) http://www.iit.edu/~hoherbe/

    We've been actually doing the same thing for a year and a half now. though we took the opengl approach.

    we're also working on a powerglove interface (aka the old nintendo powerglove).

    it's part of an IPRO (inter professional project) at my university. you can check out us out: dimension

    our webpage isn't quite as cool...and we're in the middle of a rewrite/restructure so we don't have all the features down yet, but its coming along. =)


    "Just do me a favor, ok? Don't breed!" -- Adam Carolla, Loveline

    Re:we've been doin this for a while...in OpenGL (Score:1)
    by robbel on Friday November 05, @06:25AM EST (#246)
    (User Info) http://www.wins.uva.nl/~robbel/
    I have also been working on something like this for a couple of years now (see http://www.wins.uva.nl/~robbel/XiVE/) and use it regularly in my own CAVE applications. The main reason for developing it was to be able to use conventional 2D toolkits inside a virtual environment (there are no usable 3D toolkits to speak of) but it turned out to be a very flexible tool by which I can now use any X application in CAVE applications.

    I will one day release the source code for this, but I'll have to find the time first (and clean it up...).

    But AFAIK, the absolute "pioneer" is Phillip Dykstra who also published a paper on the subject titled X11 in Virtual Environments: Combining Computer Interaction Methodologies. He once had a page on it at http://info.arl.army.mil/~phil/xvr/ but I see it's gone now.

    Think about it.... (Score:1)
    by afniv on Wednesday November 03, @10:03AM EST (#89)
    (User Info) http://www-sgc.colorado.edu/~nagle/
    vi in 3D. How would 3D improve my life?

    So I'm being facetious.

    ~afniv
    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
    "One could be happy if the air were as pure as the beer"
    3D is worthwhile, the question is for what. (Score:2, Interesting)
    by sien on Wednesday November 03, @10:04AM EST (#90)
    (User Info)
    OK. First, to declare my bias, I work for a company called ReachIn and all we do is this sort of stuff.
    3D is definitely worthwhile for modelling, visualisation and simulation. How worthwhile is a good question. But even these CAVES, at about ~$1 M have been bought by the oil and automotive industries and paid for in a few weeks.
    3D window managers are interesting, but how usefull they are remains to be seen. Without computers, for most things people actually work in 2D. Books and paper are 2D. Whether this is because the technology is deficient or because this is the most efficient way is a really tough question.
    I'm not yet convinced that you can get a whole lot more from a 3D UI, but, this is probably like some UNIX hacker in 1975 saying, what Windows? Nice gimmick, but what do you NEED them for, I can switch TTYs fast.
    But you should try shaping something in 3D, it's really a new experience, anyone who has ever tried to use 3D Studio Max or Rhino or whatever will appreciate that there is some manipulation of 3D stuff that is painfull in 2D 'cause it's SOOOO counterintuitive. What we do is have a PHANTOM from SenSable and co-locate it so you can see what you can touch. It is really quite neat. We can then do medical training and shaping like you wouldn't believe. If you can, get to SIGGRAPH 2K in New Orleans and have a look around, they'll be stuff from us and hopefully some others that will show that 3D is really capable of being worked in.
    Some ideas... (Score:1)
    by Croaker (sd@wrSitPerAteMch.net) on Wednesday November 03, @11:49AM EST (#146)
    (User Info)
    Here are a few things, off the top of my head...

    Greater clarity in shared environments. For example, if you call up an app from some other server, you could see a link from the window back to that server. Or, if you are sharing an application window with someone (think something like VNC) you might be able to see which resources on the network (ie users) are connected to it.

    I could image a virtual office, where everyone's windows can be seen, and easily sent to another user. Imagine looking around and seeing another uer's applications floating around their presence in space... (of course, you'd want to be able to pick which windows actually appeared in the shared space....)

    Of course, you also have the ability to treat things on the computer as you would in real life. A background process would literally be in the background. It wouldn't distract you much, but just a single glance would tell you what it's up to, in general.

    I think 3D is just one of the elements that will make the user interfaces of tomorrow. Voice, force feedback, 3D audio, intelligent agents, interfaces that are adept at reading moods and emotions, etc. all have their place. It's all about increasing the bandwidth in and the bandwidth out. Taking advantage of natural, physical affordances, and adjusting to how the user expects the system to act, rather than forcing the user to conform to the system is what will eventually make computers effortless to use.

    We could also take advantage of natural habits to make computers easier to use. Ever notice that people look up when they try to remember something? It'd be natural for you to put your reminder databases above you in the user space. Simple things, like having alert noises from your apps use stereo so you have an idea where on your screen they came from, can add to ease of use.

    I guess a 3D window manager on a 2D screen is a long way from any of these... but it is perhaps a tentative step in the right direction.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell<

    I for one want to help develop this! (Score:1)
    by pngwen on Wednesday November 03, @10:11AM EST (#94)
    (User Info)
    This could become a real virtual office type deal. Notes on the walls, netscape on the desk in front of you etc. In it's advanced form it WILL be cool. This could work really well with one of my current projects and that is an LCD based VR goggle for linux. Imagine if you could immerse yourself in your virtual coding enviornment with that virtual flatland computer in front of you.

    WE COULD ALL BE SITTING IN OUR CUSTOM CASTLES WITH THE ABILITY TO SUMMON WHATEVER WE WANT. we would be like class 9 mages in AD&D while coding... uber cool.


    Because this coincides with one of my pipe dreams/projects and would make a real 3d viewer usable, when they release the code to this I will be pouring hours of work into this one! Anyone care to join me?
    I am the penguin that codes in the night.
    Re:I for one want to help develop this! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:44AM EST (#141)
    I can just see all the deluded egomanics that this would cause. Opens up a whole news psychological realm dosn't it?
    uwm (Score:1)
    by Andy on Wednesday November 03, @10:24AM EST (#105)
    (User Info)
    I think that uwm is still the window manager of choice.
    Quite Simply (Score:2)
    by Rahga (richardh@rahga.com) on Wednesday November 03, @10:29AM EST (#107)
    (User Info) http://www.rahga.com
    Don't expect much out of this until we improve 3d interfaces, both input and output. Once motion tracking and holographic technology is improved enough to be usable, we'll be able to move our floting windows around on our literal desktop by physically grabbing them. Transparent computing at it's best - floating in midair :)

    it's all about _pages_ (Score:1)
    by adraken (adraken@themes.org) on Wednesday November 03, @10:35AM EST (#109)
    (User Info) http://www.d.umn.edu/~dchan/
    cubes? why must we come up with new paradigms in working in a 3d enviroment? when is the last time you used a cube while working in real life?

    what medium do we work best with (and have been for centuries) and are the most comfortable with?

    paper, more specifically pages.

    i've read many a post criticizing gloves as they envision a world with goggles on, constantly waving their arms a foot off of the desk. how about a paradigm that reflects our own world and how we usually interact with it.

    if i'd want to do work in this world, i wouldn't want to play with a cube, touch something and having weird "virtual" things happen, like hitting a window and having it float off frictionlessly into space. some people have been watching too many "virtual reality" movies. tron, the lawnmower man, uhm, any other cheesy "look-i-have-goggles-and-gloves-and-i-work-in-a-black-and-red-wire-frame-environment"

    the point of a 3d interface is to have something relatable to real life, which is undoubtably pretty 3d. my solution? use windows as pages. we all have desks with large amounts of pages in binders, we shuffle them around, stack them, move others away so we can focus on a particular one or hold two together to compare them as such. this is how we work with windows as well. so why not just move it in the other dimension? use real life as a metaphor. you're sitting at a desk shuffling windows around. of course you can affect physics to act as real life and lay them down on a table (bend them (cool)) throw them in a pile, etc. you could elaborate on this metaphor endlessly. how would you simulate a cursor? a stylus. how would you copy and paste? like a highlighter. highlight what you want and place it elsewhere.

    and the best thing about windows as pages? there are two sides. incredible, eh? save space, my friend. netscape could have one site open on one side and another open on the other. the possibilities are incredible.

    as such, you're actually interacting with your windows instead of having them on a cube, which is a wholly incomplete idea. who thought of this in the first place? cubes are pretty damned inefficient uses of space. we have no natural relation to them, and since we're all conditioned to use paper/pages anyway, why not use an analogue that we're completely effienient with anyway?

    -adraken, gtk.t.o graphics (adraken@themes.org)
    Re:it's all about _pages_ (Score:1)
    by Eponymous, Showered (jase@deadbeets.nospammie.com) on Wednesday November 03, @11:32AM EST (#127)
    (User Info) http://jase.deadbeets.com
    when is the last time you used a cube while working in real life?

    Well, I drove to work in one. The fan sitting on my desk, along with the CD jewel cases, picture frames, speakers, monitors, my phone, and the computer cases on the floor are all essentially cubes. I didn't see anything on the site, BTW, restricting anything to a cube. In fact the design articles in the "resource" area spoke to the contrary.

    the point of a 3d interface is to have something relatable to real life, which is undoubtably pretty 3d. my solution? use windows as pages. we all have desks with large amounts of pages in binders, we shuffle them around, stack them, move others away so we can focus on a particular one or hold two together to compare them as such. this is how we work with windows as well. so why not just move it in the other dimension? use real life as a metaphor. you're sitting at a desk shuffling windows around. of course you can affect physics to act as real life and lay them down on a table (bend them (cool)) throw them in a pile, etc. you could elaborate on this metaphor endlessly. how would you simulate a cursor? a stylus. how would you copy and paste? like a highlighter. highlight what you want and place it elsewhere.

    Sounds a lot like Microsoft Bob. Can't wait. I always hoped that Bob would get ported to Linux. I'll be releasing BobWM 0.0.0.0.1 later today, as a matter of fact. Not.

    I think replicating physical objects in virtual space should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Physical objects have a certain amount of utility, but they also have a certain amount of limitation. Sure, a woodchuck could chuck wood in cyberspace, but why would it?
    you missed the point (Score:1)
    by adraken (adraken@themes.org) on Wednesday November 03, @12:36PM EST (#158)
    (User Info) http://www.d.umn.edu/~dchan/
    i wasn't talking about literally imitating real life, i was talking about metaphors. now you're taking stereotypes of implementations and just saying they won't work because former implementations were poor.

    the point is that you don't actually productively use cubes in information processing (visual, thoughts, etc.). what the hell do you expect to do with it? it doesn't make sense. books are NOT six sided things with text on every side. cubes are idiotic. you don't read on the sides of your car, it is inefficient, wasteful, and awkward.

    i'm talking about a virtually empty environment, you HOLD the windows, you can move them around, but in realistically physicalities.

    i'm NOT TALKING ABOUT MICROSOFT BOB. you completely mistook my entire idea!!!

    i agree that replicating physical objects in virtual space is stupid. i wasn't talking about imitating it. just using the metaphor of papers. the double sidedness (and our familiarity with the ANALOGUE) and an ubiquitous stylus as an interface (pseudo-cursor?). you don't have to go any farther and i regret encouraging that you should (because it obviously came across incorrectly).

    all i'm saying is that windows don't have to be floating in midair, being all wacky and "virtual". that mindset is wishful, awe-shocked, and impractical. it'd be amusing for a while, but you wouldn't actually get any work done.

    -adraken, gtk.t.o graphics (adraken@themes.org)
    Re:you missed the point (Score:1)
    by Zerth (zerth@hotmail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @01:34PM EST (#180)
    (User Info)
    Preferably, I would like something somewhat similar to what you are saying and what someone further down said about a real "desktop" metaphor.

    My idea of it would be something along the lines of a real "office", being an empty room with a real desk, a pair of gloves, and a HMD similar to Steve Mann's latest sunglasses.

    One would interact with the desktop rather than something straight out in front, thus avoiding neckstrain and gorrilla-arms. The desk would provide a physical referance/feedback and a place to support your elbows. Storage and filing could be down similar to Real Life, either just stacking crap on the desk or floor, or in the drawers of the desk(preferably, the real Desk would either have no real drawers, or would have one empty drawer on either side for physical feedback and one could scroll between virtual drawers in the WM).

    And as long as the gloves had a resolution of, say, .25" to .5" one could make a fake keyboard in the WM to type with or, to follow the real feedback idea, have an keyboard be the only thing on your desk and have the system keep track of the keyboard's position and project it in the WM. Whether the real keyboard would be plugged in or not would depend on whether you were interested in just the feedback, or if you wanted to remove whatever load that getting input from a virtual keyboard would take(you would have to check if the keys intersected the user's fingers,etc might take more processor than one might think).

    Anyway, rant finished for now.

    -- Welcome to the Afterlife. Smoking or Non?
    Re:you missed the point (Score:1)
    by adraken (adraken@themes.org) on Wednesday November 03, @01:53PM EST (#184)
    (User Info) http://www.d.umn.edu/~dchan/
    excellent, except the desk metaphor could be simplified into a mere surface. you rest your arms, etc. but i originally agreed with the virtual keyboard, but then i realized that that was subverting the whole thing. solution: write. since we're so wishfully thinking, we should have accurate handwriting recognition to facilitate this, or significant brainwave analyses (whee!!!) to determine the thoughts to be expressed.

    -adraken, gtk.t.o graphics (adraken@themes.org)
    Re:you missed the point (Score:1)
    by Zerth (zerth@hotmail.com) on Wednesday November 03, @02:29PM EST (#190)
    (User Info)
    I would've put in the handwriting bit, but since I get carpal tunnel from writing(oddly enough, not from typing, go fig) and I also type way faster than I write, it slipped my mind. Plus I just dig the whole feedback thing;-,


    -- Welcome to the Afterlife. Smoking or Non?
    This just gets my goat! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:03AM EST (#114)
    Why in the name of hell do they take some sort of window manager and make EXACTLY sure almost no one except the very rich (or someone who knows, or steals from the very rich) can actually use this thing. Last I heard it cost several million dollars to get anything like a CAVE system. This seems a little impractical. This thing can't even work on regular PCs. I will never by a computer that is really crappy starting at $5,000US+. For $3,000US I am guaranteed to get a top of the line Intel or AMD machine fully loaded for almost anything. Plus why would I need a third dimention for anything like that. Seems to me that it would be everyrhing more disorienting.
    3D mouse... Quick solution (Score:1)
    by HapNstance on Wednesday November 03, @11:26AM EST (#122)
    (User Info)
    I think the thing to do in the short run is use the wheel "thingy" in the middle mouse button for movement in the 'Z' plane. When they first came out, I wrote a little bit that would allow me to scroll through the windows in Z order (This was in WinDoze however) using the wheel.
    A word from the developers (Score:5, Interesting)
    by NickElm (d97elm@dtek.chalmers.se) on Wednesday November 03, @11:28AM EST (#124)
    (User Info) http://artoo.hemmet.s-hem.chalmers.se/~crozius/

    Unfortunately, I was notified by this thread a bit too late, so I guess this entry is getting a bit stale, but I thought I should post my thoughts here nonetheless.

    As many of you might have guessed by now, 3Dwm is a 3D-User-Interface research project at Chalmers Medialab. We're currently in crush-mode, as we're going to host a demonstration of the system on Friday (if you happen to be in the vicinity, be sure to drop by! Check out this page (Swedish only) for more information.), so we're currently putting a lot of time and effort into the system.

    I see a lot of concern about 3Dwm just being a fancy way to display plain 2D applications in 3D. This is true. Yet 3Dwm is more of a prototype than a full project, and we will be addressing the questions of fully three-dimensional applications in our current core project, im3D, the Immersion3D User Environment. If you think 3Dwm is cool, then imagine having apps that are built for three dimensions. A modelling program might look like a workshop you may step into and use when designing your 3D-models. Your plain ole' debugger (gdb) might have a fancy 3D-dimensional interface to allow you to look at different threads of execution, stacks and heaps in an intuitive way. The plain 2D-VRML browser is now a gateway into the actual model which allows you to step into and actually explore the world from within.

    Well, that's some of the hype, anyway. 3Dwm and im3D is still under heavy development, but we hope to be able to release the code under a fairly free license (as in GPL, but we don't know at this point) and post it for the rest of the community to enjoy. Yes, it helps if you have a CAVE or a HMD, but we'll support (and already do) normal desktop systems as well.

    If you have any specific questions, comments, flames or criticism which you really want to make sure reaches us, then mail us at 3dwm@medialab.chalmers.se. Thanks for all your feedback!


    And what supercomputer will this run on. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:39AM EST (#134)
    I would probably need a lead vest just to get in the room with it. Not to mention be a middle eastern oil barron to afford it.
    Re:And what supercomputer will this run on. (Score:1)
    by CryptdotX on Thursday November 04, @01:51AM EST (#243)
    (User Info) http://home1.gte.net/crypt
    It would probably run on a cluster of SGI Onyx II's.

    You can run them in another room though, so no need for a lead vest.

    And you can be an American oil baron, or software baron or any kind of baron to afford it, really.

    But you know, that would be today, if the software were even available, which it's not.

    A couple years from now, this kind of thing might be standard desktop software.

    MS Research 3D Window Manager (Score:1)
    by nuttie on Wednesday November 03, @11:31AM EST (#126)
    (User Info)
    MS Research has work in this area as well. The Task Gallery prototype makes very conservative use of 3D: runs on a desktop machine, driven with a regular mouse. No goggles, head-mounted displays, etc.--clearly aimed at a low barrier to adoption (or lowest common denominator, if you prefer.) The functionality is much like a virtual window manager for X, just with a very different UI metaphor. It's early prototyping work--not aimed at shipping in a product in the short term.

    The interesting thing, though, is that the MSR prototype hosts almost any (unmodified) Windows application inside the 3D environment--and that apps can be redirected into the environment on an individual basis. Other efforts to run X apps in a 3D environment (such as those at Chalmers Univ in Sweden) have generally created virtual display devices and done whole-desktop redirection.

    No, you don't want to do your coding in this environment--but then that's not what it was designed for. :-)

    see: The Task Gallery

    Re:MS Research 3D Window Manager (Score:1)
    by Enahs (bigdork@NOSPAM.siu.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @11:25PM EST (#236)
    (User Info) http://come.to/cuthulu
    Wow, this sounds...

    ...exactly the same, to a point. Quite frankly, if I understand the 3Dwm site correctly, they're using a modified Xfb server to render the windows, then passing a bitmap to the actual server. From a technical point of view, much the same.
    -------------------------------------------- Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    This is 3D? (Score:2)
    by gad_zuki! (fishboy999@THISHASTOGO.il.freei.net) on Wednesday November 03, @11:35AM EST (#129)
    (User Info)
    There's a difference between 3D, the illusion of having 3 dimensions, and a perspective change. 3Dwm is like holding a piece of paper and turning it away from you, which is pretty silly and if you're trying to read it VERY silly. What 3D should be is building applications that are polygon based and using that extra dimension in a practical way.

    Its just eyecandy.

    This .sig is here to make you think, "Him again?"

    But flat screens and mice can work, sorta... (Score:1)
    by laslo2 on Wednesday November 03, @11:36AM EST (#130)
    (User Info)
    I think it's certainly a start. A flat surface can be pretty damn immersive; when playing quake2, I don't see the (physical) room around me, I see what's in the virtual room I'm playing in. And although the mouse/keyboard combination isn't the greatest way to control movement, it does work.

    VR goggles would be nice; but a large monitor works pretty nicely too.
    LSD and computers (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:38AM EST (#132)
    This is exactly like the last time I used LSD whilst on my puter (strictly for the experience you understand), and I had a really great trip where my X11 desktop warped into a 3D desktop. It was way out of this world and I am delighted I won't have to drop acid again since this 3D window manager does all I need!! Thanks! Alex Buell (http://www.tahallah.demon.co.uk)
    Re:LSD and computers (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:47AM EST (#143)
    if your dropping acid to have fun in linux then you really are depraved.
    It's all about text. (Score:2)
    by Capt Dan (BobDean150@excite.com) on Wednesday November 03, @11:39AM EST (#133)
    (User Info)
    I once had an intense argument with a fellow CS dork friend of mine, and the conversation was about this point: UI development is all about *text*. Regardless of how fancy multimedia gets, and how good are computers are at actually speaking to us, when it comes down to straight hard work, text is the way to go.

    Remember Snow Crash? What happened when the main character did real work? He brought up a straght 2D environment, did his coding, and then went back to 3d funland. From the screen shots, the tech looks cool, but it just makes everything harder to read.

    3D is cool, and I could see some uses to "folding" or "pushing" away apps that you are not using, but when it comes to text, we all want it nice and flat right in front of our eyes.

    Do you read books sideways? Why does everyone drool over trinitron flat screen monitors?

    So I fail to see how a full 3D window manager actually makes X better for us. I understand the argument that 3Dwm is designed for this Cave thing, but the 3D aspects of the Cave have much to do with the structure of the Cave itself, and how a person interacts with it.

    Regardless of how I feel about its uses, 3D UI's definitely need research. Only from total knowledge on a subject can you truly determine what will work, and what will not.


    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
    "Quack?" - a duck
    Re:It's all about text. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:41AM EST (#135)
    not to mention the obscene cost factor for liscencing fees.
    Look at this (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:42AM EST (#137)
    They spelled Slashdot wrong on the titlebar of one of their images. Whats up with this? The picture is the first one in the gallery. Here is a link.

    http://www.medialab.chalmers.se/projects/3dwm/images/screenshots/concept-991103.jpg
    Re:Look at this (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:48AM EST (#145)
    the question remains who really cares. If speak a second language don't you usually makes some spelling mistakes occasionally?
    Out: Windows; In: Cubes (Score:1)
    by functor on Wednesday November 03, @11:44AM EST (#140)
    (User Info) http://localhost/
    If we're going to compute in 3 dimensions, we may as well go the whole way and discard the notion of two-dimensional windows. I'm thinking in terms of, say, a cuboid with buttons on it -- sort of like, say, a gamepad, which has controls all over, and can be held with the hand. So, for instance, you can have cubes containing documents in some sort of representation. Of course, in order to represent text, you'd probably have to retain some sort of two-dimensional object.

    This could revolutionalize integrated development environments, where you could have a 3D representation of each module, and visualize how they fit in together. Also, things like database management systems (to visualize relations between fields across databases), file managers (viewing hierarchies and files within directories/folders), audio and video players (easier random access selection), presentation creators, multimedia creators, etc. would benefit from such an arrangement. I don't see how a word processor or spreadsheet program would be helped, because text is inherently two-dimensional, and for any kind of usability, one would need to keep these on a plane.

    One requirement of such a system would be to build input devices for this sort of interaction. Perhaps some sort of cameras or laser-based tracking devices in all the corners of a room tracking, say, head and arm movement? This is just going way beyond my imagination now. :-)


    Re:Out: Windows; In: Cubes (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:46AM EST (#142)
    And when an application crashes it can blow up in your hands
    questionable application of 3d (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @11:48AM EST (#144)
    Who wants to read a slanted screen of Netscape as they show in their screen caps? What's wrong with a toolbar at one side of the screen to bring up frequently run apps?
    Why does this remind me of... (Score:1)
    by Zarniwoop (erik.swenson@nospam.colorado.edu) on Wednesday November 03, @11:58AM EST (#148)
    (User Info) http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~swensone/
    A certain little girl saying "This is Unix! I *know* this!"?

    loosing the monitor is the point. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @12:11PM EST (#152)
    This is the sytem I have been looking for. To be able to sit down in a cave or put on googles and be able to see all the open windows at once. Flat 2D windows in a 3D space is perfectly useful. Think about it. You look forward and see what youare working on. To your left is the results of a search you were doing. On your right is a window with a video feed from your TV. Above you is a window displaying stats about your servers. Turn around and there are many windows with little bits of info you have been collecting. Or maybe a completly different project. Another way to think of this is a room full of monitors all around you. You have one interface to control what is going on in any of the monitors. It could be done this way but the 3D interface just makes it simple.


    Some Improvements (Score:1)
    by j-ral (jhowell@DONTSPAMME.freon.republic.k12.mo.us) on Wednesday November 03, @12:12PM EST (#154)
    (User Info)
    I was discussing this with my boss, and he said something to the effect of how thats all well and good, but they need something different. He thought that actually making a type of 3d "office" with a door, a desk, and anything else you would need in it, and used it as the GUI it would be better. It would, of course, need some type of 3d engine, Quake or what have you, but I'd like to see something like this done. Maybe someone can pick that idea up and make it into something. I just wish I could code well!
    "Part of the reason Alien and Jaws work is that when you see Jaws at the end, you think, 'Holy shit, that's a big fucking shark!'" -Eduardo S
    Revolutionary 3D User Interfaces (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @12:30PM EST (#156)
    I remember seeing a few years back a truly revolutionary idea, 3D UI-wise. The way it handled the third dimension was to "zoom" in on it.

    That is, from "far away" your web browser might look like an icon of sorts, and as you got closer, it looked more and more like a web browser. And when you zoomed in on it exclusively, you could then use the z parameter to access individual pages within the browser (sort like how Opera handles multiple windows).

    That's the sort of thing that will truly revolutionize a 3D UI. This is just pasting a 2D interface on a 3D world.
    Wrong approach! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @12:47PM EST (#163)
    A 3D Graphical User Interface is the next big thing to come, but not for use with current monitors, applications or windowing concepts. It will be used in next generation `organical' Chips which are connected directly to our brain. This kind of post-humans will be able to `see' in their reality applications `floating' in the air. You won't need any keyboard, mouse or any other mechanical input device. Just `wish it' and the chip will detect and analyze that as input.
    Pros and Cons of 3D Interfaces (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-meer-dot-net) on Wednesday November 03, @01:01PM EST (#165)
    (User Info) http://www.meer.net/~arandir/
    Virtually all data that is represented by a GUI is one or two dimensional. Ascii is one dimensional. Formatted text on a page is 2D. Source code is 2D. Most images are 2D. Sound is 2D. File system hierarchies are 2D. Most CVS trees are 2D, but there are as many 4D as 3D ones.

    Look at the objects in your home. What interfaces are 3D? None are in mine (push buttons are trivially and realistically represented in 2D, so they don't count). Your VCR and TV have 2D interfaces. It doesn't matter how wrapped it is over a 3D surface, your automobile still has a 2D interface.

    Look at history for an example of what is natural for 2D versus 3D interfaces. Writing has always been 2D, so keep it 2D. Architecture is always 3D, so 3D CAD would be very useful. Art is either 2D or 3D, and should be displayed as appropriate.

    Here's what would be bad in a 3D interface: those unreadable 2D windows in the 3Dwm screenshots, stuff that moves, in either 2D or 3D (don't give the user vertigo).

    Here's what would be good in a 3D interface: 3D widgets (cool), representing z-order by depth (naturally), representing 3D data in 3D (of course).

    What we still need for a decent 3D interface: a precise 3D input device.
    Re:Pros and Cons of 3D Interfaces (Score:1)
    by CampKev on Wednesday November 03, @02:40PM EST (#194)
    (User Info)
    > representing 3D data in 3D (of course). That's a very nice idea. Of course, this would require a standard API that all programs use for it to work. However, it could be handy to have say charts, that stick out of the page in 3d, and a 3d-window manager to allow the user to move around it and manipulate the data. Maybe if all the data in the window was in 3d, the window manager would allow the user to rotate the window, and hence the data inside it. A 3D-Window manager is (as everyone else has already said) only any use if we are dealing with 3D. However, the reason that most things are in 2D is simply because they were designed for 2D only systems. Perhaps if a proper 3D GUI was unleashed, we'd see programs taking proper advanage of it (3D-Web pages, 3D-IRC, 3D-Programming tools, etc). Until that happens, any 3D GUI is really not much use. Although saying that, the DOOM Process killer a few weeks ago had potential :)
    Re:Pros and Cons of 3D Interfaces (Score:1)
    by CampKev on Wednesday November 03, @02:40PM EST (#195)
    (User Info)
    > representing 3D data in 3D (of course).

    That's a very nice idea. Of course, this would require a standard API that all programs use for it to work. However, it could be handy to have say charts, that stick out of the page in 3d, and a 3d-window manager to allow the user to move around it and manipulate the data. Maybe if all the data in the window was in 3d, the window manager would allow the user to rotate the window, and hence the data inside it.

    A 3D-Window manager is (as everyone else has already said) only any use if we are dealing with 3D. However, the reason that most things are in 2D is simply because they were designed for 2D only systems. Perhaps if a proper 3D GUI was unleashed, we'd see programs taking proper advanage of it (3D-Web pages, 3D-IRC, 3D-Programming tools, etc). Until that happens, any 3D GUI is really not much use.

    Although saying that, the DOOM Process killer a few weeks ago had potential :)
    Re:Pros and Cons of 3D Interfaces (Score:2)
    by Arandir (arandir-at-meer-dot-net) on Wednesday November 03, @06:50PM EST (#225)
    (User Info) http://www.meer.net/~arandir/
    "However, the reason that most things are in 2D is simply because they were designed for 2D only systems."

    The reason most things are 2D is because they are in fact 2D! I'm old enough to remember a world without computers so I can assure you that the reason most data is 2D only is because they are truly 2D, and not because someone hasn't invented a 3D interface.

    Take another look at your home. Even though it is a 3D structure, by and large, everything is organized as 2D. Your family pictures are placed upon a 2D wall, your dinnerware is stacked in rows, your music CD's are stacked upright or along a shelf. Even drawers are merely 2D containers stacked atop each other. The reason for this is simple. If you have to reach around plates in your cupboard in order to get a glass, you'll end up breaking a lot of plates.
    What is the point of it? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @01:18PM EST (#175)
    Like it has already been numerously stated, it just displays 2d in a 3d plain -- which is currently useless or a diguise of current technology. This 3d plain thing just is really stacked virtual desktops- which I think Enlightenment allows for in a 2d view(?). So some people figured out a way to present stacked virtual desktops in a new way so what does? This being used with a current computer is utterly useless. People have been trying to make a bettr gui since the gui and it is still the same old gui (circular reasoning anyone?)
    It's nice, but... (Score:1)
    by Catch22RG (robgrant@spamnazismustdie.mediaone.net) on Wednesday November 03, @02:26PM EST (#189)
    (User Info)
    3Dwm seems to be a fairly novel idea, but there's no real use for it right now beyond being "cool" (remember text mode Quake?). If this kind of technology is ever to take hold, it needs to offer something more than 2D X, just as X offered something more than the console (which is way, WAY before my time using Linux :P). Once programs make use the 3rd dimension (instead of just being floating polygons in it), 3Dwm will have some practical value.
    Homeworld - navigating 3D with a mouse (Score:1)
    by DiningPhilosopher (oneiros_at_linuxfan_dot_com) on Wednesday November 03, @02:32PM EST (#191)
    (User Info)
    Sierra's recent game Homeworld is a 3D real time strategy game controlled by mouse and in my opinion a fairly good example of how a mouse can be used to control a 3D interface. Windoze users should download the demo and try it.

    It's very simple. There's a pointer on the screen, and you can click to select (with various modifier keys to perform certain actions). At any given time your interface is focused on some object (e.g. a ship). Hold down the right mouse button and move the mouse to rotate around the point of focus. Hold down both buttons and move the mouse (or roll a scroll wheel if you have one) to zoom in and out.

    If you want an overview you just press the space bar and you jump to a very long tactical view. However, the controls are the same - you still have a point of focus, and you still zoom and rotate as normal.

    I think this would work for any 3D interface. Say I'm editing a bunch of source files in emacs - if I want a different one I just hit space, focus on the file I want and hit space again. Couple this with the ability to move files around and group them arbitrarily and make the filename visible from a distance and you have a useful system for navigating code.

    Of course, this is just one application - why not drag files in and out of source control?

    /* The beatings will continue until morale improves. */
    *grin* (leaps out brandishing plans) (Score:2)
    by Chris Johnson (chrisj@airwindows.com) on Wednesday November 03, @02:38PM EST (#193)
    (User Info) http://www.airwindows.com
    Cool- this almost exactly duplicates some funky graphics I did long long ago on the Apple IIgs. There was some sort of program that let you 'perspective' and composite bitmaps. Using it to invent weird interfaces seemed like a glimpse of a weird future (don't think I'd read William Gibson by then, but that was the gist of it really)
    Now somebody is making it actually happen. I say, cool :) no way will I want to use it, but come on, just as an art project this rules. Let's see it with Enlightenment, with windows that are 'panes' with the window borders and widgets being actual 3d shapes. _that_ would be very cool.
    As for useful 3d, I'm with the person who observed that layering of windows was like 3d. I'd also note that all my favorite xterms have some feature for changing font size- and since they are terms and assume a fixed size, they scale all over and take up more or less of the screen, and THAT is where real useful 3d effects will come in, and THAT is something you can't usefully do on Windows or Mac or indeed with GUI-toolkit Linux, and the only thing it's really missing is the presence of fonts like Flyspeck 4 or whatever, to allow 'distant' xterms to be made to look really distant. I'd suggest Flyspeck 1. Each letter is one pixel :) naturally, you can't read a thing, but who here _hasn't_ put a window with some laggy but active content like an idly IRC channel, into the background, and kept half an eye on it for signs of _movement_? Also, if you had some system log with colored text for messages, and it was in Flyspeck 1, you'd say 'Wait a sec, that's a red line! Better look at what that sentence says'. All this can be done _now_ with normal, existing X terms and WMs. My suggestion would be Window Maker with titlebar and resizebar turned off so the 'window' was just a simple rect- ideally you could have a WM that drew the titlebar to scale with the resizing xterm, perhaps fading it into the background by assigning lower contrast text and background colors to give a sense of distance.
    In this way you would have a fully 3Desque _CLI_ environment with vastly greater capability to display text on the screen, at anything from large readable letters to tiny semi-obscured letters to greeked text where the information is in the motion of the blocks of text, or in the color of the greeked text. And it's all available now and needs only a bit of integration to get together. :)
    And now I've told you (almost) all of my secrets- for I'm plotting a window manager _too_ ;) so wish me luck. My goal is to make a totally, relentlessly CLI-esque environment that's pretty enough to compare with E (mostly through background pictures and having the actual text windows blend attractively), can contain orders of magnitude more information than your usual X desktop, and is commonsense enough to compare with a Mac regarding the moving and adjusting of windows.
    Wish me luck, and I hope to have concept pictures up pretty soon! The really rough part will be writing the window manager, though I am quite willing to restrict everything to _only_ color xtermland and not make any provisions for supporting GUI toolkits at all. Why not be radical? Somebody else (hah, everybody else) will look after the GUI toolkit users :)
    Mouse (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @02:52PM EST (#197)
    If this continues we might as well ban the use of mouse.. lets go for a touch screen ..... or VR device...
    THE BURNING QUESTION....... (Score:1)
    by Roofus (roofus@phiwho dot com) on Wednesday November 03, @03:18PM EST (#202)
    (User Info) http://phiwho.com
    At last! I'm hoping this window manager will answer a question thats been burning in my mind for quite awhile.....what does the back of an application look like? Did netscape but a gui on the back of navigator? Are there wires or pipes sticking out of the end of your favorite text editor? These are questions I must have answers to dammit! Does XMMS have kill switch hidden on the back? I want the truth!


    You know you want to know also :)


    -= PhiWho.com =-
    yesssssss finally (Score:1)
    by mester (mester-at-mindless-dot-com) on Wednesday November 03, @03:19PM EST (#203)
    (User Info)
    Now where did I put my wall screen not to mention my fancy dataglove. This is what should have been years ago, it is not ahead of time, but more up to date than all currently available GUI's. Now's the time to establish the best feedback such a system should give. Now all we need is a stable standard and whooops computing will never be the same.
    *y2k -Azathoths minions had it coming*
    My concern with 3d gui's. (Score:1)
    by leoc (gordie@canada.com) on Wednesday November 03, @05:16PM EST (#212)
    (User Info) http://members.home.com/leoc/
    I myself love the way these things look. The only concern I have about them is the amount of manual effort they seem to require for navigation. Whatever the input method, it seems to me that to do something equivalent to, say, a "drag and drop" operation in 3d space is going to require a lot more concentration and effort. As many of us know, RSI is already a big problem in the common "2d" world. I just hope it doesn't become much worse in 3d.
    Gravity is a harsh mistress.
    3D interfaces are bogus (Score:1)
    by speedbump (dont@demand.my.attention.com) on Wednesday November 03, @05:50PM EST (#216)
    (User Info)
    A 3D interface for most 2D work is a bogus waste of CPU power and time. 3D is great if you've got to look at an exploded view, a brain tumor, or similar things. But to use 3D to browse flat webspace is stupid.
    For 3D to fly you've got to add content (Score:1)
    by cryoboy on Wednesday November 03, @05:56PM EST (#217)
    (User Info)
    The only way 3Dwm's will become useful is if they display more that just 2d windows in the 3rd dimension. You've got to be giving the user more information in the 3rd dimension. eg. If you're surfing the web you could see the page you're on in the context of the page links, displayed in the 3rd dim. Or if you were writing a program perhaps subroutines could appear in added dimensions. That would be cool! (and perhaps useful)
    my vote: pretty much pointless (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @05:58PM EST (#218)
    Perhaps there is some use for this sort of thing out there. Can't think of one though. I figure one major problem is that X servers were designed to work with 2D screens. That might make it difficult to develop any useful multiplatform X clients.

    The nice thing about this new window manager is that it sort of illustrates how limited these cards are. 3D is good for games, designing things, and making cool pictures, but that's basically it. What I would really like to see are industrial-strength graphics cards that make gui programming easier, takes the load off of the cpu, and makes the whole system more stable. Think of it, Bones! X servers the size of walnuts!! Widget sets implemented 100% in hardware!!!
    Re:my vote: pretty much pointless (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @06:23PM EST (#221)
    NICs with direct access to video!!!
    this space intentionally left blank. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @06:15PM EST (#220)
    Another thing. I think the advantage of a mouse is that it's easier to use when you don't know the keys, you're working with something that is graphical, or you need to cut and paste something. But if you want to accomplish something quickly, it seems to me that the keyboard is usually the way to do it. On the onther hand, the more dimensions you have to deal with, the more you have to move your mouse/joystick/glove to do the same thing you could have done with the keyboard. One of the most useful things about microcomputers is that you can sit on your behind for hours and still get things done. All of the information you need is literally at your finger tips. No card files, no need to fold the newspaper backwards so that you can read it properly. The 3D hassles of the physical world are gone.
    subjects are for nitpickers (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @06:30PM EST (#222)
    One thing I'd really like to see is a virtual desktop, just like the one you get with fvwm, ctwm, etc, only it's seamless, it has no edges. The place where the virtual screen would normally end would be where it wraps around to the opposite side. You could move the mouse all over the place without the screen "jumping" suddenly, like fvwm2 does. Perhaps you could do this very easily with plain old 2D accelerator cards. Don't know though.
    vectors! (Score:1)
    by imperfect being (facelifter@usa.net) on Wednesday November 03, @06:38PM EST (#223)
    (User Info)
    ive tried and tried, but i just can't think of anything a 3d enviornment can do BETTER than a 2d enviornment. besides this just being kind of a neat thing what are the advantages of a 3d gui? Can anyone think of any? (besides being able to shoot processes with the plasma rifle i mean :) i DO like the fact that they aren't content to leave gui's as they are There have got to be ways to make a more productive enviornment... any ideas? ive got a few...

    what i would REALY like to see is a vector based gui. now that would provide some serious functional advantages...


    //Insert Meaningfull Quote Here
    OH MY GOD (Score:1)
    by miyax (miyax@fruhead.com) on Wednesday November 03, @06:39PM EST (#224)
    (User Info) http://secondhandwonder.virtualave.net
    I had a dream like this!!! I swear to God, it was exactly like this window manager. I was using RedHat, and I was visiting Slashdot and all sorts of internet sites, and Netscape just sort of floated on the screen on a black backround. It was scary as hell, too.
    Not to mention THIS isn't scary. Whoa. I'll have to tell my shrink about this : )

    miyax

    "Beware of horny girls with New Jersey hair."
    Needs to go further... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @07:24PM EST (#226)
    When I looked at the screenshots for 3DWM, I remembered this old VR chat program called Worlds (I believe) that I used to use in 94/95. It was in beta at the time (and they also didn't charge back then), which meant you could walk into outer space through "cracks" in the corners, et cetera making it a bit more like the "real" world, since you had more control over your environment.

    Where I'm going with this is that if 3DWM were modded to support avatars of other users, a front-end to the talk command, AK-47's for killing processes, etcetera. This could make a kick-ass tool for collabratively working on other projects with people and since it would/could be built on top of standard *nix you could interact with other users on the system that are just telnetting in without bloated 3D interfaces.

    I need to learn to code...

    AC
    Very groovy (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @08:45PM EST (#230)
    First controlling your Linux box through Doom, now this. Now all we need are some apps to run on this, and some good control devices, and we be rockin'. Oooh! Then we can start working on a direct neural interface. I always was jealous of Case and the Count.
    3D mouse - Same thing as what we have now... (Score:1)
    by gwolf (gwolf at chmd.edu.mx) on Wednesday November 03, @09:30PM EST (#232)
    (User Info) http://www.chmd.edu.mx/~gwolf
    A lot of the mouses (most of them) that you can find in a store have already a little wheel or up-down key, useful for scrolling inside a window... Well, how would you like having a mouse that displays thin rays to the X, Y and Z axes (in order to help you locate your reality in a 2D monitor). The wheel would move you front/back, and the mouse would be up/down/left/right. OK, maybe not 100% a 3D input device - But at least much more confortable than holding up your hand in a glove 8 hours a day!
    Mixed Metaphors (Score:1)
    by Xenogoth on Wednesday November 03, @11:45PM EST (#238)
    (User Info)
    A solely 3D desktop would become a serious drain on my patience, I'm afraid. While it may be *fun* to navigate through your desktop in 3D, you would run into some impediments that would prevent many users from being able to make practical use of it. Making it so you could alternate quickly between a useful 2D interface and an enjoyable 3D one I should think would be an acceptable compromise.

    I won't go into detail on where I feel it would not only be useless, but would also hamper many procedures, such as in word processing and image editing applications. The reasoning is too obvious, and I'd just be passing out hairnets to the bald, so to speak.

    I would however like to explore its uses on a topical basis, where a direct metaphor relation would be a boon, rather than a burden. Factory management, building security, and online shopping are a few fine examples where direct metaphor in a 3D workspace would be welcome. Virtual environments where people can interact with eachother could be interesting, although the capacity for misleading would be increased in parallel with the capacity for representing yourself more accurately.

    To wit, I believe that while 3D environments have their place, their value as an interface between user and desktop pc should not be grasped at simply for the sake of novelty. Perhaps in time, through further developments in advanced workspace metaphors, and the inexorable advances in 3D accelerated display adapters and such, I will be obliged to eat those words. I just don't see the prominent elements of the two dimensional desktop metaphor becoming obsolete anytime soon.

    Re:woohoo!! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @08:45AM EST (#4)
    You're an idiot Mick!

    hahaha!!
    Re:woohoo!! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @08:46AM EST (#6)
    thanks man, but maybe we should post comments about the topic.
    Re:woohoo!! (Score:1)
    by Ender Ryan (ender@NOSPAM.nitefly.com) on Wednesday November 03, @08:47AM EST (#8)
    (User Info)
    ok.

    3D window managers are useless

    nuff said


    The oxen are slow, but the earth is patient... --High Road to China
    Re:Cool... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:29AM EST (#60)
    Ya know? your response, and everyone elses response to this article remindedme of the article in here yesterday about how peer review has stifled innovation.
    I say that instaead of flapping YOUR jaws and discouraging people from trying new and interesting things, you should just say "I'm not interested in this.".

    Or better yet, SHUT THE HELL UP!!!

    I personaly can see where the authors are trying to go with this. And I most definitly can see a parallel to when people were saying "GUI would never make it." and "who wants to push a mouse around?". But did THOSE people stop and listen to thier peer review? nope! and i'm DAMN glad they didn't!

    To the 3d cube and 3dwm guys. KEEP GOING! It's a kick ass idea that MS is even doing internaly after they heard about the popularity of a 3d world.
    Just my .02 cents.
    Sir_Ahzz
    ahzz@spam-me!terrabox.com
    :/rant mode off:
    Ok let's look at you enthuasiasm. (Score:1)
    by slashdot-terminal on Wednesday November 03, @11:14AM EST (#116)
    (User Info) http://www.debian.org
    Until people make this better for the average man on an average budget people will not buy this anyway; especially if microsoft gets into the game. Operations on a 3d world cost of LOT of CPU cycles and a TON of memory. Until quad Overclocked Merceed, or Beowulf systems with a Terabyte of ram in them this will be difficult.

    Why do ideas that are new or "innovative" always get touted as the best ideas? Ok I have an innovative idea why don't we just take nuclear waste that we have buried in the ground and use it for snack cakes? Maybe we can eventually adapt to the radiation and make it our friend. What about bringing back byplanes with 10 wings on them they were pretty good weren't they? The point is that in some areas of human endeavours people have advanced to the point that they cannot progress very far with a significant ammount of resources being expended. Take computers. Eventually processors will stop increasing in speed and power and prices will corespondingly rise because no one can innovate anymore. Then we will return to the era of the 1970's where only the very rich could even see a computer let alone touch one.
    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. - George Orwell, "1984", 1948 If you want a picture of the future,
    Re:Ok let's look at you enthuasiasm. (Score:1)
    by turbohavoc on Wednesday November 03, @03:44PM EST (#207)
    (User Info)
    "Until people make this better for the average man on an average budget people will not buy this anyway; especially if microsoft gets into the game. Operations on a 3d world cost of LOT of CPU cycles and a TON of memory. Until quad Overclocked Merceed, or Beowulf systems with a Terabyte of ram in them this will be difficult."

    Nah, it could even be faster than the current 2D windowmanagers if it is done right. (I call it a windowmanager even though it probably would be more than a combination of that and a X server)

    Imagine having a 3D card with Transform & Lightning acceleration and 32 or 64 megs of RAM. The GeForce does this and S3 has a card on the way too.

    The windowmanager would write to the texture memory instead of videomemory when updating the contents of a window, assuming it can be describe as a texture, but all current apps can. This would sress the just CPU as much as current 2D approach.
    But the memory only needs to be reloaded when the contents is refreshed, and not when the windows is moved or rotaded or whatever!

    As long as it keeps within a reasonable amount of load on the Tranform & Lightning engine and the fill rate of the card, this would practically not load the CPU at all! This should be runned on a separate thread, and it would make such things that doesn´t need the really smooth.

    And it doesn´t take much CPU time either if theres no geometry acceleration available. A window doesn´t need to be more than two triangles, which means four vertexes, and one vertex need nine(i think) floating point calculations(one matrix multiplication, but the conversion matrix has to be calculated in advance, which takes a bit more time but not that much). Just as long as it doesn´t use too many polygons, the CPU load is really load.

    Note that this using 3D-acceleration could be really nice in 2D as well. All this funky animation and translucency effects could be done really fast instead of slowing things down..

    This dude im replying to just seems to have WAY too much against some new ideas, but I agree with that software is getting slower and bloated, especially the microsoft crap, but that doesn´t mean that the computer industry should stop to evolve. Having 3D windowmanagers can be really slow, but doesn´t have to be. Should we ban all 3D windowmanager just because of that? I still believe that a properly done 3D windowmanager could be faster than the 2D windowmanagers we have today on current hardware..
    we already have them (Score:1)
    by Haven (bill@dolex[dot]org) on Wednesday November 03, @01:06PM EST (#168)
    (User Info) http://www.dolex.org
    I just thought of this. We have 3d desktops. If you move one window in front of another window the moved window lands on top of the original. Hence 3d. Its incredibly rudimentary, but by definition its 3d. Just think about it. Just cause you can't look at it from an angle doesn't mean there aren't different planes of windows. All 3dwm does is look nice, and let you view your windows at an angle. This won't be truly useful until we have 3d displays.
    Where are my damn moderator points when I need them?
    Re:Cool... (Score:1)
    by bmetzler (bmetzler@twistedpair.net) on Wednesday November 03, @09:30AM EST (#61)
    (User Info) http://users.twistedpair.net/bmetzler/
    I wish people that has talent could spend it on something useful.

    Whoa! Who are you to deny people their rights to waste time as they please :)

    I thought the idea was to make Linux more useless then Windows. World Domination, or something.

    -Brent
    --
    "Our system is already Y2K compliant but you can improve your Y2K compliance by using the special CD, which carries out some minor fixes." - Microsoft
    Re:Cool... (Score:1)
    by slashdot-terminal on Wednesday November 03, @11:17AM EST (#117)
    (User Info) http://www.debian.org
    I feel that if people would not "waste" their time (being defined as something nonproductive) then perhaps we would have cures for AIDS, cancer, and for people who are alone on Saturday nights. It's because people are naturally lazy that we have such slow progress. The people who are so gifted should maximize the work that can be done so that perhaps we can in some future time have more gifted people. Eventually under the right conditions most of us could become like Einstein or better if only for a better environment patterned after a better learning style.
    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. - George Orwell, "1984", 1948 If you want a picture of the future,
    Re:Cool... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @09:36AM EST (#66)
    If my memory is correct from history class, wasn't the same thing said of the aeroplane, amongst countless other innovations we label as "revolutionary" in hindsight?
    it was because it was so expensive, failure prone. (Score:1)
    by slashdot-terminal on Wednesday November 03, @11:19AM EST (#118)
    (User Info) http://www.debian.org
    When something costs incredibly large ammounts of money or has a good chance of failure (such as the aeroplane) then people don't really like to take chances.
    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. - George Orwell, "1984", 1948 If you want a picture of the future,
    From the FAQ (Score:1)
    by Mr_Plow on Wednesday November 03, @11:43AM EST (#139)
    (User Info) http://home.san.rr.com/filth
    3Dwm may give us important insights into possible future user interfaces and work methods. Research into these areas will likely begin once the system gains some degree of usability.
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Better living through auditory saturation.
    3D? Who cares. I just want a 10 head display! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, @12:12PM EST (#153)
    There are a few dual head video cards out there and a few cards that can be multiply installed in the same machine, but anything over 3 or 4 video cards just can't happen because you run out of slots.

    Is there a way to coordinate multiple X servers running on multiple machines so they act like one big desktop. i.e., so I can move mouse pointer from an X desktop on one machine/display off the screen and it reappears on a second X desktop running on another monitor/machine. Is this possible under X11R6?

    Re:3D? Who cares. I just want a 10 head display! (Score:1)
    by McKing (no.one@home.upstairs) on Wednesday November 03, @03:27PM EST (#204)
    (User Info)
    Yes, it is called x2x, and can be set up so that as the mouse hits the edge of a screen, it "jumps" to the next monitor (on a different machine or on the same machine). If you go to the VNC website and look under contributions, there is a program called x2vnc that does that same thing with a windows machine, one mouse/keyboard on the unix machine controlling both the X display and a windows display via VNC. So you can use a combination of x2x and x2vnc to control any group of X-based or VNC-based displays.

    x2x is at here and x2vnc is located here
    ---- Is a talking paperclip all we have to show for over half a century of computer science research?

     
     
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