Project Looking Glass

Project Looking Glass 3D by Sun Microsystems Advanced Development Division

As you have probably already noticed one of my greatest passions inside computer technology is the study of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI). In 2004 I had come across a new system that was still in work by Sun Microsystems. This new GUI, although it was open-source and available for testing had not caused any kind of uproar, and it hasn’t so far. Anyway, I remembered about the project some weeks ago and began revisiting the pages to find out how far the project had come along. I wasn’t able to start working on it immediately but it was on the list of priorities to do as soon as I got hold of a good internet connection (surfing on GPRS can be expensive!).

So how is Project Looking Glass 3D significantly different from other GUIs? The meaning is partly hidden in the name, “3D”. The project uses Java technology to bring in a 3D effect of windows, that is in conventional systems, the windows are lined in front of us, 1 behind another. In 3D however, we are able to access each of these windows without having to move any other windows by a simple action of ‘zooming in’ or ‘zooming out’ of windows. This would be like having 10 cards viewed from the side at angle which will allow us to see the face of the cards.


Also known as LG3D, is available for Sun Solaris/Linux and Windows. The support level for each of these platforms differ at the moment, so you will not be able to run any applications if you choose to install the Windows version. Support is better for the Sun Solaris/Linux version with a good range of application which illustrates the best parts of the GUI.

There are various ways to test this new GUI. Either you can install the latest build for which you will also need to make a large number of downloads for support of the Java platform on Windows/Sun Solaris/Linux. The second way is to download the Live CD of 234 MB which will run from a CD or Flash.

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