Alternate Dimensions

Annika Backstrom
in misc, on 12 August 2004. It is tagged and #Computers.

[Screenshot of the Metisse window manager running on Mac OS
X][]I've had a bit of a blogging backlog the past few weeks. I tend to procrastinate, but I don't let myself to anything too fun, because that would be Wrong. Also, if I blog, that's proof I'm not doing other things. Very complicated, you see.

Anyway, Slashdot recently posted a story about Metisse, a relatively new 3D window manager. I installed it for a bit and it was pretty impressed. You can do the basics (scale windows, rotate along every axis) as well as a few extras (peel up the corner of a window to see what's beneath, then let go to return the window to normal). The interface was not the most intuitive I've ever used and there were a few quirks with menu displays and click locations, but that's to be expected of software early in its release lifecycle.

There's a lot of potential for window managers when you add a third dimension. Anyone remember the computer interfaces in The Minority Report? That was intuitive. Need to clear some room on your screen? Grab all the windows and shrink them into the corner. You can still see the window contents, but they're out of the way.

There are a lot of possibilities, a few of which are explored by Sun Microsystems in their Project Looking Glass. I'm looking forward to some of the more mature window managers going 3D in the years to come.

[Screenshot of the Metisse window manager running on Mac OS X]: /media/2004/08/12/metisse.png