Sun released a public version of their 3D desktop Project Looking Glass. There is a demo video with Jonathan Schwartz (weblog), Executive Vice President of Software at Sun Microsystems, who claims:

The dominant company that provides the desktop doesn’t want to show you that [innovation on the desktop] because they do not want to do the work that actually reinvents the way things have been done. They want to keep it to the way things have been done for that past ten years. We think there are some deficiencies there.

Before making that claim he ran through a demonstration of the interface. Besides of the fact that his claim about (obviously) Microsoft not research 3D at the desktop is untrue, Project Looking Glass in the current stage is 3D – but that’s all about it.

None of the shown features improve productivity of end users. The window placement features barely help to avoid screen clutter and real world metaphors (like browsing through a pile item per item) seems to be exactly the interaction style the inventors of the GUI wanted to get rid of. The only good thing about Project Looking Glass is that it seems to be open source and potentially will be adopted by people with better ideas. But without a truly killing application (and I haven’t seen one in the demo) Project Looking Glass may not seem to be attractive enough for end users.

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