In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

A trip down memory lane, tracing major milestones in the evolution of the desktop environment.

Project Looking Glass 2003 – Sun Microsystems rolls out an experimental 3D Desktop Environment called “Project Looking Glass.” This 3D environment, available for Linux, Windows and Solaris, never really caught on itself, but the impact it’s had on newer environments is noticeable. For example, reversible windows – the ability to flip a window around and have additional controls (notes, settings, etc.) on the back. There are other examples, like the Windows feature where you can scroll through all open windows in a sorta-3D view, or the glassy, 3D-ish looking Dock on MacOS X.

Fun Diversion: This wasn't the only attempt at 3D desktop interfaces. Some less successful attempts can be found at the Croquet Project and Microsoft's TaskGallery.

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  • Marcelo

    excellent, but.. you´re forgot Atari Operating System (TOS) launched in 1985.

  • Steve Petrov

    I think the Framework Desktop Developed by Aston-Tate, then Borland and later Selections & Functions is worth a mention. It was a DOS based text/graphical GUI which used the desk top metaphore long before MS-Windows. So I think it's historically important. In fact it's still around, can be run in MS Windows and tends to be used by certain specialists and die hard fans: http://framework.com/

    BeOS is also worth a mention and had many supporters who kept trying to resurect it. In fact, a visit to the BeOS wiki reveals that several OSes decended from BeOS, some LINUX based and one not, are still being developed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BeOS At this point, such OSes would probaby be of interest only to programmers, hobbiests and total geeks who love tinkering with OSes... not that there's anything wrong with that! LOL!

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