I finally got some time to write about Sun’s Project Looking Glass. You might have read my earlier article about installing Project Looking Glass on Ubuntu. Once installed, it creates an option in the login window as a session. Click on the image below.
Once you select looking glass as your session and logs in, you’ll get the desktop with the taskbar at the bottom. It has Main Menu and icons for terminal, Firefox, your CD collections (currently in demo mode only), help and launcher (which you can use to create a custom application launcher).
There are 2 types of file managers available now. One is LgScope 3D file manager. It’s more like setting My Documents, My Pictures to display as menu in the taskbar properties in Windows. It lists all the directories and files as shown below, which may not be easy to navigate.
There is another file manager available called fm3D file manager, which is more like Nautilus, but more transparent and 3 dimensional as shown below. This one is much more easier to navigate.
If you click on the help icon, you’ll see a screen shown below. There is nothing much in the help section except for some mouse tricks which you can use to move, rotate etc.
If you move the mouse to the java logo on the right side top corner and drag around, it’ll rotate the application in the direction you drag your mouse over the logo. See the screenshot below:
All the open and minimized applications are shown above the taskbar as icons placed sideways. The screenshot below shows the open terminal and the minimized help applications as 2 thumbnails facing sideways above the taskbar.
If you want to change the desktop background, you’ll have to click the icon in the taskbar that sits before the logout icon on the right. If you click on the icon, it shows the available wallpapers as shown below. you can scroll through the wallpaper and select whichever you want.
If you right click on the desktop background, it’ll park all the open applications sideways as shown below:
The main menu has Office, Internet, Media, Utilities, Games, Developers and Demo. There aren’t many programs available under those menus. It’s mostly proof of concept or demo kind. There are few applications like the file managers, Firefox, Terminal, some utilities and games.
If you want to logout, you have to click the skeleton (pirate) at the right end of the taskbar. It’ll ask you if you really want to exit looking glass. Once you select yes, it’ll log you out.
Conclusion: The idea/concept is pretty good. The problem is, since it’s based on Java, it’s awfully slow. Unless you have a state of art system, it’s going to be a pain using it. I have a core duo laptop with 2 GB memory and 256 MB video memory. The OS (if we can call it) was really slow even though it’s usable. Unless Sun really does something to make it fast, it’s not going to catch users heart. The keyboard worked fine most of the time and didn’t work sometimes. Ofcourse it’s not a final release, so we have to wait and see how it shapes up in the future.