Novell Ripped Off Apple's Desktop (And Did a Good Job Too)

by Matthew Russell

Recently, Novell released some pretty amazing preview videos of their upcoming desktop, Novell Linux Desktop 10. They're pretty durn slick, and you should take a look. Among the list of cool features include: translucent windows, wobbly windows (when you drag the window it wobbles), enhanced accessibility via zoom, an exposé clone, and a user switch with a cube transition. Any of this sound familiar?

A couple of novel(l) features not borrowed from OS X, however, include command-Tab application switching where you get a preview of the entire application window instead of just the application icon, and desktop switching with the same amazing cube-like transition but in both horizontal and vertical directions. It sure would be nice to see those two features make their way into the next update of Tiger; I’ve been waiting on multiple desktops for a long time, and Novell has definitely done them up right.

A good place to start if you’re interested in the technical details behind the development of all this goodness might be with XGL (X over OpenGL) and The State of Linux Graphics. Naturally, a Google search reveals more interesting content than Novell’s site itself, so I’d recommend digging around there as well.

And since you’ll probably want to make a comparison to the current state of affairs with how OS X draws to the screen and leverages OpenGL, check out What is Quartz (or Why Can’t Windows Do That) out to get a handle on the concepts behind Quartz Compositor and how it breaks away from the traditional X paradigm.

Without further ado, here’s the link to the original OSNews article with a lot of good user discussion that links to the 4 videos on Linux Edge that you can watch to see this stuff in action for yourself. I don’t know about you, but this seems to be a breath of fresh air that’s been long overdue for the Linux community. I’m not upset that Novell copied – I’m actually kind of glad for them. Competition is healthy.

But for the real question: what do you think Steve’s got to say about all of this?

Or riddle me this: what if this were to beat Vista to the scene and came alongside droves of clever marketing?


2006-02-07 03:50:55
I saw the videos saturday evening and it seems the novell guys did a great work on the graphics layer.
I love the wobbly windows feature, would like to see it implemented in 10.5.

2006-02-07 06:58:50
The videos are great. I can't wait 'till Novell desktop 10 comes out. I just want this kind of a windowing environment on a debian or gentoo base and I'd be one happy camper. Hopefully Ubuntu will step up and do some cool thing too.
2006-02-08 19:19:06
I think times will be very interesting for Gates and Co. Between all the attention Apple's been getting with the iPod and now iNtel (presumably cheaper), and things like Ubuntu and now Novell, and yet Vista is still practically vaporware at this point... you get the idea. While I'm sure that many a business is deeply entrenched in MS software, the options for the home user (and forward thinking businesses) are now wide open...
2006-02-27 14:16:30
until you are able to install a program with one click install you will always be a second rate , almost ran, could have been a continder, peice of shit!