Sun has unveiled plans to make its Project Looking Glass 3D desktop technology open source, along with new desktop Java products.
The company said it has decided to contribute its Project Looking Glass to the open source community, but that a supported product is still 18 months to two years away.
Sun first demonstrated Project Looking Glass, which provides a 3D desktop environment, in September last year.
"The aim is to see more developers use 3D. It is a dramatic paradigm shift and may lead to new thinking in application design," said Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Sun's vice president of Java marketing.
Among the technology's features are transparent windows, rotation, zoom and miniaturisation.
A Window Manager feature helps in the design of documents and specifications and implementation of prototypes.
Also provided are sample Window Manager demonstrations and 3D Window Manager Lite, which can run as an application on Linux or Solaris to test applications without loading the 3D environment.
Looking Glass will run on Linux, including the Linux-based Java Desktop System, as well as on Sun's Solaris.
Further 3D APIs are being open sourced as part of what Sun calls the 3D Desktop Open Source Project on Java.net.
Also to be fully open sourced is the enterprise-level NetBeans 4.0 integrated development environment, a beta preview of which is being shown at this week's JavaOne show.
Sun also announced a Spetember release for version five of its Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE).
J2SE 5 - Java designed for the desktop - will offer better performance, scalability and developer productivity improvements, and will include code enhancements to speed up development, simplify debugging and improve programmer productivity, said Sun.
Available from mid-July is Java Studio Creator, which allows casual users with no Java knowledge to create Java applications through a graphical user interface using drag and drop.
Java Studio Creator will be free with the purchase of a subscription to Sun Java Developer Network for $99 per annum, which includes service, support and maintenance.
Van Den Hoogen told vnunet.com that analysts estimate there are 4.2 million Java developers. "Our goal is 10 million. One way to get the number up is with Java Studio Creator," she said.
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