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Clutter Reaches 1.0 Release Candidate Status 78

Posted by timothy
from the my-clutter's-been-manifest-since-1974 dept.
nerdyH writes "Intel's interesting 3D UI technology has arrived at a significant milestone. Emmanuele Bassi on Monday released Clutter 1.0rc1, commenting 'This is a development release of Clutter 0.9 leading towards the 1.0 stable cycle. It is the first release candidate for the 1.0.0 release.' Clutter is a centerpiece of Intel's Moblin stack for netbooks, MIDs, and IVIs. It aims beyond the traditional 2D 'desktop' UI metaphor, stepping up to a 'theatrical' metaphor in which 2D interface objects are likened to 'actors' moving around on a 3D 'stage,' with developers in the role of 'director.' Also updated Tuesday: the Clutter-GTK+ library, aimed at helping GTK+ developers Clutter up their existing apps."
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Clutter Reaches 1.0 Release Candidate Status

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  • Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @05:23PM (#28458963) Homepage

    Who would have known that the future of Computer Desktop UI would look exactly like a SQL error.. :-)

    I honestly would love to see some real innovation in the desktop UI everything else has been nothing morethat adding lipstick and high heels to the old X system from the early years. (Yes even windows 7 and the new osx is a pig in a dress.)

    • Feel free to mod me down if this is regarded as spam, but I'm working on a UI called Brevity, which will be based on Clutter.

      The idea is to create a user interface that is like a huge wall that can be zoomed in and out of. You'll have apps that run where you start them, and you start them by clicking on an empty space on the wall. A 3x3 app launcher will pop up around the mouse pointer with the browser in the middle.

      It's still in the early development, but you can follow my blog at http://brevityos.blog [blogspot.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CajunArson (465943)

        Hey I have a question about that. I remember back in the early days of Compiz in 2007 seeing some really cool demos that used input redirection so that you could to a 3D transform on a screen and still directly interact with windows. This allowed you to project a bunch of windows onto the desktop with an Expose like feature, and then dynamically zoom & interact with them with your mouse clicks being put through a mesh transformation so that the mouse would interact with the correct point on the transf

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AlexanderTe (1557041)
          That's what I'm working on right now with the prototype that are using Cairo and Xorg.

          To move the applications around on the screen, I need to convert from "pixel input" to vector points, and when I've managed to do that at desktop level, it shouldn't be hard to do the same with the content of the apps.

          I've thought about showing an overlay with important actions when an application is to small to be controlled directly. When the mouse is over the app, a media player for instance can use 1/3 of the botto
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Many have tried, but we're still using the basic old idea. Probably because anything anybody has come up with since has looked cool but turned out to be a usability nightmare.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I wasn't aware that innovation directly translated to more stable, usable, understandable, or versatile systems.

  • Any demonstrations of the technology in action?

  • This is a really bad name for a 3D UI. Next up they'll come up with a way to lose files as you save them, just like your car keys.
  • Screenshot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johannesg (664142) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @05:30PM (#28459087)

    Would it really kill them to stick a screenshot in there, or even better, a movie? Especially since this is, you know, a graphical application?

    This really is a common failing of too many open source applications. Not only are we supposed to guess that "cluster" has nothing to do with clustering in any shape or form, but its graphical prowess, its entire reason for being, must be guessed at by nothing more than a wall of text.

    Well, maybe I shouldn't complain. They do actually tell us what it is supposed to do, right there on the front page...

    • Re:Screenshot (Score:4, Informative)

      by ebassi (591699) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @05:39PM (#28459255) Homepage

      a video? like, I don't know, this one [youtube.com]? :-)

      the Moblin 2.0 UI for netbooks is probably the best showcase of what Clutter can do.

      • Hmmmmm to be honest I saw nothing new in that video. IT looked like a pretty standard interface with some added buttons and such.

        Nothing that could not be done in say....FVWM for instance.

        Where is the 3D????

      • I don't see and 3D in there. Looks like another simplified (read "limiting") mobile frontend, for those that never used a computer. (I have a bit or an oldschool view here, but I stand by it: "Using" for me means, you actually automated something yourself. You know. The freaking *point* of a computer.)

        • It's not the 3D, it's the openGL acceleration that's important. So you can do lots of smooth, illustrative animations without destroying your cpu.
        • Perhaps it's 3D in the same way that Firefox could be described as being 3D? i.e. 2D pages + 1D line of tabs = 3D? If you have several Firefox windows open, does that make it 4D? What if you have several of these on each workspace? 5D?

        • Really? I see a lot more than that... I see a few quick and easy ways to do the same thing, intuitive design like quickly opening recent files, applications and browser tabs through the Clutter engine for example should greatly speed up productivity. Considering it's open-source and extendable, the sky should be the limit too.

      • You might want to fix the typo in your sig: "Analysis"

    • It's an API, not an application....
    • by hattig (47930)

      It appears to be a clone of Apple's Quartz 2D (potentially at the widget level, rather than the window level, i.e., beyond Apple have managed because Q2D Extreme never appeared) and Core Animation, but with direct access to OpenGL shaders and functions. There's video functionality as well. Basically a set of APIs selected for being good, that cover a lot of functionality that a modern desktop OS should have. This dictat will get rid of some of the confusion over Linux interfaces, possibly. You can probably

    • Why would it have anything to do with clustering? It's called CLUTTER. It should be making a mess. And really, I can mess up my desktop enough on my own.

      • by johannesg (664142)

        Why would it have anything to do with clustering? It's called CLUTTER. It should be making a mess. And really, I can mess up my desktop enough on my own.

        Right, I see. In my defense, I have been sitting home with a fever for the last two days and I did go to bed right after posting that. I do feel better now though, thanks ;-)

        I still think a screenshot, even if it is just a proof of concept, would have been nice. Cairo is a lower-level API as well, and it certainly has screenshots on its website...

  • Metaphor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @05:31PM (#28459109)

    Does the "desktop" metaphor really need replacing, especially with something that seems even more precious and contrived? Maybe its just me, but I don't find these concepts useful. I know what a "desktop" is with respect to computers, but it has lost all meaningful connection to the top of a desk. Maybe that's because the only thing typically found on my desk is a computer.

    My sense is that the computer has been around long enough that the UI doesn't need to be imagined as a desktop, theater, etc.

    • Maybe that's because the only thing typically found on my desk is a computer.

      Ah! So you're saying the typical Desktop (on your computer, on your desk) should display a VM with a computer in it, showing a desktop with a computer, to stick with the easy-to-grok desktop metaphor, right?

      • by kamochan (883582)
        Yes! With a DWIM input device, like, say, a mouse I can input instructions to.
      • In order to complete your scenario, there has to be some moron challenging him via a post from some unknown (and uncared about) location through a website that was once populated by intelligent computer hackers that has long since been over-ridden by the like of you ;-)
  • The opensource equivalent of Core Animation

  • After struggling through the site, it looks like a big mess that solves no useful problem. I can't find any screenshots, either. Here's the slide show from a conference [clutter-project.org]. But it has exactly one graphic, and that's part of a discussion of how you can use arbitrary functions, like "sine", on the alpha channel. (Using "sine" on the alpha channel is basically the <BLINK> tag revisited.)

    Worse, this is a toolkit for C applications. It's not for web use. It's not 3D enough for game development, and it

    • Re:No screenshots (Score:4, Informative)

      by caseih (160668) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:54PM (#28460841)

      I agree that the summary is bad, and the clutter website is also very poor at communicating its purpose. However you should have stopped there before going on to make a number of very ignorant assertions.

      First of all, yes it is C-based. This is probably the right language for the job, seeing as it is trivial to make automatic bindings to all of the appropriate application development languages. Under the hood, Clutter is object-oriented through and through, but in a way that's more easily compatible with other languages than, say, C++.

      I'm not sure why you mention web use at all here. We need to have low-level APIs in the OS to make the fancy web stuff possible, don't we? How else will Flash display in the browser except through drawing APIs provided by the operating system. On OS X Flash uses, you guessed it, CoreImage and the like to display. Clutter is definitely accurately described as a CoreImage, CoreAnimations, etc for X11. And it looks like it will enable some pretty amazing things. If Clutter were to become dominant, it could be used to great effect in Android, for example, to enable the kind of polished user interfaces with feedback animations, etc, that users have come to expect. Something that GTK and, to a lesser extent, Qt cannot do very well. There's a reason that Palm and Android don't use standard widget toolkits; they currently just don't allow the polish and flexibility needed outside of conventional, traditional apps.

      Your comment about it being too little for 3D games and too much for business apps is pretty odd too. For business apps, clutter probably won't really be used directly by developers at all. Instead it will be used by the widget toolkits to provide very smooth, alpha-blended animated controls and widgets that don't consume a ton of CPU (or battery) power. For 3D gaming, clutter could definitely help provide nice UIs that all games, even 3D games need, especially if it's with OpenGL, clutter can operate on the same canvas as the fancy 3D graphics. Right now a lot of open source games often have to either create their own 2D UI libraries on top of OpenGL.

      Before you criticize, perhaps take a look at where Linux desktops and devices are now and where they need to go. Clutter seems to be one of the best ways to get there, even if you don't understand what it does.

      Anyway as a developer I'm not quite sure where clutter directly fits into my programs, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Clutter enables in the higher level toolkits that I do use, such as GTK. Currently trying to make an animated UI element (say a page element that pops up and flips over to show a new page) is very very difficult in GTK. Clutter promises to make this much much easier. Note that Qt already has its own Clutter-like API--maybe they will base their API on a clutter backend much as they've switched their event engine to glib).

      • by Animats (122034)

        For business apps, clutter probably won't really be used directly by developers at all. Instead it will be used by the widget toolkits.

        OK, so we have a widget toolkit on top of a Clutter scene graph on top of OpenGL. Is there a reason for the extra layers?

        • by ultrabot (200914)

          OK, so we have a widget toolkit on top of a Clutter scene graph on top of OpenGL. Is there a reason for the extra layers?

          Yes, it's the same reason we don't write our programs in machine code.

          • That's something I've been thinking about lately. Why is that?
            • by ultrabot (200914)

              That's something I've been thinking about lately. Why is that?

              Surely you jest. Sane development time & maintenance costs, for starters...

        • "OK, so we have a widget toolkit on top of a Clutter scene graph on top of OpenGL. Is there a reason for the extra layers?"

          Yes. It is called abstraction. You will learn about it in Comp. Sci. 101 when you get there ...

      • by vurian (645456)
        Well, Qt can, on X11, optionally use glib's event engine, but it still includes its own as well. It's integration, not replacement.
  • by Bill Dog (726542) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @06:10PM (#28459649) Journal

    Clutter 1.0rc1

    The next version: 2.0gre2

  • Methaphor idiocy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @06:14PM (#28459675)

    Is it just me, or do all these 3D metaphors and even design-by-metaphor concepts look like very stupid concepts to others too?

    If I design something, I do not need metaphors, and they look more like makeshifts (is that a proper English word?) for when you can't come up with ideas yourself.
    Basically it's mostly applying existing concepts to something new, where it does not fit.

    Then that thing with 3D. Everybody wants to do something new, cool, in 3D. But nobody knows what the point of it is.
    If you want an actual 3D interface, it hat so be real 3D. Not only 3D projected onto 2D. And ideally, you have to be able to use it, like you would use a rubics cube. Including using your hands in that way.
    If you got such a device, or are designing for such a future device, I'm sure, a good 3D interface (which in fact will be 4D) will be a benefit.
    But until then, flat is flat is flat. If you shift it to the side, or make it animate "behind" something else, makes really no difference. It's just smoke and mirrors. And like smoke and mirrors, you will not be very efficient with it. (There's a metaphor for you. ^^)

    • by zarzu (1581721)

      the idea behind metaphors is to get people unfamiliar with computers to find something they know and can build on that, but i agree, it's a joke. i have actually never seen how my computers desktop is in any way similar to my actual desktop and every change i have ever made, moved it further away from looking like a desktop.

      i haven't found anything in 3d i like either, workspaces on a cube, woohoo, that's just what i need. i am sticking with my good old blackbox and i doubt anything is gonna change that soo

  • Clutter. Yeah that's what I want on my desktop. Clutter! Goddamn marketing morons.

    • by ianare (1132971)

      Seeing as no one outside developers will be interfacing with it, probably not even knowing it exists for that matter, I don't see the big deal.

    • by ebassi (591699)

      Clutter is an open source project that has been around since 2005, and "marketing morons" have nothing to do with its name. and since it's an API to create applications, toolkits and desktop environment, then you won't have Clutter on your desktop, but your desktop will use Clutter internally.

      oooh, it was a pun on the name! now, I get it.

  • With OpenGL cores becoming more prevalent on SoC (System-on-Chip) devices - e.g. TI's OMAP3530 or Broadcom's 7413 - there's a lot more you can achieve graphically on your mobile phone, set-top box etc. despite the relatively slow CPU core which enables the device the be designed and built cheaply. I have a project which targets these types of devices and so spent a few days playing with Clutter. I came away impressed.

    It presents a very simple C API for building up 3D scenes using 2D objects (images, text
  • a 'theatrical' metaphor in which 2D interface objects are likened to 'actors' moving around on a 3D 'stage,' with developers in the role of 'director.'

    what is a theater? and stage? never heard of.

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