The next generation vision of your future desktop

The next generation vision of your future desktop

Summary: It really isn't often I can say, "I have seen the future" in a Darth Vader sort of voice, but I genuinely believe I have.


It really isn't often I can say, "I have seen the future" in a Darth Vader sort of voice, but I genuinely believe I have. I know how messy a students' desk can be like, partly because I am one and my desk is an absolute mess. On the average student desk, I have seen:

  • a printer, a cup of tea/coffee, computer speakers;
  • a hole punch; several Post-it notes, an iPod;
  • three separate essays, a pack of cigarettes;
  • three (and a half; this is an average remember) books;
  • a scrap of paper with a shopping list scribbled on it,
  • headphones, a picture frame of family and/or friends in,
  • a cigarette lighter, Blu-Tack, and their university ID card.

Some of these obviously can't be placed on your physical desktop, but BumpTop, a revolutionary new desktop visualisation software has evolved my student ways for the better. It has transformed my desktop into a three-dimensional utopia, allowing me to post things on either side of my screen and on the desk-part; it makes my desktop feel like it's my actual desk. Anything in bold above, can be achieved with BumpTop.

The software is only in preliminary beta, and has been for quite a while considering it's currently at the 17th beta phase. It was shown off at the TED 2007 Conference and has been taking the web by storm, even though it is currently only in private testing. The media, such as myself, have been all over it like a nasty rash, but nothing but good has come out of this amazing software.

It's called "BumpTop" because everything on your desktop, replacing your standard Windows desktop, can be shifted and bumped about. By tapping an icon with another icon bumps it in a calculated direction, making it seamlessly similar yet different enough to how a real desktop works. The taskbar remains in place, but having certain themes attached to the application give Windows 7 an entirely new light.


You can grow icons, shrink icons, change the icon colours and change the layout, angle and perspective on your desktop items, lasso around your items and bump them together or even stack them in a pile. Using a carefully set algorithm of physics, mathematics and general understanding of the x, y and z axis, this software can entirely transform your desktop, and your busy and hectic lives. You can even add a Flickr stream or RSS feed to your wall; a similar but more compact version of the desktop slideshow in Windows 7.

There are many areas of BumpTop which can be built upon, and hopefully we'll see more developer angles in the near future. Nobody says it has to stay exactly the way it is; maybe a few more "gadgets" on your desktop, perhaps. Considering BumpTop uses around the same amount of memory as the Desktop Window Manager in Windows 7, it wouldn't be a bad addition to the operating system.

There's one thing for sure, is that this is the next generation desktop, and I'm surprised Microsoft haven't thought about adding this to Windows 7.

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft

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  • Try Compiz Fusion

    Old news, Zach. Stuff like that has been around in Linux for years: check the fabulous bling-bling of Compiz Fusion.

    I tried Compiz for the first time in the spring of 2007, on my Ubuntu box. Nice to play with, but after a while I discovered that I prefer a more Spartan desktop, that uses as few resources as possible.

    In short: a clean and simple Gnome desktop is fine by me.
    • Compiz Fusion

      You have two problems with your suggestion.
      1) the review wasn't on a linux based operating system. (though honestly I do wish at times Compliz-Fusion would work on windows).

      2) Compliz-Fusion may be dying.
      • For info

        Quite a bit of the Compiz code is being cleaned up and added to KDE4, as KDE4 is progressed expect to see more desktop effects added. I think it may be plug-in extensible ready in KDE4 but you'll have to ask one of the developers that question or pour over the source yourself (nice that your able to do that isn't it ?) to find out.

        NB The headline was "The next generation vision of your future desktop" not the Windows desktop which incidentally is not MY future desktop. If Zack doesn't want the "other crowd" here then he should change his headline.
        Alan Smithie
  • Seconded Compiz Fusion

    Old news, MundaneSoft ripping off OSX, KDE4 and CF then pretending they invented it.

    I do find some things useful in fusion as I often have lots of things on the go at once. As for resource on the DT it uses way less than Vista with all the bling on by comparison. If I want minimal it's off to the command line.
    Alan Smithie
  • Is "killing Linux"

    supposed to be more like it?
  • Looks pretty cool...

    ...definatly will try it out when a public Beta is released.

    Yes Compiz Fusion is nice, but Windows doesn't have anything like it so whats the point in saying "old news", because yes for Linux it is, but for Windows its new.

    This also isn't MS ripping anything off, because it isn't made my MS...
  • RE: The next generation vision of your future desktop

    Maybe so, but not for Windows it isn't ;)
  • And nothing about how it should work?

    People seem too busy watching fancy graphics with big, dish-sized eyes. No one seem to care about functionality and how to get more things done.

    I'd like to see studies on number of clicks to do certain tasks, how much time it took and how difficult (or not) it was, comparing the main platforms and GUIs.

    I want to actually work with my computer. What do you want? More fancy graphics?
  • 3D = overkill. Fences = practical

    I'm using Stardock's Fences beta... way more practical than bumptop.

    Lets you draw areas on your desktop to put icons in to.. works with windows instead of replacing it. Has worked out great for me so far
  • RE: The next generation vision of your future desktop

    Outside of making the experience a little more fun (which only lasts for a limited time) I really don't see how this application helps to improve useability or productivity. If its just for shits and giggles then I think its a pretty cool project but not one I'd buy.
  • BumpTop deserves a better review than this

    I'm a BumpTop user/beta tester and I found this very shallow review to be poorly written and poorly researched.

    Bumptop's functionality is totally overshadowed by it's graphical presentation and it's no wonder everyone has been sidetracked by that.

    Did the writer actually spend any time with the software or did he just watch some YouTube videos?

    A better, more indepth review of Bumptop is here at the GottaBeMobile discussion forums.