Slashdot points to the results of the NSF’s Science and Engineering Visualisation Challenge, in which the first prize in the Illustrations category has been claimed by the Innolab 3D File Manager, which was developed on Linux. Writes the magazine:
This Ferris wheel-like arrangement may be the next elegant solution for managing unwieldy amounts of information.
The three-dimensional interface organizes computer contents by their relationships rather than their physical position on a hard drive. Each spider-web thread marks the ties between folders holding contents related to the open file folder (in the center in purple). Colors show how the other folders are related: The red folder is the parent one, blue folders are subdirectories, and the yellow and gray folders are located elsewhere but relate somehow to the central folder.
The program displays relationships that would not be clear in a normal two-dimensional file tree, says Adam Miezianko, who created it with three fellow seniors at Boston University in Massachusetts. Miezianko says the system, built with OpenGL on a Linux platform, could be applied to any sort of hierarchical database, from corporate organizational charts to genetic or ecosystems data. The software could find, for example, all far-flung files containing data on mammals that live in tree canopies. The user can rotate, zoom into, pan across, and spin the three-dimensional file tree to see all possible links with varying criteria.
The screen snapshot the team submitted from the program is “visually striking,” says panel of judges member Boyce Rensberger. “It’s a good example of a way of organizing somewhat abstract information into categories, things that are normally not visual … showing degrees of relationship.”
While the concept is interesting, one look at the ferris wheel makes me wonder how I will find files there!