DesktopX - History

1994: IBM and Apple team up and launch Taligent, a new OS that would have an object-oriented desktop. Microsoft counters by referring to its next generation OS that would be code-named "Cairo" that would provide an "object oriented" desktop environment.

1996: IBM invites Stardock to Austin Texas for an exclusive demonstrate of what would have been OS/2 Warp 5. IBM demonstrates how OpenDoc would be used to extend the desktop beyond the limitations of "static icons" by having live objects  (called OpenDoc parts) be on the desktop.

The OpenDoc enabled desktop would allow developers to create parts that could extend the desktop without having to develop "full blown" applications. And companies would be able to put together custom environments.  OS/2 Warp 5 was never released.

1998: Stardock announces Object Desktop for Windows. Amongst its core features would be a program that would change the look & feel of the Windows GUI (WindowBlinds) and a program that would extend the Windows desktop to support true objects (DesktopX).

1999: Teams up with developer Alberto Riccio to lead the project.  DesktopX Whitepaper released. It envisioned a program that would extend Windows to support "live objects" that could have scripts of any scripting language attached to them. Clocks, calendars, MP3 players, Factory monitoring, Stock tickers, system resource monitoring are the kinds of things one might want to have on the desktop. Things that don't make sense to have as a full blown application but are still useful.

2000: DesktopX 1.0 is released. It allows users to add objects to their desktops and use those objects to add functionality or to design completely new desktops. These objects and desktops can then be exported for others to use making it much easier for users to create content that was once only possible by expert software developers.

Most of the early objects were cosmetic in nature - "super icons". Internet Explorer "objects" that zoomed up in size on mouse over, Animated icons on the desktop, and more made DesktopX 1.0 an early hit.  The first clocks, news tickers, system resource monitors, mail checkers, MP3 players and other "live" objects begin to show up.

2001: DesktopX 1.3 released. It enabled users to begin attaching scripts written JavaScript or VB Script to be attached to objects.

It is also about this time that Stardock runs into the downside of such ease of use -- buggy content makes DesktopX itself look frail. Since all objects run in the same memory space, if one object is buggy, it brings down all of DesktopX. Also, some objects could use tens of megabytes of memory (this in 2001) due to animation causing some new users to conclude that DesktopX itself was not just buggy but consumed too much memory to be practical.

2002: Stardock begins development of DesktopX 2. The goal is to allow users to export their objects as programs that run in their own space as .EXEs. The term "widget" is used to describe these exported objects.

2003: DesktopX 2.0 released with support for exporting objects as widgets.  Lots of objects, widgets and themes are made.

2004: Stardock releases DesktopX Pro 2. It allows users to export their widgets as stand-alone programs. But fearing that its generated content may compete with its profitable "gadget business" (selling gadgets to corporations) it prices DesktopX Pro very high and puts restrictive licensing on it.

Sales of DesktopX standard grow though sales of DesktopX Pro remain limited.

Stardock feels the revolutionary nature of DesktopX Pro is not being fully realized by pricing it out of reach of normal developers. The solution: A new website that would allow its development community to create high quality mini-applications to sell (heavily moderated for quality) them.

Users could still sell their gadgets on their own if they chose but this provided the opportunity for developers to work in partnership with Stardock.

2005: DesktopX 3 announced. Pro version price slashed to $69.95 and a client version developed that is designed purely for running content to keep it simple that's only $14.95. announced to enable users who use DesktopX Pro to create stand-alone programs to be able to sell them there if they choose.


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