Ah, those crazy Linux-using, Deviant Art artists. Someone has created an anaglyph theme for the GNOME (Linux) desktop. Don some red and blue-tinted glasses, and watch your desktop pop out of your screen. After all, it’s not as though all this Vista Aero glass and drop shadow and flying windows and such makes it really look 3D. (This should make animated transitions look … interesting.)

Useless? Of course. But then, as always I see a deeper theme: I think the standard desktop UI is not long for this world. Skins have been around forever, but computer vendors and OS makers had long kept their own stamp on the way we use our computers. That was before the Web, before Flash, AIR, Silverlight, JavaFX, new JavaScript frameworks, running everything in Firefox and WebKit, mobile devices, Linux on netbooks — you get the picture.

Anaglyph Theme by ~11e097 [GPL, for any *nix running GNOME]

So, impractical as this may be, it may be closer to the future than everything else. That’s worth considering as the PC press obsess over subtle changes to UI in Windows 7. Desktop widgets remain important, but increasingly UI design is unique, specific to the application — and sometimes, if you so desire, downright bizarre.

And with those changes, I imagine the line between “motion graphics” and “user interface” will continue to blur. That could wind up being more revolutionary in the long haul than it seems now, as it would mean the design for Web finally becomes less like print — and not just in silly Flash sites that you have to sit through to get through content, but in a way that’s integrated with functionality. I expect that the fact that efforts so far have been so poor only illustrates that it’s early in the game.