Object Desktop

From ArticleWorld


Object Desktop is a desktop enhancement suite of programs developed by Stardock. It is part of a larger programme, the Object Desktop Network, a subscription-based service which allow Windows and OS/2 desktops to be customized in a variety of ways.

Object Desktop includes several programs which are intended to improve the desktop experience, adding several interesting and graphically appealing effects, widgets and skins.

The programs

Object Desktop is a suite of several programs. Windows versions include a large number of programs that deal with almost every part of the desktop, from the system tray to the look of the windows. The most important parts are:

  • Stardock Central. This is the main interface of the Object Desktop Network, with several functions, acting like a package manager but also including a web interface.
  • Desktop Gadgets. These are a set of widgets like any kind of objects, developed for DesktopX. DesktopX itself is an engine used to run the Desktop Gadgets, which are roughly equivalent to the Macintosh desklets. They perform various functions, from simple clocks and memory meters to complex MP3 players and To-Do lists.
  • ObjectBar, which is a shell-add-on functioning around several "bars". It is commonly used by Windows 98/Me users who want to have an XP-like taskbar.
  • WindowBlinds, which has been available as a stand-alone program for a long time. WindowBlinds can skin the window borders, controls and the taskbar using skins of any complexity. Every program can be skinned, as long as it does not implement its own drawing engine, so most Windows programs are easily skinnable.
  • WindowFX, a program that enables special effects when performing operations on windows.

Many of these programs are very intensive in terms of CPU and graphics demands. ObjectDesktop is, in general, targeted for the users with more powerful systems, although some components do not require too much processing power.

Subscription

The Object Desktop Network subscription is not free, and requires one initial fee that allows the network to be used for one year. This has been quite often criticized, as the service was, initially, free (although the Object Desktop suite itself was not freeware). Nevertheless, many users choose to subscribe, making ObjectDesktop one of the most popular packages of its kind.