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View Full Version : Microsoft Surface =/= FOSS



Woolio1
February 18th, 2010, 03:52 AM
Okay! Hello, people of the Ubuntu forums. It's me again, Henry Ericson, with another brilliant suggestion. This one focuses on the Microsoft Surface display, a large table with a glass top. Inside is a projector, a very fast PC, and a series of Infrared cameras that pick up whatever is placed on the glass.

It's really an amazing creation, and has a myriad of uses. The bad news is it's only available to companies (currently), and it isn't Open Source... Just think of what it could be if it were!

So, I'm asking all the hardware and coding junkies here in this forum to help with the production of one of these devices. Who knows? We may have a device that you can build for very little, and even make it yourself!

LINKS

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface

Giant Speck
February 18th, 2010, 04:16 AM
Wait... Microsoft makes products that aren't open source? You don't say! :P

Islington
February 18th, 2010, 04:20 AM
Wait... Microsoft makes products that aren't open source? You don't say! :P

You mean to say Linux isn't closed source‽‽‽

that is so not secure, I am switching to microsoft right away.

Mr. Picklesworth
February 18th, 2010, 05:13 AM
Here you go:
http://nuigroup.com/

Your analysis of the technology is pretty accurate, but it's important to know that Microsoft did not invent the underlying technology.

There are a few different approaches; Surface does Diffused Illumination (http://wiki.nuigroup.com/Diffused_Illumination_(DI)). It's one of the cheaper ways to do it, and a bit more flexible. Everything is inside a deep table with a sheet of frosted glass on top. Lots of IR light sources inside, pointing outwards, so that the surface is evenly lit. A camera (or a bunch of them) with a filter on top so it only picks up the IR being reflected (by pretty well anything; the paintbrush demo is my favourite). The glass plays with optics appropriately, so things fade away the further away they are.
Now throw in some nice image analysis software, stick a good projector behind or above the glass (making sure it won't melt), and you're golden!

Woolio1
February 18th, 2010, 02:19 PM
Wait... Microsoft makes products that aren't open source? You don't say! :P

Please don't troll on my thread. Thank you.

Henry Ericson

NoaHall
February 18th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Okay! Hello, people of the Ubuntu forums. It's me again, Henry Ericson, with another brilliant suggestion. This one focuses on the Microsoft Surface display, a large table with a glass top. Inside is a projector, a very fast PC, and a series of Infrared cameras that pick up whatever is placed on the glass.

It's really an amazing creation, and has a myriad of uses. The bad news is it's only available to companies (currently), and it isn't Open Source... Just think of what it could be if it were!

So, I'm asking all the hardware and coding junkies here in this forum to help with the production of one of these devices. Who knows? We may have a device that you can build for very little, and even make it yourself!

LINKS

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface

Who are you? I've never heard of you before.

Tristam Green
February 18th, 2010, 03:24 PM
He's Henry Ericson.

In regards to the OP:

Microsoft Surface isn't FOSS because it isn't software. It's hardware that runs Vista.

Giant Speck
February 18th, 2010, 03:26 PM
Please don't troll on my thread. Thank you.

Henry Ericson

Um... excuse me?

schauerlich
February 18th, 2010, 03:57 PM
Wait... Microsoft makes products that aren't open source? You don't say! :P


Please don't troll on my thread. Thank you.

Henry Ericson


Um... excuse me?

http://grab.by/grabs/46ea10f84cbc6c273b0f4427b2615833.png

Hyporeal
February 18th, 2010, 04:28 PM
It's really an amazing creation, and has a myriad of uses. The bad news is it's only available to companies (currently), and it isn't Open Source... Just think of what it could be if it were!

Could you elaborate? It sounds like a fun toy, but the price tag puts it well out of my budget for toys. What are the potential uses of this device?

Woolio1
February 18th, 2010, 04:35 PM
Um... excuse me?

You didn't post anything of any use, at all. Therefore, the only thing you could've been doing was title skimming. Had you actually read the body of the post, you'd have seen that I'm trying to build one of these things using only Open Source Software.

So please, if you don't have anything that doesn't add to the post, please do not post at all.

Thank you,
Henry Ericson

Woolio1
February 18th, 2010, 04:39 PM
Could you elaborate? It sounds like a fun toy, but the price tag puts it well out of my budget for toys. What are the potential uses of this device?

It's supposed to replace the traditional computer. Instead of a mouse, keyboard, and screen, everything is contained in the device. Placing an object on the surface will result in the device recognizing the exact shape of the object's footprint. Depending on the program it's running, what the object triggers will be different. Rolling something across the screen in a paint app will result in a line, whereas placing something triangular in the News Stream app will split the News Stream into multiple categorized streams.

Henry Ericson

unknownPoster
February 18th, 2010, 05:44 PM
...Had you actually read the body of the post, you'd have seen that I'm trying to build one of these things using only Open Source Software.

So please, if you don't have anything that doesn't add to the post, please do not post at all.

Thank you,
Henry Ericson



It's really an amazing creation, and has a myriad of uses. The bad news is it's only available to companies (currently), and it isn't Open Source... Just think of what it could be if it were!




I think Giant Speck did read your post. Your original post seems to indicate some sort of disgust/surprise that Microsoft built a non-opensource product and Giant Speck was just remarking on that.
:popcorn:

Giant Speck
February 18th, 2010, 05:45 PM
You didn't post anything of any use, at all. Therefore, the only thing you could've been doing was title skimming. Had you actually read the body of the post, you'd have seen that I'm trying to build one of these things using only Open Source Software.

So please, if you don't have anything that doesn't add to the post, please do not post at all.

Thank you,
Henry Ericson

I was making a joke based on the seemingly obvious statement that Microsoft produces closed-source products. I apologize for seeming "pointless" to you, Woolio.

Groucho Marxist
February 18th, 2010, 05:46 PM
http://grab.by/grabs/46ea10f84cbc6c273b0f4427b2615833.png

+1 for a jolly good laugh


Okay! Hello, people of the Ubuntu forums. It's me again, Henry Ericson, with another brilliant suggestion. This one focuses on the Microsoft Surface display, a large table with a glass top. Inside is a projector, a very fast PC, and a series of Infrared cameras that pick up whatever is placed on the glass.

It's really an amazing creation, and has a myriad of uses. The bad news is it's only available to companies (currently), and it isn't Open Source... Just think of what it could be if it were!

So, I'm asking all the hardware and coding junkies here in this forum to help with the production of one of these devices. Who knows? We may have a device that you can build for very little, and even make it yourself!

LINKS

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Surface

Has anyone else considered how much this sounds like thinly-veiled Microsoft PR?

NoaHall
February 18th, 2010, 05:46 PM
Now look what you've done. Giant Speck is upset now.
Don't worry, I thought it was a good joke and a good point <3.

Kai69
February 18th, 2010, 11:38 PM
Dont you remember the tables they were used in pubs and clubs with pacman games in them, early 80s I think, must have brought a load from ATARI :lolflag:

juanoleso
February 19th, 2010, 12:30 AM
when I googled


build surface computer

The first website "hit" had intricate instructions on how to build the machine and also discussed using open source libs for the software. I didn't read the whole thing, but it seemed to be pretty close to what you are looking for...

Woolio1
February 19th, 2010, 01:13 AM
when I googled


build surface computer

The first website "hit" had intricate instructions on how to build the machine and also discussed using open source libs for the software. I didn't read the whole thing, but it seemed to be pretty close to what you are looking for...

Oh, thanks! I'm thinking of making one for the school, just to see if I can't pitch Linux after I've already got a foothold. I'm sure something like this would be a great foothold...

Woolio1
February 19th, 2010, 01:14 AM
Has anyone else considered how much this sounds like thinly-veiled Microsoft PR?

Umm... I do not work with Microsoft. I use Windows Seven Ultimate, though... For gaming.

audiomick
February 19th, 2010, 01:54 AM
I am extremely skeptical about such things.
One reason for this is a job I had about 2 years ago at a motor show. Someone had had the bright idea that the presenter could stand at a Plexiglass lectern which was the monitor of a computer. The screen on the lectern was also projected onto a big screen behind the presenter so that the people could see what was going on. The lectern was only one layer of plexiglass and see through. The navigation was hand gestures across the screen on the lectern, and all it really did was play films about the product.

Great idea, super high tech image, super cool. They rehearsed with it for 3 days before they had the device sorted out so that it was half way reliable and the presenters knew which gestures would work and which wouldn't. My impression was that such things will probably work one day, but at the moment they are everything other than reliable and easy to use. And the question is, who needs it?

Frak
February 19th, 2010, 02:44 AM
Yes, it is closed source. Microsoft has a tendency to create proprietary applications.

Would I help make a Linux Distribution that would copy Surface's capabilities? Not for free.

Woolio1
February 19th, 2010, 02:46 AM
Yes, it is closed source. Microsoft has a tendency to create proprietary applications.

Would I help make a Linux Distribution that would copy Surface's capabilities? Not for free.

But free is the entire idea of FOSS!

Free Open Source Whodawhatsit.

Giant Speck
February 19th, 2010, 02:51 AM
But free is the entire idea of FOSS!

Free Open Source Whodawhatsit.

The F in FOSS stands for free as in freedom, not free as in beer.

Woolio1
February 19th, 2010, 03:33 AM
The F in FOSS stands for free as in freedom, not free as in beer.

Hmm... So why don't we pay for Ubuntu?

-grubby
February 19th, 2010, 03:38 AM
Hmm... So why don't we pay for Ubuntu?

That doesn't mean it's required to be sold for money, it just means that it can be. The great majority of FOSS software is free anyway.

KiwiNZ
February 19th, 2010, 03:42 AM
Hmm... So why don't we pay for Ubuntu?

You can if you wish

example

http://www.dse.co.nz/dse.shop/4b7dfb0b00f7a1442740c0a87f3b06ea/Product/View/XS8085

dragos240
February 19th, 2010, 03:43 AM
Mah boi. This source code is what all true warriors strive for!

p_quarles
February 19th, 2010, 03:48 AM
Hmm... So why don't we pay for Ubuntu?
Because it's not in Canonical's business model to charge for the OS itself, and it's too reliant on the community-driven development model for that to be likely.

I think Frak and Giant-Speck are saying, though, that something as revolutionary as a tabletop touch UI OS is in a completely different category than something like Ubuntu, which is a very nicely-done prepackaging of existing software based on tried-and-true interface concepts and computing principles. As nice as Ubuntu is, it's not a revolutionary step forward in terms of OSes, or even *nix distributions.

Also: yes, the underlying philosophical justifications of F/LOSS have to do with the exchange of code, concepts and design strategies, as a way of speeding up innovation. Historically, it has very little to do with making binary copies of software available for free to the consumer. The fact that open code leads to the latter is a common side effect, but it was never the principle which led to the movement in the first place. And that's one of the limitations that many developers see in F/LOSS: it might benefit the world more if I released my source code to everyone for nothing in return, but how do I feed my kids if I do that?

Look, it's turned out to be a valid and great business strategy for those who wish to provide software as a way of influencing the framework in which development takes place. This is Google's gambit with Android, for instance. But it's not the only business model, and I agree with those who say that the code for something as revolutionary as Surface might not be something you give up without getting something significant in return.