Remember Compiz Fusion, the special effects plugin system from the world of GNU/Linux that brought heaps of cool shiz like cube workspaces, wobbly window movements, and raindrops? I’ve probably mentioned it somewhere before. Well thanks to the publicity Compiz Fusion gets, envious Windows users go around creating look-a-likes.

CubeDesktop seems to be the most recent addition to this plethora of clones. The website doesn’t mention it, but it imitates Compiz Fusion disturbingly closely – down to the control panel itself, with 32×32 icons found on a grid with labels on the side. It has the standard cube, as well as a Mac OS X Leopard-like workspaces display which is found in Compiz Fusion as the “expo” plugin. It also has a whole bunch of flipping and rotating workspace views, which are pretty similar to the cube apart from the fact that they look slightly different.

The software also has a “Window Exposer”, much like the one found on Compiz Fusion, except it failed to work on my computer so I will not comment further on it.

The speed is alright, although it definitely can’t compare to Compiz Fusion – yet. I had to switch off a few effects (well, actually, a lot) to make the thing run at a decent pace – and even then it would cause iTunes to momentarily freeze whenever activated. Not good.

And why am I giving free publicity to these expensive pieces of software? Because they are essentially proof-of-concepts. I mean, the creators can advertise all they want about how they “boost your productivity”, but realistically, they probably reduce your productivity. The important thing is that they prove that these effects can actually be achieved on Windows, and hopefully, after a few more release cycles, these clones will be useful enough to actually, as aforementioned, “boost your productivity”.

Annoyingly, CubeDesktop costs money – 9.95 euros, which, at the current exchange rate, is 16.8667851 Australian dollars – cheaper than DeskSpace, another cube thing, but hey, there’s always Yod’m, and then again Compiz Fusion gives it to you for free. After the jump for screenshots.

The Desktop Cube works as advertised. I’ve turned off the reflection among other things to speed it up. Notice how the bottom and top have workspaces as well – something not found in Compiz Fusion as far as I know.

The “desktop roll” reminds one of the insides of a washing machine. It has to distort things a lot more, and hence is incredibly slow – yes, even more so than the cube.

The “Carousel” is essentially an exploded cube with the top and bottom faces shoved on the side.

“Desktop flip” is yet another workspaces viewer – this time, it imitates the flip effects found in Mac OS X and Windows Vista.

And finally, the “Desktop Explorer”. Very similar to the expo plugin from Compiz Fusion; displays workspaces in a plain grid. Simple yet efficient – just the way I like them.