Though its still years away from release, Microsoft showed off a future 3D interface last week at WinHEC dubbed "GDI 2000". The name comes from the current version of the Windows graphical library for programmers, called the GDI (Graphics Device Interface). GDI 2000 isn't expected until after the release of Windows NT 5.0, according to Kevin Bachus, the DirectX product manager at Microsoft. At that point, it should become the default user interface for Windows.
"The name should be a good indication of when we expect to ship," he said.
GDI 2000 will tightly integrate the old GDI with DirectDraw and Direct3D, two 3D graphics interfaces in Microsoft's DirectX. Bachus says GDI 2000 will take advantage of hardware-accelerated video cards, such as those that use 3DFX chipsets, though it will still run on normal 2D cards as well. With a 3D interface, Windows users will be able to arrange windows--which will no longer be limited to square shapes--in a three-dimensional space. Windows will also make use of numerous real-time animations, according to Bachus