Cairo is a Windows Shell alternative designed to run on both Windows Vista and Windows XP. The project is currently in the pre-alpha stage, and scheduled to go public next week. At this point in time, Cairo is served only to the users that sign up in the Milestone 1 testing phase of the project. The brainchild of Michael Ciarlo, Cairo Designer/Developer, the Windows Shell alternative comes with the stated goal of redefining the desktop experience. In fact, the slogan that accompanies the Cairo brand is “welcome to the revolution.”
“Throughout the development process we will be releasing milestones, alphas, betas, and release candidates—milestones marking the furthest from completion and release candidate the closest. The UI in [the] image [toward the bottom] represents a Milestone 1 UI, meaning that we have begun taking all of our UI work and consolidating it towards a final interface. Like Microsoft or Apple, this UI may evolve substantially over the course of its development. The alpha available soon will be a Milestone 1 release, meaning it will mark the first leap towards getting Cairo out into the world. The UI milestones are not necessarily going to coincide with the release milestones,” said Cairo Team.
In the end, Cairo, from the perspective of an alternative Windows Shell, comes to the table as a new approach to offering a graphical user interface to Microsoft’s proprietary operating system. One thing that Cairo developers and designers need to keep focus on, in this context, is the balance between functionality, eye candy and resource consumption. By all means, this equilibrium is not achieved with Windows Aero. Cairo will feature a Start-Bar, Multi-Desktop capabilities, File Explorer, File and Application Grouping, Launcher, and Dynamic Desktop.
“With Cairo you can transform your desktop from the dated Windows user-interface to a brand new system that will change the way you use your computer forever. Taking advantage of proven functionality, and with stability and performance in mind, the Cairo Desktop system aims to give users a productive and easy to use shell that advances current technology standards. Welcome to the Revolution,” reads a message on the official Cairo website.