Who, What, Why?
Oracle stops development of Project Wonderland
Ironic. A day after discovering this glowing oracle-branded summary of the amazing immersive collaboration platform that Sun had put together in Project Wonderland, the Wonderland developers tell us that Oracle have pulled the plug. They are putting a brave face on it - it didn't exactly come as a total surprise to the team or indeed anyone else - like most Virtual World developers, my heart sank the day Oracle bought Sun. Some of the existing team hope to create both commercial and not-for-profit enterprises out of the ashes, citing a few existing Wonderland commercial developers as proof that there is something to it. Well, there's certainly something to it technically at least. Unlike Second Life and OpenSim-based enterprise collaboration systems, Wonderland was designed from the ground up as a serious work environment, specifically to solve the problem of allowing employees who were out of the office to continue to interact with their colleagues just as if they hadn't left. The telephony features alone are really tremendous, and by leveraging the existing X-windows protocol, there is proper built-in application sharing with OpenOffice documents, whiteboards and web-browsing. This means real server-based shared web-browsing where I see what you see, not the Linden Labs style embedded browser client coming in SL Viewer 2.0 that is different for each viewer. What about dragging and dropping documents and resources from the desktop straight into a meeting? Yes, that's there too. The graphics have been criticised quite rightly in the past, but the 0.5 release leaps into far less cartoony territory, and looks ready to start creating a convicing sense of immersion. Both server and client are built on java, so there is a massive base of developers round the world who could get involved and development tools and environments for java are fantastic. If there's anything missing technically it's probably rich gesture animations and voice gestures/lip sync, and a browser based client. But technically, it looks great.
The problem is that like OpenSim all the intiaitives and developments around Wonderland have been technical. It is geek heaven. But if a potential enterprise user read the glowing summary and thought "Wow this sounds useful. Where do I start?" they would have a mountain to climb. What seems missing is the business perspective,the return on investment arguments,the convincing real world enterprise success stories. Also needed is a way to jump into a Wonderland world and start experimenting with it straight away, preferably in a private space you could invite a colleague to with a clean simple interface and good help resources in the form of newbie training videos and orientation, or even people available in the space to help you. The Amphisocial folk have to be given credit here for creating something that integrates Wonderland into a web platform for launching meetings and collaborating, and at Flying Island, the company I work with, we are also looking closely at Wonderland as part of our collaboration solution.
So I really hope that the team can put something together and I hope that it has a serious business focus. I'm really looking forward to the 0.5 release and a roadmap for the future, and that the promise of Wonderland is fulfilled.
antojames - Tue 13 Mar 2012 10:04 GMT
Ascetshoisilt - Thu 08 Mar 2012 06:23 GMT
keithferrer - Wed 15 Feb 2012 04:12 GMT
june - Thu 09 Feb 2012 06:46 GMT
Rite - Tue 07 Feb 2012 06:36 GMT