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Wonderland being sorta-kinda abandoned by Sun/Oracle

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Wonderland screenshot

Slashdot reported that Sun’s Project Darkstar Game Server Platform is going bye bye in light of the acquisition by Oracle.

This immediately made me think of Sun’s Project Wonderland and I’m sad to report that it looks like it’s getting the same treatment.

From the Wonderland Blog

I know everyone likes to get the bad news over with first, so I’ll start with that. We found out on Friday that development resources are no longer being applied to Project Wonderland.

The good news is that those of us who have worked so hard to bring this project to life still wholeheartedly believe in it. A core group of the Wonderland team intends to keep the project going. We will be pursuing both for-profit and not-for-profit options that will allow us to become a self-sustaining organization. Having anticipated this possible outcome, we already have some promising irons in the fire.

The project doesn’t seem to be dead, it’s just not getting attention from Sun. I’m not prematurely decrying the death of Wonderland, but it had a lot of promise! Personally, after having some good interactions with Second Life and VOIP I see this as the way workplaces could be in a decade.

Consider a small business, outsourcing all around the world, spending $300 a month on a “Sim” server rather than $5000 a month on a physical office space with everyone tied to the same city. It’s telecommuting on steroids, and it’s not pie in the sky at all.

I recently attended a talk with some of the people behind the Second Life powered IBM Business Center. The one thing I really took away was that this is not just fun and games. Enterprises are serious about this as a method for effective communications and collaboration.

In the end, I wish the best for Wonderland and I hope Oracle isn’t being short sighted in it’s attempts to satisfy the bottom line by cutting back on new development.

Update: From the comments at The Sun Wonderland Blog, some wise words on the health of projects that are cut loose by corporations..

This is a point I am working at trying to keep clear in Twitterspace and in the blogosphere: the fact that Oracle has elected to stop supporting Project Wonderland by providing paid developers to work on it does not mean the end of the project. There are many open-source projects — even on java.net — that have no direct developer support from Sun.

As Stefan points out, OpenSimulator (a reverse-engineered open-source implemenation of Linden Research’s Second Life server, written in Microsoft’s C# language) has no large-scale corporate contribution of developer talent that I’m aware of, yet it appears to be doing well as a project.

Havning some familiarity with both sides of the SL/PW fence, it’s my opinion that Wonderland has some highly significant advantages over the SL legacy architecture; surely if the OpenSimulator team can cope with the barroque gallimaufry that is Second Life, we can move the Project Wonderland codebase forward without Oracle’s patronage.

It’s fortunate that Nicole’s team together with the rest of the community have been able to bring us very close to the 0.5 pre 3 state while Sun was providing an incubator; I think the current PW functionality serves as a strong argument for continued work, and will speak compellingly to a number of possible sources of further support.

Looking forward to our first post-Snoracle community meeting, which will take place (where else?) in a Project Wonderland instance!

Posted by MaggieL on February 02, 2010 at 07:30 AM PST #

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