The Open Wonderland Foundation is a non-profit devoted to providing a free and open-source platform for virtual worlds based on Project Wonderland - the open-source virtual world platform originally supported by Sun.
The Foundation has created a new virtual world platform called the Open Wonderland platform, which is a fork of the Project Wonderland toolkit. This free and open source platform is designed for those wanting to create 3D virtual worlds for education, business, and government applications.
Unlike other open source projects that fork, there is no acrimony involved in this instance, explains the Foundation. The same people who were passionate about Project Wonderland, both from Sun and in the broader open source community, are taking the initiative to advance the technology under the Open Wonderland umbrella.
Nicole Yankelovich, who initiated and ran the Wonderland project during her tenure at Sun, has accepted the position of executive director of the Open Wonderland Foundation. Yankelovich will oversee the transition of the project.
"While leadership of the Wonderland project is now in the hands of the Foundation and the open source community," she explains, "many important aspects of the project will remain unchanged. Many of the original Wonderland core team members will continue to contribute to the open source project and the new leadership is more committed than ever to advancing both immersive education and business collaboration."
Sun team members transitioning support to the new Open Wonderland project include Wonderland architect Jonathan Kaplan, who reports: "Now that we have the new open source project established on Google Code, we're actively preparing for the next software release. This will be an incremental release that includes some important updates."
Team members have been working on new modules to contribute to the Wonderland Module Warehouse - a clearinghouse for both free and commercial Wonderland extensions.
The Foundation has also established a Board of Directors for Open Wonderland. Members include Professor John Belcher from MIT, Michael Gardner from the University of Essex, Andy Zbinden from the University of Zurich, Warren Sheaffer from Saint Paul College, and CEO of Virtual Learning Labs Ken Miller, who will serve as the Foundation's first president and chairman of the board.
User support for Open Wonderland has been strong. Aaron Walsh, Grid Institute director and head of the Immersive Education Initiative, has stated that Wonderland will continue to be an official Immersive Education Initiative virtual world platform. "Both the platform and the content are open," explains Walsh, "which is vital for education in both the short and long term."
Others who have indicated they will continue to support Wonderland are Darwin Dimensions, the creators of Evolver, a web site for creating avatars, including ones that can be used in Wonderland worlds. AmphiSocial, a provider of next-generation 3D collaboration and training environments, is also moving ahead with plans to use Wonderland as one of the platforms underlying their new product.
The Open Wonderland Foundation will be supported by grants, private contributions, and non-profit and corporate donations. To try Open Wonderland, join the open source community, or provide financial support to the Foundation in carrying out its mission of continuing to evolve the Open Wonderland platform, visit http://OpenWonderland.org.
Open Wonderland Web site
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