Layoffs Won't Stop Project Wonderland

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 05, 2010

Hats off to the Project Wonderland developers. Despite Oracle laying them off, the team will continue work on Project Wonderland. According to the project blog the core group behind the 3D virtual world toolkit believes in the open source project enough to keep working on it without backing from Oracle.

Despite the layoffs, Nicole Yankelovich, who was the project team lead before being cut by Oracle, says that the project has "great momentum." Nicole Yankelovich, who was project lead before being cut by Oracle, says that the team is pursuing for-profit and not-for-profit options, and things look good:

To our knowledge, there are currently three companies offering Wonderland-related products, and eight companies offering Wonderland world-building services. There are countless exciting university projects and a number of corporations that have seen the advantages of Wonderland over other platforms. We are seeing new people posting on the forums almost every day.

Yankelovich wrote that the team already has some leads, because the layoffs were anticipated prior to Oracle finally acquiring Sun last week.

Project Wonderland is a Java-based 3D toolkit for creating virtual worlds licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). According to Hypergrid Business the project compares to Second Life and OpenSim, but has a few rough edges and a few advantages over competing platforms:

For users familiar with the Second Life or OpenSim worlds, Wonderland still lacks some functionality, however. For example, it's not as easy to change the world from the inside. Wonderland users can bring in 3D objects, documents and images and move them around. But they can't create new objects from scratch or modify existing objects. By comparison, Second Life and OpenSim supports in-world editing of objects. Say, for example, an architect is doing a walk-through tour of a new building and the client wants a new color on the wall — the architect can make that change right there, without leaving the world. Enterprise users that like the flexibility of being able to change a virtual world without learning how to use a 3D modeling program may prefer another platform. But enterprises that rely on professional developers to create a world — or who are able to use a pre-made world — may prefer the Wonderland approach.

With all the worry over MySQL, it seems people overlooked a lot of other projects that were in the line of fire once Oracle completed the merger. The good news is that projects like Wonderland can continue development if there is a committed community behind them, though it's got to be disheartening for the developers who had a good home with Sun to do open source development.

The actual project will remain hosted at, the blogs have been moved to because the Sun blogs are only open to employees. A new release is expected in the next week or so. If the project is as good as the team is motivated, it should go far.