A Secure Virtual 3D Collaboration Environment
by Brad Fuller
Qwaq announced a secure virtual workspace product, called Qwaq Forums, yesterday. It runs on recent Linux, Windows and Mac computers. The product signifies an important milestone for the open-source Croquet project and Squeak. Although Squeak is already the foundation for many great applications (Etoys, Etoys on OLPC, Seaside web server, the Sophie multimedia document creator, to name a few), this announcement catapults Croquet quickly into the business realm.
What is a Qwaq Forum? Unfortunately, I can't give you first hand report on Qwaq Forums. Hopefully, someone will place a video demo online for us to view. I can tell you about Croquet, though. It's an open source 3D development environment to create distributed multi-user virtual 3D applications. It's quite a freeing feeling walking, talking and collaborating with others and directly with applications floating in air. Anyone can download Croquet and try it out. Please do, you'll have fun.
Back to Qwaq Forums. The site says that Qwaq Forums are "virtual spaces for real work." I imagine a room where the Forum owner can maintain the security level of the room and of each person entering (or not) - from individual rights all the way to anonymous users. Picture a secure office that can be locked up at night with a security card reader on the door - but you don't have to physically travel to use the room! Being a user of Croquet, I can easily see how the room would work. Besides what I mentioned previously, you can also write code and change your environment in Croquet - it's a totally open platform.
An important feature that Qwaq cites is persistence: "all users can see all previous changes and additions" in the Forums and teams can maintain their work and the progress made. From the datasheet: "Setting up a Qwaq Forum is simple: start by simply dragging and dropping content into a workspace in Qwaq Forums. All otgher users present will see the content immediately and will be able to start working with it right away." I don't know what could be easier.
I won't know more about the Forums until I get my hands on it. If a video becomes available, let me know. In the meantime, check out Croquet and Squeak and see what you can do with it - your application in this 3D space could literally change the world. The field, uh.. virtual space, is wide open!
I'm just wondering have you 'got your hands on it'...I would appreciate if you could post some new links about Forums. I found some info about it, but I'm trying to get some more...
You can always contact Qwaq. Let us know what you find.