The Web3D Consortium has just announced that its standardisation activities will now be open to the public, enabling non-members to participate in development of the specification at all stages rather than just during the public review prior to final approval. There is still the opportunity for private discussion limited to consortium members for those concerned about commercial or other factors, but the overall emphasis is clearly on making this as open as possible.
X3D is an open ISO standard for representing information about computer generated 3D environments and objects. Unlike its predecessor, Virtual Reality Modelling (or Markup) Language (VRML), X3D features integration with HTML, and extends the range of effects supported. X3D is supported by some high profile systems such as the Blender design tool and Sun’s Project Wonderland.
At a time when closed, proprietary players such as Linden Labs are seeing large numbers of layoffs, with inevitable concern from Second Life’s active education community about the potential loss of a huge amount of work and resources should this trend continue, adopting an open approach to development seems a very sensible decision.