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An Intro To OpenSim, the Apache of Virtual Worlds 87

ajohnj1 writes with an excerpt from Ostatic: "You've probably read a bit about OpenSim, the BSD-licensed virtual world server, and recent news that IBM and Linden Lab are working to make Second Life and Open Sim interoperable. Besides that project, what's Open Sim about, who's working on it, what are they doing with it, and how do you get involved as a developer and participant? Here's a starter's guide."
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An Intro To OpenSim, the Apache of Virtual Worlds

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  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlXtreme ( 223728 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:48AM (#24657727) Homepage Journal

    After all the hype of Second Life, and the realization that only a bunch of furries and other weirdos [] (NSFW) are into it, why prolong the suffering of SL with initiatives like these?

    The problem with all 'virtual worlds' is simply that they are boring. There is nothing more for the average user to do than walk around and be a good little virtual consumer of virtual products. This in contrast with the massively popular MMORPGs that, while they are criticized for the grind-fest, at least give their users a good time in the process (how else could one explain the millions of paying WoW/Eve/whatnot users, compared to the thousands not paying a dime in SL?).

    So (and this is not a troll), who cares about SL or any similar 'virtual world'? What am I missing about virtual worlds that seems so attractive to hype, corporations and in this case even open source developers, but clearly not to ordinary users?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @09:58AM (#24657863)

    C# is an ISO/ECMA standard, Java is not.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:16AM (#24658117)

    I've been waiting for this whole ordeal to happen. I consider this technology to be the next medium that everyone will use and it will supplant HTTP. It needed two requirements for it to take off though. First, an open protocol needed to be developed and second it needed to be possible to interconnect different servers together to make once cohesive environment. Well, we have the first part now, is this the second part?

    With respect, there have been numerous attempts to replace text based protocols with visual worlds since before the web. I remember drooling over ads in my dad's old Atari ST magazines where BBSes were advertising virtual worlds where everything was represented as a building in a isometric 3d city and people ran along the streets talking to each other.

    These have never taken off as the main stream interface because even if you were able to achieve a completely believeable virtual world, it still wouldn't present the same information bandwidth as simply pulling up pages and reading them. And porn jokes aside, the real drive of the internet is presenting information, not pretty visuals.

    These will always be the niche, rather than the mainstream, way of interacting because no one wants to 'run' for 30 mintutes to do something that could be accomplished in 30 seconds outside of the world.

    That being said, I wouldn't mind seeing what could be created once the reigns were passed from corporations looking for money to Joe Six-Pack. Will it be a revolution or another eternal September?

    Given Second Life is already exhibiting a second coming of 'GeoCities' crappy design, I'm not certain I'll be welcoming our new OpenSim overlords.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:34AM (#24658393) Homepage

    The VRML people made a terrible mistake. They 1) went XML, and 2) got taken over by advertising people. The VRML effort was shut down in favor of something called "X3D", which is, exactly, VRML syntax with XML delimiters. "Now you can have spinning 3D logos with 60 characters of X3D!". This positioned X3D as an ad-delivery system, for which it's terrible.

    If you bring up an old VRML viewer on a modern machine with a good broadband connection, it works great. It's still not very useful, but it does work. Most computers of 1997 didn't have enough graphics power to run VRML properly, so it was hopeless back then. (I had a machine that did, because I was using a high-end animation system. But it cost $6000 and sat in a 19 inch rack.)

    You can be too early. I was interviewed by "There" [] when they were starting up. They were determined to make a 3D shared virtual world that would work over a dial-up modem. [] I told them this was going to produce a terrible user experience, drive them nuts trying to cram that data through a tiny pipe, and that by the time they got the thing going, enough users would have broadband to make a broadband-only product feasible. They stayed with dial-up, launched There just as broadband was starting to get serious market share, never really made it, and downsized when the funding ran out. There is now owned by something called "Makena Technologies", still running, and still designed for dial-up modems.

  • I do (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darkvizier ( 703808 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:37AM (#24658445)

    Second Life is a poor implementation of an awesome idea. The problem is that there's no purpose to it yet... it's ahead of its time. They've built a platform with no content, and they're relying on their users to fill the gap.

    I don't care much for the game itself, but I do care about the concept of virtual worlds. I believe it's necessary for human culture to always have new frontiers - wild west zones where men with ambition can make their own fate.

    Humanity has two possible frontiers left - space, and virtual worlds. Space exploration is going to take a while to heat up, but virtual communities are already alive and well. So the interesting thing will be to see what those communities do with this technology. Can virtual reality become our new frontier?

    This is a subject for a dissertation though, not a /. post, so I'll leave you with that snippet. Yes, it matters, but it's going to take a while for this stew to cook. Be patient, and keep an eye out for opportunities.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @10:38AM (#24658453) Homepage Journal

    When Apple reinvents iLife to be a VR world where you can edit photos in a dark room, put up a virtual gallery of them, walk them down to get books made, etc. etc. Garage Band will actually be a garage studio where you can lay down tracks with your friends... pull off concerts for millions, etc etc. iMovie will be a virtual film studio with greenscreen and effects lab in real time....

    Until then nobody will care ;-p

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @04:18PM (#24663885)

    Wouldn't it be wiser to spend that effort working on a project that makes C# more open source friendly [], rather than simply rewriting any/all projects that use it?

    There's not a whole lot of open source projects in C# (or for the .NET platform more generally) that don't have comparable open source projects that aren't targetted to .NET, but to more open source platforms (either because they are more platform agnostic or because they target a specific platform whose principal implementation is more open source friendly than .NET.)

    Given that, its not all that surprising that people interested in both the subject matter and open source ideals for platforms as well as applications might want to participate in non-C# projects, and (taking advantage of the nature of open source) take the interesting bits from C#-based projects and port them over to those non-C# projects. That's certainly less trouble than both participating in the C# application project and participating in the Mono project, especially for someone who is interested and skilled in the application domain but, despite interest in platform openness, isn't particularly interested in platform development.

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