Updates on my Open Simulator installation via Mac OS X

Updates on OpenSim and SL

It’s been a while since I posted updates about my experiences installing and running opensim on my macbook pro (on leopard/mac os x 10.5.x) so here’s some updates on that..

About InWorldz grid.. let’s call it one of the other SL clones, like Your Alternate Life/YAL.. — sure it’s great for the casual user, there’s a nice community established there.. but since I can’t get free land, and can’t connect my own regions into it, then it doesn’t meet my needs. Thus, I haven’t returned there, and in the same hand, I have yet to want to check out any other similarly “closed” grids.

[going a bit off topic now..]

Same is true about the various iterations of Utherverse — Utherverse seems to be nothing more than your basic pixel-sex community, it is commerce driven, you pay to use the service – and like IMVU, the limited free account options are fairly useless. So, you pay for just about everything happening in world, and most of what is happening is centered around virtual sex.

If watching scripted animated pixels turned me on and I wasn’t getting real world sex on a regular basis, and was lacking social skills, housebound, or otherwise staying away from real world people encounters, then I’d probably give in and join the throng of masturbatory (including certain fans of Modular Systems’ viewer apps) who are logging into VWW, RedLight, VirtualVancouver, etc., or would I?

Well no, on second thought, I wouldn’t be! Why? For one, Linden Labs’ Second Life has plenty of way better looking porn pixels, voice and webcam sex, etc. and two, using SL escorts cost much less $ than Utherverse’s so-called VIP membership.. Anyway, where was I?

[ Ah, back to Open Simulator.. ]

On The New World Grid, after hitting some trials and network issues, which were purely on my end, I was running a region in the grid with very good success! 🙂

One reason it was so easy is that NWG has experienced people willing to help, their forums and welcome center are well organized, and you’ll find a few regular volunteers or admins appearing and hanging, around the welcome center to assist you, primarily during France’s 9am-5pm or so hours.

As well, their software build makes it quite easy to install and run a sim (on Windows or *nix/Mac) with minimal configuration needed other than:
1- pick a spot on their world map (by reserving it through their website)
2- type in your New World Grid login and password to the app, it does the rest of the config for you!
3- Open two ports on your firewall tcp/udp (if needed) and boom, you are done!

Overall I am very impressed and can see why so many nonprofit and educational groups have migrated here, well that and there’s a influx of regions, since Linden Labs’ Second Life has recently decided to eliminate their educational and nonprofit incentives come January 2011. For those unfamiliar with the recent changes to SL’s land pricing, SL used to offer discounts if you are a

Other than the cost of land, there are other reasons open-source content creators are flocking to OpenSim grids.

The marketplace changed in SL is one reason. I don’t know why SL changed the marketplace fees policy, but to paraphrase, they dumped the ideas of open sharing and permitting merchants to pass out free stuff at no cost, that is, if you want to give stuff away at no profit to yourself, you will have to pay linden labs a fee for each item you list. This idea basically stifles any concept of open sharing, in favor of using their web-accessable inworld marketplace (formerly xstreet, onrez, avatars united, and other shopping carts eaten by linden labs) to promote only those merchants who primarily have commercial stuff for sale, likewise charging fees for the privilege of creating for-profit content (for exclusive dmca license and mostly instant delivery) upon the second life grid but hey that’s the way of capitalism and Governor Linden.

NWG has a bit of freebee stuff to get you started, but much of it is given under intellectual property terms which state you may only the content within New World Grid. Huh?! Yeah okay I guess, but it causes me wonder what underlying message is implied regarding the grid’s overall feelings on opensource concepts (e.g., free sharing of content)? Yes, it is clearly a not-for-profit, education centered grid, and people do have rights to enforce content permissions, be bound by real world licenses, branding, service/trade marks, identity or other legal/DMCA concerns — but– I also know this is as conscious of a choice (to use copyrights or “copy me not”), as it is to use a GPL or Creative Commons license (“ok to share alike, copy, collaborate, make derivative works, etc!”)

Regardless, I feel that NWG is a great platform for non-profts and educational groups to call virtual home. I found the main admins of New World Grid online and accessible, easy to talk to, approachable; I imagined this was much like talking to the savvy and passionate Phillip Linden back in the early days of SL, maybe better LOL.

New world grid may be smaller, but they have been around 4+ years and have some fantastic builds or places to explore, conference centers, educational sims, virtual models of scientific or historical sites, etc! Well worth the visit.

For me, though they allow at least 1 sim from anyone, and on that sim I could fit most all my stuff and maybe take up less than 15000 prims for it, I liked more the idea of potentially mature/adult themed separate sims, with less objects basically on each one, and so with that idea I hit the proverbial pause button on my NWG region, until I get a better educational use or some sort of nonprofit idea going which can adhere to the child/teen friendly rating across their entire grid. In other words, I won’t waste their time until I have something more to contribute besides my own personal creative expression which may not have much educational benefit to others (as awesome as they may be… LOL)

Sure, I could just rent a sim or several on linden labs Second Life grid, or any other pay-per-use grid for that matter, but the thing is, I am a bit of a control freak about rented servers, and with the Linden grid, I won’t get any sort of root or command shell access- only a few god mode tools as accessible via the viewer, and the hardware cost for me running regions, whether it’s 1 or 4 or 9 or 20, is still the same cost upfront and monthly maintenance regardless, and that’s why OpenSim appeals to me, it’s all about the bottom line- at the end of the day I’m not forking out thousands of dollars to play one of my favorite games which also happens to have a free version 😉

I now run 9 regions on OSgrid and one on The New World Grid.. Well it seems we’re taking a self-paced crash course on running multiple Regions and Estates, something I never did (other than buy an estate-owned sim, pay tier, rent parcels, change land settings)  well this is much like SL, and first thing you realize is, we’re pushing the grey limits of what can and can’t go into OpenSimulator — As you know, OSgrid is just one of many grids someone can connect with.

However (and this is one of the core interoperability issues people encounter..) each grid’s INVENTORY and WORLD MAP are entirely separate from the others — except on rare occasion by means of hypergrid protocols (which Linden Labs once did, but now chose NOT to support anymore).  In other words, there exists no true “inter-grid universal login” (other than the aforementioned hypergrid services), and there are also no “inter-grid inventory service”, so guess what the biggest chicken and egg problem is, again? Well, your inventory doesn’t travel with you 😛

To put it in other terms, say you spend $30 for some clothes in Second Life. When you login to OSgrid or other grid servers, those clothes won’t travel with you. All aspects of your avatar that you worked so hard to perfect in the Reaction Grid? It won’t travel and merge itself into your newly created Second Life or InWorldz account, you gotta start from scratch again, and if that content creator didn’t give you the right permissions to copy, modify, or transfer said clothing? Well you are stuck and can’t even back it up to your hard drive to re-upload your purchase elsewhere. Okay, sure, there are work arounds to this problem, and there are both legit and sneaky ways to get your stuff exported out of one grid and into another. that said, some tools have the ability to get OTHER people’s creations across from one grid to another, so I will touch on that in a later post as well. Sometimes we may run into issues with an object’s permissions, or changed permissions of stuff inside an object you have exported.. I’ll touch on that too.

[ like other live documents, this is a work in progress, check back later for further updates! ]

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