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An Intro To OpenSim, the Apache of Virtual Worlds

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the simulation-not-yet-a-topic dept.

Games 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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C# and BSD license? (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657369)

I predict it will only take a day for someone to start working on a project to rewrite this in some more open source friendly language. Just because it says OpenSimulator doesn't mean it really is.

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?

Time to go write a new spreadsheet. [suso.org]

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657501)

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

Re:C# and BSD license? (1, Troll)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657593)

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?

Better yet, don't use C#, use Java.

Re:C# and BSD license? (-1, Troll)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657625)

With all the crap Java written on websites today, do you really want to set this standard loose on a project like this?

Re:C# and BSD license? (4, Funny)

theM_xl (760570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657681)

With all the crap English written on websites today, do you really want to set this standard loose on important literary works?

the "Sorry Shakespeare" M

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657689)

You make it sound like HTML is a wonderfully-formed language that everyone uses well, or that Actionscript and Javascript aren't messy as hell. Lets face it, you're fucked no matter what language is dominant.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659183)

Destined for eternity to speak Webanese.

Re:C# and BSD license? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24657863)

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

Re:C# and BSD license? (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658051)

I have so much respect for ISO standards these days.

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Insightful)

doc_doofus (1102559) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658085)

So is OOXML...

Re:C# and BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24659177)

And as with all things Microsoft, that is not what it appears to be. Only the language spec itself is covered and that's it. Try using Sun Java with none of Sun's libraries and you get some idea of how useful that is.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

Oscaro (153645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663623)

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

ECMA standards are a joke, bot the win32 api and directx api are ecma standards, but they changed them multiple times anyway (updating the standards on the way...).

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663785)

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

We don't have enough RAM on the desktop yet to make Java a realistic language for this sort of thing.

When peoples desktop machines have 16G of RAM on average, maybe then.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663937)

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

Which has nothing to do with being open source friendly, which is the issue under discussion.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24668761)

Yeah, but Java is an open source de facto standard from a very open source friendly company. C#/.NET is the technological equivalent of a creepy, balding middle aged man in sunglasses driving around offering kids candy.

Re:C# and BSD license? (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657673)

Wouldn't it be wiser to spend that effort working on a project that makes C# more open source friendly

Not possible. So long as Microsoft retains the ability to attack Mono through patent suits, C# cannot be "open source friendly".

C# is a poison pill that Microsoft would love to see the F/OSS community swallow.

Re:C# and BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24657733)

Nonsense. They haven't attacked Wine. They haven't attacked Samba.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658575)

They don't need to attack Wine and Samba, and they probably don't need to attack Mono. So long as they're implementations of protocols they control, they can always Gates them to death if they need to.

There's a reason companies like NetApp are licensing Microsoft's SMB implementation rather than using Samba... they get to see the extensions before they're embraced-and-extended.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658075)

I thought Microsoft released a patent promise not to sue on any protocols they've released and/or opened up. Suing over the items they're opening up would basically violate the EU agreement. Microsoft wouldn't get anything out of the suit, and they'd end up paying massive (half a billion dollars last time) fines.

Microsoft isn't going to sue on these specific patents.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660729)

What specific patents are those?

Microsoft already got their dirty hands on opensim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24670401)

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663885)

Wouldn't it be wiser to spend that effort working on a project that makes C# more open source friendly [mono-project.com], 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.

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657675)

I consider this technology to be the next medium that everyone will use and it will supplant HTTP.

They said that about VRML replacing HTML, but readers didn't prefer a 3D room over a 2D page.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657849)

I consider this technology to be the next medium that everyone will use and it will supplant HTTP.

They said that about VRML replacing HTML, but readers didn't prefer a 3D room over a 2D page.

I think that this was because they were trying to run before they even learned to crawl. I mean they tried to get VRML going back in the mid 90s when most people still didn't know what the Internet was. They needed something simpler to introduce people too. Maybe now VRML would do better if it had some momentum behind it, but it doesn't, and now this is here so tough luck.

Re:C# and BSD license? (2, Informative)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659747)

They said that about VRML replacing HTML, but readers didn't prefer a 3D room over a 2D page.

I think that this was because they were trying to run before they even learned to crawl. I mean they tried to get VRML going back in the mid 90s when most people still didn't know what the Internet was. They needed something simpler to introduce people too. Maybe now VRML would do better if it had some momentum behind it, but it doesn't, and now this is here so tough luck.

Speaking as someone who was there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Vrmlguy [wikipedia.org] ), VRML was indirectly crashed by Microsoft. MS was pushing something, maybe Direct3D, as *the* 3-D technology for the next millennium. In response, SGI started opening up every piece of IP they had, apparently on the theory that a small part of a open-sourced world was better than no part of an MS-controlled one. VRML was written and implemented in no time at all, and yeah, there's a few bugs that got included. As it turned out, the Internet didn't have the supporting infrastructure, so the project wound up being irrelevant, but not before costing SGI a bundle of money.

Looking back, the SGI's effort reminds me a bit of MS's effort wrt OOXML. In each case there was an existing product that was getting a shiny new file format, so any suggested changes to that format, no matter how good, had to be squashed. In the end, the whole mess collapsed under its own weight.

One big difference, though: OOXML had to support decades of backward compatibility. SGI had written their code well, so VRML has a much better base to build from.

I'd like to see VRML get resurrected someday. I remember using it to handcode a bunch of 3-D animations using vi.

It's time for another VRML-NG :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24660691)

Start a VRML-NG project and you won't be alone for long. :-)

You'd be surprised at how many people have a fondness for the good parts of VRML, and who recognize that it was ahead of its time, and that sadly it was trying to grow in poisoned ground. With broadband, multiple cores and modern graphics cards, the result today would be very different. The current decline of Microsoft will help too.

We also have far better community development structures now, so version control repositories and wiki documentation and community forums for it would appear in days. The design and implementation would have to start from scratch though. People don't design nor program in that monolithic fashion anymore.

Good luck!

PS. And yes, I'd join in the effort too, as long as you make a clean break from legacy VRML, raise the level of abstraction, and plan for a language-agnostic API and extensible heart that beats in tune with modern, evolving hardware. The world has changed, and so must the core specs.

What happened to VRML? (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658393)

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" [there.com] when they were starting up. They were determined to make a 3D shared virtual world that would work over a dial-up modem. [there.com] 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.

Re:What happened to VRML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24688373)

> There is now owned by [...]
THEY ARE now owned by...

Learn to write. Sheesh.

Re:C# and BSD license? (3, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:C# and BSD license? (1)

DaftShadow (548731) | more than 6 years ago | (#24682145)

Interoperability is the interesting part for me. Graphics can be upgraded, but if there is a simple standard available for me to connect my online persona with many different online worlds, that begins to change things.

Host your own servers, do your own stuff, invite who you want, go to other places on a whim (just type the address), visit other people, etc. I remember how bad websites were in the early 90's. Tacky animated gifs, horrible images... this is the second life of today. With time, standards, practices, and tools development, there is no reason SL type experiences won't improve much like websites have.

- DaftShadow

p.s. Keep an eye on OpenCroquet [opencroquet.org] too. Not as much press, but Alan Kay et all are working diligently. They are approaching the idea of 3D mass-experience from a slightly different perspective, which has a lot of potential. I'm not a big squeak fan, but I have been intrigued with what I have seen.

I'm interested (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657605)

in seeing this come to the inevitable Open Source Server code from Linden. Though I mentioned "inevitable", it was hoped this would happen when they released the viewer source.

My opinion is Open Source and complete interoperability between the SL Grid and OpenSim Grids will never happen. Just look at the number of viewers that were coded to grab peoples credentials, then multiply that by a malicious server admin.

Taking into account the amount of real world revenue the game generates, I don't foresee this ever happening.

I do however see the opportunity, depending on the build UI and capabilities of OpenSim, the possiblity of "Pay-per-play" grids for SL Builders. An environment where they could test their scripts, and builds alone from griefers or the worries of crashing their sim.

Re:I'm interested (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657717)

Linden has been TALKING about open sourcing for years. So far, they've delivered very little.

Re:I'm interested (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658423)

How is this different then an Apache server serving a page to a Firefox browser with a link that takes the viewer to an IIS web page?

The only catch is that people in the virtual world may want their virtual stuff to go along with them, and that part will be more difficult. Set that aside, and I don't think it's inconceivable to have pretty good interoperability.

Who cares? (4, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657727)

After all the hype of Second Life, and the realization that only a bunch of furries and other weirdos [theregister.co.uk] (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?

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657875)

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.

Those are stupid users and I would be happy if they would go away on Second life. Much like the annoying club people.

They don't do anything creative on Second life, they just take up space, they're not interesting conversation and are so computer illiterate, everything is a issue for them. They come up with random explanations for problems they're having which has nothing to do with it.

On Second life, I spend a lot of time scripting, building things. From things from in-world air defense systems to play against other builders as a game to building things that are deemed practically impossible or really difficult due to the technical limitations in world.

(how else could one explain the millions of paying WoW/Eve/whatnot users, compared to the thousands not paying a dime in SL?).

Second life is not a game. It's a virtual world. It's not a roleplaying game.

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?

Nothing, it isn't exploitable by corporations, ordinary users are too stupid to make any use of it - although there are some that go there and just waste resources and in the case of open source developers - I don't see how a DRM system that Second life uses interests Opensource developers when they can't prevent people from close sourcing their builds or scripts.

Re:Who cares? (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658185)

On Second life, I spend a lot of time scripting, building things. From things from in-world air defense systems to play against other builders as a game to building things that are deemed practically impossible or really difficult due to the technical limitations in world.

So, what you are saying is that people actually turn SL into a game?

I guess that the boundaries between role playing games and virtual worlds aren't that clear as you make them out to be, although the former tend to be more limiting when it comes to user-built games. It would be interesting to find out how many people (like you) are actively creating within SL and how many are simply using SL as an enriched chat client.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658505)

So, what you are saying is that people actually turn SL into a game?

Some do. It really doesn't let you do much more. Some people creating virtual accessories and clothing that they sell for a 'business' though.

It would be interesting to find out how many people (like you) are actively creating within SL

Not that many unfortunately.

Some interesting tid bits about Second life:

Linden lab tried to reward creativity a while back using something called 'Dwell'. If people stayed on your plot of land for a while, you would earn virtual currency - they saw this as the perfect way to detect people being creative.

What happened was that people set up something called 'camping chairs'. People would sit on these chairs for hours on end and do nothing and earn a percentage of the money the owner of the land was making. This was a way to get free money and didn't reward creativity at all. The funny thing was that the creative people had little money in the game, despite all these marvelous inventions and selling them. While the people who just sat around and literally doing nothing, had plenty.

Eventually Lindenlab removed this system - good riddance.

Then these people just focused on excessive gambling things in Second life, eventually this got 'outlawed' too.

Now people are just using dancing animations and very light roleplay as 'dancers' in clubs on Second life to make virtual currency and they end up making more than many decent content creators.

Second life unfortunately isn't really a place where most novel business ideas and creativity will make you money. But sex, much like in the real world, sells well.

Re:Who cares? (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669759)

Interesting how Lindenlabs are trying to foster creativity (as they do seem to think it's important, otherwise they wouldn't have tried this). It's actually a pity SL hasn't gotten very far (I certainly had higher hopes for it), but it's still an interesting experiment to see what works.

Anyway, thanks for your tidbits!

Re:Who cares? (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659173)

What he's saying is that SL is so full of furries and other tards you need a full time programmer to write "in world air defense" to defend your island against dive bombing cocks...

Re:Who cares? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659719)

What he's saying is that SL is so full of furries and other tards you need a full time programmer to write "in world air defense" to defend your island against dive bombing cocks...

Actually one of the anti-air defense missiles is a giant dong I made out of bordom. It's pretty hilarious watching those bombard a fighter craft.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Dark Kenshin (764678) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660037)

Actually one of the anti-air defense missiles is a giant dong I made out of bordom. It's pretty hilarious watching those bombard a fighter craft.

*Sigh* ... And this is where you just lost your argument, and confirmed the parents view (bias as it may be) on all the people in SL. I think if you had omitted this little anecdote, the merit of your argument might have still carried weight.
I have nothing against SL even if it's not for me. It's an avenue of entertainment like any other vice; we all have them.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660401)

*Sigh* ... And this is where you just lost your argument, and confirmed the parents view (bias as it may be) on all the people in SL. I think if you had omitted this little anecdote, the merit of your argument might have still carried weight.

I never denied that. I have been agreeing with each of that person's points, except for the 'boring' argument. But it is exactly true that "There is nothing more for the average user to do than walk around and be a good little virtual consumer of virtual products." and giving answers about why it would interest average Joe, corporations and open source developers.

Do I care about Second life's reputation? No.
Do I think that Second life deserves the reputation of having "weirdos" and "sick fucks"? Yes. There are plenty on Second life that advertise it.
Do I think Second life is worse than other MMO communities? No, I've encountered worse on MMORPGs

Oh by the way, I'm a sick furry [wikipedia.org] .

That's yet to be determined... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658519)

Nothing, it isn't exploitable by corporations [...]

That's yet to be determined. There have been a number of corporations that have done some really dumb things in SL... like expecting people to pay for a box textured to look like an MP3 player or PC... and turned around and thrown their hands up. That just means that they haven't figured it out yet.

The same kinds of comments were made about the web in the early days. It's useless. People don't get it. Corporations can't succeed. It's only for porn. You know the stuff. Look at this thread for example.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658855)

That's yet to be determined. There have been a number of corporations that have done some really dumb things in SL... like expecting people to pay for a box textured to look like an MP3 player or PC... and turned around and thrown their hands up. That just means that they haven't figured it out yet.

Seriously, what are they going to do on Second life?

I know Second life's capabilities and it doesn't allow for much.

Most people don't want to spend money on Second life either.

Then there is the brilliant issue of what's to stop one idea from being copied and done by a billion other people?

The same kinds of comments were made about the web in the early days.

As I recall, in the early days we had BBS systems and many companies were making use of these for short, long distance communication, working remotely, e-mail. Sure, it wasn't as common as things are today, but you could see the benefit with BBS systems which evolved to moving the infrastructure they provided onto the Internet. Where everything could intercommunicate more.

Now, I look at Second life... Sorry, I don't see anything similar going on here at all.

Despite all my knowledge and experience on Second life, I cannot see how it is useful for companies.

If Second life was widely adopted - I can only think of using it as a graphical chat room, for support, isn't that sad?

Even then, I couldn't recommend it for stuff like teaching because there are far better technologies out there for remote teaching, which let you use things such as whiteboards etc.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659107)

Seriously, what are they going to do on Second life?

Second Life now? Second life in five or ten years? Some descendent of OpenSim in five or ten years? You're looking at the equivalent of the Internet in the late '80s and early '90s, when the only browser available required a NeXT workstation, and asking why there isn't a Google yet.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659231)

Second Life now? Second life in five or ten years? Some descendent of OpenSim in five or ten years? You're looking at the equivalent of the Internet in the late '80s and early '90s, when the only browser available required a NeXT workstation, and asking why there isn't a Google yet.

Gopher was quite fine back then for retrieving information, even had a decent search capability and perfectly logical category system. E-mail was popular with those who had a address.

On top of that, BBS systems were getting networked to the Internet back in the early 90s, allowing inter-business communications on business BBS systems.

I can definitely see the Internet being /useful/ back then.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659995)

Yes, you had gopher, and FTP, and Finger. You had BBS systems. You had Compuserve and other online services that were totally dominating in the search for a business model: I was paying $60 a month for a news clipping service called NewsNet in 1984, and Compuserve came up with something similar and I dropped it.

The only non-centralized system that had any business interest was email.

Email was a huge mess: there were at least 30 competing email systems... it was the only network protocol that business really saw a need for, and evereyone "just knew" that email was going to settle down into this X.400 based protocol that the big boys like MCI Mail were using, because X.400 had all the hooks to get your email where you needed it to be, no matter what the network, and more important it had *billing* built in, so you didn't have to worry about who was going to pay for it all. People really worried about where the money to pay for this stuff was coming from. There were three competing grassroots mail protocols: ARPAnet mail (SMTP) and UUCP mail and a BBS network called Fidonet that was kind of UUCP-lite. To send mail to someone you had to come up with addresses like "this!that!arpagate!c=us/o=mcimail/id=whatever%mci-gateway@x400-gateway", and the way you entered an address depended on where you started. Even in @-land you had ARPAnet (user@cs.university.stuff) vs JANET (user@uk.stuff.cs). Business looked at that and went to MCI or Compuserve and got an address and printed stuff like "c:us, o:mcimail, id:bigboss" on their business cards if they were REALLY trendy.

But that internet stuff? That's for academics. It'd never be useful for business.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660605)

I don't see what you're arguing. There is a difference between a mess and being completely useless.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24661627)

There's Second Life and OpenSim and Lively and There and IMVU and ActiveWorlds and HiPiHi and Habbo Hotel and ...

It's a mess.

You're saying, it sounds like, that the ad-hoc system that (I suppose) only geeks can understand is useless for business because it's too complex and people don't spend money in it. Like Internet Mail was, because unlike MCI Mail and Compuserve Mail, it was too complex and there was no way to charge people for it.

Which is why my email address is still "c=us/o=compuserve/ou=cis/id=70216,1076".

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663269)

You're saying, it sounds like, that the ad-hoc system that (I suppose) only geeks can understand is useless for business because it's too complex and people don't spend money in it.

No, I'm saying it's useless because the current platform cannot do anything worthwhile in scripting, building or otherwise. Second life is not ad-hoc, it is entirely centralized by Linden lab. The Opensim non-sense can't even connect to the Second life grid.

it was too complex and there was no way to charge people for it.

Second life has a complete system for charging, the thing is, there is nothing really that useful you can charge people for and make a continuous large amount of money off.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663475)

There's Second Life and OpenSim and Lively and There and IMVU and ActiveWorlds and HiPiHi and Habbo Hotel and ...

Jesus christ, you're comparing stuff like Second life and Habbo Hotel and claiming they're the same thing. They have completely different goals and are utterly unrelated.

Re:That's yet to be determined... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24664361)

Jesus christ, you're comparing stuff like Second life and Habbo Hotel and claiming they're the same thing.

It's not like "MCI Mail" and "SMTP" are the same thing either.

A funny followup... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660117)

Here's a message I posted in 1991 bemoaning the lack of business interest in the Internet, in particular Compuserve's lack of telnet access:

In article <1991May21.165458.7441@sci34hub.sci.com> gary@... (Gary Heston) writes:
> Compuserve likes to bill for the use of their systems; billing people
> who telnet in would be very difficult.
 
Why?
 
I'm sure it'd look like this:
 
    % telnet compuserve.com
    Trying...
    Connected to compuserve.com.
    Escape character is '^]'.
    Host: CIS
    Username: 70216,1076
    Password:
 
    Welcome to Compuserve!
 
Similarly, they would provide FTP service on the same basis:
 
    % ftp compuserve.com
    Connected to compuserve.com.
    220 compuserve.com FTP server ... ready.
    Name: (compuserve.com:peter): 70216,1076
    331 Password required for 70216,1076.
    Password:
    230 User 70216,1076 logged in.
    ftp> cd amigatech
    100 CWD command okay.
...
 
> If CIS could see money in telnet/ftp connections, it'd already be done.
 
They have their eyes closed.

70216,1076 was my real CIS ID. We were all a bit naive back then. :)

Re:Who cares? (4, Funny)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658747)

Second life is not a game. It's a virtual world.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard this before. "It's not a doll, it's an action figure!" :-P

Re:Who cares? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658941)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard this before. "It's not a doll, it's an action figure!" :-P

Well, game definitions are usually something among the lines of:

  • A contest with rules to determine a winner; "you need four people to play this game"
  • A single play of a sport or other contest; "the game lasted two hours"
  • A pursuit or activity with rules performed either alone or with others, for the purpose of entertainment.

    • note: Second life's purpose is not to entertain if you read the mission statement etc.

Second Life isn't a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24660193)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard this before. "It's not a doll, it's an action figure!" :-P

But that's just a play on words.

In the case of Second Life, it's not a game because there is nothing to play! [By default.] That's rather more fundamental.

Second Life is a sort of vanilla 3D platform, and you have to make it into whatever you want. A rather poor analogy might be with a webserver containing nothing in the body of its top index.html file --- "it's not a website because there is nothing to see", is pretty similar to "it's not a game because there is nothing to play".

Admittedly some people do play there, because others have made ready games for them. That doesn't turn SL into a game though, unless you are also willing to concede that the real world is a game as well because people play here.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24657989)

I've found a radio show/podcast that has a presence in SL for the duration of the show, Naked Scientists ( UK based) . I've found it adds something to the show to sit in SL when the show is on, as there are quite a few knowledgable people in the SL audience who can add something to the show as chat.

Cheers

Redlace

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658279)

I've found it adds something to the show to sit in SL when the show is on, as there are quite a few knowledgable people in the SL audience who can add something to the show as chat.

What I'm curious about is this: what does SL offer beyond a traditional IRC-style chat? Wouldn't a chatroom on the show's website offer an easier way to communicate? (As it lowers the barrier to entry and is more efficient with regards to multitasking).

Re:Who cares? (1)

varcher (156670) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658477)

what does SL offer beyond a traditional IRC-style chat? Wouldn't a chatroom on the show's website offer an easier way to communicate?

Ambiance. Just as there are people who find mutt or an xterm-based IRC client perfectly adequate, yet the vast majority prefers a GUI font-end. As anyone can tell you, the packaging does make a difference to the product.

What do you mean by this? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658735)

Wouldn't a chatroom on the show's website offer an easier way to communicate? (As it lowers the barrier to entry and is more efficient with regards to multitasking).

In what way is a "chatroom" more efficient with regards to multitasking? I'm not sure I get this one. What kinds of things are you thinking of?

Re:What do you mean by this? (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663005)

In what way is a "chatroom" more efficient with regards to multitasking? I'm not sure I get this one. What kinds of things are you thinking of?

Multitasking as a human, not as a computer. I can have an IRC client running in the background while I'm working and get a popup/alert when someone is talking to me. SL, and any other virtual world, assumes you are doing nothing else besides SL. Thus, its use as a background application is limited.

Re:What do you mean by this? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24664579)

As I recall SL sits in the background and alerts (icon bounces or changes color, depending on the OS) when you have a message. Have you actually tried this, or are you just assuming that it doesn't work?

I do (2, Interesting)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:I do (1)

spazghost (1346955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658763)

Second Life is a poor implementation of an awesome idea.

Think about what you just said. Then consider all the other Second Life spin off virtual worlds that have failed. Linden Labs was able to pull off what many others have failed to do. And they did a pretty good job of it. Sure, the client might be inherently buggy, and support might not be the best. But the world they've allowed to be created, and the community that surrounds it is incredible.

They've built a platform with no content, and they're relying on their users to fill the gap.

When SL started, the original content was created by Linden Labs. You act as though they simply opened the grid as a blank sandbox and said "Well, here it is.".

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658643)

What did people do with early websites in the beggining.

At first, they were just boring static pages that were either a horrible marketing attempt. How far has the internet come now that there are things like collaborative Encyclopedia building (Wiki), Google docs, YouTube, Ebay etc.

It is impossible to tell what this medium will make possible in 5 years.

Also, I wouldn't exactly call IBM [ibm.com] a furry or weirdo. Nor would I say that Cisco [cisco.com] is either. There are also a growing number of universities colleges using the space.

The thing I try to hint at for most is, look at all the different news articles about 3D virtual worlds in general. How many different categories to they fall into? Economics, scams, porn, politics, social, collaboration, business, marketing, play, serious, military, health care... and more. Something that is looked at in so many different ways has huge potential as a medium. And the more open the server side, the more likely it will be adopted by a larger group and customized for even more possibilities.

Re:Who cares? (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24663375)

What did people do with early websites in the beggining.

At first, they were just boring static pages that were either a horrible marketing attempt. How far has the internet come now that there are things like collaborative Encyclopedia building (Wiki), Google docs, YouTube, Ebay etc.

Wrong. The first websites were very effective at the dissemination of information (for instance at CERN), there was nothing else that came close. Marketing only jumped on the bandwagon at the end of the 90's, which lead to the internet bubble.

Wikipedia, Google docs, YouTube, Ebay, all these examples illustrate what makes the web a great place: it's an ideal medium to disseminate information, by both sides. So my question is this: what does Second Life offer above and beyond IRC/IM and the web that makes sense of the hype? SL is poor when it comes to disseminating information. What is the sell to users? Why should they care?

Also, I wouldn't exactly call IBM a furry or weirdo. Nor would I say that Cisco is either. There are also a growing number of universities colleges using the space.

That's why I mentioned the corporations jumping on the hype. My university has a virtual meeting place in SL. I've been to dozens of IBM presentations about SecondLife (I was an intern there for quite some time). I tried to figure out exactly the same reasons why users would actually want to use SecondLife.

One presentation was about virtualizing servers. A red light above a server would notify administrators if something went wrong. So, what do you expect from your administrators? Sit and watch a virtual datacenter all day? Isn't a simple SMS-notification service a lot more effective, so they can actually do other useful stuff in the meantime?

SL might be useful, but for the vast majority of applications it seems like a solution in search of a problem. Without users. I've already seen a few news articles of companies scraping their SL 'presence' because nobody came along. SL simply isn't worth all the hype.

The thing I try to hint at for most is, look at all the different news articles about 3D virtual worlds in general. How many different categories to they fall into? Economics, scams, porn, politics, social, collaboration, business, marketing, play, serious, military, health care... and more. Something that is looked at in so many different ways has huge potential as a medium.

I can't help but remain skeptical. Maybe it's due to having read too many articles on El Reg, but maybe, just maybe, all those articles about Second Life are just attempts from Linden Labs to keep the hype running? I don't know a single person who has stayed in SL beyond simply trying it out.

3D virtual worlds naturally have a future. Looking at the numbers of users however, that future is with the MMORPG's, not with Second Life and the like.

Re:Who cares? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669527)

I can't help but remain skeptical. Maybe it's due to having read too many articles on El Reg, but maybe, just maybe, all those articles about Second Life are just attempts from Linden Labs to keep the hype running? I don't know a single person who has stayed in SL beyond simply trying it out.

Tell me, are your friends like yourself. Are they "traditional hardcore geeks"? SL isn't for you. Remember when the Internet was all shell accounts, gopher, Archie, Veronica, command-line ftp, mutt, pine, and elm? Remember when http came along and unified things, and made it easier for the second generation of less geeky people to use the internet? Remember the complaints about how the web was dumbing stuff down and how commandline everything was better. There's still people complaining about the September that never Ends.

Second Life is the http to There/IMVU/Actiworlds/VRML's gopher/veronica/archie. SL is the NCSA Mosaic of virtual worlds, primitive and cludgy in certain ways, but still there's nothing that comes close to it. It's the virtual world to beat.

3D virtual worlds naturally have a future. Looking at the numbers of users however, that future is with the MMORPG's, not with Second Life and the like.

MMORPG's are not virtual worlds in the way that SL is. They're more like graphical MUDS with all the content provided by an on-high set of gods, the devs. SL has user created content, lots of it, more than anyone can keep track of.

Re:Who cares? (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24669709)

Tell me, are your friends like yourself. Are they "traditional hardcore geeks"? SL isn't for you.

Alas, of all my friends I'm the weird little geek. The take-up of social networks is enormous, but SL? Most haven't even heard of it. If SL isn't for geeks, and isn't interesting enough to non-geeks, a question begs: for who is SL?

Second Life is the http to There/IMVU/Actiworlds/VRML's gopher/veronica/archie. SL is the NCSA Mosaic of virtual worlds, primitive and cludgy in certain ways, but still there's nothing that comes close to it. It's the virtual world to beat.

Interesting that you mention VRML, as I think that comes syntactically and conceptually a lot closer to initial HTML than SL does.

The problem here is that, while Mosaic had quite an uptake and was quickly superseded by better browsers, this isn't happening in the case of SL (and it has been around for longer than it took Netscape and later Microsoft to wake up). Why? Because no one cares. Companies are realizing SL is barely more than hype, and users couldn't care less.

MMORPG's have one thing virtual worlds like SL don't have: Users, and plenty of them.

SL - if you build a virtual world, will they come? Barely.

MMORPG's - if you build a captivating game within a virtual world, will they come? Sure as hell.

Maybe user-built MMORPG's are the way. I don't know. We'll see.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24658661)

I'm sorry, but for me, SL is much more exciting than anything I ever expierienced in WoW or Eve Online or any of the other countless MMOs I've played over the years.
In SL, I develop animations and since the development of sculpties, have been doing alot more work in 3d modeling than I have been before. The content development aspect gives it a much more real aspect. It also has given me a chance to develop REAL skills that I can actually use in the REAL world. (On a sidenote, it's gotten to the point where Animation and 3D Modeling is now something that I consider my 'backup career' if CS/CE doesn't work out for me)
That is hardly what I can say for the countless epics I got in WoW, and all those 'real skills' I learned by spending countless hours raiding.
Second Life is extremely diverse. There are plenty of people in SL who just go around and act like consumers. And then there are the power users, the ones who drive the economy, and those who create the content. You cannot simply write of a virtual world as being boring or unattractive simply because you aren't willing to expose yourself to different aspects of the gameplay.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24669717)

"There is nothing more for the average user to do than walk around and be a good little virtual consumer of virtual products"

There are many things VR could be used for. For example education - i recall a game where a player was taken inside human body to explore it. Chemistry students could be exploring molecules, constructing new ones and watching them folding. Would you like to explore Moon or Mars landscapes in VR ? Visiting neighbor stars of our sun ?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24671879)

"Second Life residents will turn their avatars into any form imaginable: they'll gladly make themselves aliens, cartoons, animals, even insects. But not Negroes."

http://www.patrioticnigras.org/ [patrioticnigras.org]

Opensim not good enough. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24657753)

Opensim is severely lacking in abilities compared to normal Second life to the point that it is absolutely useless.

Re:Opensim not good enough. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658135)

Where does Google's Lively fit into this?

Re:Opensim not good enough. (2, Insightful)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658745)

Such as? I've set up some Opensim servers, and it has quite a few. Not to mention, if something doesn't exist, it can be created (since it is open source).

Re:Opensim not good enough. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658991)

Such as? I've set up some Opensim servers, and it has quite a few. Not to mention, if something doesn't exist, it can be created (since it is open source).

Proper physics, working attachments, proper scripting, centralized inventory servers so you can take your attachments and so on with you.

In other words: The things that make Second life worth using.

Re:Opensim not good enough. (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659695)

Opensim allows use of either a basic physics engine or OpenDynamicsEngine which has COD 4 on its list (see here) [wikipedia.org]

It supports LSL, OSL, and c# for scripting with a few limitations (see here) [opensimulator.org]

For centralized inventory servers, that depends on the grid owner's implementation since Opensim supports several database types.

I'm not saying that opensim is anywhere close to Second Life's level as a finished product, but I would hardly call it useless, especially since it is impossible to run a Second Life server of your own. But that's just my opinion.

Re:Opensim not good enough. (2, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24659991)

Opensim allows use of either a basic physics engine or OpenDynamicsEngine which has COD 4 on its list

Which, I have used and is entirely rubbish, it doesn't even reach the crap physics of regular Second life.

It supports LSL, OSL, and c# for scripting with a few limitations

It isn't just a few limitations. All my previously written scripts do not work what-so-ever on Opensim because so many functions are not implemented correctly or not implemented at all. Anything I was interested in, in regular Second life is currently not possible on OpenSim. llhttprequest for example doesn't even send all the headers that it's supposed to. Yet it's claimed to be fully implemented.

Stop trying to spin it, I have used OpenSim and I have determined it is worthless for my uses entirely.

I'm not saying that opensim is anywhere close to Second Life's level as a finished product, but I would hardly call it useless, especially since it is impossible to run a Second Life server of your own.

You can "rent" a full featured simulator however from Linden lab.

It won't get big until Apple does it (2, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24658453)

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

I'd care less if that came true (2, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24660619)

Virtual reality is useful for allowing you to do things that would be too difficult/expensive/dangerous to do in the real world or more traditional interfaces, such as training on operating very valuable equipment or visualizing complex data. Slapping an "Oooh look, 3D!" interface onto an existing (and arguably well designed) workflow will only make a task harder and less fun to do, not easier and more fun. I realize you're just trolling, but the "3D Interace is teh aw3s0m3!" is infuriatingly common...

Re:I'd care less if that came true (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24662763)

Oh i agree with you completely, which is why i was just trolling... there's nothing useful to add to this conversation until someone comes up with a legitimate input device for interacting in 3D.... using a 2D input device makes 3D visuals nothing but candy.

The only use for 3D now is entertainment value. I'm currently working on a 3D interface for a flash application to control an Inflight entertainment system... nothing but candy. A 2D interface would be easier to use, etc. etc. but hey... it's just entertainment, so whatever the client wants. Well it's also just a hardware performance demo.. so really it's just supposed to show off what the hardware CAN do, not what you should do with it.

this is old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24660637)

This is so old. ICS mapped Ben Richards' face onto a stunt double so he could be killed by Captain Freedom because the audience started rooting for Ben and Damon Killian couldn't have that happen. And that was like 20 years ago! Or 9 years from now...

Possibilities.. (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 6 years ago | (#24665133)

I find it strange so many people slate Second Life when there's so much potential for metaverse systems. What I'd love to see is 'gaming zones', so you'd be able enter a certain area of Second Life (or whatever), agree to a dialog box or some such and the rules and physics for any 3D game, first (Quake!) or third person (WoW-like?), would take effect with some kind of organisational system for points, tournies, time restriction, etc. Even just a basic samurai sword fight! I'll also expect to use a "Use your Wiimote in Second Life/OpenSim" /. post within the next few years.

Re:Possibilities.. (1)

adriccom (44869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24670359)

Pssst. The already have some of that, although it's not quite Snow Crash yet. In world, check out Samurai Island, or DarkLife for examples of what you are asking for. There are also a few big RP/combat Sims, just look around.

A highly polished turd. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 6 years ago | (#24667991)

Ugh, I understand the interoperability bootstrap concerns that lead to them being compatible with Linden's stuff, but Linden's stuff is just crap. It's poorly designed because it wasn't even designed, it was just accreted. The CTO they booted last (?) year even admitted he spent all of one night designing Linden Script (which was asinine decision #2 after asinine decision #1 to create Yet Another Scripting Language). The entire structure is just fragile as hell (and shows it) as they push one bleeding wound and something else breaks and pops out on the other side.

So hooray for gilded, highly polished open source turds.

Re:A highly polished turd. (1)

adriccom (44869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24670383)

Wow. Have you ever heard of Samba? It's kind of useful, most would agree ..

At least according to the OpenSim docs, they have reversed the functionality of LL's sim servers into a completely new implementation. I'd also like to note that despite the flaws, and perhaps despite themselves, LL has managed to keep SL up and growing and is the only "virtual world" to actually succeed in this after, what, a dozen companies have tried?

Not that I'm holding up the LL Grid as a wonder of engineering or anything, but at least troll better, would you?

Re:A highly polished turd. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 6 years ago | (#24677845)

I don't think you comprehend at all how much being tied into a badly designed API constrains and weakens an implementation through all the bad explicit and implicit assumptions it makes, though I fully expect that OpenSim's implementation will be better.

It is, as I said, a highly polished version of a turd. But a turd that lets you unleash fleets of flying penises at will (which is what the other virtual worlds have failed to let you do), so perhaps that'll be good enough for OpenSim as it has been for Linden.

o but wait i still disagree so i must be trolling again lol lol lol or perhaps i'm a terrist

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