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IBM and Sun Launch Intranet Metaverses

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the meet-me-in-thunder-bluff dept.

Networking 123

wjamesau writes "Sun and IBM have launched intranet metaverses designed for business and built to work behind their corporate firewalls, so their worldwide employees can use them to collaborate together. Most interesting to game developers, IBM (which also runs a private, no public access Second Life island as a development lab) created their intranet world from the 3D Torque engine from Garage Games. Will the metaverse actually be thousands of gated community metaverses?"

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123 comments

It is. (4, Funny)

affliction (242524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19155915)

This is the worst fucking idea ever.

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156163)

How is it any different from Internet/Intranet?

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157317)

How is it any different from Internet/Intranet?

You ought to read it again. Your question is like asking "How is flying on a helicopter any different from a plane/helicopter?"

Re:It is (3, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156233)

Not really. They ARE going to play games on company time. At least this way the employer can sort of put a cap on it. ( And freeze your avatar when you are behind on a deadline )

Re:It is (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156461)

And when it comes to layoff time, they can see who spends the most time online.

Re:It is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157627)

I used to work for Sun, and we did indeed play Doom on company time.

Only on Solaris of course.

Re:It is. (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156251)

It reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon about intranet collaboration tools [itcilo.org] .

Re:It is. (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156365)

Why don't they just play WoW instead. I think it will be about as productive and get some team work going :)

Re:It is. (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156525)

hahaha, sure, that would work out great...

your boss gets to roll need on anything they want. say bye bye to epics.

Re:It is. (4, Funny)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157555)

Actually the Torque engine is a relic from Tribes 2. Everybody hold down your space bar to ski between cubicles!

Re:It is. (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156783)

You don't get it. This is the first step in IBM's plan fire 150,000 workers world-wide and then hire virtual people to the virtual work that they plan to charge at real prices. It's a brillant strategy!

Re:It is. (1)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158053)

Don't join.

I heard they are suffering from global warming.

Responses show Slashdot no longer technical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158327)

If you don't understand how a 3D virtual world can extend internal communications way beyond the limits of mail, IM, webpages, etc, then you have no insight.

95% of the responses to this story show how riddled with dumb, non-tech plebs Slashdot has become. Pretty sad.

Fortunately companies like Sun and IBM still have techs and planners who can see beyond the end of their noses on issues like this. Yet all you can do is criticize with empty insults or cheap shots for +Funny mods. I guess there's no shortage of morons here.

Re:Responses show Slashdot no longer technical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19160659)

Welcome to Bizarro Slashdot, where trite banalities are "Insightful," morons spouting off are "Interesting" and piles of humorless dreck are considered "Funny".

Nostalgia gives me the urge to come here every few months, but in the face of this cancerous stupidity even that's starting to wane.

Usenet's starting to look good again.

Re:It is. (1)

Yogs (592322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160293)

Businesses, especially big ones, do really stupid stuff all the time.

The thing that's remarkable here is that the stupid stuff doesn't just have a flawed line of reasoning behind it, it has NO reasoning behind it. I mean, anyone, give me any reason, any reason at all for this as opposed to chat and videoconferencing. Physical organization is lame compared to virtual. Why simulate physical organization in a virtual environment?

So, this will go nowhere, on a budget large by sane standards and tiny by big corporate standards, but will be put out there as "something we're working on" as a form of image advertising for stupid investors following "the next big thing".

Interesting. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19155929)

IBM (which also runs a private, no public access Second Life island as a development lab)
I wonder how long until pranksters start breaking into these systems to put in an appearance as a merry prankster.

Re:Interesting. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156387)

flying penises

Re:Interesting. (2, Interesting)

mbook (782023) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156679)

It's been a while since I read Snow Crash, but I think Hiro Protagonist spent most of his time in two "gated communities" -- the Black Sun (a private club) and Rife's HQ (heavy security to keep out the uninvited). Not much time spent in public spaces. Seems like you'd want both public and private spaces, just like in Real Life.

Re:Interesting. (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159505)

I can't believe I had to scroll down five pages of comments before I saw one about the metaverse gated communities in Snow Crash...

meta-hummus (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156689)

You know what's funnier...or not funnier, actually...that the CEO of IBM has a plan with this. To use virtual worlds to send soporific messages into our heads so we will be content to seek a s*x doll for love while he slips into our houses at night to impregnate OUR WIVES! With his OWN living cock, no less, not a remote or a prosthetic or a robot. But you can stop him with a little harmless layer of hummus...on everything...you, the door, your wife, the CEO. He'll laugh and go home. It ends with a few good garbanzos. Live free!

Re:Interesting. (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157543)

im in ur boardroom, readin ur pwrpointz

Try Croquet (3, Informative)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19155933)

Check out http://www.opencroquet.org/index.php/Main_Page [opencroquet.org]

Open source and well funded, based on Squeak Smalltalk.

Re:Try Croquet (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156135)

Could have been worse I suppose.. you could have said it was based on LISP.

Go read The End Of History And The Last Programming Language.

Stop living in denial.

Re:Try Croquet (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158797)

I decided to go on Google and see what that book was about, and guess what? The book is old and its major prediction, that nobody will ever use OO because "MOOOOOOOOOOMYYYYYYYY, IT'S TOO COMPLICATED!", has pretty much fallen apart.
As for living "in denial", it worked pretty well for Paul Graham.

Re:Try Croquet (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158825)

It's not a book, it's a paper, and you obviously didn't read it.

Re:Try Croquet (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158381)

Open source and well funded, based on Squeak Smalltalk.

I have wanted to give it a go for a while. The only download seems to be the SDK. Does that mean you have to write code to get it working at all?

I tried to get the SDK via a torrent once but I got an error from bittorrent and didn't take it further. It seems rude these days to download 70M at a time from one server.

WTF? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19155951)

WTF is a metaverse?

Re:WTF? (4, Informative)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156439)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaverse [wikipedia.org]

I will use Google and Wikipedia before asking stupid questions.
I will use Google and Wikipedia before asking stupid questions.
I will use Google and Wikipedia before asking stupid questions.

(Trolling, please ignore) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19159247)

What's Google and Wikipedia?

Re:WTF? (3, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156487)

Metaverses are an important paradigm in the post Web 2.0 era, taking advantage of the wisdom of crowds and allowing open sourcing of ideas. And furries can yiff in them too.

Re:WTF? (1)

MrSelfDestruct (30535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156539)

mod parent up. He said yiff.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158735)

GO read Snow Crash and don't sign back in until you've finished!

How good is computer vision these days? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19155973)

Can you do mo-cap without getting into a blue lycra suit with dots all over your body?

How about doing multiple humans at the same time?

Can it be done in real time?

Ok, great. How about making a system that can take a video feed from a web cam (with pivot and tilt) and map the body and facial movements of the humans it is look at onto models in a 3d environment?

Then I can collaborate with my co-workers on the other side of the world at the weekly meeting with more to go on than just their voice over the speaker phone.

Re:How good is computer vision these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156823)

umm how the fuck is this any different than using a webcam

Re:How good is computer vision these days? (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157233)

think.

It's a big room. There's 20+ people in it. You're on the other side of the world. There is *no way* you are getting *any* information about the body language of the occupants of this room by controlling the web cam remotely. By the time you figure out who is talking you have less than a second to get the camera pointing at them. You can forget about facial expressions.

What you need is some smarts in the camera to look at what you would look at, if you were there. Now, this would probably be so fuckin' annoying that it would also be useless.. and besides, the camera can move a hell of a lot faster than an observer of the stream could tolerate it moving (that's why security cameras pan so damn slowly, if they panned faster the people watching the stream would go nuts). So why not let the camera move as fast as it can, aggregate together all this data and present it to you in a way that you can control.

Apart from the fact that it is a hell of a lot of research and development that is.. if/when the technology is invented for some profitable application, then maybe someone will slap it together on the weekend.

Re:How good is computer vision these days? (2, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157283)

Then I can collaborate with my co-workers on the other side of the world at the weekly meeting with more to go on than just their voice over the speaker phone.

Or you could use any of the existing videoconferencing hardware/software and actually see their real faces. Sure, that's not quite as cool, but I bet it's several times more productive and it already exists.

Re:How good is computer vision these days? (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157585)

How about doing multiple humans at the same time?
I've done this, but only in virtual reality.

crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19155981)

IBM (which also runs a private, no public access Second Life island as a development lab)
Thats crazy. Perhaps we will one day see a video of giant penises and they will say "escaped from bell labs".

Answer. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19155991)

Will the metaverse actually be thousands of gated community metaverses?

No, that's just silly. A metaverse will be a single line of the first metapoem.

wow... (1)

dbatkins (958906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156041)

I thought I might go like a whole week without seeing "second life" mentioned on /. Reset the clock!

Re:wow... (2, Insightful)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156191)

heheh... seriously though, I think something like Second Life will only really take off when an open-source, decentralized metaverse comes along. Though, even then... I dunno. VRML didn't really work out.

But the idea of being able to visit rooms hosted on people's computers, and finding other rooms by walking through doors ("hyperlinks") might actually be interesting.. you walk through a door and are then in a room hosted on another server. Common protocol, running on whatever operating system. The problem with attempts like Second Life, and even with games like WoW, is that it depends on the company running it. If such a system could break off from the host and live a life without needing a central heartbeat to run it, it might have a chance to become a real part of the internet. However, until we find ways to interact with 3D environments that provide an actually useful user experience we probably won't be seeing it..

Re:wow... (2)

affliction (242524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156383)

No, Second Life sucks because it's pointless. If you want to "collaborate" (awful word), call somebody on the phone. Send them an email. Write them a letter. Why do you need a poorly rendered world to get work done? You don't.

Re:wow... (3, Insightful)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161207)

Send them an email

I'm sure people said "We don't need email, just call them on the phone!".

call somebody on the phone

I'm sure people said "We don't need phones, just write them a letter!".

Write them a letter

I'm sure people said (gestured:)?) "We don't need to write letters, just stay in our hunter-gatherer band!"

While I don't want to imply that Second Life is the next communication revolution, I do want you to notice the trend. Just because something exists that can accomplish roughly the same thing, doesn't mean it won't kick the other one's ass.

It's called progress, buddy, and it's telescoping, whether you like it or not.

Re:wow... (1)

agentk (74906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161681)

Open source system for interoperable 3D environments: http://www.interreality.org/ [interreality.org]
(Also useful for other stuff than 3D!)

And we've put a lot of work into trynig to design a flexible structured system, and also actually making the networking perform efficiently for this application (no conneccting to random SQL databases or using HTTP over TCP sockets and stuff like that!)

Check it out. We're currently revising a some of the core library, but we will soon need people to help make the end user application have more features and work nicely, and also need people to try making 3D worlds and other content.

Sun and IBM? (1, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156057)

Why are Sun and IBM collaborating on something like this? They tend to be direct competitors in many markets...

Re:Sun and IBM? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156125)

They've leveraged forces to combine synergies to collaboratively multitask new paradigms for shitcanning their entire US work force.

Re:Sun and IBM? (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158057)

Before you start solutioneering, lets have a sense check and rationalise the paradigm shift towards metaverse solution providers. I want this project firing on all cylinders! Ratify some face-time - I'd like to stir-fry some ideas in your mind-wok.

Re:Sun and IBM? No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156187)

One of our community's major employers said in its SEC filing: "Our customers are our major competitors." This company could be out of business tomorrow if its customers decided to build their own stuff. The customers have the engineering talent to do so. But they don't. As long as everyone's paradigm is to make the most money then we will have these seemingly unlikely alliances.

Of course, if you have a nutso CEO who thinks business is about squashing the competition then things get dicier. I can think of a couple; Oracle and Microsoft come to mind. I'm not sure if they are the exception or the rule but I can think of lots of businesses that cooperate with their competition.

Re:Sun and IBM? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156565)

by working together they can instantiate new markets() to compete in.

Re:Sun and IBM? (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156631)

Sun doesn't work like that. The corporate culture is not one of zero sum economics. They don't think they have to conquer the market like an effective short french general to somehow "win". Their bread and butter is making new markets and serving customer needs better in existing markets.

Re:Sun and IBM? (1)

allenw (33234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156921)

... and in the mean time, they are losing old and potentially new customers to Linux because they are too busy screwing around with things that "someone might use someday" (as the person who gave the presentation about raising the limits on the number of nics said) vs. revamping and upgrading other critical toolsets. [C'mon: This is 2007. Why isn't rsync being bundled yet? Jumpstart is great and all, but why can't I mirror *and* patch without having to worry about blowing up my root filesystem or doing crazy things in finish scripts? Etc, etc, etc.]

Re:Sun and IBM? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157027)

Yep, all those researchers at Sun Labs should just get busy on fixing the problems at Sun Microsystems.. I mean, shit, are they too good to work on existing projects?

Or, ya know, maybe they have nothing to do with that stuff and we're just being a little unfair here.

Re:Sun and IBM? (4, Informative)

hutchike (837402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156943)

Sun and IBM are not collaborating on this. Sun is using its Darkstar [sun.com] gaming server to deliver Menlo Park 2.0 [sun.com] . IBM is using a private island in Second Life [secondlife.com] . No connection - just a similar initiative.

What an immense waste of time (4, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156175)

I mean, why spend all that time building your altered reality avatar, the altered reality objects for demoing etc. (they show sun objects in one of the video demos)... why spend all that time navigating around a virtual world (which has to be built) and doing things in the virtual space when really you should be actually working?

I work from home every couple of weeks, and really the biggest thing I would like is a live video link to the colleges I most often talk to, having to break from working to go into a virtual world to talk to colleges is just such crud.

They show their 'virtual boardroom', which has video streams from other locations. Why bother with the virtual boardroom at all? What's wrong with just having video feeds?

Urgh... this is almost doing something for doing something's sake, without actually considering how useful it really is.

Re:What an immense waste of time (1)

chatgris (735079) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156635)

Well, off the top of my head if there are a more than one or two other people, having a boardroom would give a physical reference to select a video stream to view.

What's wrong with adding a virtual boardroom?

Re:What an immense waste of time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157135)

Not much of a visionary are you. This isn't meant for people like you that work from home every so often. This is meant for the workforce of the future that NEVER goes into the office. Sun is a company that has been trying to move the majority of its own workforce home for a while and has learned some valuable lessons about human nature and work from home programs.

For instance, without physical presences, many colleagues and managers have a natural tendency to believe you are not working or that they are not in control. Or perhaps the problem that co-workers don't feel a certain easy access to colleagues when they can't peak their heads around the cubicle. Or not being able to just sort of meet new colleagues that could be useful contacts for your job. Virtual worlds fill much of that need for the human element of collaboration and forming new relationships by simulating an office environment, yet I could still be on the beach with a corona and still attend a conference or work in the virtual office.

These things may seem trivial, but to your normal human working from home, working from remote is not as conducive to creating a unified business culture, supporting relationships while forming new ones, collaborative thought, or productivity in general as people thought it could be with our simple communications tools like video conference, IM, phone, and email etc.

Re:What an immense waste of time (2, Insightful)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157527)

"why spend all that time navigating around a virtual world (which has to be built) and doing things in the virtual space when really you should be actually working?"

Why spend all that time navigating around the WWW (which has to be built) and doing things in the these websites when really you should be actually working?

The problem is that a lot of people see the metaverse as a "Game". A better way to think of it is as the next extension of the web. You don't have a game client, you have a 3D browser.

Webpages are not always fully interactive. But lets say if you turned up at a webpage and you saw three other people viewing it at the same time. You could chat to them, find out if they found something interesting or maybe they have a common field you need a question answered on.

It is a bit silly to throw away as a waste of time at this stage.

As for gated communities, that is kind of what we have now with the web and to be honest it is the only way I can see the metaverse surviving. The Second life model is horribly flawed imho.

Re:What an immense waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157777)

"Webpages are not always fully interactive. But lets say if you turned up at a webpage and you saw three other people viewing it at the same time. You could chat to them, find out if they found something interesting or maybe they have a common field you need a question answered on."

Hold on... let me think...
Yes, this is the worst idea EVER.

"LOL DO U LIKE TEH SLASHDOTS 2? I LIK IT WHEN BILL GATE$ IS TEH BORG"

Yeah, I'll pass on everyone knowing what page I'm browsing and being able to chat to me about it. It's been done before, a couple different times (usually with the word "surf" in it). Notice how none of those are well-known things right now.

Re:What an immense waste of time (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158915)

> "LOL DO U LIKE TEH SLASHDOTS 2? I LIK IT WHEN BILL GATE$ IS TEH BORG"

I believe that is called a strawman argument.

3D medium as a collaboration tool works quite well. For example lets try and relate it to /.

I walk into an area discussing this topic I see various people talking various comments, those making more sense would have more people gravitating to them to talk while those screaming what you mentioned are more likely to be turfed out the back with the rest of the loonies.

Avatar representation also helps with conversation. For example at the moment all you are to me is "Anonymous Coward". Nothing of note about you, in a 3D world I would probably get a better idea of what you were talking about if you were in normal clothes or dressed as a 5 foot wang.

Even so on a webpage all the other people are just links. It is rarely I wander off to look at individual people (it is a link out of my way). In a 3D work those barriers drop easier.

I am not saying you can't build a website that would have a lot of this collaboration features but 3D offers a lot. By the same token I certainly wouldn't suggest someone create what amounts to a webpage within a metaverse if just reading it in a browser is easier.

btw I can remember people were saying we would never need anything except Gopher when the Web was starting to appear.

Am there, doing that... (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157877)

Webpages are not always fully interactive. But lets say if you turned up at a webpage and you saw three other people viewing it at the same time. You could chat to them, find out if they found something interesting or maybe they have a common field you need a question answered on.

Um, you mean, like, this [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Am there, doing that... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158859)

Correct only a 3D representation.

The Metaverse will be a lonely place. (3, Insightful)

rhs.coder (1068158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156271)

"Will the metaverse actually be thousands of gated community metaverses?"

I sure hope not. If the Stephensonian concept of a Metaverse were ever to take off in full cyberpunk force--VR goggles, gloves, and fiber lines in all glory--I sure don't want it to be a community of gated communities.

The entire idea of a Metaverse embolized existentialist absurdity: the idea of an "unending avenue of lights," 24 hours a day, is supposed to suspend reality. We're supposed to make this irrational and, frankly, just have fun with it.

For the thousands who don't work for IBM, Sun, or have some other connections, a gated Metaverse will be a bad place and waste of time. Not everyone (especially those who have few friends in real life) will have these connections. A Metaverse could be the perfect place to interact and meet others who want nothing else to do but relax and enjoy a little digital vice. This triumphs over EQ or WoW because you DON'T have a goal: it's not competitive and you can just relax.

In short: a filfilling Metaverse could be a great place for the (bored/lonely/connectionless/antisocial). Making it a world of gated communities will only make it some fancy social party.

Re:The Metaverse will be a lonely place. (1)

halycon404 (1101109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156401)

I don't know if it triumphs over the traditional MMO or not, because those games allow the formation and obtainment of goals. I mean, I personally feel better about wasting time in those type of games than I do watching a movie, or simply chatting online BECAUSE I can at least point out to myself that I accomplished something. Niel Stephenson type metaverse is a nice Idea, but I think we are more likely to see a version closer to Tad Williams Otherlands novels. Not exactly gated communities, but somewhere in between that and stephenson's invisioning of it for that book.

William Gibson??? (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156937)

Has no one read William Gibson, the Grandfather of CyberPunk???? Bah, go read Neromancer. Stephenson owes his CyberPunking ass to Gibson....

Stephensonian??? Not hardly.... (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156895)

Never read Neromancer? Stephenson and everybody else who did CyberPunk coped off of Gibson. Gibson coined the tern Cyberspace in his short story Burning Chrome, the very idea you just described, and perfected it in the books Neromancer, Mona Lisa Over Drive, and Count Zero. The idea of "full cyberpunk force--VR goggles, gloves, and fiber lines in all glory--" is hardly the idea of Stephenson, as talented as he may be.

Re:The Metaverse will be a lonely place. (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157459)

You just described both William Gibson's world and —brace yourself— Second Life! Yes, I know many people here hate the guts of SL, but this is exactly what it tries to be. Whether they achieve it or not is debatable, and there is the matter of it being centralized rather than distributed but that's just the idea behind it.

Re:The Metaverse will be a lonely place. (1)

lib3rtarian (1050840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160423)

The entire idea of a Metaverse embolized existentialist absurdity: the idea of an "unending avenue of lights," 24 hours a day, is supposed to suspend reality. We're supposed to make this irrational and, frankly, just have fun with it.

I disagree. This is your subjective reading of the Metaverse. Objectively, the metaverse did not symbolize anything, rather, it was a technological commodity that people found to be very useful and fun. It is a tool. I don't know what you find absurd about this, and you need to support that claim if you are going to stick to it.

For the thousands who don't work for IBM, Sun, or have some other connections, a gated Metaverse will be a bad place and waste of time

This is simply wrong. For example, when I am at the office, my friends aren't there, and I get a lot accomplished. Having my friends around would lead to me talking to them, playing with them, and getting less accomplished. Sun and IBM are businesses, and they need to be productive. It is just a fact that keeping people who do business away from people who don't (like their friends or myspace) is a productivity enhancer. Sun and IBM did not set up this Metaverse as a game, that would be like installing Quake 2 onto everyone's PC. The internet started as a gated community, and it expanded into a larger beast with small pockets of private activity. That is what the metaverse should and will become - a large network with some open spaces and some private spaces. You call this a fancy social party, but I call it the real world. People will invest money in the metaverse, and to get a ROI (return of investment) they need to be able to charge (aka put up gates).

No it was not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156377)

This is the worst fucking idea ever.

The worst fucking idea ever was definitely: doing the porcupine.

metaverse??? (-1, Flamebait)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156481)

Who thinks up these words? They sound aweful!

Naturally, I blame the USA. They have absolutely no style when it comes to language. Of course they *think* they have style, but everyone else knows otherwise. Unfortunate since they're so often the ones that make up words.

Re:metaverse??? (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156557)

You're right: we have no style in inventing words. The problem is that you think that style matters. It doesn't. What matters is functionality. That is why so many people in the world speak English as a second language.

Re:metaverse??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156611)

I saw a webisode about that celebutante Paris Hilton finally going to jail!

Re:metaverse??? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156641)

Of course style matters. For a start, in part at least, it's what makes people adopt, or, in the case of those made up in the US, not adopt new words.

> That is why so many people in the world speak English as a second language.

Bollocks.

The reason so many people speak the English language as a second language is that there are so many people who speak the English language as a *first* language. The reason so many people speak the English language as a *first* language is that the English people have spread it so effectively (for better or worse - mostly worse, but not as worse as others, perhaps).

Re:metaverse??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158157)

What codswallop. I like English, but the reason for it's widespread
adoption is the pair of English-speaking Empires that have run the
world for the last 200 years.

It's merits as a language per se are beside the point.

Re:metaverse??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158217)

Of course style matters; you spend too much time reading websites; read a book. English is not functional; it's a mish-mash of linguistic influences. The reason the world speaks English as a second language is that Britain had the biggest Empire at a time when mass communication became common.

Re:metaverse??? (4, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156667)

First time I heard it was in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Worth a read.

But the question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156509)

...can you dispatch your boss with a katana?

We're Meta, They're Endo (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156815)

Those virtual worlds aren't "metaverses". "Meta" means "beyond", not "inside", which is "endo". If anything, real life is the metaverse of these endoverses.

"This is Endo. Endo has forgotten more about..." (1)

Alt-Ctrl-Freak (857659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157565)

"...dispensing pain than you or I will ever know."

Ok, I rate this comment because it mentions Endo and Endo is cool.

However, You've given the Greek meaning of "meta". The Geek meaning is an extension (a "metameta" if you will...) of this, meaning "based on", "connected to" or "extension of".

None of which matters because "metaverse" was coined by a novelist. Fiction writers use what's called "poetic license" so the invented word or phrase cannot be judged against the same rules to which "science" (bwahahaha) is allegedly held.

In any case, command of language does not appear to have much relevence, be it a metaword, a metaverse or an entire damn metainterview.... [3d-test.com]

Ergo, IBM is developing a badly-written piece of fiction, not science, to be picked up in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to find some holiday reading [jackiecollins.com] at an airport bookstore?

Any prizes for jokes about Big and Blue?"

I hope not, but... (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156911)

Ever since the days of Neromancer this idea of "gated communities owned by mega corporations" has been around. Gibson saw it right. This will happen and the "Metaverse" world of "CyberPunk style Cyberspace" will be the providence of the rich and powerful. Enjoy the days of the "Free Internet" where people like us have a say, as small as it may be. It won't last long.....

Re:I hope not, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158923)

...and then the sage donned his tin foil hat and rode off into the GNU metahorizon.

Stall-man, the man, the mystery, the prophet.

not the best idea... (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156979)

as a developer I think I would hate this idea. Having to go into a virtual world to collaborate? Email and IM is just fine.

Also most of the time when I'm writing code, having another channel of interruptions is just suicide. Already with email, IM, phone, and in person interruptions its difficult to get 2-3 hours of solid coding in in a day. Add this to the mix, who knows, if at any time someone can just jump on and request a meeting on the thing...

Just Maybe (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157187)

Just maybe we're already all in a metaverse, making these fully contained microverses.

You spelled metaverse wrong... (1)

Schmendric (524398) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157347)

It is spelled Underverse. Once there you are forced to join legions of coders programming for the grand ruler, the MCP. Eventually you come to terms with your metalife, metawife and your metapaycheck. Your only hope for survival is successfully saving against MCP (metachlorian count + roll). You must seek out the golden D20 of Yendor! Go forth adventurer... don't forget your towel!

Re:You spelled metaverse wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19160541)

Well done.

As Intel wipes the sweat off its collective brow.. (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157531)

Finally, a reason to keep buying more powerful processors. Even if much is offloaded to the graphics board, all the intermeshed video, real time gesture and what the heck else will all be good for the bottom line if a metaverse is required for business. They've been salivating about this for years. No more having to fund music startups and whoever else comes up with a product that requires serious processing (had a friend who got investment from them for such a purpose).


Torque sounds neat but extremely expensive. Just how much did IBM spend on liscensing it and how much to upgrade hardware to support it? And is it that good? They could also have invested in becoming the top sponsor of croquet too, though it seems to require significant resources. (in terms of max. people in a room, and also how well it works on different pcs - I've had it crash mainly due to a gl bug I think or fail to run on a number of machines).

No, no, and no. (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158369)

Throwing out a guess: I'm guessing that croquet is slower than torque, given that croquet is written in Squeak, and I can't get Squeak to run on my 64-bit machine, haven't even considered trying dual-core. Guessing (again) that Torque is written in something like C++ or C#, and thus, will be able to do both of these things -- and it's probably easier to port a game engine than an entire language.

Also, Second Life is not what you should be using to measure how much horsepower this takes. Pretty much anything that can do compositing (Vista, Beryl, or OSX), and probably a few things that can't, are capable of playing World of Warcraft. Worst case, you'll have to turn some settings down.

Consider, also, that most offices tend to have standardized hardware that they upgrade every now and then anyway, and I'd say it should be easily possible to have some sort of "virtual reality" going on. I'd argue further that the reason most people seem to think this takes hardware is because all attempts I have EVER seen at "virtual reality" that weren't directly tied with a commercial game (not a "game" like Second Life, but a GAME like Counter-Strike or WoW) simply had sucky 3D engines. Embarrassingly sucky ones.

Let me put it this way: Take Half-life. The original. As in, released in '95, and can run at full quality at several hundred FPS on just about any computer since 2000. Now consider a mod for this game: Natural Selection. Now, NS does have somewhat higher graphical requirements -- it might lag slightly on a computer made it 2000, maybe. Run it on anything made in the last 3-5 years, and you'll be able to easily play games with teams of 25-30 people. And it takes at least two teams to make a game. And you're not just standing around a boardroom talking, you're using voice chat, a HUD, you're shooting, building stuff, gathering resources...

Any 3D "virutal reality" app that is forcing a hardware upgrade is either sloppily written or overly detailed, probably both.

But hell, we're in an age where ACT requires a gig of RAM to run comfortably. (Tell me again why Outlook/Kontact/Evolution isn't enough?)

Re:No, no, and no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161305)

Torque is written in c (the recent rewrite may have moved it to C++ I suppose, but definitely not c#). As a game engine it is actually more performance oriented than something built off of Squeak. It does require hardware 3D acceleration, but these days that is pretty common.

thoromyr

Ugh (-1, Flamebait)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157581)

People shouldn't have to deal with furries and paedophiles at work.

Well (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157613)

Now we now Sun has totally lost it.

But wait, no, if they can make all our development and design tools run INSIDE their 3D world, on virtual computers, and make their workers use the virtual computers to work, then we know they lost it.

Seeing from what we have here though, I wouldn't be surprised if they're already working on it.

"Collaborate together" (2, Insightful)

NetCow (117556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157725)

... as opposed to collaborating apart, I assume?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158051)

What is gained by the use of a Metaverse, over the use of cheaper, more user-friendly and established technology such as forums, email, and video conferencing links?

I just don't get it. This reminds me of 1994-era thinking, when some people were convinced that the Internet would have to be 3D in order to take off. They said we would need 3D shopping malls, for example. That would be better than a simple easy-to-use website in some way. And while they were still trying to get the technology to work, Amazon and friends came along with a simple website solution that just worked. 3D environments only took off for games: the one place that they are actually useful.

Perhaps IBM are just hedging their bets but this sounds like money down the drain to me. How about spending the money on useful R&D, or not laying off thousands of people instead?

Metaverse eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158335)

As long as I get to be a talking penis...

Metaverse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158869)

Metaverse?

FUCKING METAVERSE?!

VRML hype all over again (1)

stinkbomb (238228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159249)

This is the same crap that people said about VRML in the 90's. That didn't go anywhere and this won't either, regardless of how many media idiots proclaim that things like Second Life are the new frontier.

And isn't it interesting that crap like Second Life and it's ilk still look like 90's VRML?

Re:VRML hype all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19159643)

I've been wondering if I'm some sort of neo-Luddite, because I just can't see the point of SL from a business perspective. What do you gain from doing business inside SL or an SL-like environment, over conventional and established low-cost approaches such as websites and video conferences? Where's the value-add? What's the killer feature that a website or conference application does not have?

I just don't get it. It reminds me of the mid-90s and VRML too - an unnecessarily complicated way to do something. Smart people might even call it "a waste of money".

Similarity to Gibson and Stephenson's metaverse (2, Insightful)

lib3rtarian (1050840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159433)

Hi, I am a great cyber punk science fiction buff, and so, I'll take it upon myself to explain what the metaverse is. The metaverse is a 3D representation of reality that is fully networked. Instead of a website, you would have a block of real estate on "the street". It's essentially the internet with 3d goggles. The term metaverse was coined by Neil Stephenson in the book "Snow Crash". However, Stephenson's metaverse bears a striking similarity to :cyberspace" as coined by William Gibson in the book "Neuromancer". In response to the question, is the metaverse going to be thousands of gated communities, I would say, yes. If you read these two books, the metaverse/cyberspace was never an open place where everything is free and available to anyone with an avatar/net connection. Quite the contrary. The premise of Neuromancer is that cyberspace consists of corporate blocks that contain valuable information and data that is only available to a few (military, clans, etc). In the metaverse of Snow Crash, Stephenson clearly stipulates that only some people can access some places. Your home for example, people only can gain access to your "site" or real estate if you make it available to them. I guess an apt response to this question is, do you expect it to be? The internet is not totally free, and is in essence created of thousands of gates communities. That's one of the reason's that it works so well for both recreation and for business. Private communications, business transactions, pr0n sites, there are tons of legitimate arguments to be made for why communications systems like the internet/cyberspace/metaverse are made better by having these "gated communities".

History of network development (3, Insightful)

Morrigu (29432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159977)

Maybe it's inevitable that the metaverse will start off as individual islands. Look at the history of computer networks - they started off as individual LANs, then people started bolting on wide-area connectivity through the phone network, and then after a great deal of work you get to something like ARPAnet [wikipedia.org] circa 1977 with its disparate links to military, commercial and educational sites. And then it takes another 15 or 20 years to get to the point where an average PC user can easily get connected and Do Something Useful on the Internet.

Since the usefulness of networks is directly related to the number of users connected to them, it makes sense that eventually these isolated corporate worlds will set up interconnections, bridges, tunnels, whatever to let people wander back and forth. And eventually there will be public interfaces, and inter-world-networks.

I see Sun + IBM's work on this and Second Life and World of Warcraft and all the other current worlds as something akin to old information services like CompuServe or GEnie or Delphi. Eventually they'll come to their senses and allow greater interconnectivity, and once the protocols get standardized, they'll end up selling different add-ons or levels of service or GUIs for your metaverse experience. WoW may be selling awesome fantasy-style avatars and Blizzard goodies for PvE/PvP games, and IBM may be selling four- or five-nines reliability and excellent customer service.

Of course, I'll be 65 years old by then and will *still* get my butt kicked by random 13-year-olds in deathmatches. :)

Isnt This just.... (1)

obsidianpoet (978026) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161633)

Isnt This just another word for...... a LAN?
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