Trends in Virtual Worlds, Part 3: Open Source, OpenLife, OpenGrid, OpenSim, … Open!

OpenSim and OpenGrid were previously mentioned. When I first heard about these, it was really part of a big PR promo about the new OpenLife grid.


I was hugely excited. “Wow!” I thought, “at last we’ll be able to do all our cool Second Life stuff on our own server, save our work, oh … power!” But I was wrong. It is a much more complicated picture than I thought, and I am glad I did not post on this right away. Instead, I started running around mentioning this to people, having conversations, doing web searches, and learning more about the whole idea.

The most helpful conversation I had was with MB Chevalier, also known as Magid N. Kamel Boulos, head honcho of the ‘Sexual Health’ SIM in Second Life. MB had blogged about this, so was ready to tell me all kinds of useful information.

A Sexual Health SIM in Second Life: Why ‘in SL and not in “any�? website’?:

He quickly set me straight, clarified many of my misunderstandings, and offered a wealth of links for further information.
– Yes, OpenLife was an open grid project and allowed you to use your own server.
– No, OpenLife is not the only project like this. Most of the public grids are actually based on OpenSim. OpenSim is the big name you really need to know.
– No, even though OpenLife is run by someone named Sakai, that doesn’t mean it is related to the Sakai open source course management system project of which the University of Michigan is a member.
– Yes, the OpenLife, OpenSim and OpenGrid projects ALL allow you to use your own server and save your work, and they look very much like Second Life. BUT they don’t all do this equally well — some run slow, some render Windlight, each is different.
– No, the grids did not connect to each other, and they don’t connect to Second Life, either.
– Yes, there are more grids. For example, the French language grid is at
– No, not all of the grids are public, some are private.
– Yes, the skills you’ve learned in SecondLife all transfer over, beautifully.

By now, I pretty well realized that I had been way off track with my original assumptions about all this. I figure we need to be exploring these new options at the same time we are developing our skills in SecondLife. Here are some of the links mentioned and those recommended by MB:

  • Central Grid:
  • Deep Grid:
  • OS Grid:
  • Virtual World Grid:
  • A couple days ago, I went to the Metanomics session by David Levine, in which he explained the core issues with OpenSim development very nicely.

    David Levine / OpenGrid

    You can watch this presentation here:
    Second Life Cable Network: Metanomics:

    Here are some of the links recommended during David’s talk.

  • OpenSimulator Wiki:
  • Second Life Wiki: Architecture Standards Working Group: Protecting content in an open grid:
  • Second Life Wiki: Viewpoint Advocacy Groups:
  • UgoTrade:
  • If you want to stay current on this topic, watch UgoTrade. I plan to.


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