Aurora-Sim bridges gap to the hypergrid

Aurora-Sim is a hot, fresh, new distribution of OpenSim that promises some nice features for grid managers (see story here) but, until this weekend, its users were cut off from the rest of the metaverse.

That compatibility problem has been solved, and residents of OSGrid, FrancoGrid, and most other grids running the latest standard version of OpenSim can now teleport to an Aurora-Sim grid and come back again.

I made several trips this weekend from my company grid, and several other grids, to Aurora-Sim-based Nova grid — and easily came back again.

Avatar from my private grid on Nova’s Pandora region.

Enrico Ranucci

“The hypergrid works normally, like OpenSim does,” Nova owner Enrico Ranucci told Hypergrid Business. Ranucci is also one of the contributors to the Aurora-Sim project. “You can take your avatar from or to Nova and OSGrid avatar to or from Nova and you can rez or take objects from or to both worlds.”

And Aurora-Sim core developer Revolution Smythe has also implemented support for hypergrid instant messages and friends, Ranucci added.

Aurora-Sim is also part of the hypergrid metaverse in another way, as well — in a joint effort, Nova was able to roll out support for the multi-grid HGExchange marketplace, which allows merchants on one grid to sell their products to other grids of their choice.

How to teleport to Nova

The address system is the same as regular OpenSim — to get to Nova, enter in the search field of the Map window. That address takes you to Nova’s welcome region — also called Nova — where you can check out the teleport boards going to some other locations on the grid.

If you wanted to teleport directly to a Nova region, simply adds its region name after the address. To get to the Pandora region, teleport to To get to Serenity, teleport to

I haven’t been able to create new hypergrid landmarks while on Nova, but I could easily teleport to landmarks I had previously created on other grids. I also couldn’t get content or give items to local residents. But, given that the region hypergrid functionality was rolled out overnight, I’m sure that these issues will be fixed soon, as well.

Closer cooperation between development teams

Hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes, who is also professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine and the creator of yet another distribution of OpenSim — the popular Diva Distro — welcomed the hypergrid connectivity.

Crista Lopes

“Sounds like great news!” she told Hypergrid Business.

Meanwhile, other code contributed by Aurora-Sim developers has been making its way into mainstream OpenSim.

“We use some of Aurora-Sim’s developments and Aurora-Sim uses some of OpenSimulator’s,” said OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey.

For example, last week, an implementation of  llCastRay(), a script command which can be used to shoot bullets and improve vehicle wheels, was ported from Aurora-Sim to OpenSim.

So far, OpenSim has been careful to accept code that was unrelated to the viewer. Some of Aurora-Sim’s developers are connected to the Imprudence viewer project, and the two open source software license are incompatible. Viewer code is GPL licensed, and, if it were to accidentally get into the OpenSim code base, would jeopardize its BSD license. GPL does not allow derivative, proprietary commercial use — but BSD does. As a result, there are many commercial projects built on top of OpenSim that are helping the technology get wider adoption.

Late last month, OpenSim created the Overte Foundation, which will create some legal insulation for the OpenSim code base and allow the group to work more closely with viewer developers. Developers will sign contributor agreements to clear up licensing issues.

Justin Clark-Casey

“When OpenSim’s contributor’s requirements change — this is still in process — then this ambiguity should go away,” Clark-Casey said.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that viewer developers, OpenSim developers, and Aurora-Sim developers will instantly begin working hand-in-hand.

“I don’t know how things are going to go in the future,” said Clark-Casey. “I’m certainly keen on collaboration and bringing down barriers.”

But there’s also nothing wrong with having several projects going on, each with its own approaches, he added.

“We already see this with third party viewers,” he said.

He added that he hopes that the various flavors of OpenSim will remain compatible with regard to hypergrid protocols, but a strict adherence to compatibility could also slow down development, particularly in these fast-moving, early days of OpenSim. “We’ll have to see how things work out.”


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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

3 Responses

  1.' Bogus says:

    That is the best news since over months ;D

  2. I thought viewer software (at least SL viewer software) was changed to LGPL license quite some time ago. Also why should working on GPL licensed project X in any way blocking working on BSD licensed project Y? They are not the same code bodies. One is server the other is client. Why is this such an issue?

  3. Serendipity —

    The server code and client code are both complex pieces of software — there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of functions, that are duplicated in these code bases. A programmer who works on both of these systems might write such a function for the viewer, donate it to the GPL-licensed project and then, facing the same issue on the server side, re-use the code. After all, he wrote it himself. It's not like he's stealing it.

    But that code is now GPL licensed. That means all derivative works have to be GPL licensed. So if he puts that piece of code into the server software it could — potentially — make all of the server software "derivative code" from that one piece of client code.

    In practice, if this happens, you would just rewrite the offending bits so that they're fresh. But if you don't catch it, and more and more of this stuff creeps in, it could result in a lot of legal problems.