InWorldz at 3: Turning point or more of same?

[CORRECTION: I removed a line about bottlenecks that specifically mentioned the InWorldz asset server. See discussion in the comments for the full details.]

InWorldz is celebrating it’s third anniversary in Las Vegas this weekend (livestream here, schedule here).

I’m listening to the keynote presentation right now by grid founder Beth Reischl — also known as Elenia Llewellyn in-world. So far, it seems that the grid is focusing on community events and incremental technology improvements.

But I’m not seeing some core issues being discussed. Of course, that’s easy for me to say, watching from the sidelines — but then again, it’s the fact that I’m on the sidelines that makes me think about the bigger picture.

“David [co-founder David Daeschler, also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world] and I work 17-18 hour days,” Reischl said. “Back in the early days, we’d be up to 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.”

The InWorldz business model requires a great deal of hands-on management of both technology and of the community, and doesn’t exactly give them a lot of time to step back and reflect.

So here’s some unsolicited advice, for all it’s worth.

I believe that InWorldz is at a turning point now, that the current business model has problems, and that the company has a great opportunity to make a big impact — if it’s willing to take a big risk.

The current model

Today, InWorldz makes money by selling virtual land and virtual currency on its closed, commercial grids. Movement is restricted, both of avatars and of content.

Basically, InWorldz is a smaller, less expensive version of Second Life with not-as-good technology.

There are three major reasons people choose to join InWorldz:

  • Their friends are there, or the groups they want to belong to are there
  • They think that its expanding, and is the future, and they want to be in a growing world, not a shrinking one
  • They don’t want to be on Second Life, and want the next best thing
Unfortunately, reason number three is the only one viable for the long term. InWorldz growth has leveled off — it’s regions numbers have generally been hovering between 800 and 900 for the past year — so unless the new marketing campaign works out, InWorldz isn’t likely to see a great deal of growth.

InWorldz region counts.

So fast expansion is no longer a draw for people looking for a virtual world. There is expansion in OpenSim, but it’s in smaller, private and niche grids, interconnected by hypergrid teleport — today, there are more than 70 grids on the hypergrid and more than 4,000 hypergrid travelers using The Hypergates network alone.

And the first reason — to go where friends are — this is where size matters. Size matters quite a bit. Second Life, with its hundred thousand — plus or minus a few tens of thousands — unique monthly users far overshadows InWorldz’ 5,700 active users (at last count).

In addition, niche communities moving as groups out of Second Life in order to be able to get better prices and more control are increasingly setting up their own grids instead of joining existing grids like InWorldz. For example, the owners of Gay Nations and the BDSM-themed Littlefield Grid  are able to make their own backups of their entire grids, manage their own users, and switch hosting providers at will if another offers better terms or better service — all while being able to write their own terms of service, instead of having to comply with those of another grid.

Can people belong to more than one grid? Sure. I have an avatar on my company grid, on Second Life, on OSGrid, on my little New World Studio grid at home, and on all the major closed commercial grids, just in case I have to go in and interview someone. But I only actively maintain the avatar on my company grid. Buying clothes, making friends, joining groups — it all takes a lot of time and effort and a bit of money, too. I don’t want to have to find and buy the same outfit 10 times, or even two times. I’ll just get it once, for the avatar I spend the most time with.  I’ll only get enough stuff for my other avatars not to look like Ruth.

If you do decide to have two active avatars, then you’ve got two different sets of friends who can’t talk to each other. You’re in two sets of groups. You’re invited to two different sets of events. Eventually, you naturally start gravitating to one side or the other. And if Second Life is your other avatar, it’s always going to have an advantage there — more store openings, more fashion shows, more people, more groups, more events, more stuff to do — unless you’ve got a very compelling reason to be in OpenSim.

Meanwhile, if you want land to build on, InWorldz is looking like a poorer and poorer choice every day. You can’t bring in or save OAR files. Land’s cheaper than Second Life — but more expensive than anywhere else, and with more constraints. So you’ve got the creative types moving to Craft, FrancoGrid, OSGrid, and, now, Kitely, where land is super cheap — or free. And, on all the grids except Kitely, you can hypergrid teleport to all the other grid. And Kitely is adding hypergrid teleports right after they get the megaregions enabled.

Meanwhile, InWorldz can’t take advantage of any of the recent developments in OpenSim — mesh, media-on-a-prim, NPCs, megaregions, super stability, hypergrid friends, hypergrid landmarks, hypergrid instant messages, filtered OAR exports (and, soon, filtered hypergrid exports as well). They’re still on 0.6.5 and everyone else is on 0.7.3 and they can’t upgrade because they made a lot of fixes early on that were needed — but they didn’t contribute those fixes back to the open source community. So the open source guys went on, on their own, refactored, fixed everything — but in a different way than InWorldz did. And now InWorldz is stuck out on a branch all by itself. It has to pay for its own development — and there’s no way a single company can keep up with everything being done by volunteers in a giant open source community.

Now, you can try to convince your users that they don’t need mesh, media-on-a-prim, hypergrid, megaregions, backups, Linda Kellie’s magnificent OARs. And maybe a lot of your users don’t. But some will want some of those things, and, increasingly, there will be more and more things that some people want, that they can’t get on InWorldz, and they’ll quietly peel away. They’ll go to Second Life or OSGrid or Kitely or a New World Studio on their own computer, and spend less and less time and money in InWorldz.

Three years ago, when InWorldz first launched, they were ahead of mainline OpenSim — more stable, with features that nobody else had. Their technology was a big selling point.

That is no longer the case. InWorldz scored about the same as the average OpenSim grid in technology in both our 2010 grid survey and the 2011 grid survey — even though most of the other grids in the survey just ran standard OpenSim and did little or no technology work at all.

Where InWorldz is strongest is in their community — so, at this point, all the time and money they’re spending on technology is being wasted, since they could be spending it on community building and marketing, instead.

One vision for the future

Here is my proposal, for InWorldz future development, which will allow the company to build on its core strengths.

Step one: Ditch the proprietary technology. By continuing to invest in it, they’re only digging themselves in deeper. It served its purpose — it’s time to go. And, in the future, donate improvements back to the open source community to keep this same situation from repeating.

Step two: Enable OAR filtering and hypergrid filtering, and allow avatars — and full-perm content — to travel to other grids. Give creators sufficient warning, so that they can reset their permissions if they don’t want their content to leave the grid. Kitely will be rolling this out later on this year, and donating the hypergrid filtering code — or InWorldz can do this work. OAR filtering is already available in the latest official release of Opensim.

Step three: Use InWorldz’ strength in community building to become the central hub of the hypergrid. Expand events, fashion shows, markets, groups to the entire metaverse. Instead of spending money on proprietary physics engines and viewers, spend money on promoting these events across the hypergrid.

Today, InWorldz is the single busiest grid running OpenSim, not counting some of the large private educational grids. They have a reliable currency, and a great brand name. They now have the opportunity to expand on this, and position themselves in the future metaverse.

Or they could go on doing what they’re doing now, rolling out incremental technology improvements and cosmetic viewer improvements. Meanwhile, other grids pull ahead in features, and the hypergrid community grows and evolves until InWorldz becomes marginalized and irrelevant.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

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.

  • Inworldz is a nice grid however they copied all of the linden lab mistakes.   People need to learn from history in order to progress and improve.  This is not a dig at inworldz its simply a statement of fact and they are not the only ones trying to be linden labs its simply they are the ones in the article.      

    • “… they copied all of the linden lab mistakes.”

      Not all of them, Revel. 🙂 Customer service is very fast, griefing and other abuse is absolutely not tolerated, lag is generally due to the person’s viewer being configured incorrectly, sim border crossings are unnoticeable, the forums are not moderated to the point of censorship, the Founders will actually talk to people and they won’t release a feature until its been tested properly.

      Heck, they even allow lolcats in the forum 😀

      • haha sorry the lolcats made me laugh just had to giggle a bit with the response.    As far as “walled garden” and land sales and a few other things they are identical.    Business make me nervous when they exist to pick up what essentially is the shall we say “disgruntled” people from another business with a similar plan/model behind keeping them afloat.     They dont have nearly the population that second life has and so lag will be less, but for the most part its built the same way however I wasn’t talking about things that are a reality of using virtual worlds period such as sim crossing or lag.  This is something that will exist on any platform and dare I say mmorpg because lag and crossing boarders of servers is just what running around on pretend land pixels is like.  I speak of things like the walled garden approach and putting a lot of their shall we say eggs in the land sales basket to keep the thing afloat.    They are a newer version of second life.   I left second life to get away from that business model which is why I guess I stay away from these types of grids now (inworldz, avination, spoton3d any of those guys).   I wanted something different not just another version of what I left hehe. It was just a personal comment and as far as growth in the future its limiting in many ways.    Its great for those that enjoy it and yes I have visited them but I prefer to just hypergrid in from my pc and drop into some busy area and chat with people instead.   Its more natural and fun and well seamless.   🙂 

        • I do have to disagree that IW exists “to pick up what essentially is the shall we say “disgruntled” people from another business”. While neither you nor I can read their minds nor sit in on their various meetings, what I have seen and heard there is pretty much why OpenSim came into being. To provide a better alternative to SL. In fact, if you take a look at it from a similar viewpoint, OpenSim was created to “pick up” those same “disgruntled people from another business”.

          I see InWorldz as providing what SL has always promised but never delivered. And that applies to Avination and the other Walled Gardens as well as it applies to InWorldz. If people are disgruntled with a product, they will naturally look for something else. In fact, isn’t that one of the basic principles of business competition? “Unhappy with your current widget? Try ours!!”

          As for the Walled Garden approach, SL has proven the profitability of such a business plan (I’m ignoring their practices). Add to that the concerns of content creators regarding the protection of their IP, then the Walled Garden is the current way of doing things.

          There is a place in the metaverse for both the Walled Garden and the “Open Field”. To me, there is nothing wrong with making a profit, so long as its an ambition and not a greed. (ambition helps others along as you profit, greed hurts others). But I also support the generousity of the content providers, like Linda Kellie, who freely give away their content. In fact, that is one of many reasons for my own Excelsior Station, to be a showcase for all those awesome talents out there. Its not the only reason, but its an important one.

          In the future, those Walls will come down. Grid owners will still sell and rent land, creators will still make, sell and give away their content, but by then we’ll have a functioning metaverse economy. We will see various groups of people finding their place in the metaverse. Grid Owners, Region Owners, Renters, more. Some people enjoy running a grid, some just want a house to reside in.

          For now, this is the way things are working. Unlike RL, though, we do see it changing in the metaverse. Not only that, but what we are doing here and across the whole of the Internet is slowly tearing down the old ways of doing business in RL, too.

          Until then, I will join you in exploring the Open Fields of OpenSim. 😀

          • Fred Leftwich

            hahaha wow this is like a flashpoint article.

            InWorldz will fail imo if they restrict their viewer.  Like a web browser people want free access to choices.

            Inworldz can differentiate with technology (phlox) and services (hypergrid – at least from sl) but people will demand avatar cross-compatibility (sorry but I can’t keep establishing multiple avatar inventories, free or not..it’s a pain in the butt).

            InWorldz should pollinate opensim with their technology advances while keeping their ownership rights which would sucker-punch sl with a paradigm change.  This would require some software adaptation but everything is in so much flux….those who innovate will win this. 

            InWorldz can be a bridge between sl and opensim and reap big rewards but not if they create a walled-garden.

            @LindaKellie why can’t Maria give advice to InWorldz without repercussion?  Certainly in an open environment constructive criticism can be handled with the appropriate level of intellectual respect.

          • Maria can certainly give advice to anyone she wants. The problem that I had is that I viewed this as an article (as I always have all of her postings). As a “reporter” I did not expect her to post an opinion piece. Apparently this is one. 
            I really like Maria and I respect her so much. But if I think she is writing something without having the facts to back it up I will call her on it and hope she can provide the facts. 
            But since she has explained that this is just her opinion it’s a much easier pill to swallow.

            Most people know I have very high regards for InWorldz. I have been there and I have “felt” that world. They have a vision and they are working towards it. 
            If Maria were in that world and wrote about it I would view her posting in a different light. But really I this the same as I see someone who has never had a weight problem giving someone advice on how to lose weight. And I see all these devote OpenSim users that want to push OpenSim on everyone they see the same way I view reformed smokers. We know how great OpenSim is and HG. And we want to push that on everyone else the same way a reformed smoker suddenly wants everyone else to stop smoking. 

            I don’t fit with every grid. I don’t fit with every lifestyle. Someone can tell me how great something is but if it doesn’t fit me I won’t do it. We need closed grids. We need that balance. We need different people and different lifestyles. 
            edited to add…. I guess with that viewpoint I just expressed we also need postings like this one of Maria’s as part of that balance. I am not trying to squelch her. I am just adding my two cents.

          • tis an opinion article and it is what it is.  I left “walled garden” because I didnt want walled garden.   Inworldz has chosen walled garden which is fine but as a result they have also chosen to limit their customer base.   That is pretty much all that maria is saying in the article and putting her two cents in the decision of Inworldz to go with the same model as second life.  

            Its their choice to do so and I dont fault them for it.   I just look at these grids as someone who is a content creator and have made a decision long ago that this small micro transaction isolated walled gardens are too difficult to deal with and once you have do deal with one but you cant make a living off just one so you need to deal with them all man its a lot of work to import all that crap over and over again.   Opensim was an effort at opening things up and so they have in a big way.   The 3d universe will never be the same lol 

            meanwhile I will continue to plop my content on the internet which is a whole lot larger. 

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

            “Inworldz has chosen walled garden which is fine but as a result they have also chosen to limit their customer base.”

            At least they HAVE a customer base.
            : )

            I don’t think we can properly state a no-cost, open-source system has a “customer” base.

            All business models… including OpenSim… limit their “customer base” in one way or another.  There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like the model and prefers something else.  The key is to have a business model that is functional, profitable and above all… results in happy customers.  In think in this, Inworldz is succeeding splendidly. 

            Agreed, not everyone likes Inworldz.  Myself, I have no use for OpenSim. Doesn’t mean it’s not a viable system. That’s why no (Federally uncontrolled) business has just one business model.  Different people need different things.

            I wouldn’t object at all to Maria’s article if it was factual.  Opinion is opinion.  But Maria appears to the public as a professional reporter.  There’s some obligation there to check facts… or recant. This is one of the most severely inaccurate articles I’ve read regarding Virtual Reality.  That’s a problem.  Opinion is one thing.  False statement is another.  And to be honest considering past discussions we’ve had, Maria should have known better.

          • Fred Leftwich

             Ok Linda I see it from you.  Hahaha I think you are a great person with the best of intentions.

            Obviously one size does *not* fit all and it is great that there are options out there for all inclinations.

            I enjoy InWorldZ so much and wish them no disprespect.  It is a special incubator for the metaverse and has attracted some amazing content providers.

            I really appreciate your honesty and agree not everyone will fit with every grid, but this is where it will ultimately all play out really.  I earnestly hope that in the end everyone will still have the choices that will make them happy and productive in the metaverse.  I hope that makes sense.

          •  “Obviously one size does *not* fit all and it is great that there are options out there for all inclinations.”

            That is so true. Thank you for recognizing this. I think there is lots of room in this industry segment and I’m glad that not everyone feels it’s the open way or the highway.

          • Is there a comment somewhere that suggests that InWorldz plans to restrict the viewer in some way? Breaking free from the limits of the existing viewer does not mean dropping support for existing viewers.  It just means that InWorldz has a vision beyond what Linden Lab allows and provides.  Whatever information you got regarding “restricting” the viewer is yet more false information.

          • In another article on this blog “InWorldz plans marketing campaign, seeks mentors” Tranq is quoted saying,

            Meanwhile, the InWorldz viewer is going to see an upgrade as well.

            In the short term, we’ll be updating our viewer to the leatest stuff that everyone is used to, but keep the interface to what everyone is used to, Daeschler said. We don’t want anyone to get scared that the whole world will change. But stuff will look better, and we’re going to start adding some modern features lighting, shadows.

            Long term, the InWorldz viewer will become the only way to access the grid, he said.

            Some people will be unhapy because it will block out third party viewers, but it’s not something that we’re rushing into, said Reischl.

            What we really want to do is add some specific in-world extensions to make things faster, better, easier, said Daeschler.

            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/03/inworldz-plans-marketing-campaign-seeks-mentors/

            If Maria is quoting faithfully which I am sure she is then it’s not disinformation at all since it comes from two of the Inworldz founds and one is the lead coder.

          • Ah that, I understand the concern now.  For the foreseeable future, the LL-based TPV will be the InWorldz viewer too.  But any company with vision should see what might happen from the LL side if InWorldz gets to a million users, for example.  It’s unthinkable really that a commercial product base its strategy on software provided by another commercial product that may decide that InWorldz is a competitor.  I don’t like to think of any of the grids as competitors. I believe the concept of coopetition where the overall market is so much larger than the sum of all of our market shares, that growing the market should be everyone’s goals. We’ll all succeed.

            And also, I think we can all agree that the LL viewer has not kept up with our expectations, certainly not at the platform level.  The comments above refer to a longer-term vision where InWorldz would be completely replacing the viewer (possibly because InWorldz must) with a whole new, much more capable virtual world client.  A lot of new technologies are on their way and it will be almost silly to think InWorldz will be on the LL codebase 5 years from now.

          • Jim, may I suggest Inworldz publish an official statement regarding *exactly* what the new viewer technology will mean? Not just publish, but have it readily findable for the forseeable future. Even with my knowlege and experience in what the GPL means I’ve been seeing possible problems that may not really be there.

            Edit: I mean I’ve been thinking the future may be more restricted than Inworldz plans.

          • They can never fully restrict their viewer. Well, they could if they made a ground-up clean-room reimplimentation but I know those people, they aren’t anywhere near that crazy. 😀

            They can require viewers to use a different protocol and offer some different display features, but “3rd parties” will be able to take Inworldz viewer code and develop new viewers from it in exactly the way they took Second Life viewer code to develop from. This situation will continue for as long as the GPLv2 holds up in a court of law AND Inworldz don’t get greedy and stupid enough to waste tons of money on a clean-room reimplimentation. Frankly, I’d be more worried about my own sudden death or the collapse of Western civilisation as we know it. 😉

          • Fred Leftwich

            >>As for the Walled Garden approach, SL has proven >>the profitability of such a business plan

            So did AOl in the short term….no disrepect but the future of this grid technology must differentiate between the content delivery method and the content itself.

            Example in nature…the whale feeds on the smallest of animals..plankton, but is enormous in size. 

            InWorldz will never be facebook if they exist like myspace. 

            David Daeschler is obviously a brilliant mind but if he is paired with a flawed business model it is of no consequence.  Maybe in the short term it will make money, but long term this whole thing needs to open up.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             “InWorldz will never be facebook if they exist like myspace.”

            Thank goodness.  I wouldn’t want them to be either. 😀

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             “InWorldz will never be facebook if they exist like myspace.”

            Thank goodness.  I wouldn’t want them to be either. 😀

          • Very well said, Sarge, the whole comment.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             “I see InWorldz as providing what SL has always promised but never delivered.”

            Well-stated, Sarge.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             “I see InWorldz as providing what SL has always promised but never delivered.”

            Well-stated, Sarge.

    • I don’t have too many problems with Second Life™. It was created to let people live their dreams and visions in a virtual world. My problems there lie with the management of the product, the corporate policy interference in trying to run a business there, and their repeated blunders that alienate their user base.  So as a product, I think Second Life is an amazing achievement.  I think there are at least a few million people who agree with that. 

      So if only someone could come along to pick up where Second Life left off, with grid management that understood their user base, and listened, pushing it dramatically forward in a steady but deliberate and reliable progression of significant development after significant development.

      Linden Lab made a series of mistakes, and InWorldz is doing a great job of avoiding them. Investor influence in decisions, the whole MONO mistake, OpenSpace fiasco with reduced capacity regions that LL allowed to be misused as rental spaces, then had to raise the prices to accommodate their unexpected use, passing the buck to users on things like rogue scripts instead of fixing the script engine to protect against them, entering the land rental business with Linden Homes which directly competes with their landlord users, driving users outside the virtual world by keeping land prices high resulting in regions with abandoned land rather than other neighbors bringing traffic, and with external sculpty/mesh tools, the online Marketplace, and the dysfunctional web-based search.  There are many mistakes that InWorldz won’t be repeating.

      There are many positive encouragement policies too, such as free uploads and other policies that encourage content creation.

      I don’t mind having InWorldz thought of as Second Life Redux.  For now.  InWorldz hasn’t reached 1.0 yet.  Once it gets there, work will start on the next generation of InWorldz.  Given what has been accomplished during a period of extremely high growth, just imagine what will happen when there’s a stable, scalable foundation to build on.

      • Fred Leftwich

         Bravo.  I certainly don’t think of InWorldz as Second life Redux.  I hope this impression can be reinforced in more and more people’s minds. 

        While I can encourage InWorldZ to maneuver a little bit to where I as a consumer would like to see things go, I respect the direction and improvements you have brought to the metaverse. 

        Here’s to a bright and profitable future for everyone :).

        • I actually do think it makes a good Second Life Redux… at least in the 1.0 release.  😉  Sure there are some things it does better than SL, and some that it just doesn’t do at all, but that’s the nature of an independent development. 

          Second Life provides a good basis for many brilliant concepts, such as the ability to edit content in-world.  I feel the good points from SL, of which there are many, can be readily embraced and adopted, as OMV (Open MetaVerse) did, and OpenSim built upon.

          I feel that the variety that spawned from that effort is critical to the long-term success of alternative grids.  It’s important that we go off into different directions, because it is inevitable that some will succeed and some will fail.  Any attempt to stifle that variety is a threat to the future of alternative grids.  The longer a grid walks down that divergent path, the more likely it is to succeed and start truly innovating.

        • Wayfinder Wishbringer

          Couldn’t agree more Fred.  In truth while I support Inworldz, I also applaud OpenSim as a whole, OSgrid, other grids and anyone who worked hard to give us a viable VR alternative.

          I think Inworldz is going where SL should have gone.  It will go additional directions in the future and become perhaps what SL should have been.  I know our group has prospered there as I never imagined it would (honestly… 29 regions and growing? Pretty happy about that).  Fortunately in all this… multiple grids are surviving and from what I can see, no one is endangering anyone else.  As stated long ago, this is a pretty big pie and there’s a piece for everyone. : )

      • Wayfinder Wishbringer

        Personally, I have lots of problems with Second Life… but I think it can be more accurately stated the problems are with Linden Lab’s management of Second Life.

        I have problems with the system being so $$$expensive$$$.

        I have problems with LL treating customers like third-class citizens and a necessary evil.

        I personally object that their default avatar was a naked teenage girl… and claims of it being an “adult” grid don’t excuse encouragement of turning the potential of SL into a virtual brothel overrun by griefers and drama queens.

        I have problems with company policies virtually stealing our work, competing with their own customers, trying to negate our copyrighted intellectual property with their policies, and destroying efforts of people who helped the grid grow over the years.

        And I’ll limit it to that for the sake of brevity.  So yeah, we have a LOT of problems with Second Life… which is why we came to Inworldz. : )

      • [email protected]:disqus

        I personally think this debate has run its course and the comments need to be closed before more damage gets done to the community and friendships broken.

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      Again… being a closed-grid does not mean they copied all the Linden Lab mistakes.  A rose is not a dandelion, just because it’s a flower.  Inworldz offers the security and friendliness their customers want and need– at a far lower price.  I assure you they have not copied Linden Lab mistakes just because they’re a proprietary grid.

      Not everyone needs or wants an open gate.  As Jim Tarber has said many times and I’ll echo: there’s room for many business models in this business. : )

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      Again… being a closed-grid does not mean they copied all the Linden Lab mistakes.  A rose is not a dandelion, just because it’s a flower.  Inworldz offers the security and friendliness their customers want and need– at a far lower price.  I assure you they have not copied Linden Lab mistakes just because they’re a proprietary grid.

      Not everyone needs or wants an open gate.  As Jim Tarber has said many times and I’ll echo: there’s room for many business models in this business. : )

  • very thoughtful post Maria and i agree with your points. once OpenSim gets to a point where a content creator has as much contol over their work asin a walled garden, it will be moreattractive than ever being only in a walled gaden

    my own use points to what you say – our grid is for our specific purpose and the two of us could manage as many as say 6 such grids (if we ever expanded and needed an Earth Science grid, Life Science Grid, etc compared to al in one)

    however, just as people can have their own grids, InWorldz has the opportunity to become the “facebook” of virtual worlds. Second Life might be that in some ways but it’s also too big and seems to have lost that comraderie it had back in 2005-06

    the InWorldz community has a strong identity and if that can be fostered perhaps that is its niche (like 3rd Rock Grid which is great for music and has many music oriented residents and events)

  • As much as I like and support InWorldz, I cannot disagree, Maria. 

  • WOW,  This is like a InWorldz bashing blog. Not very professional in my opinion. I don’t see you writing an article like this about Avination. They don’t have HG and they are a closed grid. But I guess since Melanie is your friend and contributes to the OpenSim development her grid gets a pass. Although did she contribute her script engine? I heard she did not. But I could be wrong about that. 

    Seriously this is absurd. This is like saying that everyone needs to wear the same  white shirt and blue blazer and kacky pants. 
    InWorldz would be stupid to open their doors to hypergrid. As much as I like hypergrid it is not even a little bit safe for people who want their creations kept safe. 
    And I don’t think you have a clue as to what they are doing as far as their technology. They are working on things, I’m sure, that they haven’t released until they have it “right”. They are taking their time and somehow you think that is a bad thing. 
    It’s apparent that you have never been a part of InWorldz. If you were there for any amount of time you would understand that you for sure get what you pay for. They don’t just do things half assed there. They are slow and steady (steady=stable). And there is nothing at all wrong with concentrating on their community. After all their community are their residents and their residents are their customers. 
    It’s ok for you to like hypergrid. I like it too. It’s ok for you to like tons of free stuff and people able to get free sim and stuff. I like that too. But some people (and I used to be one) like the idea of being real life and making, marketing and selling things as well as shopping and budgeting and such. Let the closed grids give that to the people who want them and stop pushing for them to be like the socialist society that you think all of the metaverse should be. 

    The bottom line is this….. Their customers are happy. That is all that counts. That means they are doing something right. 

    I was totally impressed by their live feed of their conference. I thought you would be also. Apparently you have a totally different view of it than I do. 

    And as far as you including the mention of my oars in your article I thank you for your kind words. But not everyone wants to be on a grid that has the same sims set up over and over again with the same content. 

    • Linda —

      I wrote this about InWorldz for two reasons — first, they’re having their celebration this weekend, so it’s a good time to think about where they’re going.

      Second, it’s because they’re the most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.

      I know Melanie as well — and as little — as I know the InWorldz founders. In other words, a couple of conversations, some emails back and forth. I could have written this about Avination, but Avination already has plans to enable hypergrid once the security features are there, and they’re not as well known for community building as InWorldz is, and they’re dropping in the monthly charts and in our grid survey. Avination now has just half as many active users as InWorldz does. I’m sure they’re very well aware that their business model needs a tune-up.

      I couldn’t write this column about Avination because it doesn’t apply to Avination. (Though I’ve written plenty about them in the past — first, about their meteoric rise, then, about their dramatic fall.)

      InWorldz, because of the fact that they’re so successful, is probably not thinking that they have to change anything. From their presentations this week, it sounds like they’re making long-term plans to do more of what they’re doing now. If it works, why mess with it, right?

      I want InWorldz to have a long successful life. But I’m worried that their current business model is not factoring in some key trends, and that this could hurt them — and, with their nearly 6,000 active users, hurt OpenSim as a whole.

      Their technology gave them an edge at the beginning, but now that same technology is holding them back. 

      I don’t care whether or not they contribute code back — there are plenty of developers working on OpenSim, and I have a hard enough time keeping up with the pace of change as it is. I’m saying that by not contributing their code, InWorldz painted themselves into a corner. 

      A successful corner. But a corner. And a corner that it’s going to be hard for them to get out of — and harder still, with each new passing month. 

      And leaving that corner will mean abandoning a successful business model in order to do something unproven and very risky. 

      And there’s nothing wrong with closed grids. Role playing grids might want people to create brand-new characters for their games. Schools and companies might want to keep strangers out. Niche social groups might want to have a safe, protected environment for their users. 

      But we’re going to get secure hypergrid filtering, probably sometime this year (Kitely is working on that, for one, Diva also has plans to improve hypergrid security, other grids might be as well). Many general purpose social grids will probably turn hypergrid on at that point, once security for in-world content is assured. (Well, as assured as it can be.) InWorldz isn’t going to have that choice.

      • I guess that is what I don’t understand. You say over and over how successful InWorldz is yet you want to give them advice. I would think that their success proves they know what they are doing. 
        It seems to me that most people would think “Oh this company is successful. Maybe I should try to be more like them.” Instead you seem to be saying “This company is successful so maybe I should try and get them to conform to what the majority is doing”. pfft. 
        Sorry Maria. I really like you and I have so much respect for you and I always value your opinion. But This just doesn’t make sense to me at all. 

        • Second Life is also successful, and I give them advice all the time. In fact, I give them pretty much the same advice as I just gave to InWorldz.

          Of course, they ignore me. 

          There’s a well-known business problem called “The Innovators Dilemma.” In any fast-evolving field of technology, companies can easily be trapped by their own success, and not see the pitfalls until it’s too late.

          There’s a book of the same name that traced several generations of hard disk manufacturers — each big technological change pretty much wiped out the existing companies. Later on, people applied it to the Internet, which is doing the same thing to a number of industries.

          There’s a saying that came out of that: “We need to destroy our business model before someone else does it for us.”

          In practice, however, it’s almost impossible to do. Like you said, they’re successful. Their business model is working. Nobody sees any need to change it. And there are, in fact, many grids out there trying to emulate them.

          My opinion — and this is just my opinion — is that, except for some specific cases (role playing grids, niche social grids, private company and school grids) — the walled garden model isn’t going to work for much longer. 

          I don’t think you have to tear down the walls completely. I don’t think everything should be free — I love to spend money and buy stuff. I think grids could be able to control which content stays on the grid. I’m a business journalist — I love money and commerce and that sweet, sweet smell of profitability. But technology changes, and companies have to be prepared to adapt.

          • Exactly Maria…. You said it right there. This is just your opinion. This isn’t an article based on facts. It is an opinion piece. You are not in InWorldz and you have no way of knowing what they are doing in the background or what their future plans are. 

            I spent a lot of time in IW. If I were there now and they told me they were opening to hypergrid I would leave in a snap. Because if I were there it would be because I like their business model and that is the way I would be choosing to play this game. 

            The same goes for Island Oasis. Had I been a resident of that world I would have left when they closed off hypergrid because I would have probably been there because I wanted a grid that offered that. 

            I think that these InWorldz people know what they are doing. And they are doing everything honestly and in the best way to suit their residents (their customers). That is more than can be said for many grids out there. 

          • Fred Leftwich

             Yes I agree they know what they are doing *within* the confines of their current business plan.  They have goals and metrics to meet and this will obviously consume the bigger part of their energy and attention.

            I think they are very honest and genuine and I appreciate that.  I want to make that very clear.

            I wish them the very best.  It is no sin to question their approach and suggest alternatives.  I hope they can take the article in that manner. 

            Time will tell.  Maybe they will become the next sl and overthrow them. Maybe they will be second tier but yet it will satisfy their business needs.

            I can see bigger things for them is all.  I think they have the pieces to make a bigger splash in the metaverse.  It is all about vision.  If I am blind and they see the light we will know soon enough.

          • I’m glad you are confident that InWorldz has the pieces to make a big splash.  That took a long time to reach, and would not have been reached had InWorldz diluted its attention on those work items and gone after other projects that would have destabilized the foundation even further.

            I think you and InWorldz have more in common than your last sentence implies.  It *is* all about vision, and for those who are impatient and want that vision spelled out prematurely in more detail than is appropriate, I think the big difference is your “soon enough” mindset; vision does not come soon. It’s long-term. I believe the InWorldz view is to get to the 1.0 version before announcing 2.0 features and vision.  Until then (and even then), it would just be speculative vaporware announcements.

          • Mike_Chase

            In reference to the innovators dillema:
             
            “There’s a saying that came out of that: “We need to destroy our business model before someone else does it for us.”

            The idea that InWorldz at this early stage is the entrenched corporation that is the target for more nimble innovators is really sort of laughable and shows a distinct bias against what they do.  So ok, thats your opinion.  But its all it is.  And InWorldz success easily speaks for itself.

            From my experience as a very happy InWorldz resident their “business model” involves listening to what their customers want.  That’s a pretty time tested formula for any business and may have something to do with their success (understated sarcasm intended).   You are advocating an alternate approach which as best as I can tell comes down to ditching a proprietary approach to their product.  Well at least there *is* a product.  Even the OpenSim team which perpetually ships alpha software is quick to claim they don’t do products.   

            Phlox well exceeds the performance of any OpenSim scripting engine and handily beats even the SL scripting engine for speed and reliability. And to imply that InWorldz has the same scalability issues as other OpenSim based grids shows a pretty blatant disregard for the hard work that has been done over the past 3 years.  In short, you didn’t do your homework; and I don’t think you get it.

            This is still a young and growing space with plenty of problems to solve. I’ll say this openly  I am an InWorldz resident and I am biased. I build content here. I do that because I trust the decisions being made and believe they are looking out for my interests. I wouldnt say that about a hypergrid enabled (technology which is broken from the start IMO… Nice research project, not a product) grid.  

            So thank you for your advice. But I trust that InWorldz will continue to invest and grow to best serve their customers.  And as long as thats happening InWorldz is home for me.

          • That’s actually one of the ironies of the Innovators Dilemma — the companies involved are always doing what their customers want. In the case of the hard disk manufacturers the book profiled, the customers had big investments in large drives, and had no interest in switching to smaller, lower-quality drives. But before you know it, the smaller drives’ quality had improved, and all the customers had moved over. 

            The same thing happens in every industry. A print newspaper might survey its print readers, and the readers would say that they love print. Of course they would — otherwise, they wouldn’t be reading it. When customers decide that they prefer reading online, they leave, and aren’t around to explain their preferences anymore. 

            Companies not only have to be attentive and responsive to what customers want today, but must also be able to anticipate what the customers will want tomorrow. (As to what that will be — well, there opinions will differ!) And the customers can’t tell them. The customers want what they want, until they don’t want it anymore.

          • “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse”. -Henry Ford

          • Mike_Chase

             Okay, a couple of points.  The Innovators Dilemma mostly applies to product companies.  You can extend it to services businesses but its not so easy to distinguish how a customer will use a service vs. a product. 

            Really though the innovators dillemma is about an innovative company targeting an unserved or underserved need and eating into the sales and market of an established company.  Now to me that sounds *alot* like the IW business model.  Not that I would presume to pigeonhole them anyway, I would imagine if customer demand drove IW to a more open grid model and it could be done securely and at scale it would be considered.  But the reality is that customers are pretty clearly saying they like what IW is doing and the simple truth is the HyperGrid is both insecure *and* unscalable.  It’s a research experiment, And a failed one if you ask a content creator like me.   I wont ever place my content on a Hypergrid connected grid.  Period. End of Sentence.

            So you can pretend that walled garden grids are old news and decide that IW is dinosaur because they chose that model to server a customer base that clearly wants precisely that.  You’d be wrong.

            Maria, I guess I really want to say one thing that’s been bothering me. I don’t get the timing of all this.  On essentially the third anniversary of what should be a celebratory moment for both IW and VW grids in general you chose to release an unresearched negative opinion piece.  Its damaging to the people who run the IW grid (if only because it shows a lack of understanding and respect all the hard work they have done).  Its damaging to the space as a whole– we should be celebrating their success.  And its unfair and intolerant of the customers who call IW home. 

            Honestly I wish in the future you choose to keep your negative opinions to yourself.

            Mike

          • I’d like to add too that this was posted at a time when it was well known that the founders were doing their conference and would, most likely, be spending any extra time away from that attending to grid issues rather than putting out fires like this one. 

          • Jigs

             ”

            Honestly I wish in the future you choose to keep your negative opinions to yourself.”

            Wow, looks like Maria hit a senssitive bone 😉

      • “Second, it’s because they’re the most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

        I’ll have more to say later; this article is just so misguided that it will take a significant effort just to clean up the fiction it presents. However, since you keep repeating this, I just want to correct this. InWorldz is on OpenSim like Windows 8 is on DOS. No. Almost all of the major core components (assets, inventory, permissions, groups, scripting, etc) have ALL been *completely* replaced by entirely new InWorldz-specific technology. So you know what you can do with your marginalizing comments regarding the “incremental” improvements. You completely blew it with this article.

        • Fred Leftwich

          Well InWorldz is on OpenSim like Windows 8 is on DOS.  Maybe when you started InWorldZ on the OpenSim base of 0.6.5 or whatever but OpenSim has grown since then. 

          Not to marginalize what InWorldZ has done.  OMG Phlox is an amazing achievement.  But hey I still get avatars floating in the center of the region where I rent my home.  You know about this bug  hahaha.  I cannot ‘force sit’ anywhere I want like sl.  These are not a big things, but InWorldZ still has some polishing to do.

          I believe InWorldZ can grow.  Really.  Maria believes this too I am sure.  If you were to assume the vanguard for OpenSim and pollinate the base with your scripting advances and add hypergrid I think you would blossom more than you could imagine.  Of course this is not possible with the current technology when protecting creator’s rights.  I support creator’s rights.  And then we consider the cloud emerging things get even more weird.

          You are doing some good things with InWorldZ.  You have growth and encouraging potential.  No need to get defensive.  Keep your mind open even with your intimate business plan.  IBM changed with the times and has thrived.  So did Intel.

          Maria is like the Oracle from ancient Greece lol. 

          • There are many things still left to be done for sure. Like OpenSim, InWorldz is still in beta and there are missing pieces.  However, the rate at which those are being accomplished is accelerating tremendously, and more and more incredible developers are coming forward interested in assisting.  Key senior developers from the largest names in the industry.  The ball is really rolling now.

            In my (personal) opinion, the worst thing InWorldz can do now is make a sudden turn and throw the user base out of the vehicle.  Which is exactly what would happen if InWorldz hooked up to the Hypergrid.  Any business that cared about content protection would abandon InWorldz almost immediately. The thriving economy would tumble.  InWorldz businesses know that InWorldz management will not compromise on their business security, and that’s one of the many reasons content creators like InWorldz so much.  They also know that, unlike SL, there won’t be any sudden and dramatic shifts that through the economy into turmoil.  Abandoning content protection and joining the Hypergrid is pretty much the worst of the possible dramatic shifts available.

            If InWorldz was an open source project that didn’t really care how many people used it, and didn’t care about the virtual economy and it’s resident businesses, it would make a lot of sense.  InWorldz WILL NOT connect to an external grid that cannot protect the content created by its businesses.  OpenSim has a very fragile permissions system, even without the Hypergrid.  It’s not a secure environment for business, even on a closed OpenSim grid.  Then if you bring individual home servers into the picture, where users are grid owners, and can even build their own modified servers, the result is something useful only for organizations that do not have an active economy and currency system.  That leaves OpenSim and Hypergrid very useful and effective for many roles, but not the roles InWorldz has chosen.

            Some day I would like to see InWorldz connected to Second Life, which is reasonably secure (although less-so than InWorldz, for example still not handling the slam bit correctly).  Hypergrid has a very long way to go before anything like that could ever be considered.

          • Fred Leftwich

            Right.  At the moment there is no way to protect the content and connect to hypergrid at the same time.

            This is the problem that someone will overcome some day.  I appreciate InWorldZ’s concern to nurture and protect their creators.  It is of the upmost importance.

            But saying all that, this is an issue that will have to be addressed at some point.  As a consumer I expect to bring my avatar across all the grids.  I will gladly pay for my inventory, but have a big problem paying multiple times to equip my avatar in different grids (and yes I have paid real money to do that).

            Just food for thought.

          • I think most reasonable people agree with all that.  It’s merely a matter of priorities.  InWorldz priorities are first to provide a stable 1.0 release for it’s existing residents and any others who appreciate the feature set of a professionally managed independent grid.

            Its next priority is to provide the features requested by its residents, and there are many features and fixes that are well above inter-grid connectivity.  Hypergrid is way down that list of user desireables. In fact, it would likely be seen as an undesireable.

            Frankly, there isn’t anything for InWorldz to hook up to yet anyway.  There’s no way Hypergrid can be used since, as Melanie from Avination put it, doing so would be “inviting wholesale permission exploits”.  This would be business suicide for a commercial grid.  At this time.  Who knows what we will see in InWorldz 2.0.  But it’s too early to talk about that.

          • Fred Leftwich

            I understand.  I like that you are forward thinking for 1.0, 2.0 and who knows.  I know hypergrid is not there yet for the merchants.  Remember the Phoenicians hahaha.

            Just keep in mind when you say ‘Hypergrid is way down that list of user desirables.’ that may be indicative of your current user base but not a barometer of what could cause mass adaption of your service. 

            Some businesses are the beneficiaries of  ‘flashpoints’ when they adopt some methodology which resonates with the masses, not just the ‘greenwich village’ tribe of artistic types, even those people are a treasure to have.

          • Oh I fully agree. It’s just that there’s a lot of work to be done before any grid is ready for that mass adoption.  InWorldz is working hard to be ready for that moment, so that when the mood of the residents swings a bit, there will be a stable and scalable foundation upon which to extend the service in new areas.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             “Well InWorldz is on OpenSim like Windows 8 is on DOS.  Maybe when you
            started InWorldZ on the OpenSim base of 0.6.5 or whatever but OpenSim
            has grown since then.”

            So has Inworldz. : )

            Actually, I fail to see much growth in OpenSim… certainly not what has been claimed.  The software is still very buggy and performance is awful.  Comparatively, Inworldz is smooth.

            Yes, the bugs you mentioned are there.  But when I compare a ghosted avatar floating in a sim to group chat that doesn’t work (on SL)… to me that avatar is minor.  Pointing out Inworldz has bugs is like pointing out trees have dead twigs.  All grids have bugs.  That doesn’t make Inworldz any less amazing for what it’s accomplished.

            I think Inworldz does have an open mind and in my experience is very open to suggestions.  But the kind of suggestions made in this blog are… well, absurd, to say the least.  There is a reason Inworldz is the most popular and successful commercial grid outside of SL… and it’s not because they need to change their business model. ; )

      • “I wrote this about InWorldz for two reasons — first, they’re having
        their celebration this weekend, so it’s a good time to think about where
        they’re going. Second, it’s because they’re the most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

        Correction – InWorldz is not on OpenSim. Maria, I’m really glad that you were invited to consider where InWorldz is going, being so important to the grid and all..

      • Maria, Inworldz has a lot of that often hard to define property called quality. Don’t get me wrong, I have technical problems in Inworldz sufficient to make me think about changing my primary grid, but a few hours in any OpenSim grid is enough to send me running back to Inworldz.

        My standard of quality references what Second Life was like when I first joined: December 1st, 2005. Sure, sims crashed and couldn’t hold very many people, but a lot of other things — building, groups, online presence, sim crossings — worked very well, much better than the OpenSim developers have ever been able to make them. At that point Second Life had one programmer for most of its life. One man had made it, added features as LL saw fit, fixed bugs, etc. OpenSim has had how many developers for how long?

        To my eyes it looks like the OpenSim devs are content to leave the OpenSim user experience as fairly low quality while continuing to work to add frivolities that no-one actually needs for the virtual world experience. To have these same people talking about a secure hypergrid does not fill me with confidence. They may surprise me, but I’m not really ready to take their word when they announce a secure hypergrid. A bit of straight-up head-to-head competition might do them good.

        Anyway, regarding Inworldz official response, I’m as guilty as you are of not knowing that they allowed importing OAR files, and I’ve practically lived there for two years! Admittedly I don’t get away much from my small circle of entertainments and builds. I am pleased they allow it now and are working on allowing exports too.

    • Jigs

       Maria was telling the FACTS, and if the facts hurt, well that’s too bad, but when you branch off into your own proprietary code and give nothing back, then as Maria said- the rest of the opensim developers made their own fixes and developments and now IW is dangling on a limb by itself with version 0.6.5 while everyone else it at 0.7.3
      Dont blame Maria for stating the facts about that, costs, people leaving etc.
      This all says at lot, and it’s all fact;

      “Meanwhile, if you want land to build on, InWorldz is looking like a
      poorer and poorer choice every day. You can’t bring in or save OAR
      files. Land’s cheaper than Second Life — but more expensive than
      anywhere else, and with more constraints. So you’ve got the creative
      types moving to Craft, FrancoGrid, OSGrid, and, now, Kitely,
      where land is super cheap — or free. And, on all the grids except
      Kitely, you can hypergrid teleport to all the other grid. And Kitely is
      adding hypergrid teleports right after they get the megaregions enabled”

  • In my personal opinion, the future will involve less DRM and more invention of completely new business models for content creators. Of course the hard part is getting from here to there.

  • Multiple factual inaccuracies (especially regarding our “bottlenecks” and what we are doing or not doing, which you could not know without an NDA) in this article will be addressed by a formal response from InWorldz

  • You know, Linda and I really agree on this one.  Inworldz is a true attempt at doing something different. I like all the grids that I have visited and i belong and build on several. I’m not a shopper and I applaud Linda (hey Ayla! It’s John) for her generous efforts as well.  I also don’t really think you have a handle on inworldz.  Not everything needs to be full perm and free to give away–well if it benefits a grid that you invested in, i could see the need for content–I sell products that I make exclusively for Inworldz–granted I’m not a powerful land Baron–i have one sim and a couple of satellite stores and here are  some things about Inworldz that is making me stay: I don’t pay upload fees, I have a heck of a lot of prims–i have MADE a lot of new friends whom I actually value AS friends and not as a name on a business card. I care about them and I care about Inworldz and i trust the founders and whatever direction they choose to take. As for hypergrid—well I don’t need it. Tell me how it will be to my advantage to hypergrid.  Its not a lot of effort for me to log out of Inworldz and into Haven or Craft or wherever.  I’m not transferring my stuff until I know a grid is secure. 
    OH and hey, I can approach a founder and they listen and act on my problems and the customer service is good so WHY should I care about who has the bigger better, best and bestier technology. For me, Inworldz works and I am happy.

    • I do not believe that all content should be free and full perm. I believe that CREATORS and GRID OWNERS need to have a choice.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a grid owner deciding to close a grid, or a content creator deciding to keep all their creations limited to some particular grids, or one particular grid. 

      And for many grids, staying closed will be a viable choice, and for many content creators, keeping their content local will be the best choice. A grid whose unique selling proposition is a unique role playing environment won’t want those costumes and weapons and everything else to travel to other grids, for example. There are many examples like that, and there will probably be successful, closed grids for many years to come — just like proprietary gaming consoles are still making money hand-over-fist.

      • I’m glad you’re a fan of closed grids, but the above comment flies in the face of everything else you seem to post, including the primary concepts presented in your uninformed opinion piece above.  So you’re no longer saying that “closed grid” means irrelevant and destined for doom?

        • Fred Leftwich

          If the grid is for profit and making money then all is good right?  Management is being a good steward.  There are still prokaryotes even though eukaryotes arrived.  There is room for various models.  InWorldZ is a fun place to be.  I have a home there as well as sl and osgrid.  I am not against InWorldZ.
          But Maria looks at things with long-term, broad perspective.  Those of us who remember BBSs, archie and gopher,  2400 baud modems then 9600 then 56k,  etc saw AOL and Netscape come in then Windows then Linux.  We witnessed firefox challenge IE then opera.  We saw the open standards allow tools and applications like google, facebook, twitter, wikipedia, netflix etc.  Explosive, paradigm changing events.  Open standards for browsers let other companies specialize in what they do best.  Open standards with viewers can do the same for the metaverse.

          Of course wall-gardens can be profitable just ask Nintendo.  No one is saying that will ever change. Last I checked AOL was still alive.   But Cambrian-explosion type events will happen for the developers that offer freedom and choice and portability for the masses.  It has not happened yet.  I think it will within the next 5 years.

          • I believe there is a lot of room for many models in the community of virtual worlds. I promote all of them, as I see this as a small chapter in the grand scheme. As I have said repeatedly, I fully believe in promoting all of the grids, as any form of promotion here is good for the industry as a whole.  Anything else is like the browser wars of the mid-90s when companies fought over the tiny market instead of seeing the bigger picture of massive future growth.  Grow the industry as a whole, and your favorite grid will grow enormously.

            I saved my first software program on paper tape. My first software  job was on punch cards. I changed the big disk packs, and toggled a dipswitch in order to switch between uppercase and lowercase on an ADM-3a.  I’ve been with the industry through a couple of explosive bursts and booms and crashes.  I’ve stood back and analyzed and regrouped many times.

            I remember a discussion I had with my team at my former employer… should we add TCP support to our product? Was this “Internet” craze thing going to be a fad? We decided to take it seriously and added TCP and UDP support in the following release. It turns out that was a good decision. 😉  Oh and Firefox came much later.

            This article nothing about that.  It’s an uninformed attack on something developing into a successful leader in the industry. Which threatens the namesake, Hypergrid Business, which itself is almost an oxymoron.  The last thing Hypergrid Business wants is business outside the Hypergrid.  Even though Melanie Thielker, owner of Avination and one of the people who contributed to the Hypergrid project also rejects Hypergrid for business purposes:
            “I do promote the secure Hypergrid; Avination is not a walled garden by choice. However, to keep the work of our creators safe, we can’t, with the curent state of HG security, safely enable hypergridding in Avination. Rest assured that, once it can be done without inviting wholesale permission exploits, it will come to Avination.”

            The Hypergrid serves a very useful purpose, for those who don’t really care about on-grid business.  There are many environments where this is suitable.  It has been said that OSGrid will never directly support a currency system.  I don’t know if that is true but the current Hypergrid implementation will have to be completely replaced with design specs that are peer-reviewed and adopted as a standard prior to the implementation, not this system that is suitable for hobbyist non-commercial use.

            Whether the opinionated analysis holds any water or not here is mute when the “facts” used to form that opinion are so wildly off base.  The ideas used to construct the opinion is wrong; the conclusions are thus wrong.

            Dissenting opinions are welcome; but just being an editorial doesn’t really allow for a complete abandoning of journalistic responsibility.

            Was there any attempt to validate the (incorrect) assumptions?  Where did the false information used in this article come from?  Were there at least two independent sources?  Did she ask the subjects of the story for comment?  Were the source(s) of the information used here competitors of InWorldz?
             
            The facts are so wrong and biased that I feel Maria must have been completely duped into writing this by listening too closely to a competitor, and provided what what seemed like sound technical information, but was in reality a complete work of fiction.  The article is about as biased as an article can be, full of false assumptions and the reality of things at InWorldz is nothing like what she paints here.  Someone came up with the fiction used to formulate the conclusions here; I’m assuming Maria didn’t make it up herself.  Or maybe she did, and she has no sources at all.

            “still on 0.6.5 and everyone else is on 0.7.3”

            READ MY LIPS: InWorldz is NOT OpenSim.  It is professional enterprise-class server software.  It is not running OpenSim 0.6.5.  It seems Maria does not understand what a fork is.  I will explain how InWorldz is different:

            It started from OpenSim software years ago, but nearly every important major software component has been identified as having major reliability and/or scalability problems and been completely replaced with more appropriate reliable and scalable software.  I’ve made this clear to Maria several times now. I’m getting pretty tired of repeating myself but INWORLDZ IS NOT OPENSIM.  Hasn’t been for a few years.

            There is NO OpenSim software providing InWorldz assets; the assets system was developed by InWorldz. The inventory system replaced with a completely new and much more scalable and reliable system based on Apache Cassandra (developed to provide Facebook with scalability and adopted by Apache). The groups system is also InWorldz-developed.  Most of the permissions system has been ripped out and replaced with something that actually works (and better than SL’s system).  The Phlox script engine is the envy of the virtual worlds, providing at least an order of magnitude performance improvement over other implementations, and complete control over things like memory use. This is something you cannot get running LSL as native .NET/MONO DLLs.  InWorldz regions have no memory leaks; they can run for a very long time with very little memory, relative to OpenSim.   Most InWorldz regions are not restarted until the automated grid upgrade software triggers a restart for an upgrade.

            Beyond that, InWorldz also has it’s own currency system with direct support in the grid software. It also enterprise-class redundant power, storage and an automated backup system.  Running on a platform that supports fast and transparent failover if a VM or hardware fails, redundant power supplies and battery-backed disk controllers.  InWorldz also has fully automated region monitoring and restart, as well as fully automated rolling restarts to support grid-wide upgrades.

            InWorldz wants to give back where possible; a recent significant fix to support significantly improved performance on unreliable networks (like wireless connections) has been identified as one that probably still exists in similar OpenSim code and therefore it can be contributed back. The recent changes to create the OpenSim foundation, and thus the removal of the 6-month restrictions by OpenSim on contributing back, actually allow contribution back now, and will hopefully remove the handcuffs that have completely restricted that in the past.  That said, most of the InWorldz development is whole new software servers and components that OpenSim does not have.

            Maria tries to marginalize these amazing achievements by, well, calling them marginalized, and “incremental”.  They are incremental, the same way that 10 is incremental over 1.  The good news for OpenSim users is that the tremendous advances at InWorldz will help to spur OpenSim developers to try to keep up.  Everyone will benefit, because although different groups are served by each offering, there is a bit of overlap.  Maria also tries to speak for InWorldz users, or lessen the importance of serving the primary customer market.  InWorldz residents will read this article and likely either laugh or be outraged by how misguided and biased it is.

          • Goodness me Jim! Maria has written many positive things about InWorldz in the past and this article is clearly stated to be an  opinion and offers advice about the future development of the metaverse and reasons why she thinks Inworldz should move closer to the hypergrid model. It is not an attack on InWorldz!

            This is all too familiar. The zealots at the heart of Inworldz come out spitting fire when ever something they perceive as negative or threatening gets said. And the heavy weights chime in extolling the massive advances in Inworldz code leaving behind the inferior Opensim base code on which InWorldz was based and without which they would not even have Inworldz today.

            You do this every time Jim and your bias against Opensim and other grids like Avination is as clear as day.

            What you are really trying to say here is that InWorldz is better than anything else in the open Metaverse. Sorry, but a whole lot of people think otherwise or they would be flocking to your grid. And its not InWorldz growing right now, it’s hypergrid connected grids like OSgrid so rather than long winded statements on the vast achievements of InWorldz and guns blazing against the slightest opposition how about cutting Maria a bit of slack and read her article again with a more open mind.

          • What I want is for grids and bloggers to work together to promote the industry.  I really REALLY don’t like saying anything negative about OpenSim or other grids. 

            However, this article contains claims that InWorldz is making a mistake by not adopting a completely different strategy that targets a different market.  It suggests once again that her favorite feature isn’t near the top of the priority list, and spreads false information regarding the base technology used to provide services at InWorldz.

            Beyond the incorrect information presented, the concepts presented as suggestions have already been discussed at length and rejected in the short-term because they would represent a fundamental disruption to the stabilization and growth plans, that are already proven to be successful in the short and mid terms.

          • Jim. I will admit to being hard on Inworldz in the past (much harder than Maria has ever been) but I never considered  Inworldz to be anything other than part of the Opensim community. Inworldz has a great community. I know. I am quietly there too and many of those folks are in other grids and OSgrids because they enjoy traveling the hypergrid.

            Tranquility has been patient with me, explaining Inworldz tech in a friendly manner. No preaching, just calm explanation. Thereafter I gave more thought to what I wrote about Inworldz in my blog and put more emphasis on the community than finding fault.

            I don’t fully agree with Maria but I think her intentions are constructive rather than destructive and I am sure she will find better stuff to write about Inworldz in the future, as I will do.

            I just think you need to get past this one and take from it whatever lessons there are to learn. I think we still work towards common goals and I hope Inworldz will share code with Opensim. That would be great!

          • Thanks, I do think you have been pretty balanced in comments for quite some time now, and I appreciate it.  I think I was mostly okay with the article (in terms of staying calm) but when I saw others who seemed to accept it as accurate (when it was not), it was very disheartening.

            The problem with this article is not the opinion part, but rather the false information it provides, leading to those opinions.

            And the fact that a few people I respect greatly have acknowledged this article as insightful shows how dangerous it is to allow it to stand uncorrected. I’m going to leave that for the official InWorldz response but all is not what meets the eye here. I have assumed that the false information presented was not intentional.  But it’s so easy to have one influential writer with incorrect information undo much of the positive environment.  The best I can do here is assume it wasn’t malicious, but I would really like to know the sources of this false information so that we can avoid cases of this in the future.

          •  The road to hell is paved with [constructive] intentions. 😉

            I know that epithet isn’t very deep, but when I saw “constructive intentions” in your post I had to. In this case it would have been better if the constructive intentions were prepared on the basis of fresher fact-finding.

          • Fred Leftwich

             I read her article again and I think this really is a matter of perspective.

            Your reply “…the concepts presented as
            suggestions have already been discussed at length and rejected in the
            short-term because they would represent a fundamental disruption to the
            stabilization and growth plans, that are already proven to be successful
            in the short and mid terms.” tells a lot.

            I think this is the crux.  Being in an ongoing business venture it is imperative to focus on short and mid-term goals and metrics and I think InWorldz is doing a good job at that.

            Maria is blogging on higher-level aspirations which the real world and InWorldZ just cannot materialize at the present time.  i.e. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

            I think at some level you have considered the long-term developments of the metaverse but this has to be tempered by the immediate nurturing and growth of the nascent InWorldZ community.

            There are some very valid points in the article i.e.

            a) They don’t want to be on Second Life, and want the next best thing

            b) So you’ve got the creative types moving to Craft, FrancoGrid, OSGrid, and, now, Kitely, where land is super cheap — or free.

            c) Meanwhile, InWorldz can’t take advantage of any of the recent
            developments in OpenSim — mesh, media-on-a-prim, NPCs, megaregions,
            super stability, hypergrid friends, landmarks, instant messages,
            filtered OAR exports (and, soon, filtered hypergrid exports as well)

            d) there’s no way a single company can keep up with everything being done by volunteers in a giant open source community.

            I don’t agree with the following though.  I think investments in technology can reap rewards if applied properly:

            e) so, at this point,
            all the time and money they’re spending on technology is being wasted,
            since they could be spending it on community building and marketing,
            instead.

            Anyway this is all said in a hopefully constructive way.  I want InWorldZ to succeed as much as any endeavor carried out by energetic and well-meaning human beings.

          • You see, your response is repeating the false information Maria posted. Do you really think that InWorldz doesn’t have landmarks?  Really? Or instant messaging?  What makes you think there are no filtered OAR exports? Or that the creative types are moving to other grids? That’s the kind of false information that forms a passive aggressive attack on one grid, under the guise of being news, or an editorial opinion piece. But it’s almost all false, and then the opinion comes based on these falsehoods.

            And with regards to point d) only time will tell. InWorldz as flown by OpenSim on assets, inventory, script engine, permissions, group handling, estates and land, system requirements, region crossings and reliability. I’m not going to repeat the advances again, in spite of it being in response to others saying it can’t possibly be so. It can. It is. I’m sorry you don’t believe it’s possible.

          • By the way, I may not have been clear about the “discussed at length” comment, so just in case, I meant MY discussions with Maria, between our two blogs. And I agree completely, up until the points from the article. Where you rely on the article, that’s where the comment above begins to fail.

          • Gaga,
            This article was not “clearly” an opinion piece. I did not see it as that until she said it in one of her follow-up comments. The problem is that Maria is a known and respected journalist. We tend to hold her to a higher standard than the normal blogger. We expect her to have facts and to talk to the people she is writing about and get her questions answered before posting. She is a very intelligent person who we have grown to rely on for much of our OpenSim/Virtual World/Hypergrid information. Not too long ago Maria told me that I am going to be seen as a role model. I don’t know that I believe this but I do know that we all have a voice. And the more we use our voice the more we get  known and the more people expect of us. And maybe we are wrong to expect anything from Maria but that is just how things play out. 
            I don’t think any of us are angry with her. I adore her. I respect her and look up to her. But if she is going to write an opinion piece then she has to expect that others are going to comment with their opinions. 
            Nobody is bashing her. Just some of us don’t agree with her view on this matter and we express our own view. 

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             Gaga, as an Inworldz user of some 3 years… I agree fully with Jim’s summation.  This blog is seriously inaccurate and offensive… and the rebuttal by Jim is spot-on.

            Maria has been told several times Inworldz is no longer OpenSim based.  She continues to make claims in this article that have already been refuted and disproved in prior articles.  This blog is obviously hypergrid-biased.  That’s fine… so long as it’s accurate.  It’s grossly inaccurate– in areas where Maria should know better.  The only closed minds I’ve seen here don’t come from Inworldz… and Jim’s responses are imo, warranted.

          • Actually Wayfinder. I am very familiar with InWorldz in a quiet sort of way. One or two know my alt name there. I can say for sure InWorldz has improved so much since last year when it was as laggy as hell and that is thanks to Tranq’s script engine no doubt. I’ve seen other improvements too but its still pretty much like Opensim and it is debatable in my opinion if there is that much in it between Opensim and Inworldz for performance and stability. They have both improved no end.

            But I have seen all this stuff time and again as soon as someone dares to say something about InWorldz that shakes the pedestal you hold it on. Right after you opened InWorldz three years ago when the founders left Openlife you were publicly tearing Opensim to shreds.

            This is what I don’t get. Inworldz is based off Opensim and you owe due credit to the developers that open sourced it so you had that base to work from but you show no respect whatsoever. Quite the oposite. Is it a people thing – Melanie (Avination) perhaps? It always comes over like some big ego trip from your developers listing out how much you have done to put the old girl right.

            Oddly, you even claim now Inworldz platform code is no longer Opensim – so yeah. right, this blog covers Opensim and Hypergrid.

            Do you expect Maria not to promote Hypergrid?

            Or is it you just fear the prospect of Hypergrid?

            Inworldz has had it pretty good from Hypergrid Business and I’m sure Maria will find many positive things to say in the future. This time it didn’t please you. It was an opinion. So, let it go. Get over it.

            We might even be able to stay as one community if we don’t let spite gain the upper hand.

          •  I don’t even know where to begin coutering this “spite” nonsense. The so-called “fire-spitting” of your “Inworlz zealots” has little to do with personality and everything to do with the facts of the matter. One of the major facts here is that the OpenSim program source code is horribly bad!

            Elenia Llwellyn sometimes says you “need to be on drugs to read the OpenSim source code.” She’s had to get her hands dirty dealing with it, OF COURSE she’s going to say bad things about it.

            It might seem remarkable that such a horrendous pile of… manure… has achieved such popularity, but I’ve been into open source software for a long time and I can tell you it’s not the only time it’s happened. “Computer science” courses seem to be particularly poor-quality today and structures such as .NET and Java exist so that companies may use low-quality low-paid programmers and still get something to show at the end of the day. Emphasis on “show”.

            Those same poorly-trained programmers then go on to think they can achieve amazing things.

          • Wow Gaga, I’m having flashbacks to your postings in the SLUniverse forums. The reason people jump to defend InWorldz is because people like it and feel protective of it and the people who know the truth about it want to clear up any misguided information that is thrown around the metaverse about it.
            I rarely see people defending other grids the way they do with IW. Why is that do you think? 
            Let me tell you… They have a strong community of loyal residents. They have this because they worked for it and they earned the respect of their customers. 
            I jump to defend them every chance I get because I know that they are working their asses off and they are making improvements. They are not elitist idiots trying to make a name for themselves in order to be “popular”. They want to be a popular because they have proven themselves to be stable and have customer service as their number one priority. They don’t cater to “big names” they cater to everyone.

            So you can do like you did back in the days of SLUniverse forums where you jumped on anyone who said anything good about them but I doubt that it will get you anywhere. You aren’t going to stop people from speaking up for them. 

          •  Linda, I thought we had made up and got past all that from SLU so I am hurt you want to drag it up in order to fuel this issue with more drama.

            Sorry, I wont go there and I am not knocking Inworldz or its community. Maria could have done her home work better but she has a right to her opinions without this backlash.

            It just reminds me of the kind of bullying the political pressure groups use to silence any decent.

          • Gaga, I like to treat everyone I meet with a certain amount of respect and trust but in just a few comments here you’ve managed to lower my opinion of you to just one step above “slimeball”!

            Let me use a physical- world job as an illustration. There are several grades of wood- worker, from “joiner” who can put together the rough, unsmoothed rafters and joists of a house to “cabinet maker” who makes lovely polished pieces of furniture with perfectly-fitting inlay and other lovely embellishments.

            What you and Maria seem to believe is “No-one could possibly have better skills than a joiner, and anyone who says otherwise is a lying political scoundrel!”

            I grew up amongst slimy “religious” people who used every disgusting trick in the book to make it sound as if they were speaking truth and their enemies were bad. I learned better; I learned what real reason is, and most importantly I learned how foolish it is to trust someone who says “This is just my opinion” and then goes on to state things as if they were facts.

            If you don’t keep on guard against this and other “softspeak” you play right into the hands of the exact kind of political slimeballs you’re accusing us of being.

          • Jigs

              The reason people jump to defend InWorldz is because people like it and
            feel protective of it and the people who know the truth about it want
            to clear up any misguided information that is thrown around the
            metaverse about it.”

            It’s mostly been a “clique” or “gaggle” of a handfull of women from IW doing that defensive/offensive stuff- how DARE anyone insult their favorite grid!!!!
            You get in an argument about it with one of the clique there and the rest of them all climb down your neck like roaches on a hot meal- the hive mind there is unreal.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

            I understand what you’re saying Gaga, but… I think you exaggerate. 

            While in the past I have praised Inworldz (consistently, because it’s warranted), and I have also pointed out problems with OpenSim (because such were accurate), I’ve never blasted OpenSim.  I’ve addressed some of the in-fighting, drama and disrespect that’s been witnessed in that project.  That too was warranted.  But I’ve been for the OpenSim project ever since it started… and I still am.

            Nevertheless, I call ’em as I see ’em and my experience is that when I visited OSgrid two months ago… the claims I’d read on this board and elsewhere were unfounded.  Whereas Inworldz is now running very smoothly… I found OSgrid to be very laggy and still pretty much at the technological level I found it in two years ago when Elf Clan was deciding where to home. 

            Yes, a year ago Inworldz was laggy… but so was every other grid (frankly, including Second Life).  But whereas Inwordz has improved significantly, I can’t say the same for the performance on OSgrid.  That’s not bias, that’s just plain observation and reality.

            I support Inworldz because they’ve proved to be an excellent company.  I state OpenSim is still buggy and undeveloped, because that’s the truth.  That’s not praising Inworldz and blasting OpenSim– that’s simply stating my real experiences on testing out grids.  After 7+ years in VR and being the first to nail LL on several major issues (texture problems, stacking sims, server issues etc), I think my observations in this are fairly valid and without bias.
             
            I assure you I don’t “fear” Hypergrid.  I do dislike slack security and loss of control over creative property– as should any creator.  While I agree this is “Hypergrid Business” and it will promote Hypergrid (and no problems there), I believe it should be done factually, accurately and without bias.

          • I have read a lot here about inaccurate information then Way finder says he experienced a laggy OSgrid without mentioning that OSgrid has many private servers and home PCs attached to it so service across the grid is going to be variable.

            My own sims are pretty much lag free but then I run them on a dedicated server with 16 gig of ram available.

            So come on guys don’t call out Maria on inaccuracies and then do it yourselves.

            I am getting more disparing by the hour with this whole affair because its now turning nasty and my view of Inworldz had been changing for the better due in no small part to the decent attitude Tranquility and others have shown me.

            We don’t need to compare server code or tear our community apart with grid wars. That would only server Linden Labs.

          •  > this article is clearly stated to be an  opinion

            So? I could clearly state I am a tiny bewinged female being in real life. I might do so for the purposes of humor, for example. If I did, I would VERY MUCH HOPE my statement would not appear presented as a fact in a reputable publication!

        • Jim —

          I’m not saying that all closed grids are irrelevant and destined for doom. Like someone pointed out, Nintendo and AOL are still around — and Nintendo is still a closed system.

          Folks are willing to pay extra for a platform that offers them something no other platform can — unique games, in the case of Nintendo, and a unique interface. 

          And we still have Macs, too, and iPhones, both of which are closed systems — at least, in relation to Windows and Android.

          So it’s possible. And, if InWorldz were to come up with a strategy where its content — or UI — was unique and significantly better than the alternatives, I can see it working.

          But I’m not seeing that strategy. Maybe it’s there and I missed it but, so far, nobody’s pointed it out in the comments, either. What is there about the InWorldz community or InWorldz content that makes it unique, and worth paying for (either in higher land prices, or in the time and money it takes to create and outfit a new avatar)? 

          And when it comes to technology, the fact that InWorldz has done a lot of work behind the scenes on assets and inventories etc… — so has OpenSim, so have other vendors. In our surveys, the users aren’t noticing any difference. 

          I’d love to see other third-party tech comparisons on this, as well.

          Today, according to our surveys, InWorldz’ technology is not a competitive advantage. “But we did all that work!” is not a counter-argument. Everyone’s done work. OpenSim’s been completely refactored. Kitely’s moved stuff to the cloud. 

          The fact that you did make a lot of changes is just an indication, to me, that you’re getting farther and farther from mainline OpenSim.

          I didn’t say you didn’t have landmarks or instant messages — I said you didn’t have hypergrid landmarks or hypergrid instant messages. Do you? Can your users send messages or make friends with users of other grids?

          And if your users can click a button and get an OAR file saved to their desktop, that’s big news to me. Kitely offers that, automatically filtering out items you don’t have the right to copy and transfer. Dreamland offers that to all their customers. The feature is part of the standard release of OpenSim — any grid can turn it on at any time and add the corresponding button to their Web interface. 

          I understand, as technologists, that you see the huge amount of effort you put into your systems. But it’s all invisible from the outside — and irrelevant, if it doesn’t contribute to customers’ perceived experience. 

          A few years ago, I was at the helm of a three-year-old company, making lots of money, with tons of satisfied customers. I attributed their satisfaction to the fact that we had the best database and workflow system in our industry. And, for a company our size — about a dozen people — maybe we did. My business manager saw that things were about to change dramatically, and warned me that we needed to prepare by scaling down certain operations, and putting more focus in other areas. But I preferred to think positive — and was certainly seduced by multiple outside investment offers into thinking that I had it all figured out. It turned out that she was completely right, and I was completely wrong. The business quickly went down the toilet, we were forced to lay everyone off and shut down the company.

          So I have some idea about how easy it is to get caught up in the idea of your own success. 

          And I could well be wrong here as well. But not because I’m not seeing how much work has been done on the back end. Those are all sunk costs — more than that, anchors.

          I’m wrong if someone can tell me why it will continue to be worth it for significant numbers of new users to create new avatars, spend time and money dressing them, and pay a premium for land on a closed grid.

          I know why I bought my last Nintendo — I fell for the Wii sales pitch. I know why other folks bought the latest XBox, instead. I know why I bought my iPhone — I wanted the apps, the ease of use. 

          But if the only reason people give for being on InWorldz is because their friends are there, that’s a big warning sign — social networks are a winner-take all environment. 

          InWorldz needs something else to differentiate itself, and making slight technical improvements — while Second Life and OpenSim are making huge feature improvements — isn’t the way to go.

          You can prove me wrong very easily by pointing out a some social aspect that is unique to InWorldz and is drawing people in. It may well be there and I might have missed it.

          Or by doing an independent survey and demonstrating that not only does InWorldz have a significant technical edge but people notice it, and are spending more time on InWorldz because of it, and that there’s a population of folks out there who want that particular technology and will stream into InWorldz once they hear about it.

          • “But I’m not seeing that strategy.”
            Because it’s not time for that.  Just like it’s not time for InWorldz to be connected to other grids.

            Or you’re not looking in the right place at what InWorldz *is* saying.  InWorldz plans to be here for a very long time.  SL may no longer be around.  To survive that long requires a very stable, flexible and scalable base.  I hate to say this but you’re demanding to understand what is different about InWorldz, again.  OpenSim technology will not get us there, so the pieces have been replaced one at a time.  Assets, groups, permissions, inventory, script engine, back-end storage, etc.  OpenSim was a convenient bootstrapping and proof-of-concept tool, and it’s really wonderful and great that it exists.  It’s everything a home user needs, and designed for those environments where an economy is undesirable.  Excellent. Except that this does not describe InWorldz at all, or its user base.

            “What is there about the InWorldz community or InWorldz content that makes it unique, and worth paying for (either in higher land prices, or in the time and money it takes to create and outfit a new avatar)?”

            Higher prices than what? What makes SL worth paying for when you can get 12 *times* the prims and 4 times the land for the same price in InWorldz?  To be honest, other grids aren’t any competition as far as I’m concerned. See my coopetition comment already posted. Grow any of them and I think we all grow.

            Your comment about avatar cost is very one-sided, and a small part of the big picture. Have you ever been to InWorldz, experienced the new user environment, found some half-decent items in the free stores, realized you can exist in InWorldz without paying a dime?  Many residents are focused on building, or entertaining, or running a business. Their avatars are what I would call Week One avatars, and they are a few years old now.  They are focused on building an online presence there, not making themselves look good as an avatar.

            However, should they choose to do so, it’s a small investment.  My skin cost about 1000 I’z, which is less than $2. I made my shape, and paid about another $2 for the clothes I wear. So in exchange for, say, a one-time $5 investment, you get to participate in the largest, most active, most secure virtual social and business environment available, one that is growing instead of shrinking, and look good.  (That’s also true without the $5 investment.)  Metaverse travelers likely already have the portable items they wish to bring with them saved locally on their own machines. They can use them in InWorldz.

            However in InWorldz, my male skin is from Redgrave.  Try buying that on the Hypergrid.  If you see it on there, please report that to the content creators.  If we were to open to the Hypergrid, that store would likely poof immediately and beg InWorldz to remove the assets from everyone’s inventories.  It would be a disaster for everyone in InWorldz, especially store owners.

            Eventually, InWorldz will be involved in the design and specification of a secure inter-grid protocol. Hypergrid is not that.  It hasn’t been peer-reviewed, it provides no security, and as far as I know there isn’t even a spec.  (Someone point me to it if there is one?)

            “And when it comes to technology, the fact that InWorldz has done a lot of work behind the scenes on assets and inventories etc… — so has OpenSim, so have other vendors. In our surveys, the users aren’t noticing any difference.”

            There are many possible reasons why your specific surveys might not capture the InWorldz feeling, but I feel it’s not really that; it’s actually because the others haven’t scaled up yet.  One grid did, and it kind of fell apart when it temporarily grew larger than InWorldz, and my feeling is because it hadn’t done the work InWorldz has done to support and sustain that kind of growth.  InWorldz hasn’t just “done a lot of work on assets and inventories”. The components have been COMPLETELY replaced.  The existing OpenSim implementations have not been architected.  And they are based on an SQL product and design that InWorldz has seen does not scale.  Do you think InWorldz really wanted to postpone the PhysX work in favor of more infrastructure work? No, it was because the system was being stressed and the OpenSim design had to be replaced with something scalable. So first assets, then groups, then the script engine, then inventory, … Because it’s needed to clear the slate and have a solid base to allow the real differentiating features to begin. Which I would argue now, the largest is in fact this infrastructure work.

            You are absolutely correct in your comment that there are major bottlenecks in the OpenSim implementation. That’s why it DOES NOT EXIST in InWorldz.  It was completely replaced. So you article is promoting false information:

            “the InWorldz architecture is heavily dependent on human intervention and has the standard OpenSim bottlenecks, such as the asset server.”

            Who told you this? Or did you make it up?  InWorldz is almost fully-automated, and has NONE of the standard OpenSim bottlenecks, ESPECIALLY not the asset servers.  Plural.  Because it’s fully-scalable with as many asset servers as InWorldz needs to satisfy load demands.  Your sentence is COMPELTELY FALSE.  And people believe you.  Were you duped by someone into saying this?  Or was this your own idea?

            “landmarks, instant messages, filtered OAR exports”

            Who or what is your source for saying InWorldz does not have these? Why would you spread this false information?

            I will readily admit that InWorldz does not have megaregions, and hopefully never will. Megaregions are a hack to get around the fact that region crossings are hard to solve. InWorldz has chosen to avoid violating the architecture with such a hack, and instead focused on making region crossings work.  On a grid with adjacent regions, this is necessary eventually anyway. The whole grid can’t be in one gigaregion.  Megaregions are required in OpenSim because otherwise script region crossings are required, as InWorldz did with Phlox last summer.  The most likely OpenSim developer to provide such a thing has had them for more than two years but chosen to keep her proprietary script engine in her own grid.  So OpenSim had to create the megaregion design hack, and now you are using that as a way to criticize InWorldz. Wow.

            “So I have some idea about how easy it is to get caught up in the idea of your own success.”

            So what you are saying is that you were unable to see the big picture back then… I know, I’ve been there too. I have also been in this business a very long time, since the punch card days in fact.  I worked for Bell-Northern Research, NorTel, and Novell in the 80s and 90s and I watched those management teams (especially the latter two) squander huge monopolies by failing to adapt.

            InWorldz is actually being criticized in other comments for being TOO forward looking.  Seeing a future where keeping up with trends may require a viewer not based on the current Linden Lab (a third party commercial business) open source project.  And criticized by you for spending too much time and money building a long-term reliable and scalable infrastructure.  It’s too early for you to condemn InWorldz for not being forward-looking, just because they haven’t revealed all to you.  They have revealed enough for you to see that they are, in fact, very different than the other grids, and thinking long-term.  Let’s see the state of the industry in a year or two.

            “You can prove me wrong very easily by pointing out a some social aspect that is unique to InWorldz and is drawing people in. It may well be there and I might have missed it.”

            First, you can experience all that by living there and participating there for a while.  But I have no interest in proving you wrong. Only in pointing out when you say discouraging and very inaccurate things about a grid that I have watched do the right things for 2 years now.

            “Three years ago, when InWorldz first launched, they were ahead of mainline OpenSim — more stable, with features that nobody else had. Their technology was a big selling point.  That is no longer the case.”

            Three years ago, InWorldz was just another OpenSim grid.  Now it has solid management, and a vision of how to differentiate, with much much better technology.  I’m sorry you don’t see that.  I feel you will see it, in time.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

            Maria: “You can prove me wrong very easily by pointing out a some social aspect that is unique to InWorldz and is drawing people in. It may well be there and I might have missed it.”

            You’re correct in your replies Jim.  I want to verify in two areas:

            1) Maria, if you want to see a social aspect that’s unique to Inworldz and drawing people in… try Elf Clan.  We left Second Life.  We don’t exist anywhere else.  We have 29 regions at this time and are growing. Many, many people came to Inworldz just to be part of Elf Clan.  As far as unique:  Elf Clan is the only G-rated fantasy-themed group I’ve ever seen (there may be others, but I’m not aware of them).  I’d call that a unique social aspect.

            We aren’t the only social draw on Inworldz.  Try IDI for a unique social draw– a login area that’s actually friendly and moderated (far sight better than SL).

            2) What Jim states about their freebie area is correct.  Newbies can get a pretty presentable avatar and clothing without spending a dime.  If they decide to spend, my experience:  high-quality skin z$500 (that’s about a buck, compared to L$2000 on SL… about $8).  Full-bore clothing and boots, high-quality stuff, z$600.  Completed avatar:  just a little over z$1000 (around $2).  Cost to accomplish the same thing on SL: over L$3000 (about $12).

          •  > In our surveys, the users aren’t noticing any difference.

            There’s a question of who you’re surveying, here. People coming here are largely already interested in grid-hopping, and thus the hypergrid and content export; am I right?

            I guess I’m saying you can’t please everybody. You certainly can’t at this point in the history of virtual worlds; to do so would mean excluding those who like me have other priorities than seeing the entire virtual universe. The situation may well change in the future, perhaps by some entirely other development than the hypergrid.

  • I had zero interest in InWorldz as soon as I realized they were essentially just a smaller Second Life – all of the same restrictions and issues that I didn’t want to deal with, on even less reliable tech.  I appreciate and applaud their efforts at community building, but regarding the technology choices they’ve made, I couldn’t agree with Linda’s article more.  No hypergrid, no backups, on proprietary tech?  If I wanted that, I’d just stay in Second Life!

    • That wasn’t my article. Maria said that. 

      • Oops sorry, I knew that, brain mix up!  🙂

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      Anyone who owns a region on Inworldz could tell you they’re not just a smaller Second Life.  They’re far less expensive, far friendlier, and the building tools significantly better.  You may personally wish hypergrid, backups and non-proprietary tech… but those are available to you.  Myself, I prefer no hypergrid (and security), auto-backups of my sims, and the power proprietary tech offers.  I dislike Second Life and my group left that platform.  Luvs Inworldz. Obviously… there’s a major difference.

  • (I should say I recognize that what I want out of my VWs experience isn’t necessarily what everyone wants, but I also think that many people don’t understand the choices available and are lured to closed worlds by cheaper prices without realizing what they’re giving up.  I honestly cannot fathom any content creator making an informed choice to NOT be able to back up their work – to me that’s insane.  I certainly won’t use a grid that doesn’t offer me that option.)

    • I don’t think people are “lured” to anything. You are not giving people enough credit. Not everyone wants to hang around the hypergrid jumping from freebie place to freebie place. I think these people who choose closed grids are smart enough to know what it offers and what they want. 
      Some people actually want the real life experiences they get on a closed grid where there is a working economy. They want to buy and sell. They get a kick out of it the same way you get a kick out of collecting freebies and putting them on your sims and calling it a grid.

      And people can back up their work on other grids. I did it on sl for years and in InWorldz too. There are .xml exports and programs like stored inventory. I have everything I ever made since 2005 on my harddrive. 

      I’m sorry but we need grids like sl and IW and all the others as much as we need osgrid and tiny standalone grids.   

      Giving things, selling things, opening gates, closing gates… it’s all a choice. I get so upset seeing people tell others what they should do! We talk about how nice OpenSim is because of the freedom we have yet we want to push our choices and our way of virtual life on others. That’s sad.

      Be happy and don’t think for a minute that they are missing out on anything. They are doing what makes them happy. Be happy for them. 

      • I’m not pushing anything on anyone, I’m sharing my thoughts and observations as a long term very experienced VW user – which frankly InWorldz and any other grid operator/company should value as feedback, because that’s what it is.  

        I’m all about people having choices, too, I just hope they are _informed_ choices and while there are some folks who understand all of the different types of Opensim options, I’ve also talked with many people who created an account on a closed grid because they heard about it from a friend but they did NOT realize the differences between open/closed grids, didn’t know about OAR backups, etc.  Lot’s of people don’t have the time to do tons of research and look to early adopters for advice – and that’s ok.  It’s a good thing for there to be healthy, even vigorous debates about the various choices.

        In the end, InWorldz or any other grid is free to do what they wish, and I hope for the best for them since a rich, diverse, many options metaverse is my hope for the future.  It just so happens that I agree with Maria that the Second Life business model is not a good one for the long term health of the metaverse, not a good one for serious content creators, and certainly not a good one for me.  

        Saying that isn’t forcing my choices on anyone.  It’s simply sharing an opinion – and everyone should feel free to (respectfully) share their opinions, even if it’s one some disagree with.

        • I agree but I had issues with your term of “lured” as if these grids were some sort of cult luring people into their grid. They are a business and they project what they have and people can choose to buy into it or not. 

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

            Linda: I don’t take “lured” in a negative aspect (although I can see how it may be taken as such).  I think all companies try to lure in customers. It’s part of the game. : )

            Fleep: I’m not sure not being able to self-back-up a region is a bad thing. Sure I’d like to back up my region… but can’t back up regions on SL. Allowing un-moderated backup of a region is to throw security out the window.

            So “closed” companies aren’t objectionable because they’re closed– some people appreciate the protection that offers.

  • (Sorry, I thought that reply would thread under my own post..)

  • There is a lot in Maria’s article I would agree with but not everything. Personally, I believe wholeheartedly in an open Metaverse and, judging from what Ilan of Kitely has said, it is probable that we will start to see something like  semi-walled garden grids sprouting up where the vendor decides what leaves the grid. But it will be a hypergrid connected Metaverse and I have to say that grids dependent upon a full iron curtain will become less attractive as the market for virtual goods shifts decisively to the broader base that hypergrid promises.

    Kitely and Avination are serious players and heavy-weight contributors to Opensim and both have long term aims to open up to HG. Tranquility has said in the past if InWorldz residents want hypergrid then it is still doable. Recently, he even tweeted Justin asking for help to contribute a patch to Opensim core so InWorldz is not so closed they are blind to the rest of the free Metaverse community.

    The one thing that makes me wonder though is InWorldz plan to release their own viewer which is exclusive to InWorldz and strikes me as rather like SpotON3D’s business model. I read somewhere about this but I hope I am wrong or miss-understood it.

    InWorldz has a wonderful community and I am not talking about the vocal members close to the owners who always rise to InWorldz defense when any apparent negative publicity is put out. I am talking about the silent majority that get on with what they are doing in InWorldz, the creative people, the fun people – the community of people that makes InWorldz such a success.

    I think there is a lot in what Maria says worth considering. Inworldz owners can listen or not but the free Metaverse and hypergrid are growing stronger by the day. I think it is too good a prospect to ignore.

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

       Gaga I made this point in my comment above, but it might get lost in that (somewhat lengthy, I admit) reply.  It’s a major issue, so replying here as well.

      Viewers are half the software code.  If a Viewer doesn’t work, performance is bad.  So very many bugs are viewer-oriented and out of the control of the server company– unless that company creates their own proprietary viewer.  That eventuality is a predictable necessity. 

      That doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily block other viewers from working.  It does mean that for a Virtual World to work properly, the current very-buggy viewers are going to have to be replaced with something that works well.  We have to remember the entire current viewer technology was written by Linden Lab– a company known for severely botched and badly-performing spaghetti code.  A proprietary, custom-made viewer makes a lot of sense.

      The only reservation I have is the UI.  I would surely hope any company making their own viewer would not repeat the severe mistake LL made with Viewer 2 and 3.  The best people to ask about the UI is the ones who use it on the front trenches every day.  I could design a better UI than LL created with one eye closed and typing with my nose. ;D
       

  • In the case of hard disks, I must point out that you are glossing over some well-known cases which relate to this discussion from a political point of view:

    The nasty infighting between Connor & Seagate, stemming from a bad personal relationship, did more to hold back innovation & business success for BOTH companies than any “business decision” or “technical innovation.” It’s a famous story; it’s the reason why you had to choose between a Connor or a Seagate drive; had to be careful not to mix them; had to know what drivers to use, etc. because Seagate & Conner deliberately set up their microcontrollers to conflict with each other. If you had set up the wrong controllers, you’d tear your drive apart.

    This had nothing to do with “tech” and everything to do with “politics” & the stubbornness of men who refused to take a larger view & encourage growth for BOTH companies.

    Just one small example of innovation being held back by partisan bickering.

  • To be fair I found inWorldz very stable and performant and they have had landmarks and IMs as long as I have been around.  It is pretty easy technology to share IMs across grids, even closed ones.  For me the biggest reason I don’t spend much time at inWorldz is the lack of media on a prim which is very important to some things I am interested in.  

  • I just corrected the part about landmarks and friends — it took me a couple of read-throughs to see the mistake there. Jim, you were totally right — it’s HYPERGRID landmarks and HYPERGRID friends and HYPERGRID groups and HYPERGRID instant messages that I was referring to, not the regular kind, and that wasn’t clear in the article. 

  • Christine_Nyn

     The number of factual inaccuracies in this piece is very disturbing. If
    unintentional, they seriously devalue what I have previously regarded
    as a reliable and informed source on the hypergrid community; if
    intentional, I guess you could multiply that devaluation by some fairly
    large factor.

    There’s also a conveniently fuzzy line running through this between
    personal opinion and verifiable fact. We are entitled to expect a far
    more rigorous approach than this from one who “has been a journalist for
    more than twenty years…”. 

  • Here is where everyone can see the “official response” to this blog/article/opinion piece by InWorldz LLC —- > 
    http://inworldz.com/news.php Interesting facts shown. 

  • Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Maria, I am one of the first people to stand up and defend folk’s freedom of speech.  I understand people have personal opinions.  We also know that when one ventures to blog… sometimes they’ll write an unpopular blog.  As a friend once said, “The only way not to put your foot in your mouth, is to never speak.  I’d rather speak.”  So I appreciate that bloggers always take the chance they’re going to mess up once in a while.

    I’ve read many of your blogs and sometimes when others were offended, I just chalked it up to “could have been better, but it’s at least informative”.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that with this blog.  The points made here are so far off center I’m honestly surprised.  I haven’t known you in the past to be so extremely unfactual and patently biased in your writing. 

    What it all boils down to is Inworldz has no intention to support Hypergrid… and Hypergrid Business obviously doesn’t appreciate that.  The statements made here regarding Inworldz strike me as Hypergrid-centric and self-serving– even at the sacrifice of truth and reality.  So with respect, let’s discuss reality if we may.

    “Basically, InWorldz is a smaller, less expensive version of Second Life with not-as-good technology.”

    Not-as-good in whose opinion?  Second Life has uncounted major show-stopper level bugs that have been on the books for years.  The majority of people hate their official viewer.  I hardly ever lag on Inworldz, but find myself experiencing regular problems on Second Life… not the least of which is regular crashing (yes, we do crash on Inworldz from time to time, but not nearly the frequency experienced on SL). 

    Now I realize these experiences can be subjective and may be a matter of opinion, but I don’t believe the fact that SL has physics and mesh makes it a superior platform to Inworldz… especially since I know Inworldz has fixed major problems that have plagued Second Life for years (for example, Inworldz group chat actually works).  IW may not have physics (quite yet)… but they do get CHAT right.

    “Their friends are there, or the groups they want to belong to are there”
    “They think that its expanding, and is the future, and they want to be in a growing world, not a shrinking one.”
    “They don’t want to be on Second Life, and want the next best thing.”

    I take these to be a matter of personal opinion, so I will reply with personal opinion.  As the founder of one of the oldest and largest themed groups on Inworldz (Elf Clan)… I can tell you why WE are on Inworldz:

    1) We needed a less-expensive and less-abusive alternative to Linden Lab.
    2) Inworldz was a forward-looking, customer-responsive company.
    3) Unlike OpenSim and Hypergrid at the time… Inworldz offered extensive group functions and Estate Tools.
    4) We don’t consider Inworldz to be “the next best thing” to Second Life; our region owners consider it far better.
    5) We were tired of having Linden Lab destroy our efforts and investments. 
    6) Since we are a non-profit group (and there are many such on Inworldz)… we’re not overly-concerned with expansion of the grid (although for the profitability and good of the company, we certainly want to see it expand).  We’re concerned primarily with a grid that provides expansion and a good atmosphere for our group.  Since we went from one stagnant, over-priced region on Second Life to (as we speak) *twenty-nine* regions on Inworldz that are thriving and beautiful… I’d say we made the right choice.
    7) We like Inworldz.  We like the founders, we like the environment, we like the building tools, we like the atmosphere and we like the people.

    Claiming that people come to Inworldz because “their friends are there” is just the opposite of the case:  people come to Inworldz despite the fact most of their friends are on Second Life.  I think no one has greater experience in this matter than Elf Clan– which left 3/4 of our group behind on SL to migrate to Inworldz.  We came to Inworldz because we saw a FUTURE on Inworldz… whereas our group’s future on SL was obviously non-existant (Linden Lab had forced us to drop from 2 full sims and 6 “homesteads” to one barely-surviving, money-draining sim). 

    So in summary, none of the three reasons you gave were why Elf Clan– or anyone else I know of– is on Inworldz.

    “Second, it’s because they’re the most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

    I wonder why that is?  (comment on them being an “OpenSim” grid is addressed later.)

    “it’s[sic] regions numbers have generally been hovering between 800 and 900 for the past year — so unless the new marketing campaign works out, InWorldz isn’t likely to see a great deal of growth.”

    Maria, this statement shows either a severe lack of knowledge about Inworldz business plan… or direct misrepresentation of that plan. Unlike Linden Lab, Inworldz has been focusing on developing grid stability before widely advertising their product.  To me that makes a great deal of sense.  Myself, I like to actually have a product before selling it.

    Inworldz has been in openly-admitted, pioneering-level beta-stage for three years.  Elf Clan came to Inworldz knowing this fact, and we’ve been aware of it ever since.  We have NO PROBLEM with that fact.  We have worked with the Founders and supported Inworldz and rooted for them every step of the way.  We believe that when the time is right, Inworldz will expand.  But that will only happen when the Founders believe it’s time to expand… and that they can properly support a vastly increasing population.

    Yes, the grid has hovered at around 900 sims for the past year.  As we have seen on Second Life… sim count is not an indicator of popularity.  It is not an indicator of technical prowess.  Sim count is not an indicator of “the company is doing things right”.  If that were the case, we’d still be on SL.  But at (now less than) 30,000 sims… I consider SL to be one of the most poorly-run, customer-abusive products I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.  Comparatively Inworldz… with it’s some 900 sims… has been enjoyable, customer-supportive and friendly.  Our group is THRIVING there.  I’d say their 900 sims is working just fine right now.  And when they finally decide their software is to the point they are ready to expand– I trust they’ll be ready to handle the increased workload (unlike other grids I could mention).

    “the InWorldz architecture is heavily dependent on human intervention and has the standard OpenSim bottlenecks, such as the asset server.”

    Maria, how can you be in this business… and be unaware that Inworldz has completely re-written their asset-server software (some time ago in fact) and is no longer dependent on OpenSim asset server code?

    “Size matters quite a bit. Second Life, with its hundred thousand — plus or minus a few tens of thousands — unique monthly users far overshadows InWorldz’ 5,700 active users”

    Let’s put that in perspective:  hundred thousand LARGELY DISSATISFIED customers compared to Inworldz’ 5,700 largely very-satisfied and highly-supportive customers.

    Have you compared Second Life forums with Inworldz forums?   Or even more telling… have you ever seen me write a negative blog about Inworldz?

    “are increasingly setting up their own grids instead of joining existing grids like InWorldz.”

    We’ve discussed this in the past.  Free is free.  People will always take advantage of free… even if it means lesser quality.  I can assure you those grids are far less functional and productive than Inworldz.

    I tried OpenSim software recently.  Talk about making little or no progress for the past 3 years…

    I was amazed at the severe lag, the repeated crashing, the sad performance.  We’ve had this discussion before too Maria– you claiming OpenSim has progressed and now equals or surpasses Inworldz in techinical quality… and me stating no, it doesn’t.  All one has to do is visit an OSgrid region to become quickly aware of how inferior it is to Inworldz performance.  I’m not saying that as an Inworldz fanatic: I’m saying that as a retired computer consultant with over 25 years experience.  I will state this once again here on this site:  the performance of Inworldz and technical superiority over OpenSim should be blatantly obvious to anyone who tries both platforms. 

    I have nothing against OpenSim.  Two thumbs up.  But reality is reality.  No matter how loudly and repeatedly one may choose to shout otherwise, Inworldz performance blows OpenSim away.  Know why?  Because unlike OpenSim, Inworldz employs– at significant cost– professional dev staff who know their stuff, as opposed to a largely disjointed and disorganized volunteer force.  That’s the advantage of for-profit business vs open-source software.  Always has been.

    “You can’t bring in or save OAR files.”

    Did you ask Inworldz about this before publishing it?  It’s always good to get the official policy.  While I can excuse and forgive this statement as simple lack of knowledge, unfortunately it’s inaccurate.

    “Land’s cheaper than Second Life — but more expensive than anywhere else, and with more constraints.”

    Maria, seriously.  This statement is so blatantly wrong, I have to wonder what you were drinking when you wrote it. I mean no offense… but honestly.  Hardly deserves me replying.  But reply I will.

    I think Inworldz is hardly the most expensive… nor most constraining grid out there.  Avination has more constraints.  SpotON (or ex-SpotON) is considerably more expensive.  But those facts aside… at a maximum cost of $75 per region (and with group discounts, considerably less)… cost becomes of far less concern than was the case with Second Life.  Elf Clan finds the costs on Inworldz to be very reasonable… and their quality of product considerably superior to other grids we’ve seen out there.  There is a REASON Inworldz is (to quote you): “most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

    But as a note:  Inworldz is so far beyond OpenSim they can’t even be claimed to be an OpenSim grid any more.  I think failing to recognize that bit of basic fact might be the core of a great deal of the mis-information in this blog.  As you state, Inworldz is proprietary software.  The one thing you stated accurately is that they are the most successful commercial grid outside of Second Life.  One might consider there’s a very good reason for that.

    “InWorldz can’t take advantage of any of the recent developments in OpenSim — mesh, media-on-a-prim… hypergrid access..”

    Nor do they need to.  Hypergrid is a security nightmare.  I’ve not met one member of Inworldz who wants it– and a whole lot of people who don’t.  As far as mesh… Inworldz is focusing on more important issues right now than Linden Lab-focused toys.  Imo OpenSim would do a lot better to follow their example and focus more on foundation stability than trinkets.  We can live without mesh.  We can’t do without a stable foundation.

    “They’re still on 0.6.5 and everyone else is on 0.7.3 and they can’t upgrade because they made a lot of fixes early on that were needed — but they didn’t contribute those fixes back to the open source community.”

    Others have addressed this statement, and I think their responses should have been obvious Maria.  Inworldz no longer supports the OpenSim product.  They are so far beyond either 0.6.5 or 0.7.3 it’s almost a matter of amusement to read this statement. 

    Again, Inworldz is no longer OpenSim.  It’s Inworldz.  Their code has been largely re-written and at this point is significantly beyond OpenSim.

    “And now InWorldz is stuck out on a branch all by itself. It has to pay for its own development — and there’s no way a single company can keep up with everything being done by volunteers in a giant open source community.”

    I’m sorry Maria, but personal examination indicates this statement is bogus.  I’ve seen the results of the work of the OpenSim community.  While I applaud the volunteer effort… the results are not impressive.  OpenSim is largely disorganized and filled with in-fighting and egos (as most of us are aware).  While Inworldz has progressed significantly over the past three years, I personally find OpenSim to be stagnant, unstable and bug-ridden.  Since I have NO financial stake in Inworldz or the company, since my only interest is performance and stability of my group– I think I can state this from a fairly un-biased viewpoint.  OpenSim simply does not work nearly as well as Inworldz.  I’ve examined both platforms; the comparison was significant– and evident.  Judging from evidence, I’d have to say Inworldz not only keeps up with everything being done by OpenSim volunteers… it exceeds that effort.

    “InWorldz scored about the same as the average OpenSim grid in technology in both our 2010 grid survey and the 2011 grid survey”

    Scored by whom?  OpenSim fanatics?  Honestly Maria…

    I remember those surveys.  I openly questioned the accuracy of your claims about OpenSim at that time… and later verified my observations.  I can honestly state that Inworldz is significantly technologically advanced over OpenSim software.  I made a living making such judgements.  I think I am not inaccurate in this.

    “Step one: Ditch the proprietary technology.
    “And, in the future, donate improvements back to the open source community to keep this same situation from repeating.
    “Step three: Use InWorldz’ strength in community building to become the central hub of the hypergrid.
    “Instead of spending money on proprietary physics engines and viewers, spend money on promoting these events across the hypergrid.

    Maria, if I may be blunt:  I don’t think Inworldz needs advice, not mine, not yours.  Since they ARE “the most commercially successful” grid outside of SL, I’d say they’re doing pretty well on their own.  But to address these issues:

    * I think Inworldz proprietary technology is part of what makes them successful.  It works (which is more than I can say elsewhere).
    * Why should Inworldz invest hard cash in proprietary code… and then just give it away.  Seriously?
    * If you believe Inworldz could become the central hub of the hypergrid, that indicates to me you see the success and potential behind their current business model.
    * Why should Inworldz spend THEIR money in promoting hypergrid business?  Are you seriously suggesting they NOT invest in a superior physics engine?  Honestly?
    * I consider Viewers to be the “Achille’s Heel” of Virtual Reality.  A large percentage of bug reports are all-too-often answered with “That’s unfortunately a Viewer problem”.  I have stated myself that as unfortunate as it may be, eventually a serious, professional grid company like Inworldz IS going to have to develop their own proprietary, professional and functional Viewer.  The current viewers on the market are SL-centric and buggy as all get-out. (Honestly, how long have we had to put up with that (expletive withheld) memory-drain bug that crashes viewers… and to this day no one has fixed it.   Grid software is only half the program– the Viewer is the other half.  Buggy viewers equals buggy performance.  A proprietary viewer… one that works… is seriously needed to stabilize virtual reality.

    “Meanwhile, other grids pull ahead in features, and the hypergrid community grows and evolves until InWorldz becomes marginalized and irrelevant.”

    Does anyone really buy this?  I don’t.

    “Their technology gave them an edge at the beginning, but now that same technology is holding them back.”

    Holding them back how?  Our group is growing. Events are growing.  Popularity is growing.  Maria… how can you state in one breath they’re the most successful commercial grid… and then turn around and say their technology is holding them back?  Back from what… using a severely unsecure hypergrid system?

    “InWorldz painted themselves into a corner.”

    What corner?  A successful one?  A corner that actually works?  A functional, stable and productive corner?  Hey, I’ll take one of those. 😀

    “And there’s nothing wrong with closed grids.”

    I agree.  So why are you bashing Inworldz?  In just about every statement of this article you’re touting that Inworldz needs to open up and stop being closed… but then say there’s nothing wrong with closed grids?  You can’t be open and closed at the same time Maria.  Open means lessened security.  Some people LIKE gated communities because of the security they offer. 

    “But we’re going to get secure hypergrid filtering, probably sometime this year.”

    Which if I may… means that currently (and in the past several years)… hypergrid filtering has NOT been secure.  Which is the whole point.

    “Second Life is also successful, and I give them advice all the time. In fact, I give them pretty much the same advice as I just gave to InWorldz. Of course, they ignore me.”

    Linden Lab ignores everyone.  They’re about the most “we-say-so” company I’ve seen.  But I have to be honest, I think Inworldz has reason for not taking your advice.  With all respect Maria… I personally don’t think you know what you’re talking about.  The lack of accuracy in this article is astounding.

    Again, I support your right to state your opinions and observations.  But one would hope those opinions and observations have some basis in reality.  This is about the most inaccurate blog I’ve ever seen come out of Hypergrid Business.

    • Although I agree with much of what you said here I think your “drinking” comment was way over the line. You would be wise to issue her an apology for that statement. 
      You can voice your opinion as strong as you want but when you start making remarks like that you lose credibility.  
      Maria may have been factually wrong in many of her statements in this blog but she is not a bad person and does not deserve remarks like that one. 

      • Wayfinder Wishbringer

         I agree Linda and do apologize.  I intended it as a joke and on re-reading, realized it didn’t come across as such.  So that moved me to re-read and edit the entire comment and re-post.  Meant no disrespect.

  • Wayfinder Wishbringer

    Maria, I am one of the first people to stand up and defend folk’s freedom of speech.  I understand people have personal opinions.  As a friend once said, “The only way not to put your foot in your mouth, is to never speak.  I’d rather speak.”  So I appreciate that bloggers always take the chance they’re going to mess up once in a while. I’ve read many of your blogs and sometimes when others were offended, I just chalked it up to “could have been better, but it’s at least informative”.  

    Unfortunately, I can’t say that with this blog.  The points made here are so far off center I’m honestly surprised.  I haven’t known you in the past to be so extremely unfactual and patently biased in your writing.  

    What it all seems to come down to is Inworldz has no intention to support Hypergrid… and Hypergrid Business obviously doesn’t appreciate that.  The statements made here regarding Inworldz strike me as Hypergrid-centric and self-serving– even at the sacrifice of truth and reality.  So with respect, let’s discuss reality.

    “Basically, InWorldz is a smaller, less expensive version of Second Life with not-as-good technology.”

    Not-as-good in whose opinion?  Second Life has uncounted major show-stopper level bugs that have been on the books for years.  The majority of people hate their official viewer.  I hardly ever lag on Inworldz, but find myself experiencing regular problems on Second Life… not the least of which is regular crashing (yes, we do crash on Inworldz from time to time, but not nearly the frequency experienced on SL).  

    Now I realize these experiences can be subjective and may be a matter of opinion, but I don’t believe the fact that SL has physics and mesh makes it a superior platform to Inworldz… especially since I know Inworldz has fixed major problems that have plagued Second Life for years (for example, Inworldz group chat actually works).  IW may not have physics (quite yet)… but they do get CHAT right.

    “Their friends are there, or the groups they want to belong to are there”
    “They think that its expanding, and is the future, and they want to be in a growing world, not a shrinking one.”
    “They don’t want to be on Second Life, and want the next best thing.”

    I take these to be a matter of personal opinion, so I will reply with personal opinion.  As the founder of one of the oldest and largest themed groups on both Second Life and Inworldz… I can tell you why Elf Clan is on Inworldz:

    1) We needed a less-expensive and less-abusive alternative to Linden Lab.
    2) Inworldz was a forward-looking, customer-responsive company.
    3) Unlike OpenSim and Hypergrid at the time… Inworldz offered extensive group functions and Estate Tools.
    4) We don’t consider Inworldz to be “the next best thing” to Second Life; our region owners consider it far better.
    5) We were tired of having Linden Lab destroy our efforts and investments.  
    6) Since we are a non-profit group (and there are many such on Inworldz)… we’re not concerned with expansion of the grid.  We’re concerned with a grid that provides expansion for our group.  Since we went from one stagnant, over-priced region on Second Life to (as we speak) *twenty-nine* regions on Inworldz that are thriving and beautiful… I’d say we made the right choice.
    7) We like Inworldz.  We like the founders, we like the environment, we like the building tools, we like the atmosphere and we like the people.

    Claiming that people come to Inworldz because “their friends are there” is just the opposite of the case:  people come to Inworldz despite the fact most of their friends are on Second Life.  I think no one has greater experience in this matter than Elf Clan– which left 3/4 of our group behind on SL to migrate to Inworldz.  We came to Inworldz because we saw a FUTURE on Inworldz… whereas our group’s future on SL was obviously non-existant (Linden Lab policies had forced us to drop from 2 full sims and 6 “homesteads” to one barely-surviving, money-draining sim).  

    So in summary, none of the three reasons you gave were why Elf Clan– or anyone else I know of– is on Inworldz.

    “Second, it’s because they’re the most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

    Yes, it is.  I wonder why that is the case?  (As a note, Inworldz is not an “OpenSim” grid.  They’ve moved far beyond OpenSim.)

    “it’s[sic] regions numbers have generally been hovering between 800 and 900 for the past year — so unless the new marketing campaign works out, InWorldz isn’t likely to see a great deal of growth.”

    Maria, this statement shows either a severe lack of knowledge about Inworldz business plan… or direct misrepresentation of that plan. Unlike Linden Lab, Inworldz has been focusing on developing grid stability before widely advertising their product.  To me that makes a great deal of sense.  Myself, I like to actually have a product before selling it.

    Inworldz has been in openly-stated, pioneering-level beta-stage for three years.  Elf Clan came to Inworldz knowing this fact, and we’ve been aware of it ever since.  We have no problem with that fact.  We have worked with the Founders and supported Inworldz and rooted for them every step of the way.  We believe that when the time is right, Inworldz will expand.  But that will only happen when the Founders believe it’s time to expand… and that they can properly support a vastly increasing population.

    Yes, the grid has hovered at around 900 sims for the past year.  As we have seen on Second Life… sim count is not an indicator of popularity.  It is not an indicator of technical prowess.  Sim count is not an indicator of “the company is doing things right”.  If that were the case, we’d still be on SL.  But at (now less than) 30,000 sims… I consider SL to be one of the most poorly-run, customer-abusive products I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.  Comparatively Inworldz… with it’s some 900 sims… has been enjoyable, customer-supportive and friendly.  Our group is thriving there.  I’d say their 900 sims is working just fine right now.  When they finally decide their software is to the point they are ready to expand– I trust they’ll be ready to handle the increased workload (unlike other grids I could mention).

    “the InWorldz architecture is heavily dependent on human intervention and has the standard OpenSim bottlenecks, such as the asset server.”

    Maria, how can you be in this business… and be unaware that Inworldz has completely re-written their asset-server software (some time ago in fact) and is no longer dependent on OpenSim asset server code?  That’s one of its main selling points– that its asset servers work better than either SL or OpenSim, and are totally scalable to handle whatever population comes along.

    “Size matters quite a bit. Second Life, with its hundred thousand — plus or minus a few tens of thousands — unique monthly users far overshadows InWorldz’ 5,700 active users”

    Let’s put that in perspective:  hundred thousand largely dissatisfied and angry customers compared to Inworldz’ 5,700 largely very-satisfied and highly-supportive customers.

    Have you compared Second Life forums with Inworldz forums?   Or even more telling… have you ever seen me write a negative blog about Inworldz?  I’m not saying Inworldz is perfect– but customer count is fairly irrelevant here… especially considering that for some time SL was a virtual monopoly and many people are so heavily vested there they can’t leave (or at least, think they can’t).

    “are increasingly setting up their own grids instead of joining existing grids like InWorldz.”

    We’ve discussed this in the past.  Free is free.  People will always take advantage of free… even if it means lesser quality.  I can assure you those grids are far less functional and productive than Inworldz.

    I tried OpenSim software recently.  Talk about making little or no progress for the past 3 years…

    I was amazed at the severe lag, the repeated crashing, the sad performance.  We’ve had this discussion before too Maria– you claiming OpenSim has progressed and now equals or surpasses Inworldz in techinical quality… and me stating no, it doesn’t.  All one has to do is visit an OSgrid region to become quickly aware of how inferior it is to Inworldz performance.  I’m not saying that as an Inworldz fanatic; I’m saying that as a retired computer consultant with over 25 years experience.  I will state this once again here on this site:  the performance of Inworldz and technical superiority over OpenSim should be blatantly obvious to anyone who tries both platforms.  

    I have nothing against OpenSim.  Two thumbs up.  But reality is reality.  No matter how loudly and repeatedly one may choose to shout otherwise, Inworldz performance blows OpenSim away.  There’s a reason for that: unlike OpenSim, Inworldz employs– at significant cost– professional dev staff who know their stuff, as opposed to a largely disjointed and disorganized volunteer force.  That’s the advantage of for-profit business vs open-source software.  Always has been.

    “You can’t bring in or save OAR files.”

    Did you ask Inworldz about this before publishing it?  It’s always good to get the official policy.  While I can excuse and forgive this statement as simple lack of knowledge, unfortunately it’s inaccurate.  I was unaware of the facts too so I don’t fault this, but it’s not accurate.  While they admittedly don’t have wide open policy in this, they do allow OAR migration… while still attending to security and copyright issues (ie, you can’t export items someone else created).  Second Life and other grids have even more strict policy than Inworldz in this area.

    “Land’s cheaper than Second Life — but more expensive than anywhere else, and with more constraints.”

    Maria, seriously.  I mean no offense… but honestly.  Hardly deserves me replying.  But reply I will.

    I think Inworldz is hardly the most expensive… nor most constraining grid out there.  Avination has more constraints.  SpotON (or ex-SpotON) is considerably more expensive.  But those facts aside… at a maximum cost of $75 per region (and with group discounts, considerably less)… cost becomes of far less concern than was the case with Second Life.  Elf Clan finds the costs on Inworldz to be very reasonable… and their quality of product considerably superior to other grids we’ve seen out there.  There is a REASON Inworldz is (to quote you) the “most popular, most successful commercial grid on OpenSim.”

    But as a note:  Inworldz is so far beyond OpenSim they can’t even be claimed to be an OpenSim grid any more (and in fact, they state openly they are not).  I think failing to recognize that bit of reality might be the core of a great deal of the mis-information in this blog.  As you state, Inworldz is proprietary software.  They have re-written so much code it can’t even be considered OpenSim any more.  They have totally re-written their asset server code, their inventory code, their script engine code.  Inworldz cannot be accurately called an “OpenSim” grid, nor do they claim to be such.  

    “InWorldz can’t take advantage of any of the recent developments in OpenSim — mesh, media-on-a-prim… hypergrid access..”

    Nor do they need to.  Hypergrid is a security nightmare.  I’ve not met one member of Inworldz who wants it– and a whole lot of people who don’t.  As far as mesh… Inworldz is focusing on more important issues right now than Linden Lab-focused toys.  Imo OpenSim would do a lot better to follow their example and focus more on foundation stability than trinkets.  We can live without mesh.  We can’t do without a stable foundation.

    “They’re still on 0.6.5 and everyone else is on 0.7.3 and they can’t upgrade because they made a lot of fixes early on that were needed — but they didn’t contribute those fixes back to the open source community.”

    Others have addressed this statement, and I think their responses should have been obvious Maria.  Inworldz no longer supports the OpenSim product.  They are so far beyond either 0.6.5 or 0.7.3 it’s almost a matter of amusement to read this statement.  

    Again, Inworldz is no longer OpenSim.  It’s Inworldz.  Their code has been largely re-written and at this point is significantly beyond OpenSim.

    As for them contributing code back to the community… we’ve discussed that too.  They’re a for-profit business, not an open-source volunteer organization.  They would be idiots to give away their expensive, proprietary code to their competition.  You continue after all this time to harp on this matter, but the reason and logic of the matter should be pretty clear to any business professional.

    “And now InWorldz is stuck out on a branch all by itself. It has to pay for its own development — and there’s no way a single company can keep up with everything being done by volunteers in a giant open source community.”

    I’ve seen the results of the work of the OpenSim community.  While I applaud the volunteer effort… the results are not impressive.  OpenSim is largely disorganized and filled with in-fighting and egos (as many are aware).  While Inworldz has progressed significantly over the past three years, I personally find OpenSim to be stagnant, unstable and bug-ridden.  Since I have no financial stake in Inworldz or the company, since my primary interest is performance and stability of my group– I think I can state this from a fairly un-biased standpoint.  OpenSim simply does not work nearly as well as Inworldz.  I’ve examined both platforms; the comparison was significant– and evident.  Judging from evidence, I’d have to say Inworldz not only keeps up with everything being done by OpenSim volunteers… it exceeds that effort.

    “InWorldz scored about the same as the average OpenSim grid in technology in both our 2010 grid survey and the 2011 grid survey”

    Scored by whom?  OpenSim fanatics?  Honestly Maria…

    I remember those surveys.  I openly questioned the accuracy of your claims about OpenSim at that time… and later verified my observations.  I can honestly state that Inworldz is significantly technologically advanced over OpenSim software.  I made a living making such judgements.  I think I am not inaccurate in this.

    “Step one: Ditch the proprietary technology.
    “And, in the future, donate improvements back to the open source community to keep this same situation from repeating.
    “Step three: Use InWorldz’ strength in community building to become the central hub of the hypergrid.
    “Instead of spending money on proprietary physics engines and viewers, spend money on promoting these events across the hypergrid.

    Maria, if I may be blunt:  I don’t think Inworldz needs advice.  Since they are as you state “the most commercially successful” grid outside of SL, I’d say they’re doing pretty well on their own.  But to address these issues:

    * Inworldz proprietary technology is part of what makes them successful.  It works.  Other software doesn’t.  That’s why they’re proprietary.
    * Why should Inworldz invest hard cash in proprietary code… and then just give it away?  Seriously?
    * If you believe Inworldz could become the central hub of the hypergrid, that indicates to me you see the success and potential behind their current business model.  So truthfully… why do they need hypergrid?  I don’t know of any Inworldz user that wants Hypergrid (there may be a few, but by far most Inworldz people prefer the way Inworldz is set up and don’t want hypergrid).
    * Why should Inworldz spend their money in promoting hypergrid business?  Are you seriously suggesting they NOT invest in a superior physics engine?  Most people believe that’s one of the most important investments they could make.
    * Some consider Viewers to be the “Achille’s Heel” of Virtual Reality.  A large percentage of bug reports are all-too-often answered with “That’s unfortunately a Viewer problem”.  I have stated myself that as unfortunate as it may be, eventually a serious, professional grid company like Inworldz is going to have to develop their own proprietary, professional and functional Viewer.  The current viewers on the market are SL-centric and buggy as all get-out. Honestly, how long have we had to put up with that (expletive withheld) memory-drain bug that crashes viewers… and to this day no one has fixed it.   Grid software is only half the program– the Viewer is the other half.  Buggy viewers equals buggy performance.  A proprietary viewer… one that works… is seriously needed to stabilize virtual reality.

    “Meanwhile, other grids pull ahead in features, and the hypergrid community grows and evolves until InWorldz becomes marginalized and irrelevant.”

    Does anyone really buy this?  I don’t.

    “Their technology gave them an edge at the beginning, but now that same technology is holding them back.”

    Holding them back how?  Our group is growing. Events are growing.  Popularity is growing.  Maria… how can you state in one breath they’re the most successful commercial grid… and then turn around and say their technology is holding them back?  Back from what… using a severely unsecure hypergrid system?

    “InWorldz painted themselves into a corner.”

    What corner?  A successful one?  A corner that actually works?  A functional, stable and productive corner?  Hey, I’ll take one of those. 😀

    “And there’s nothing wrong with closed grids.”

    I agree.  So why are you bashing Inworldz?  In just about every statement of this article you’re touting that Inworldz needs to open up and stop being closed… that they’re doing things wrong… that they have no future with their current business model… but then say there’s nothing wrong with closed grids?  You can’t be open and closed at the same time Maria.  Open means lessened security.  Some people LIKE gated communities because of the security they offer.  

    “But we’re going to get secure hypergrid filtering, probably sometime this year.”

    Which if I may… means that currently (and for the past few years)… hypergrid filtering is not and has not been secure.  Which is the whole point of not wanting Hypergrid on Inworldz.  “Probably sometime this year” is vapor-statement.  We’ll believe a secure hypergrid when we see a secure hypergrid.

    “Second Life is also successful, and I give them advice all the time. In fact, I give them pretty much the same advice as I just gave to InWorldz. Of course, they ignore me.”

    Linden Lab ignores everyone.  They’re about the most “we-say-so” company I’ve seen.  But I have to be honest, I think Inworldz has reason for not taking your advice.  With all respect Maria… the lack of factuality in this article is astounding.

    Again, I support your right to state your opinions and observations.  But one would hope those opinions and observations have some basis in reality.  This is about the most inaccurate blog I’ve ever seen come out of Hypergrid Business.

  • Wauw … this is a monster to get through, commentwise. 
    A lot of good comments and  also a lot of misinformed comment, aside from the  article itself.
    I  have a few points Id like to ad. 
    Fisrt of Id like to  make really clear Im not a FanGirl. I was for a short while  in regards to SL & LL but I  learnt from  my  mistakes and wont go down that route again. While I do love IW on a personal level I try  to  keep objectivity on  a professional level.
    So on to the points:

    1. Re Mesh – Maria, did you ask  InWorldz about this? I know for a fact that Tranquility has openly stated that they  will  be implementing Mesh BUT not in a half baked LL fashion. Timeframe  would be somewhere along end of 2012 give or take. Why? cos stability stability stability. Who would want  Mesh if the grid is going wonky every other day  ? Only  fools or people that  dont understand how important stability is.
    2. Hypergrid – Now Elenia has said very  early  on that they  would love to  bring the hypergrid online in  InWorlds  … IF IF IF (very  important IFs here) the security is ironclad. Not some half baked security mind you. Not a test security  but a security that will  match the grid security or exceed it. Merchants must be able to choose if they  want their things  to  be  followed through the  HG gates. and that goes for  Full Perm stuff as well! I admit that I like the idea of HG, but security should be taken  very  very  serious. Maria you  say during this year the security would be in place. Now somehow I  seriously  doubt that. The first steps towards the iron clad security, yes maybe but I have a feeling that it  will  take  a lot longer to  have it 200% secure.

    Someone said (in comments) IW has repeated LL mistakes. I  really  can not take a comment like that seriously when its not backed up  by  facts. To  me a comment like that comes across as someone listening to  rumours and not having spend much if any time in  IW.
    I often  find that  people can  be highly  demanding. If you  dont respond within a few hours  and jump on your tounge for their pleasure only  they  get  miffy. Now in regards to IW  one should always remember that  they  are in BETA and they  have a small  team. Even  so  their response time is fast and reliable and above all  fair. You  might not  agree with  them always but that dont mean  that they  dont  act in  a fair and above board manner. I  cant really  say  that about LL (sadly)

    My personal  feelings about  Hypergrid (this is really  mainly  for  Wayfinders benefit as he stated several times that  people in  IW dont want it)
    I want it …. and I  want it  bad! That said, as stated above I  fully  support IWs decision of  closing the grid until the security is  200%. 
    I see HG as the part of the future (very  important word) and a part of Philips vision for  Virtual Worlds.
    I also  agree with  Pathfinders comment regarding asking people what they  want . I think  the trick  is to anticipate what people will  need in  the future. There might be a lot of people that today  will  tell  you  they  will  never be part of HG but  they   fail  to   think  of the market and the possibilities  if the HG is 200% secure. Ask them again  if they  want HG if they  can  rely 200% on their choices and permissions to  be upheld. Their answer might  be different. 
    Ask  any  copybotted creator  if they  belive  a HG is the problem and  imposes a threat to  their  creation. If they  are  smart  they  will  tell  you  no. 
    Anyone that knows a tiny bit of how copybotting works  will  tell you  that HG isnt the  problem if its secure. It dont matter if your in a closed grid or not. The  Botters will  steal no matter where you  are. So ….
    In fact not only does the  HG need to  be secure but also  the  various grids needs to  stand together on  this issue. Excluding anyone that will  not uphold the laws in  regards to  copyrights. Simply refuse connection  to  HG  if they  dont sign  an  agreement that they  will  follow the DMCA in case of reporting. Theft cannot be avoided  completely but  making the  botters lives more difficults can  be.

    And now I  think Ill  get off my  soapbox. Im  getting as bad as Wayfinder 😉

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      LOL no, your not as bad as me yet.  As a friend once told me, “You’re the only person I know who can make a blog out of a comment.”  ;D

      Guilty as charged.  sigh

      As recognition… I do accept there are some folks on Inworldz who might want hypergrid.  When I state “folks on Inworldz don’t want it”… I’m referring to the majority I’ve spoken with, who generally agree that the lack of security in hypergrid is contrary to what they need in a grid.   That’s one of the reasons they’re on Inworldz… for the security a closed system offers.  However I’ll admit there are likely folks (such as yourself) who want hypergrid. I just find such appears to be a tiny minority of Inworldz users.

      I have to believe Inworldz has plans for eventually expanding their system beyond closed-wall.  But they will only do so if they are absolutely sure of the security and protection of their customers.  That’s the responsible course.  I would consider it very irresponsible to their customers for them to institute and promote hypergrid without a guaranteed and known level of security.  We’ve all had enough of shoddy security in “that other grid”.  Copybot… self-changing perms… unnecessary restrictions on our own creations… we surely need no more of such “policies”.

      As stated, I’ll believe in a secure hypergrid when I see it.  Until then, don’t want it, don’t need it, happy with how things are… for now. : )

      • oh but then we agree … IF the HG is secure and  reliable so  then it would be fine to  open up the closed grids (not only InWorldz) …. right ? 😉 That is exactly  my thinking as well. I hold creators in high respect and I wouldnt wanna  try to sell their  things  in an unsecure enviroment….
        That  said Wayfinder… the copybot issue… HG  isnt  a factor in that …if they  want to  copybot they will you will never ever be able to  secure your items against that. Closed or open  grid that  wont matter.

        • Wayfinder Wishbringer

          Yes, exactly… and yes, I didn’t make that clear.  I’m all for Hypergrid… just not for severe security leaks.  If they ever get it secure (and that’s a big IF… I’m not even sure it’s possible), then WOOOHOOO! 😀

          Here’s the problem with Hypergrid:  what do we let through the gate?  Because the reality of VR is that any self-hosted region owner has full access to everything that enters that region.  We have a bad enough time with copybot.  The problem isn’t copybot itself… but the criminal-mentality people who abuse the concept (and there are plenty of those out there, and yes I do stress criminal mentality. They’re thieves who steal other people’s property, pure and simple).  If we could trust everyone to use copybot only for their own backup purposes and benefit, copybot would be no problem.

          So, such people exist.  They do run their own mini-grids.  And they are willing to steal anything that comes into their realm.  How does hypergrid stop that?  People claim even copybot can’t be stopped… so how do we secure a completely open gate?  I’m not one to say “it can’t be done”, but there are some things I think are so risky it’s just better not done.

          Personally, I believe a better solution is to allow the closed-wall communities to be closed-wall, and let those who want hypergrid use it on free-trade hypergrid systems.  There’s room for both.

          Would I like to see a form of hypergrid on Inworldz?  Not for my sake (I don’t need it) but for the sake of others… IF it can be done securely.  However as stated, I’ll believe that when I see it and like you, I don’t believe vapor-statements. 🙂

          At core concept though, we agree.  A secure hypergrid would be pretty neat.  Personally, I’d love to see HOW they manage to secure such a beast. 😀

          •  > Because the reality of VR is that any self-hosted region owner has full access to everything that enters that region.

            True, but as I’ve said before, this wouldn’t be true if the OpenSim devs hadn’t been so keen on immitating LL’s craziest mistakes. There’s no great need for any but the tiniest bit of data on each avatar to go through the sim. In fact the opposite is rather more true: channelling avatar, inventory, and other data through the sim was a big scalability problem for Second Life. To not do so might have meant changing the viewer to match, but I don’t think it would have been a very big change. SL didn’t have that crazy design for its first 2 or 3 years.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

             You’re correct there Ethan.  One of the worst problems with Second Life (and thus all grids that imitate it) is that it was a brilliant idea… very badly implemented.  Just the fact that they used lossy protocols in critical data transfer areas should give folks clue that they didn’t really know what they were doing.  We’ve seen that mentality carry down through almost all aspects of SL… which is why when they try to make simple database changes to SLM they fail miserably.  Hate to say it, but when I think of Linden Lab, four concepts come to mind:  profit-gouging, dictatorial, self-serving and… technically incompetent.

  • Re: Bottlenecks — I haven’t seen any examples yet of InWorldz departing significantly from standard OpenSim limitations in terms of assets, avatars per region, etc… and as far as I know you’re not using Intel’s Distributed Scene Graph (which allows 1000+ avatars on a region), or cloud-based asset storage or region hosting (whether public or private cloud), and a large amount of manual intervention is required for support tickets. I’m not disputing that you guys are doing a lot of back-end work — I’m saying you guys are doing too much back-end work with little visible effect. I’m hearing the same complaints about stability, etc… from InWorldz users as I do from anywhere else. 

    Re: OAR backups — do your region owners have a button they can press to get an instant OAR download, or to upload OAR files? From the discussions I checked on the forums before writing this article, they couldn’t. If I missed this announcement, let me know. I read the post you linked to, but it’s just a complaint about Second Life, not an explanation of how InWorldz handles this.

    Re: Surveys — When we did our grid surveys, InWorldz users were among the biggest groups of responders both times. I’ll be glad to see other surveys, but so far those are the only ones we’ve got. 

    If you guys are able to prove me wrong, turn out to be massively scalable, have an inflood of users and investors, run massive advertising campaigns and inspire everyone in the US to go out and get an avatar, I will be very, very, very happy. I’ve been waiting for a long time for Linden Lab to get its act together and do just that, and have given up. If you step up, it will be a big step forward for an immersive, 3D future. 

    And I don’t think it will hurt the hypergrid if a closed, commercial grid does that, no more than it hurt the WWW that AOL put their disks in everybody’s shopping bag and cereal box — AOL made it okay for folks to go online and opened up the way for everything else. 

    • You’ve been proven wrong and instead of admitting it and apologizing for writing all your misguided information you do this instead. You just lost all of my respect. 
      You can keep trying to push your hypergrid and your ways down everyone’s throat or you can decide that it is OK for there to be more than one sort of grid and you can let it go. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past months taking up for you when people claim that you write without having the proper information. Not anymore. In the future I will give your articles the same respect I give the National Enquire. 

    • You really are kidding now Maria. Please tell me  you still think its April 1st? Jim took time to explain it all in his commnt(s) InWorldz took time to  write a formal reply to your article and still  you  hammer on  about these issues that isnt issues  but something  you  dreamt up.

      Like Linda Im now seriously thinking  just how professional you are. Your response shows someone that is being stubborn just to  be stubborn.

      Re the OAR. No we dont have  buttons to click to import / export an OAR file. Any  exporting / importing of such  files will  be done  by the InWorldz team. I have gone though this once  for a renter of mine (she rented a Full region  from  me) and  Elenia  took  time  to  get it imported correctly as  the region  was in  my  name  but the items  should be in  the renters name. (it was an OAR file from  Linda btw) No charge to  any of us either.

      As you well  know the InWorldz team  is small but  colour me  if Tranquility  cant make such buttons on the website ..and this is very  important …. WHEN  he has time!! This feature isnt  exactly  what I  would classify as a showstopper.

  • Wayfinder Wishbringer

    A follow-up here to my first severely-lengthy comment: ;D

    This is one long comment section, which to me says one thing: impassioned people. That’s great. 😀

    Philip Rosedale once said he considered comments, no matter how negative, to be from people who care. Smart observation that. I responded in agreement. I’ve written a number of (sometimes severely negative) blogs about Linden Lab and told Philip he need not worry so long as I’m still blogging. (For the record, I no longer blog about Second Life. I-and others-have given up on it. Now they can start worrying– at least a little.

    So this blog and comments about Inworldz says one thing to me: Inworldz creates passion. Right now, I’d have to say that’s a good thing.

    Both Inworldz and OSgrid (as well as other grids) have contributed to LL loss of customers. I consider that to be LL’s fault; if they’d cared more about customers, we wouldn’t have been forced to create our own system. If SL thinks people are jumping ship now… just wait.

    Despite appearances I am a supporter of OpenSim and OSgrid. That may seem like a contradiction, but as Jim Tarber says and many (including Maria) have agreed, there’s room in this market for multiple business models. In past blogs I’ve been both supportive of the OpenSim project and condemnatory of the drama and in-fighting. Pointing out flaws doesn’t mean I’m against the project. I admire the OpenSim project and frankly, wish it had progressed more than it has. But that’s the nature of open-source projects; progress is usually rather slow because it tends to be not as organized as professional enterprise projects. Nature of the critter.

    But I would ask anyone to consider: if OpenSim was what everyone needed, then why is our group– one of the oldest and most established large groups in the VR realm– willing to pay for numerous regions on Inworldz rather than just opening up our own “free” mini-grid on OpenSim?

    It becomes obvious OpenSim does not meet the needs of everyone (nothing ever does). It becomes equally obvious that Inworldz– as it stands– is providing a valuable service.

    I’m not an Inworldz “fanatic” (I think there are in truth few of those… when I compare Inworldz users to SL FIC, trolls and drama queens– no offense). I am simply a customer with reasonable experience, who knows how Inworldz works, knows some of what they have planned for the future… and agrees with the necessity of most of their policies. I recognize they’re not perfect. I don’t agree with everything they do (nor do I have to). It’s all small stuff. Overall, they’re pretty great. 😀

    I do believe Inworldz the “best that’s out there”… hands down. When people tell me OpenSim is “as good as” or even “more technically advanced” than Inworldz, when they told me Avination was “better” than Inworldz, when they told me SpotOn 3D was “more secure” than Inworldz… I knew those to be bogus claims. I’ve visited those grids. I’ve tested those grids. Such claims are without foundation. Inworldz is doing the dev work necessary to be top dog– but unlike Linden Lab, they don’t act like top dog. They’re not arrogant. They deeply care about their customers. They are very responsive. Doesn’t mean they’re perfect. It means they do know what they’re doing. : )

    There is one thing I personally have against not only OpenSim but ALL grids: Rather than starting from scratch (new UI, new concepts, new file structure, etc)… was designed to be an “SL clone”. My personal opinion (and it’s just that) is that considering the failures of LL and SL, we all should have broken away completely from SL and created something new and better. There was certainly much room for improvement… and SL isn’t the only way to make a VR world. We could have made something unique. Instead, we’re ALL guilty of being “just another Second Life.”

    Of course the reason for that is the basic concept of SL is pretty neat. It’s the way it was managed that has caused so many problems.

    Maria has gotten a lot of response from this blog, much of it negative. I think that’s warranted. Such is the risk of being a blogger. I do hope the majority of the email she gets is at least respectful, even if it is direct or blunt. But polite or rude, it does show people care about Inworldz. Pro or con… it means Inworldz has caught attention. I think that attention is MOSTLY positive.

    So I look at it like this: despite the overall tone of this blog and the (pardon me for being blunt) glaring inaccuracies, you brought a lot of attention to Inworldz… and gave Inworldz supporters a chance to reflect their support. Even more, it helped make Maria and her readers even more aware of how Inworldz users feel about that platform. I’ve rarely seen such support for Second Life (and most such support I did see came from people who were mostly opinionated trolls or drama queens). Inworldz users tend to be passionate, happy Inworldz customers– which is a strong indication of how popular that grid is now and how popular it will become. Those who don’t like Inworldz… are not forced to use it. There’s always OSgrid. If they want free, if they want open-gate, if they want hypergrid, Inworldz is obviously not the platform for them. No need to grouse… just use OSgrid. Me, I prefer Inworldz.

    Here is my stance on Inworldz: I love it. Sure it has bugs (all grids have bugs). No, things don’t always go smoothly (when do they ever, in anything?). But in my experience (7+ years with multiple grids) Inworldz is so far better overall than Second Life; they are what Second Life should have and could have been. And I think we are going to see both Inworldz and OSgrid lead the pack of numerous specialty grids… both catering to particular needs. They aren’t competitors; they are compliments of one another, sisters in the same family.

  • Wayfinder Wishbringer

     Jim: “Fact: It’s up about 100 regions in the last 6 months.”

    For those who hate doing math (like me, but I do it anyway)… that’s a growth factor of 12%.  I know a LOT of companies that would love to have a 6-month growth rate of 12%. That comes to 24% per year.   Investors would kill for an annual 24% growth rate in their portfolios.  : )

    Now, what’s important in this is that by Maria’s own admission, Inworldz is the “most successful” grid of its kind.  So if it is the most successful and (by Maria’s statement) its growth has “leveled off”… what does that say for other grids?

    As Jim says, Inworldz is growing.  It may appear slow, but the growth is there.  Since Second Life region count is *declining*… I think 24% annual growth on Inworldz is pretty impressive.

    Let them get in PhysX and start their marketing campaign… *then* let’s see what their growth rate is.  I think some folks are gonna have to eat crow.  Let me tell you from experience:  a bit of salt does wonders. ;D

    • Harriet Inglewood

      Hope you like crow. Your growth rate calculation is way off. At least 1/3 of the (supposed) 100 new regions were I’z Straits – InWorldz owned water sims that were recently added around the new mainland. Even so, look at the region count now (March 2012) and look to see what it was a year ago (March 2011). Tell me what you see. Do you see a 24% growth or does it appear to have “leveled off”? Even with the 30 plus new water sims, it appears to have leveled off to me. Maria is much closer to the truth than you are on this one.

      • This is incorrect. The new regions were not straits or water regions, but paying customers.

        • Harriet Inglewood

          I am surprised at you Jim, I really am. Simply go to any of the I’z Straits around the new mainland (I’z Straits 36 through Iz’ Straits 67) and check the date on them. You will see the date that they were claimed, or in this case, the date that they were created. All 32 of those sims were created on Sunday, January 8, 2012, just a few months ago.

          Tranq has already admitted that the I’z Striats and Oceans are included in the total region count. I’ll post his confession here if needed or you can just ask him yourself.

          Are you trying to say that in addition to all of the newly created water sims (there are more than those cited in this example) 100 other regions were PURCHASED in the last six months?

          • Sorry, there were 30 added over the weekend during the conference so when you said “recently added” I didn’t realize we were still talking about over the last 6 months.  Also, I thought “30 plus new water sims” was referring to the new scenic regions, which are not yet being offered, so obviously they would not be included in any current totals.  If you are referring to regions added a few months ago, yes, absolutely, the two continents were joined as part of the long-term plan to make them sailable.  The Blake Sea in SL is similar and is a really great feature of that grid.

            Tranq’s comment is not a “confession” as you put it but an up-front statement so that no one can accuse him of misleading.  The InWorldz founders are not particular concerned with the stats, but rather what the residents want.  Sailable connections between the two continents have long been promised, and so they were finally delivered much to the delight of residents.

            The point I was trying to make is that the claim that InWorldz is not growing is somewhat ridiculous.  Even if you remove the 30 regions from 3 months ago there were still 30-40 more this past month alone and something in the range of 70 in the last 6 months.  The reality is that the region count is way up, especially compared to other grids, and while the numbers aren’t watched that too closely, claims that growth is flat are just not credible.

          • Harriet Inglewood

            70 new sims in the last 6 months sounds more realistic. When you consider attrition, which has not been factored in, it is plain to see that the claim of 24% growth rate at present is ludicrous. That was the point I was trying to make.

            After Scenic sims become available I would expect to see a huge increase in the region count but that would not be a true indicator of growth either. Only region owners will be eligible to purchase Scenic sims so it’s likely that most of the initial Scenic sims will be purchased by current sim owners.

            Regarding the new Straits, why are residents not allowed to rez in any of those 32 sims?

             

          •  Mostly agreed, although I’d argue that if you factor in attrition, it’s higher because the +70/100 number are net gains.   They also don’t factor in the two cleanups of under-used IW regions in the last year that would have previously inflated the numbers slightly.

            I didn’t bother to figure out percentages; they tends to fluctuate with the seasons and the economy.  Traditionally there is a bit of a downturn during the holidays and new year, so  I’m very happy with the level of growth seen, especially given the declines of the other largest commercial grids. 

            My only concern was the claim that the numbers had “leveled off”, which would appear to be the case if you looked at the numbers from a year ago to now without understanding the numbers behind them.  After the cleanups, while the founders have actually been trying to fly level in a holding pattern (pending a securing of the foundation to build on prior to advertising), there has actually been pretty steady growth.

            With the addition of PhysX support, scenic regions, and a completion of the 1.0 feature set, I’m actually a little fearful of significant sudden growth over the next year.

            Only time will tell but I see very large reasons for optimism, not the pessimism of this article.

          • Wayfinder Wishbringer

            This is the problem I have with armchair statisticians who fail to view the entire picture. 

            I’m going to be extra-generous and allow Harriet the  claim there were “only” 70 new full sims instead of 100, just for the sake of peace.  Even at that we have an annual growth rate of 16%, which in itself isn’t too shabby.

            Thus the point being missed here… and the point Jim and I are both making, is that contrary to Maria’s blog Inworldz IS growing.  Add to that the truth that Second Life use is *declining*, and we get to the crux of the matter, the point Jim was making that the article misrepresents the reality of the growth of Inworldz.  And THAT, is the bottom-line point.

            Then consider that Inworldz hasn’t even started their marketing campaign yet (by their own admission) because they’re currently focusing on stabilizing the foundation of the system, and what we have is a sensible, wise company that is growing despite the absence of advertising… which says to me they just might know what they’re doing.