What is a grid?

A couple of people have asked me by email what what my definition of a grid is, and there was also some discussion of this in the comments of previous posts, and on other blogs, such as the Elf Clan Social Network.

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the term grid, which is used differently in different contexts.

The technical definition

For example, if you’re running OpenSim on a server, you can run it in “standalone mode” or “grid mode.” To some people, this indicates that an OpenSim installation is only a grid if it is running in “grid mode.”

This is technically true, and when OpenSim administrators talk to each other, they refer to their grids or their standalones.

If Hypergrid Business was a technical blog, we would observe this distinction. Just as if we were a botanical publication, we would refer to tomatoes as fruits.

We really do need a technical blog about OpenSim, oriented at gridmasters. I would love to see one, and encourage the technically-minded folks to start one. I’ll read it, and re-tweet the posts.

But we’re focused more on end users, and from the end user perspective, it’s all squares on a map. It looks like a grid, it acts like a grid, it is a grid. The same way that, to cooks and supermarket shoppers, a tomato is a vegetable and so are cucumbers.

When I need to make a distinction in an article, I refer to full grids, mini-grids, and standalone regions, and use the generic term “grid” to apply to all of them.

The virtual world definition

To many people, especially users of social virtual worlds, a grid is only useful if it has many places to go, people to meet, and activities to participate in.

By this measure, a two-region personal mini-grid or a 16-region Diva Distro used by a school for some classes, don’t qualify.

I definitely sympathize with this perspective. But I personally am not a user of social grids, and Hypergrid Business isn’t really focused on this readership segment. My personal interest is in writing for enterprise users — people who work for companies, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profits.

There are several blogs out there that do focus on social uses of virtual worlds, the Elf Clan community just one of them.

I do understand that a lot of social users read Hypergrid Business anyway. This is why I started tracking the top-ten most trafficked grids.

Someone who wants to track social virtual worlds can set a certain cut-off point of active users and track grids that way, but I’d hate to be in a position of having to decide which was a “real” virtual world and which wasn’t.

Is a virtual world still a virtual world if it just launched, and doesn’t have any users yet? Is a virtual world a virtual world if it’s not profitable? Of it it’s run a single proprietorship — as most companies in the U.S. are — and isn’t formally incorporated? If it accepts members only by invitation?

I’m leaving it to someone else to make those kinds of judgments.

Who cares about tiny grids?

Let’s say you have a grid that’s only a few regions big — or even just one region. Is that a grid worth tracking?

Let me offer some examples.

An artist sets up a small grid to show off her work. You can’t get an account on her grid, but can teleport in via hypergrid. She holds regular events on her grid for the public, and her grid becomes a must-visit for hypergrid travelers. Is this a worthwhile grid?

A company sets up a small grid for its annual conference. The grid is mostly empty most of the year, except for occasional builders and designers stopping by, or maybe the occasional meeting. Is this a worthwhile grid?

A school sets up a small grid for its classes. It’s only used when classes are in session, and when the class is covering the particular topic that requires a virtual environment. Is this a worthwhile grid?

For me, I believe all these are great uses for OpenSim, and worthwhile. And as these successful implementations get publicized, it encourages other organizations to try out the platform as well.

That’s what I’m trying to do here at Hypergrid Business. Promote all the different uses of OpenSim so as to encourage more enterprises to try it out. This will help grow the community, inspire more people to generate content for OpenSim, and inspire others to donate code.

Eventually, I believe that grids will be as ubiquitous as websites. Every company or organization will have its own grid.

And even a one-region grid could still be worth listing — just as there are one-page websites that can be worth visiting.

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.

  • If a grid is used, then that means it is worthwhile. It is worth the effort of setting up and using it, regardless of what it is used for

    Kate Booth uses Sim-on-a-Stick in a network manner so that a class of many students log into one instance is SoaS. By definition and use, that’s a grid IMO.

    When I build something like Hax Unit on a stick, unconnected to the web, is that a grid?

    When I converted the 16 region Enclave Harbour into a single mega region on SoaS, was that a single user grid?

    I think the definition of ‘grid’ is perhaps yet to be fully defined – just like photography wasn’t defined as an art medium when it was invented.

    Nice thought provoking post =)

  • Gaga

    All Opensim based worlds are grids simply because that is how they are structured and they are all capable of supporting more than a single region in that “grid.” Calling a grid a standalone or mini grid because it is not in grid mode doesn’t change the way in which it is accessed or looks and feels once in the world. All Opensim based worlds look similar and function similar because they use the same viewer and run on Second Life protocols.

    Arguing that a grid is not a grid unless it is a registered company or charitable none-profit is basically the same as the Second Life business model which has a vested interest in confining membership for the purposes of containing a protected financial system or perhaps under age persons. But, generally, it is to keep people and content confined.

    The right way to look at virtual worlds is like web sites which can be small or large, restricted membership or freely accessed by surfing the Internet. The Opensim platform code is the nearest thing to a 3D web we have in that it functions very similar to the 2D web in terms of access. The 2D web uses hyperlinks so users can surf from one web site to another with a mouse click and, similarly, the 3D web based on Opensim uses hyperlinks to teleport from one grid to another. Grid operators that choose to block hypergrid access are deliberately confining their registered users to their grid whereas those who allow free access are granting both registered and none-registered users access.

    We don’t generally know or care how many pages a web site has until we start to use it and we may or may not know too much about a particular grid. It might be very small and weak running on a PC with home connection, or it might be a fully developed world with many connecting regions either hosted by the grid operator or connected by individuals as is the case with OSgrid. But just having a connection to the web is all it takes to make a world visible regardless of it’s size.

    The point is that the Metaverse is made up of multiple platforms we commonly call grids and most people understand what that is and, in my view, only those people with a vested interest in singing the praises of one grid over another – their own has the most traffic, most regions, has the most advanced code, etc, etc – will want to distance their grid from the smaller one’s. But, collectively, the smaller grids represent the larger portion of the Metaverse which can only keep growing. Close worlds like Second Life are dead end streets and doomed to failure at some point in the future.

    An open Metaverse will continue to grow like the Internet did. And an Opensim grid is a “Grid” because they all look and feel the same.

    https://plus.google.com/communities/116284417302234467612

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      Gaga: “Arguing that a grid is not a grid unless it is a registered company or
      charitable none-profit is basically the same as the Second Life business
      model which has a vested interest in confining membership for the
      purposes of containing a protected financial system or perhaps under age
      persons. But, generally, it is to keep people and content confined.”

      In reality, there is no such correlation. Just because a grid is registered does not mean it is closed or confined. It means they met legal requirements. Now obviously in countries where legal registration is not required this would not apply. But in countries where it is– well, legality is the law to make an obvious statement.

      You do make a valid point that one can open a grid and allow it to be visited via Hypergrid freely, without registration– and I’ll have to give that some consideration because it does seem a valid argument (thus the purpose of discussion). But to be clear, this isn’t about promoting one grid over another, vested interests, or separating grids. This is about wild use of a term in performing statistical analysis and growth presentation– where that term may not really apply in the manner the general public perceives it to apply.

      When someone hears “there are 228 grids out there!” they may tend to say “WOW! OpenSim is really growing!!!”… when in reality there’s maybe a dozen actual “grids” as most people perceive them and the rest are what I would list under “hobbyist” or “private” installations. No one is saying the Metaverse isn’t growing and that more and more installations aren’t popping up. We’re just suggesting we may wish to be a little more careful in how that growth is presented… and what form those installations are in reality.

      • I welcome anyone else to collect statistics based on different criteria than mine. In fact, I wish more people would do so — the more data points we have, the better!

        • Linda

          I’m sorry it if seems that I don’t value the work you do in collecting the statistics. I do value it (the effort you put into it that is). I don’t put much weight in the numbers though. For one thing I know of one grid that for sure gave you fake numbers. But you must have known so too at the time because you didn’t use them 🙂
          I just would be more comfortable about putting more weight on the numbers if they were categorized somehow. Which I know is a lot more work. I don’t know how to go about helping you with it but if there is anything I could ever do just let me know.

  • @ Maria “Eventually, I believe that grids will be as ubiquitous as websites. Every company or organization will have its own grid.

    And even a one-region grid could still be worth listing — just as there are one-page websites that can be worth visiting.”

    I totally see this happening, and with spiders and bots indexing them in search engines.

    @Gaga “Arguing that a grid is not a grid unless it is a registered company or charitable none-profit is basically the same as the Second Life business model which has a vested interest in confining membership for the purposes of containing a protected financial system or perhaps under age persons. But, generally, it is to keep people and content confined.”

    And this confinement in and of itself causes many issues related to maintaining that status quo.

    Gaga “An open Metaverse will continue to grow like the Internet did.”

    Exactly…

    btw, Maria, is there any way to add Google +1 to your site? The communities are really growing now-))

  • Linda

    I would agree with some that we could call even a one sim hypergrid enabled standalone a grid IF it wasn’t for the stats that you post. When you are going to use statistics you can’t lump them all as you have been doing.

    Also, most grids are “social”. You just wrote about a business model when you wrote about the grand opening of the new sex grid. Well, in case you’re not aware, that’s about as social as one can get lol. 😛

    I think that it’s time for some definition. I am not saying that the smaller places that you call grids aren’t worthwhile. They are. But does everyone that puts up a standalone with hypergrid access really a “grid” or even a virtual “world”?

    I still stand by my theory that to be considered a grid it should have a website where people have to sign up to become a member of that grid. The grid could still be hypergrid enabled. But if it’s just a standalone with hypergrid and no real “membership” for it then it’s not a grid in my opinion.

    Or if we are going to call all of these things grids then we need a new name for the ones that actually have “registered users” so that your statistics mean something like they used to.

    When I put up 9 regions on my home computer once and I made it hypergrid enabled suddenly people were calling it a grid. I hated that so much. I was not creating a grid. I did not want or need the type of pressure that came from owning a grid. I did not consider myself a grid owner.

    The people that go to the trouble to create what I consider an actual “grid” deserve to be singled out. They have worked hard to do all the legal stuff like writing a TOS and they have made websites and they host the assets on their servers. They deal with forums and resident issues. They take care of bugs and in some cases the economy of the grid. They don’t have to be social. They don’t have to be closed or open. They can be grids made up of university students and teachers or grids made up of the whole spectrum of the social metaverse. But they should have actual registered users.

    All of the rest could just be called mini-grids and I’d be OK with that. At least there would be some sort of distinction.

    Thanks for writing about this Maria. I think the time has come for this debate 🙂

    • The problem with this approach is that there are some company and school grids that are very large, without being social virtual worlds.

      Take the MOSES grid, for example, which has around 200 regions, and a lot of users — miliitary, researchers, academics.

      To me, this is a prime example of the kind of uses OpenSim is going to be seeing a lot of. In order to get into the grid, you have to be approved for access, to keep out griefers — and maybe foreign spies. But almost anyone else can get permission to visit, to see what they’re doing.

      But many commercial social grids also have a procedure where they have to approve membership applications.

      Right now, commercial social worlds make up a small fraction of all the grids — just as the social websites like Facebook make up a small fraction of all the websites.

      To me, a “grid” is any immersive virtual environment laid out in a checkerboard pattern (as opposed to room-based virtual environments with no map, only teleport connections).

      A “commercial social grid” or “commercial social virtual world” is one that includes all the functionality you’re looking for — basically, Second Life clones.

      I understand that a lot of people are looking for that, and such a list is useful.

      But it’s not my primary area of interest.

      I do write about such grids when they have new business models — I wrote about the sex grid because it was a new business model. I wrote about AviWorld last year when it launched with the idea that it would charge more for land than everyone else (though that business model didn’t work out). I write about Kitely a lot because their business model is unique and, if it works out, I expect a lot of other grids to follow suit.

      But I don’t write an article every single time a new social grid launches. Usually, I just mention them in my monthly report.

      I do care, very very much, about all the small, school and enterprise deployments. I think that is where the vast majority of OpenSim use is going to be. And that’s why I track those stats.

      • Maybe you can call the commercial social grids “virtual worlds” to separate them from generic grids. The word “world”, to me, indicates community, society, governance — all aspects of big social grids, but not usually aspects of school, company or personal grids.

        • Linda

          All I am saying is that if I have to make an account on a grid such as Craft or Metropolis in order to get to your place then your place is NOT a grid. It’s a “place”. It’s just another region or set of regions that are accessible through other “grids”.

          • So you’re saying that an OpenSim installation that doesn’t allow the public to create local avatars is not a grid?

            For example, my grid Hyperica has only a couple of local avatars — me and my business partner — everyone has to visit it via hypergrid. I don’t want to deal with the management overhead of supporting users and inventories and all that stuff, but I still want it open to the public.

            In fact, eventually I believe most grids will operate the same way — you get your avatar in one location, and you travel everywhere else.

            If you recall (you might be too young) during the early days of the Internet (yes, I’m that old), you got your email and everything else from your ISP — AOL, say, was your starting place and your email, and your instant messaging, and your shopping, and everything else.

            Today, however, you get your Internet access from your cable company or your telephone company or from various wireless hotspots, you get your email from your school or employer or Gmail, you do your shopping on Amazon or eBay, and you visit a million other sites as you surf without having any particular allegiance to them.

            After all, how many avatars does a person need?

          • And say you have a tiny museum grid. They’re probably not going to want to manage avatars and inventories, either. They’ll have their own staff accounts, but other wise, people can just teleport in from whereever they’re based.

            They might start with one region, and, if successful, might expand into a mini-grid, or even a full grid, without ever adding the ability for the public to create local avatars.

            We need a name for that kind of destination. “A place on the hypergrid” is accurate, but vague — it could refer to a destination that’s part of a larger grid, as well as a destination that’s its own grid.

          • LInda

            Yes I am saying that an OpenSim installation that doesn’t have “registered” users is not a grid. It doesn’t have to be an “open to everyone” public registration. Schools would only allow their staff and students for instance.

            Your Hyperica, in my opinion, is NOT a grid. It’s like what? 4 regions that have hypergrid portals in it? At the most it is a transfer station to actual “grids” and to other peoples standalones. It’s your personal standalone that you open to the public to come and visit. Like a home. You can invite people to dinner but that doesn’t make your home a restaurant.

            But if you are going to call every standalone that has an hypergrid gate on it a grid then I guess you should call real grids “Virtual Worlds”. I’d be OK with that. Or maybe call the small ones mini-grids or pocket grids or sub-grids or something like that.

            My point is there needs to be some sort of distinction. To me that distinction is the ones that house the database/asset server or whatever for the residents and have an actual registered users.

            All I know for sure is that I really hated being called a Grid when I had my nine regions up with an HG gate. It wasn’t true. And it caused me problems with people thinking that.

          • Linda

            I just re-read my post and it sounds harsh. I didn’t mean it to sound harsh. I really like hyperica. I think the service that you do for the hypergrid community is great. I didn’t mean to make it sound as if I am putting it down because I wasn’t.

            I just wanted to clarify that. 🙂

          • I try to make that distinction in my database, and in the table that I
            update once a month here:
            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/opensim-grid-list/

            As you can see, a lot of the entries don’t have anything listed for “grid type” because I don’t know what grid type they are.

            If anyone wants to take this on, I’d LOVE to have more accurate information here.

            But
            with new grids popping up — and often disappearing just as fast — it
            can be hard to figure out which is which. This is especially true for
            grids that don’t post contact information, or don’t respond to emails.
            Maybe they’re private grids. Maybe they’re group grids — just a bunch
            of friends hanging out. Maybe they’re commercial grids finding customers
            by word-of-mouth or through online or offline communities I don’t know
            about.

            I’ve got another info page where I try to show each grid’s
            loginURI, hypergrid address (if it’s on the hypergrid) and whether it
            has in-world currency. Again — a lot of blanks here!

            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/statistics/active-grids/

            Meanwhile,
            when I give talks about kinds of grids, I try to show that I’m not
            trying to trick people into thinking that there are 200 big
            InWorldz-like commercial virtual worlds running OpenSim, and give
            examples of some small school and company grids, as well.

            At the
            end of the day, the point of Hypergrid Business is to show that there is
            business value to this platform, that it’s not just for social worlds
            and online roleplaying games. That you can do business, education,
            training, prototyping — all sorts of other stuff, there as well. and
            the mini-grids play a big role in that.

      • Linda

        I don’t get what a “social” grid has to do with what I stated. It doesn’t have to be a social grid to have registered users. It can be a completely closed educational grid but the people still have to sign into an account to access it.

        You seem to be so fixated on this social thing. We all realize that you have a business focused blog. We know this because of the name hypergrid”business” lol. But even if I set up a business standalone with hg enabled (as I did when I set up my 9 regions and my lindakellie product is basically a business and I was having a place for people to come get stuff) you called it a grid. It was NOT a grid. people had to make account on actual “grids” to get to my place.

        Forget “social”. Nobody is talking about that here. We are talking about what makes a grid. Also, every business has a social aspect to it.

      • Wayfinder Wishbringer

        Maria: “To me, a “grid” is any immersive virtual environment laid out in a
        checkerboard pattern (as opposed to room-based virtual environments with
        no map, only teleport connections).”

        And that’s part of the point. Because in that list of 228 “grids” appearing on another webpage… many of them are visibly not laid out in a “checkerboard pattern” (ie, a matrix, a grid). Which was part of the point being made: a one-sim installation does not a grid make. Neither does a 100-sim installation with no users. Would we label a “ghost town” as a city?

        Thus the cause of the initial discussion and why these articles are popping up. References are being made lumping all of these into one box. When I set up a jar and label it “bolts and nuts”… I try to avoid throwing in nails and staples as well. : )

        • All the grids I list are, in fact, grids. Their regions may not be adjacent to one another, but they all have coordinates on a grid.

          By comparison, you go to, say, Cloud Party or Utherverse or another scene-based virtual world, and you can’t lay out a flat map and point to where each scene is — they exist separate from any kind of geography.

          That’s what I mean by grid-based. Even if it’s just one region, it’s still a square on a grid, with an X coordinate and a Y coordinate, and you can pull up a map and see it surrounded by other squares (which would either be empty, or filled with linked regions from other grids).

    • Wayfinder Wishbringer

      First Maria, good article. Well-written and well-thought out. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but that’s not a requisite of writing a good article. It presented food for thought and basis for a good discussion, and that’s what I look for in a good blog.

      At one time it wasn’t really all that important what is a grid and what isn’t. It’s all small stuff. But it’s starting to get to the point that it matters– because statistics and “bragging rights” are being formed based on discussions of “grids”– and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that comparisons are being made to unrelated items. As you point out there are commercial grids, hobbyist “grids”, educational grids, private business grids… and we get to the point people are wondering what it is we’re talking about.

      I appreciate you pointing to the blogsite at Elf Clan. I believe between that article and this one, this discussion is discussed pretty well– and can still be discussed. I’ve updated that article to refer to this page as well. That kind of inter-blog cooperation is most beneficial.
      http://elfclan.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-is-a-grid

      I’m afraid I do have to agree with Linda in this one. It is likely just now becoming time to start defining and making a differentiation between “grids” (or whatever term we wish to use). I don’t see a distinction between a commercial and social grid; in a way, aren’t all grids “social” in some form?

      We might question: should a one-sim no-signup installation should be called a grid under any definition? There’s technically no “grid” there; it’s one spot of land and the term of “grid” really doesn’t apply. It may also be considered that a private installation (such as an artistic display) accessible only by the hypergrid is not in itself a grid; it is accessed by a grid. Do we wish to label the hypergrid a “grid”? I’m afraid I don’t have a ready answer for that… since the hypergrid is more a VR highway than an actual grid… and thus potentially misnamed from the start.

      An example given by a user on the Elf Clan site was that of a “country”. While there are always exceptions to a rule, generally a country (example: Inworldz) has “states” or similar concepts (Elf Clan) which in turn has cities or towns (sims). Are we going to look at an installation with one sim and call it a “country”? It really doesn’t compare in my mind. Two different things.

      We used another illustration: a personal library, no matter how large and well-organized, would not be included in a research paper on “Public Libraries in the United States”. It would have to meet certain criteria and qualifications. It’s a “library” yes– and maybe some view “grids” in a similar generic-term manner– but I don’t observe that’s how most people view the term. As Zauber Paracelsus stated, most people view the term “grid” as referring to a “virtual world”. That involves more than setting up a single sim on a home computer.

      When we analyzed the concepts of TYPES of grid on the Elf Clan site– it became apparent that when using the term “grid” as generally discussed in everyday conversation, there were about one dozen out of the 228 claimed grids that actually qualified in all aspects. That dozen seems to me to be a little more realistic according to personal experience. When we go out looking for “grids” I don’t find 228 I can easily access and find a “virtual world”; we find about a dozen, if that.

      Perhaps the differentiation that could be used is between “grid” and “installation”… which has already been used repeatedly in discussion. We can fully comprehend the concept of a “virtual installation” or an “OpenSim installation”. But when something is called a GRID… like Linda points out that carries generally-perceived connotations that should be observed– especially when one is doing statistical and growth analysis.

      In every field, technical or otherwise, new definitions regularly need to be formed, or old definitions better defined and established. As a very good example, I discovered last year that the medical field has changed the meaning of the term “open heart surgery”. At one time that meant opening the chest and doing heart surgery. Now there is a differentiation between “open heart” surgery (where the heart itself is cut into, “opened”)… and “open chest” surgery (where the chest is split and opened). Why was this change required? Because lapriscopic (remote robotic arm surgery) has eliminated some instances of needing to open the chest to do open-heart surgery. So they changed the definition to meet the circumstances.

      When there was just Second Life and nothing else… the term “grid” was irrelevant and used interchangeably. But today with other companies, schools, businesses, artistic and hobbyist installations popping up all over the place, thus the need to reconsider the origin of the term (which now seems a bit outdated), and form/recognize a modern definition that better fits common use of that term. We would not wish to ignore the change of perception in this and cling to old, outmoded definitions that obviously no longer apply.

      Again even at that… to apply the term “grid” to single sim units, as far as I can tell never was valid. To be a grid, at the simplest concept… one would have to be a GRID… a matrix of sims. But by today’s terms, that basic concept would seem too simplistic.

      According to modern usage… it seems that “grid” is becoming more synonymous in the minds of most users as ‘a virtual world with an owner/opertor and public signup’. I’m not presenting that as set-in-marble… just as a concept to throw out there for further discussion. : )

      Personally, I think it would be a simple matter to recognize the difference in modern usage between a GRID (a virtual world) and an INSTALLATION (someone running OpenSim or similar software). We also have to make room for the concept that someone may develop (at some time) a totally different concept in software and it too will be a virtual world. If that happens, we may have to consider additional definitions.

      • Wayfinder Wishbringer

        Follow-up:
        In regard to reference to comparing grids to “websites”… this brings up a good point. Everyone knows what “website” means… because that term is well-defined. A website is a website if:
        1. It has an Internet presence
        2. People have access to it (not necessarily all people, but access is available)
        3. It’s listed with ICANN (or whoever does that listing these days).

        However… at the same time there are private pages which are used in companies internally, within schools, etc– and they are not accessible outside their network or through the Internet. Can we call such a site or page a “Website” if it doesn’t connect to the Internet? It has the same form. It uses the same software (html or whatever). It looks the same and feels the same as any other website. Then why isn’t it a website? Because it doesn’t connect to the WEB.

        Of course we’re not discussing identical concepts here… but it makes a point. In general people consider a “grid” to be a virtual world (at least that’s what I and others perceive). It is evident that those who view the term “virtual grid” according to technical layout or mathematical concepts are not the norm. I would present that a one-sim “grid” isn’t a “grid” just because the software it uses is capable of supporting a grid– any more than an internal communications site created with web-creation software is automatically a “website”. To be a website they would have to register with ICANN and be visible to the public (at least to an extent, even if it’s to say “You don’t belong here”).

        So good example, I think.

        • No, websites don’t have to register with anybody. You only need to register if you want to have a nice domain name instead of an ugly IP address.

          But you can download Apache now, set up a Web server on your laptop, and host a website. Google will even index it (if you have inbound links).

          Does this mean you’re not a “real” website? And when people talk about the growth of the Web, they should ignore your site?

          No. In fact, in the early days of the Web — back with there were only a few hundred sites up or so — many could only be accessed via IP addresses. And, today, there are still many sites that can only be accessed via IP — for example, if you set up the default Diva Distro, it automatically creates a website for you that can be reached that way.

          You can also register a domain to point to that IP address to make it easier for people to remember your site’s address, but that’s voluntary.

          You can have a site on the Web. You can have a site on your company intranet.

          I see a parallel with OpenSim here: You can have a grid on the hypergrid. You can have a private grid that’s behind the firewall, or that requires user logins.

  • Joe Nickence

    Good article. I feel the root of the situation stems from the possibility that “grid” has become a generic term associated with VR. Mention grid to someone unfamiliar with VR in general, and you’re likely to get a “like in Tron?” answer.

  • Arielle

    Sounds to me like the easiest thing to do is to rely on the technical name of grid mode whereby a grid is simply something that instances can attach to remotely. Then standalones like Diva’s distro (which has web pages and registration abilities) are counted as a seperate entity.

    There are too many potential ovelaps in various definitions that would keep everyone happy, so to my mind just fall back on the technical definition and leave it at that.

  • In this discussion, I haven’t seen any practical alternatives to the use of the word “grid” as a generic name for a grid-based virtual environment.

    The word “standalone” only makes sense to people who have configured OpenSim .INI files, which the majority of OpenSim users aren’t going to do, and writing “grids, mini-grids and standalones” all the time is cumbersome and unwieldy.

    I like the idea of using “virtual world” to denote those grids that are large, with active communities, like InWorldz and Avination. But I can see how that can be confusing, since “virtual world” is commonly used to refer to many non-OpenSim virtual worlds as well.

    I tend to use “social grids” or “commercial grids” to distinguish those grids from business, school and personal grids.

  • One other issue I haven’t addressed, but which will come up, especially as Kitely joins the hypergrid: What do you call a subsection of a grid that’s its own separate little entity?

    Ener Hax, for example, has moved from having a separate grid for Enclave Harbor, to having a megaregion on Kitely. It’s the same amount of land, but now under the Kitely grid structure instead of on its own.

    This is similar to, say, having a blog on Blogger.com — hypergridbusiness.blogger.com instead of hypergridbusiness.com. Is it a separate website, or not? Technically, it’s a subsite of Blogger.com — or, at the very least, a subdomain — but it has its own look and feel, its own content, and is promoted as a seperate destination through social media and search engines.

    In typical conversation, people would say, “I have a blog on Wordress” or “I have a blog on Blogger” — but they are just as likely to say “I have a website.”

    How do we refer to sub-grids that are part of larger grids? Is there a term that can carry over from Second Life — continent? Estate?

    Do we just call them sub-grids?

    It doesn’t help that, in the grid architecture, all regions are equal — unlike the Web, where you can have subdomains with their own home pages.

    Maybe that’s something the developers can think about as the metaverse expands and we get more large grids that become home to sub-grids.

  • Firstly, I say the way Maria has been doing these stats is just fine, and as she says [paraphrased], if others wish to do some differently, go for it.

    If I were to do stats myself, however, I would keep it simple and separate closed grids from the free metaverse. Then those who prefer closed grids can concentrate on those numbers and the rest of us can look at the opensim free metaverse numbers.

    Maybe I will even do my own blog using this idea…lolol

    The problem is always with those who wish to do categories is how to do them fairly. As most everyone has an agenda and/or motive to want stats to show certain things, it becomes problematic how to show them to please the majority of ppl.

    This is why most polls have so little value to anyone who wishes to probe further into who is doing the poll, and why they ask certain questions in a certain way-))

    However, I think it would be a simple matter to separate the closed grids from the free metaverse and as such would clear up things considerably-)) I would not concern myself with further subcategorizing numbers to the infinities.