3rd Rock leads OSgrid fundraising effort

3rd Rock Grid, a closed, commercial social grid known for its music scene, has stepped up with a fundraising call for another grid.

OSgrid has been down for almost a month after a failure of its asset storage hardware and there’s been little information from the grid administrators so far as to how the grid will recover — other than that the price tag could be as high as $4,600.

The OSgrid outage reminded 3rd Rock Grid founder Terry Ford, also known as Butch Arnold in-world, of one difficult period in his life. His wife fell ill and died six years ago, in September of 2008. The grid went down for two weeks as Ford struggled to deal with the tragedy.

Terry Ford

Terry Ford

“Back in ’08 Sakai on the old OpenLife grid reached out to me to offer any help he and his crew could provide, including running 3rd Rock Grid while I was busy sorting issues surrounding the passing of my wife,” Ford told Hypergrid Business.  “I didn’t take him up on his offer, but I have never forgotten his kind gesture during a very tough time for me.”

Grids do compete with one another, for residents, for land renters, for volunteers and donations. But they can also come together for a common cause.

“I believe we as a community need to support each other and not look at each other as competitors as the truth is that we are all a very crucial piece to this puzzle and the future growth of OpenSim,” Ford said.

3rd Rock Grid has already donated $250 to OSgrid, and urges other grids, vendors, and OpenSim users to do the same.

Fernando Oliveira

Fernando Oliveira

“I am also worried about them, like everyone from OSgrid, especially those who have their lands and inventories there,” said Fernando Oliveira, owner of OpenSim hosting company Oliveira Virtual Lands. “And I would do anything in my ability to help their recover. As a small land renter, maybe I can’t contribute as much in money as those large grids and companies, but I may help in anything tech thing.”

David Daeschler, co-founder and CTO of the most-visited InWorldz grid, has also offered his help.

“If you could use any assistance at all don’t hesitate to give me a shout,” he said in a Tweet shortly after OSgrid first went down. Daschler is also known as Tranquillity Dexler in-world and on Twitter.

Littlefield Grid has put up fundraising posters for OSgrid in several locations, including the hypergrid train station on the Littlefield Hub region, at the main landing zone on the Littlefield Welcome region, and at the popular shopping destination the Littlefield Mall.

“Hope it works out and they get up and running soon,” grid owner Walter Balazic told Hypergrid Business. Littlefield originally started out as an enclave on OSgrid before they branched out and became their own virtual world.

One of several OSgrid fundraising boxes on Littlefield Grid. (Image courtesy Walter Balazic.)

One of several OSgrid fundraising boxes on Littlefield Grid. (Image courtesy Walter Balazic.)

What makes OSgrid special

OSgrid isn’t just another grid.

It’s the oldest grid. The grid with the most user-connected regions. And the grid that’s the official testing ground for OpenSim development. By running cutting edge versions of OpenSim, the grid is able to subject the software to large-scale, real-world testing.

Due to its size, OSgrid is able to push OpenSim to its boundaries, and beyond. Lessons learned are then incorporate into core code, and benefit all grid owners.

OSgrid is an open grid, allowing anyone to connect regions, both home-based and professional hosted. As a result, it has become an incubator not just for other grids, but also for OpenSim hosting companies, some of which have started out by offering regions on OSgrid and then expanded to offer complete hosting services.

To this day, OSgrid regions are available from more vendors than those of any other grid, creating strong competition in prices and services.

OSgrid's LBSA Plaza is the cross-roads of the hypergrid.

OSgrid’s LBSA Plaza is the cross-roads of the hypergrid.

Its welcome region, LBSA Plaza, has become the unofficial crossroads of the hypergrid and many newcomers to OpenSim arrive on OSgrid first.

All this doesn’t come cheap. According to the current OSgrid spending breakdown, the hardware alone costs $753 a month to keep the grid running, or $9,036 a year.

What you can do

First, go to the donation page, and help get OSgrid back on its feet. Then, after you’ve done that, sign up for one of the regular monthly subscriptions, so that OSgrid can improve its regular operations.

Second, take this GIF banner — I’m donating the 300×250 image below under a CCO license — and put it on your website:

OSgrid donation ad

 

Then set it so that people who click on the ad go to the following page: http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/donate

Or use this 512×512 texture and use it to create a four-cell animation on an in-world poster:

OSgrid donation ad 2x2 texture

To animate it and link it to the OSgrid donation page, use the following script (also CCo licensed):

default
{
     state_entry() {
         llSetTextureAnim (ANIM_ON | LOOP, ALL_SIDES, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1.0); }

     touch_start(integer total_number) {
         llLoadURL(llDetectedKey(0), "OSgrid donation page", "http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/donate"); }
}

Email me if you have any problems with the script, at [email protected]

OSgrid donation snapshot

A working donation box on my Hyperica grid. (Image by Maria Korolov.)

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.

  • So Littlefield and Hyperica now both have donation boxes for OSgrid on their grids. (And I’ve put up an ad on Hypergrid Business and Hyperica, as well.) Who else is helping raise awareness for this campaign?

  • Avatar Social Network also has the OSGrid donation ad in rotation on the website’s pages. Many members will see it there so hopefully it will help.

  • hack13

    I would like to state as part of Zetamex’s policy which is actually going to increase how much we donate. We donate 10% of all regions hosted in each grid back to the grid they are hosted in. So we donate both to Metropolis and OSgrid. That being said, it is better than 1 time donations as it is a reoccurring donation, and helps better in the long run.

  • Samantha Atkins

    With all due appreciation for osgrid and its people I would be hesitant to donate without some assurances. This current mess should never ever have happened to any datacenter or database dependent app run by normal business standards. That is if there was replication for the database[s] and backup of same at least once a day then the grid would have been backup from disk problems within hours, not weeks. I would be happy to donate with the assurance it will be run this way in the future and toward the cost associated with making that so. Otherwise, why would I?

    I am also not at all happy with the very low level of ongoing communication including of any plans to make it better in the future. This looks to me like something is fundamentally wrong at the core operational and community communication level of osgrid.

    I don’t say this to knock down osgrid, much less relative to other girds at all, but to ask that we take this stuff seriously enough that this can never happen to osgrid again.

    As the largest opensim based grid out there this kind of outage on osgrid makes all of opensim look bad.

    • I agree that this conversation needs to take place, and with a greater amount of transparency than before — OSgrid has become a critical part of the metaverse infrastructure. Maybe after this current crisis has passed?

      • A thought comes to mind among all this. People pay for all sorts of things that interest them, and most often never even think about where the money goes, even when the information is easily found for those who wish to.

        But in all this stuff, some people pay quite a bit of money, especially in the commercial grids, never asking for accountability at all, it just never occurs to them. I think it might be due to some knowing, even if subconsciously, that they would not get their questions answered in the first place, and, at best, with a lackluster response, so why bother.

        But then others will gladly push their “favorite thing of the moment” for those who only profit from their free work, it is a strange world we live in [and getting stranger by the day].

        To my eyes the actually important thing here is, rather than some making mountains out of molehills for whatever they lack in perspicuity or due to personal smallish agendas and motives….

        Is just the simple and plain, unvarnished truth that regardless of anything else, OSG is needed to push the envelope of the tech and help move us all forward.

        Simplistic personal feelings on other issues is not the point here, at all.

        Nobody has to have issues on anything else, they can simply do other things, or keep them to their selves, but we NEED OSG, and that is a fact.

    • Han Held

      Right now there’s no assurance of how any money donated will be spent, or who the money will go to. What happens to the excess funds, if any? How do people know that the money collected by 3RG will actually be spent on OSG and not some other pet project?

      People should be asking a lot of questions, and there needs to not only be assurances –but some form of accountability as well.

  • Excellent Idea, and, done http://minethere.blogspot.com/

  • Talla Adam

    I’ve been in OSgrid almost from the beginning and I always felt it was the HUB of the Hypergrid. Many cut their server teeth there and branched out like Littlefield and UFSgrid did. It has had it’s up’s and down’s but it has served our community so well. I don’t feel happy about the current management not having back-up’s to work with and there has been precious little communication but I for one and I’m sure many others want to see the grid brought back online. I don’t think our community can afford to lose it so I will personally make and extra donation on top of my regular one and I will add the donation banner to my blog at http://metaverse-traveller.blogspot.co.uk/ and on both my grid search and a sticky topic @ Google+ Opensim Virtual at https://plus.google.com/communities/116284417302234467612

    I hope others will do all they can too to help save OSgrid.

  • Folks, let’s get some momentum going here — please donate to OSgrid, then post a Tweet @0sgrid saying something like, “I donated to help OSgrid get back on its feet. Please do the same!” and link to their donation page or this story (or one of the posts by other bloggers following this, like Talla Adams).

    Post by Talla Adam (with discussion following): https://plus.google.com/106115943375300299121/posts/TJSVLfckUMk

  • Han Held

    So, y’all raise this money, hand it over to 3RG and then …what?

    Who are THEY going to hand it off to? And what assurances does anyone have that after that, it won’t simply be sent to a single developer’s pockets and end up spent on their pet projects instead of being spent on OSGrid?

    Open wallets and closed eyes do not a good combination make.

    • Han — 3rd Rock and everyone else is sending people to the OSgrid donation page. 3rd Rock never touches the money! They just got the ball rolling on this. So feel free to donate.

      OSgrid does a great service for OpenSim. I want them to have the money it takes to replace their broken equipment, and have enough for good backups.

      Here is the link again to the donation page: http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/donate

  • Susannah Avonside

    I too would dearly love to see OSGrid back up, but share the concerns of Samantha, Han and others. There is no way that the grid should have been offline for so long – okay, so there may be a need to buy in more hardware in order to have working backups ‘just in case’ and whilst there would be a cost to do this, big disks aren’t that expensive nowadays – though it still beggars belief that the admins of OSGrid should be so cavalier with people’s assests. However, it was no secret that the asset server was rarely working as it should, and I often found myself in the perverse situation of having to HG to the Speculoos grid (when that grid was still online) in order to get my OSGrid inventory to load at a decent speed, or indeed to load at all. Not having a system of backups just seems dumb.

    The lack of transparency is also a concern – we have not exaclty been kept informed by those who so the stuff in OSGrid, and I personally feel that we should be kept informed – if OSGrid wants us to make regular donations (which I currently do) then as a quid pro quo we should least be kept in the loop about the costs, where money needs to be spent etc, and even a ‘wish list’ for hardware that isn’t essential, but that would be nice to have.

    Accountabilty is also an issue that needs to be addressed – if OSGrid is to credibly ask people for money then they really need to let us know on a regular basis what they are spending that money on. To do otherwise is to risk losing the very users that OSGrid relies on for the scale needed to test effectively. The grid also urgently needs to come back online, or it also risks losing many to other grids, or as in the case of myself, remaining on my own self-hosted HG enabled standalone.

    I would willingly make an extra donation in order to get OSGrid back online, but I am with Samanttha and Han… I would need assurances.

  • lmpierce

    Reassurances, transparency, accountability. Well, to ensure these qualities requires more than a makeshift volunteer effort. For these qualities to emerge in a system, there must be an organization. The key asset of any organization is time, and this is why most organizations, even those populated largely by volunteers, have paid organizers who commit to the actual time requirements to keep things running smoothly and reliably.

    Yet for all of its history, OSGrid has been used for free and taken for granted. There have been numerous opportunities for the community to make donations. There has been ample time to ask questions related to reassurances, transparency and accountability. Nonetheless, most people signed up and enjoyed the free lunch, year after year.

    Now that the shortcomings of a system without support is revealed, there are simultaneous calls to get busy and put things into a better organized and funded whole, but also to refrain from funding any improvements unless there are reassurances, transparency and accountability. Herein lies the catch-22. And so far, it seems to me the community has fallen short as much as the providers.

    Talking about user needs and assets at this moment is nothing but salt in a wound. Everyone who used OSGrid knew it was a free ‘as-is’ system. This was not a financed service where users paid with the reassurance of back-up systems. To the contrary, OSGrid was a beach without a lifeguard. But then why weren’t users backing up their work in the first place? It’s like a hiker who sets out into a jungle with a day pack and gets lost. No point in blaming the jungle for one’s predicament.

    Despite the years of free service, there are some insinuations that the management of OSGrid failed. Well, I say they gave exemplary service. For something that was offered at no cost, for years, involving untold hours of volunteer support, I think we all owe everyone involved an unconditional thank you.

    And rather than standing back and demanding even more, we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, if some people want to donate money without a receipt and a promise, let them alone. I’d be happy to see the managers of OSGrid receive tons of back pay for a job well done with little or no compensation, regardless of what they decide to do in the future. You don’t see the developers demanding that we support them, why are we so quick to hold their feet to the fire?

    We are the ‘wanters’ and the ‘takers’, while the developers and the OSGrid managers have been the ‘givers’. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables for a bit and see what happens…

    • Han Held

      Now that’s the FANCIEST way I’ve ever seen someone say “shut up and stop asking inconvenient questions”! Very dramatic, very blame the victimish.

      All the same, where is the money gonna go after 3RG hands it off…? And why is it so objectionable to ask for accountability and transperancy?

      An alternate take is that if we HAD asked for those things, perhaps we’d not be in this position right now.

      • lmpierce

        On the contrary, I’m responding to the tone of blame against the managers of OSGrid by reiterating the circumstance as one of shared consent and responsibility for the implicit risks and the various consequences subsequent to equipment failure.

    • I only wanted to mention I had thought that had some kind of marketing type guy volunteering there also, on the board? I can’t recall his name or details, perhaps he or others will know the current situation.

      Otherwise, though I have no money, I have agreed to no harm and more positive in at least adding it to my unworthy blog fixed on the sidebar, why not, really.

  • Geir Nøklebye

    Not going to increase my donation above my monthly as long as we don’t know what the real need is and who will receive the funding.

  • Thomas

    #PIXIEVIEWER to help #OSGrid to recover from crash, please donate too http://www.osgrid.org/index.php/donate …. Full article at http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/09/3rd-rock-leads-osgrid-fundraising-effort/ … @osgrid

  • Some information has come out about what is actually going on at OSgrid:

    According to a IRC chat channel log posted yesterday, of the money raised by OSgrid, “not one red cent has ever gone to a manager, an officer, a board member, an administrator or operator of OSgrid or the developers of opensim… every penny has gone to paying for the hardware and bandwidth to operate the grid.” This is according to Hiro Protagonist — aka James Stallings, who runs SimHost, and is the current CEO of OSgrid.

    Read more here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108655068126328651852/posts/5n14tMXk8AZ?cfem=1

    Also, a recovery strategy is now in place, with a data recovery service attempting to read the broken disks and recreate the file on new disks. There are two sets of drives, so two chances for this to work. If it doesn’t work, they’ll have to pay to have the RAID manually rebuilt, a more expensive process.

    Enough money has been donated to cover the cloning, but they might need more if they have to rebuild the RAID drives.

    Lots of info in that chat transcript about the grid’s hardware — a RAID 10 array, the good kind, with built-in backups.

    But it was a “very nasty hard disk fail,” Stallings said, and expedited fixing would have tripled the repair costs. “So if it seems we have been going about this like a bunch of snails, yes, we have, by design, to keep the cost down.”