3rd Rock calls for creation of grid association

Terry Ford, founder of the commercial 3rd Rock Grid, is spearheading the formation of new association of OpenSim grid owners.

Terry Ford

Terry Ford

“We at 3rd Rock Grid do not see other grids as our enemy,” he told Hypergrid Business. “Instead, we hope all grid are successful as their success is our success, and our success is their success. ”

According to Ford, each successful grid helps contribute to the growth of the OpenSim sim community.

“I have spoken with several grid owners lately who have indicated they may be interested in joining or forming a grid owners association of sorts,” said Ford, who is also known as Butch Arnold in-world.

The potential benefits of such a group include collaboration on projects, sharing of information about hacking attempts and griefing attacks, and technical help.

This year's Robstock was a multi-grid festival, with events also on Second Life and Metropolis.

This year’s Robstock was a multi-grid festival, with events also on Second Life and Metropolis.

“An organization such as this can collectively help us all,” he said.

If any others grids are interested in joining, they can contact Ford by email at [email protected].

“I personally, do not want to see an organization which is biased, or serving the needs of one person, grid, or a small group,” he said. “Instead, I would like to see an organization which is neutral in all actions, taking the best position of everyone collectively over that of any individual or group. I believe as the OpenSim community continues to grow, there will be much need for some type of organization to become one voice for many.”

3rd Rock Grid is one of the oldest grids in OpenSim, having been founded in early 2008, just a few months after the birth of OSgrid. It is mostly known for its live music scene and the annual Robstock music festival. Most recently, it was in the news when it led a fundraising campaign to help OSgrid recover from its outage.

A closed, commercial grid, 3rd Rock also made news recently when it announced that it would soon turn on hypergrid connectivity.

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.

  • Frank Corsi

    Great Idea!

  • I’m in as well. My grid Hyperica might be small, but it’s running on a mighty powerful server!

  • Nick Zwart

    Me too. The 3dles grid is only for educational purpose and will not expand to be a huge grid, but we do have lots of knowledge on teaching in Opensim.

    • Hi Nick,
      My opinion is that knowledge is a very valuable asset and an individual or group can never have too much.
      If we are able to organize and put many or all of us in the same space, we may collectively be able to achieve great things together.

  • I think this could be of great benefit to the entire community and look forward to being a part of it. Thank you all for your interest.

  • We had a nice chat with Butch when he came into Virtual Highway for a visit and I think this would benefit not only the small grids but the mid range and large ones as well >

    • Thanks Gene… I agree.
      I enjoyed my visit! 🙂

  • dahlia

    While I’m not a commercial grid owner (I do have a small personal grid) I’m neutral on the subject of a grid owner’s association. I do hope however that such an association would not supersede involvement of the development community in discussions involving hacking attempts and technical issues. I fear that could turn into a filter which could delay or prevent developers from knowing about and fixing bugs or vulnerabilities that really should be fixed in the master source code.

    • Hello Dahlia,
      I understand your concerns but would like to suggest that any future organization might actually help speed things up as with members of such an organization being able to discuss issues rapidly in a structured format of his/her peers and compare notes, we may be able to provide the developers with a much more detailed and focused report of what the group is collectively seeing/experiencing instead of the developers sorting through many reports.
      Just a thought to consider.

      • There’s also nothing to keep people from talking to the developers directly if something urgently needs to be fixed. Plus, at least a couple of grid owners are core developers themselves.

      • Arielle

        That would be a great thing because my personal view is that due to the core developers dependence of only one grid (osgrid) for its testing, it is already suffering from a filtered view of bugs and and opensim weak points. Such an association could really help bring to light the weak areas that need work.

  • Hi Shaun,
    This is a good question and one which would need to be sorted collectively by all interested parties.
    Since we do not yet know what the organization will look like at this time, I would say to throw your name into the ring and see where we go.

    • Shaun Emerald

      Then count me in, please.

  • I do recommend that folks pick a neutral meeting location for get-togethers. Maybe the OpenSim conference grid can stay up?

    I’m also about to reactivate the Hypergrid Entrepreneur Group and have a meeting place already set up. In fact, we held the Women in Virtual Reality meeting there last week, right in the newly-redesigned Hyperica hyperport. If other groups want to use it as a neutral location, they’re welcome to.

    Hyperica has no local users — it’s just a hyperport.

    • Nick Zwart

      Last year the OSCC grid stayed up for a very long time. I could always log in, any time of the year. But there will be places enough to meet, I think.

  • Winter Silversmith

    Isn’t that what the OpenSim Conference is for?

    • Shaun Emerald

      The conference is for a weekend – this would be an on-going thing.

    • A group or organization such as this could represent many at such a conference.
      This organization would not be a substitute for such venues, but instead it could be a collective “voice” which would also attend such an event and speak for many.

  • Geir Nøklebye

    What I would like to see is – even if opensim is an open source project – more systematic funding and directed development at sections of the infrastructure code such as the asset server, scalability, backup, better protection of IP and copyright in the code, and marketplace and economy integration.

    I would also like to see an independent trusted asset broker who is super good at exactly that, where marketplaces could subscribe to the same developer resources when a developer chose to list on a marketplace or put their creations into a new grid for in-world marketing.

    I would also like to see funding to create a second generation avatar and animation system for opensim setting it apart from SecondLife – and SLv2 (currently promiseware) is going to develop a close sourced avatar and animation system, there is no risk in taking this route for opensim. Abundance of both skins, system clothing and good quality animations are pretty low for opensim anyway (although it could be substantial if the developers trusted opensim.)

    Integration of crypto currencies into the code and viewers could be useful too. Further we must not be afraid of developing economies. The sharing in the opensim community is fantastic, but it only get you so far and things takes much longer to develop.

    Coopetition between grids is good but a cozy club for all to be the same is not so good in my opinion. Joint effort in funding development and branding messages to the “other place” to make people – ha! – deflect in the wake of SLv2 would be much welcome.

    • Hi Geir,

      A very strong argument could be made that an organization such as this could define a specific feature enhancement, fix, or extension and collectively fund/work towards that end.
      I’m in no way suggesting this organization should be a “cozy club” of sorts, but instead be an organization which should be open to all as the strength of each will only add to the strength and diversity of the group.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        Yes it could, but there is a need for a more holistic view as to where the opensim server is moving and what to prioritize, and I am not sure that your proposed group is the ideal organization for that. Your proposed group should of course strongly be able to influence the development effort.

        What I would like to see is a roadmap with development / release milestones and sufficient funding to get there as the nature of opensim perhaps is shifting from hobby/idealism to business?

        Currently i feel there is too much catching up on SecondLife in the prios – and that has been natural, but in the long run such an approach will most likely go in the same direction as Open/Libre Office which is in constant catchup mode to become MS Office. I feel now is a good time to maintain and improve the SL compatibility that is worth keeping, but at the same time depart on other features.

        Opensim could capitalize on that even in the near short term as I feel Linden Labs is about to shoot themselves in the foot with SLv2 allegedly with little to no compatibility with the current version. In that situation they are going to be squeezed between a dwindling (current) customer and developer base, and the massive competition for attention in the mobile space.

        • Hello Geir,

          All very good points for discussion for sure and it is these types of points which need to be explored by all as we try to define what this organization might look like.
          At this phase we are simply trying to see what interest exists in forming such an organization.
          What this organization will look like in the future is unknown at this time since we are really only in the beginning phases, but I too hope that such a group could become a Major voice for all of us.

          I think there are many possibilities for a group like this such as:
          – Joining efforts to develop a new feature or bug fix
          Contributions could be in the form of actual cash, programming help, testing, etc. with the results being shared with all.

          – Co-op advertising directed at new “virgin” opensim/3d worlds users where we could all pitch in for a campaign which would give an equal amount of exposure to each member on popular venues.

          – Maybe we would all like to contribute to the development of a new viewer?

          – Sharing of any opensim vulnerabilities/fixes as we will all suffer from a damaged reputation of opensim.

          – coordinated volume purchases of hardware/software, etc.

          – a forum to explore new ideas.
          A room full of smart people with different experiences and capabilities is always fun.

          These are just some of the possibilities as the face, desires, and directions of the organization has yet to be defined.

          Each grid is made up of different people with different priorities serving different or similar niches.
          It is this diversity which can make an organization such as this work very well as there will be a “Voice” for these niches and interests and collectively this group can speak much louder than any individual grid.

          As pointed out, these are just some of the possibilities, but we all know, the more people we have who are interested, the more diverse our group will be and the better we will be at voicing the “Sum” interests of us all.

        • Orion Fhang

          I honestly don’t understand this hang-up on SL compatibility. In my mind that means sticking with the same old clunky resource hog of a viewer that quite frankly is holding OpenSim back in the stone age with SL! Why is it that every modern PC, cell phone, and tablet can run a web browser in one form or another but in order to run one of the many variations of an SL / OpenSim viewer you need a specialized graphics card (Nvidia or AMD), tons of memory, lots of bandwidth, bla bla bla…

          In my humble little opinion /that/ is the reason why of the MILLIONS of people using the internet at any given hour of the day in our little virtual corner of things we’re lucky if we get to see a maximum of 60,000 concurrent users logged into SL on a good day during peak hours and merely a tiny fraction of that number over on the OpenSim side.

          If you want the Metaverse to grow and flourish, for Pete’s sake make it accessible to everyone! Not just those with super high end game grade hobbyist machines. And on that note, any super talented graphics programming gurus out there up for the task? @.@

          • lmpierce

            Hi Orion,

            There was a beta browser viewer a few years back that Linden Lab created for Second Life, but nothing came of it, and honestly, it had severe shortcomings and was not very satisfactory.

            The issue is that you have two demands that move in opposite directions. In order to provide a realtime 3D graphic environment with enough visual detail to provide some sense of realism you need a powerful graphics card. Even with high end gaming cards there are limits relative to what people would love to see.

            On the other end you have a community of people, that far from being like gamers, are trying to access virtual worlds with bare minimum computers that feature Intel graphics chips embedded on logic boards that barely have enough power to show YouTube videos. It’s a true dilemma, not just a failure of graphics gurus to rise to the occasion.

            Along a similar vein, the realtime nature of OpenSim (Second Life as well of course) means that a LOT of data must be moved back and forth. Until high bandwidth Internet access became available, this kind of software was impossible. There would be no Second Life / OpenSim with only 56K modems. However, high bandwidth Internet access is far from universal, so although such infrastructure advances make virtual worlds possible, virtual worlds are still not available (realistically) to everyone. And that’s not a failure of coding, but a true infrastructure challenge.

            As popular as graphics are, you can be sure that if it was just a matter of writing some clever code, it would already have happened.

            It’s also the case that when people are motivated, they learn what they need to learn to make things happen. I don’t consider the viewers for virtual worlds to be any more difficult than learning Microsoft Office or Photoshop, but those programs are very popular (I would say ubiquitous). So, if ‘accessible’ also means readily understood, I think that the current viewers are accessible.

            But let’s be real, most Internet activity is not as technologically demanding as running a three-dimensional world that can be updated on the fly in real time. In my opinion, accessibility will improve when even the most humble computer has the power of current gaming computers. Just think how powerful today’s least powerful computers are compared to the original IBM PC. I find that eventual increase in capability easy to imagine. We’re just not there yet.

          • Orion Fhang

            @All responses above – I’m in a bit of a rush at the moment, so I don’t exactly have the time to respond in great detail. But this is exactly the sort of dialogue that I feel should occur within an association of virtual world users / providers / etc. We all know that this platform has its shortcomings and limitations. Just a quick look through the preferences window in Firestorm will reveal tons of tweaks and hacks and workarounds that have been gobbed in to address one quirk or another and obviously a great deal of work has gone into clobbering those quirks.

            Which worries me. As users, operators, and enthusiasts of this technology it seems that most of our energies are focused on the little things such as mega-prims, script limits, mesh this, flexi-supermesh bla bla, griefers, script kiddies breaking this or that.

            But lets not forget the overall picture within the grand scheme of things. All these tweaks and awesome features are great but what use are they if they’re only accessible by a small portion of the world.

            I’ll admit, in their initial design the Lindens seemed to be on the right track. A viewer designed to work and operate more or less like a 3D web browser. But somewhere along the way they shifted focus away from improving that design as a technology toward gobbing in more bells and whistles on the server side.

            And on that note, I must teleport my meat suit off to a world filled with more tweaks, hacks, and workarounds gobbed in then you can shake a stick at. Off to work clobbering database applications I go! 🙂

          • Geir Nøklebye

            As the other poster said, to provide a web interface to opensim in its current form is quite hard as you need the full GPU support to render anything meaningful unless you settle for very basic shaders and limited draw distance. The opensim (and SL) environment is so dynamic in nature that it is close to impossible to flatten it to something that resembles a typical highly optimized gaming environment.

            What might be possible, and that is just thinking aloud, is for a web viewer (with limited capabilities) to move the avatar into a limited environment bubble something like a skybox with baked images of the map coordinate landscape projected as static images on the environment walls. Most likely you could render the full avatar with animations, inventory access, chat and such inside the bubble. You could even teleport the bubble to another map location (as seen from the user’s point of view) but in reality they existed as mini sims in the server space.

            Apart from that, as I said in an earlier post, I think the time has come to develop a more advanced avatar with a new animation system and custom rigging that is incompatible with SecondLife. LL is going to do this closed source anyway, so there will be a departure. A new avatar could have the current avatar uv map as selectable to accommodate current skins and system clothing for backwards compatibility (like DAZ Studio have done with their Genesis character that supports multiple generation uv maps.) Creating a new avatar and animation system is of course hard work and a lengthy project.

          • Two separate issues here. On the Web viewer side, we had to wait for HTML 5 and Web GL to evolve enough. And we’re pretty much there, and the folks at RealXtend have a a Web-based viewer — WebTundra — that could be adapted to OpenSim. The RealXtend guys say it would take a day to hack something together, and a month to get a good working version.

            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/09/eu-offers-103-mil-in-tech-funding-opensim-web-viewer-might-fit/

            Maybe this could be a project that the new grid association could push for? A web-based viewer would be a huge benefit to commercial grids looking beyond the SL/OpenSim communities for new users. And people who wanted more interactivity, or building tools, could always download and use the full viewer.

            The Second Life compatibility issue — many users come to OpenSim from Second Life. But, more than that, Second Life offers such a wealth of training resources — videos, tutorials, how-to blogs, etc… that there’s no way that OpenSim could match (yet). I routinely send new OpenSim users to the SL resources for training and guidance because, right now, it’s pretty much 99.9999% directly applicable to OpenSim.

            So the developers have been really careful about how the interface is adapted for OpenSim. Usually, new features are added in such a way that they don’t dramatically change the user experience. For example, OpenSim regions can hold millions of prims, bigger prims, smaller prims — and this is done without changing the interface. Similarly, OAR and IAR exports are done through the console or (in the case of hosting vendors) through Web-based management panels. Hypergrid teleports work within the constraints of current viewers.

            There would have to be a really really excellent reason for OpenSim to dramatically depart from the standard Second Life viewers, because of all we would lose. Personally, I think a Web-based viewers offers enough of a benefit that it’s worth it.

          • Talla Adam

            I second that. I think a web based viewer without all the complicated menus and tools could bring in many more people from the web more easily than asking them to download a viewer and learn how to use it. All that is needed is a good view of 3D world, chat/voice, touch interaction, an inventory, an AO, search, hypergrid/teleport, and very little else. Grid owners can then concentrate building events and activities while the skilled users can still get a full viewer to do the creative work.

            And I would be happy to donate substantially to help make it happen.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            The problem is that what you describe is exactly what sucks all the power of the GPU, and that more or less mandates a GPU that most laptops and even desktop PCs don’t have. The building components of the viewer (that many users find daunting) is comparatively light weight when it comes to CPU and GPU performance.

            Putting it in a web browser does not magically do away with the requirements of major performance to render “anything”. Neither does it alleviate the need for lots of bandwidth. You can hide the complexity some, but I think LL found that not to work very well with the “simplified” version 2 mode of the viewer that was ditched pretty fast.

            Letting hordes of new users loose on the opensim server is also risky business – I asked about this earlier in a different forum, and nobody can point to any grid that has concurrency of even a 1000 avatars.

            JustinCC is putting in major effort to let a sim handle even 200+ concurrent users and they do weekly performance tests and achieve steadily better performance. Despite this effort, the fact is that the opensim server is not hardened or tested for anywhere near the load LL has on their grid.

            Opensim is in the lucky position that it can do much better horizontal scaling by distributing the load over many hypergrid instances, but for any grid scaling the asset server in particular gets beaten up very fast. You have to move to database replication, online backups and much more advanced data center operation if you take on a large number of users thereby driving the cost up considerably. I have no idea where the price sensitivity is for opensim, but it seems to be pretty low in the face of “host your own for free” possibility that lies in the software.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            The biggest and most positive opportunity for Opensim, in my view, is in the area of cultural context and cultural scalability.

            Here is an excerpt of a longer message I wrote to Ebbe Linden in a discussion over SLv2, which I think plays to opensim’s and Hypergrid’s advantage.

            — There is also a third aspect of this that comes into play when you try to scale up the platform, and that is cultural context.

            The current SecondLife is primarily set in a Californian cultural context where the legislation of the location “the servers are in” spills over to what is halal and what is haram to use muslim expressions. This is a problem in that very large sections of the world does not necessarily share this cultural context, and that in itself becomes a barrier to entry.

            We have seen this in Europe in the European app stores where Apple, who is in the same cultural context as LL, have had major clashes with European content providers who are used to expressions in their print media that Apple does not allow in apps traded in their app store. We saw exactly the same with the adult clusterfuck that LL introduced where Europeans left in hordes over adult verification that they felt fundamentally stepped on their privacy (and factually where in conflict with privacy legislation inside the European union countries.)

            So rather than provide one service for the world filled with content “California Dreaming” style (alt b above), the “tool is the journey” alternative can prove to be a much better alternative in that it allows people to create virtual worlds in the frame of their local cultural context and legislation without holding Linden Labs legally accountable for it.

            By enabling travel between such contexts, like when we go to some exotic place for vacation, it enables virtual travelers to have the same, unfiltered, exotic experiences. Alternative b) can only provide a watered down experience mandated by the legislation of the locale Linden Lab is incorporated in, in addition to what is the current political correct view of the area.

            —- here is the link to the full message if anyone is interested in the overall context http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Linden-Lab-is-building-a-NEW-virtual-world/m-p/2756448#M185239

  • Susannah Avonside

    Such an organisation would be useful for dealing with such issues as hacking attemps, and particularly greifing attacks, which. whilst not a huge issue in OpenSim are nonetheless annoying, as many of us know, Hypergrid has allowed one particular individual to cause havoc on several grids, even leading to the closure, (hopefully temporary) of the Speculoos grid in February.

    Issues of common concern could also be matters for discussion, such as those outlined by Geir, though I think feeding into the paranoia of some content creators and calling for better protection for IP and copyright issues will just delay development and complicate things – already the well known Second Life meme of content creators that OpenSim is a den of iniquitous copybotters has complicated development of Hypergrid. DRM and suchlike strategies do nothing to stimulate trade and often make even basic functionality difficult. And how long would it be before any such protection were circumvented? It’s pretty well known that any measure at copy protection is soon rendered ineffective, whether by bored teenage hackers looking for a challenge, or those with an anti-copyright agenda. We all know that ‘illegal’ copying does take place in OpenSim, but that’s to totally ignore the elephant in the room that is that the level of such copying it infinitely worse in Second Life and many of those copies are readily available on Linden Lab’s own Marketplace. No doubt copy protection could be integrated into the code, but that would also mean making elements of the code closed source so that the copy protection code itself were safeguarded – this alone would be subject to much criticism from many in the community.

    OpenSim, must in my view, remain 100% open source, though I do think that ways need to be found of funding particular apects of needed development – but isn’t that what crowd funding is for? If grid owners wish to implement their own closed source modules, that is a matter for them, and their own pockets. As for an OpenSIm economy, what is the problem? For those who want a secure virtual currency there is the Virwox system, which can be implemented in any grid or on any standalone – it’s even converitble with the Second Life Linden on a like for like basis. There are also the various other currency modules that are available to all those who want to implement a currency of their own.

    Whilst on the subject of money, there is a lot that could be done to stimulate increased amounts of cash flowing in, but that would requre some rethinking and a committment to complete transparency. More effort could be put into the issue of fundraising, but it’s cruciual that those contributing their money are kept up to date about where it is being spent, and on what. Perhaps what is needed is a board of trustees, who could take that onerous task off those who would rather work on development.

    I’m not personally against the idea of having a virtual economy, except a feeling that it’s been tried already, and wasn’t a runaway success. There is also the notion that OpenSim is somehow heralding the 3D web, but I think that 3D environments will remain a niche. For business and commerce the World Wide Web has proved more than adequate. In this sense vitual worlds are a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t really exist. I think that there is potential for virtual environments like OpenSim in areas like art and education (in the broadest sense) as it provides an accessible platform in a way that closed source alternatives don’t.

  • Zandramas Grid

    This is a great idea and we would <3 to participate! We <3 all grids and want all to succeed.

  • Talla Adam

    I’m also following this proposal and it does seem a good idea and this could be the right time to do it. In particular I would like to see such an organization discuss and promote crowd funded projects that add useful new code to the Opensim server. Lots of people contribute code fixes to core and every now and then something extra special is introduced like Bullet Physics, var regions, NPC’s and the work Dahlia did for Mesh and Materials. All of that came free but we as a community could fund some of the things we would like to see if we come together with the desire to see Opensim progress – even while other new platform developments are up and coming like SL2 and High Fidelity. My fear is that once these other platforms come online, the Opensim community will move on. Opensim needs to keep up, not with Second Life, but in new ways that keep the platform viable for a long time to come. I certainly would be willing to support this and put my money on it if I felt confident it was going somewhere.

  • Sounds fun Plan to Join up

  • Or could it be just another layer of an approving entity that would later serve as a production bottleneck? I must have missed the part where someone had actually said anything about involving the dev team in deciding what’s needed to get done. Should it be 50/50? I think they know exactly what’s needed to get done, they just don’t have the resources to get it done. I am all for organization and such but I’m just throwing this out there.

    • In my opinion, having members from the dev team would be of great benefit to the organization.
      Justin Clark-Casey has already indicated he would try to make any meetings we might have.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        I agree it would be positive, but as long as it is an open source project I think it is important to have a distinct separation of roles between the developers and an association for the grid owners. The developers would want to balance the development effort between the interests of hobbyists/small users and those having commercial interests in the software (such as grid owners and content developers.)

        One model that could work is for such an association to fund and commission development of modules and functionality specific to the interests of the members, and donate the resulting code back to the open source code pool for inclusion in the regular releases. This could be done by additional and even commercial resources that could take on the work to progress it faster than the regular developer team would be able to accomplish on their own.

        • Maybe I am just reading too much into it where your message just now is giving me mix signals and I’m failing to connect the initial statement and desire and as I quote

          “Instead, I would like to see an organization which is neutral in all actions, taking the best position of everyone collectively over that of any individual or group. I believe as the OpenSim community continues to grow, there will be much need for some type of organization to become one voice for many.”

          What’s confusing to me is the words “fund” and “commission” which I am reading as if the weight of importance is measured by who is giving the most. Isn’t that pure commercial interest? With that, where does the community interest comes in?

          • There are certain features that are primarily useful to grid operators. Connections to other types of back-end databases, for example. So the average developer might not have this as a high priority.

            So, if, say, several grids wanted this, they could get together, pitch in, and write a connector for everyone to use.

            If they wanted particular security features, or user management features, or what have you.

            This wouldn’t replace the development we have today. Volunteers can continue to work on the features that interest them the most.

            But this might accelerate the development of features of particular use to grid owners, which would help bring more grids into OpenSim, which in turn would bring in users interested in checking out all the new grids.

          • Thanks Maria, I thought for a second that I as an individual would have a voice to represent my interest. I understand the benefits this has to the overall development of OpenSim and the benefits that will roll down towards my little itty bitty sandbox.

            I thank you all in advance for all the good things this will bring.

          • I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not! But yes, I think even people who run small personal grids will probably benefit from this organization.

            And end users will benefit from the improvements in the grids overall. Meanwhile, end users are also forming all kinds of communities and group of their own, both inside particular grids, and across multiple grids, focused around all kinds of interests. I love seeing this happen! It really bodes well for the strength and long-term potential of this platform.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Sure – everyone will benefit in the long run, but I think there is need to keep the platform (software) development separate from the various interest groups.

            We have seen how bad this can go in SecondLife with some of the third party viewer developers who have managed to brew one shitstorm after the other which has resulted in stalling needed progression of the viewer and even the SL platform.

          • No Maria, I am not being sarcastic but my concerns are genuine, rightly so for how many times have you seen the term “public interest” or “community involvement” been abused and wrongly represented? My concerns do not represent a group or a community. They are my own and I will lay it out here. Please feel free to delete my comment if you feel they are offensive or irrelevant.

            1. Is this organization asking the community to share the burden of expense to fund a project that they deem important since we all benefit from it anyway?

            2. Or will there be two entirely separated entities, one with commercial interest and one the community?

            3. Will the commercial grid share the burden of expense in a project voted by the majority but has very little or no value to their grid?

            I understand the value this will bring to the advancement of OpenSim development and don’t think I am not willing to participate. Personally, I’d rather see a straight forward approach than any type of sugar coating.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            it is an acknowledgement of the community developed opensim software is indeed used for commercial purposes, and as such I think perhaps the commercial interests can carry a bigger (financial) burden of advancing the platform as a whole by funding and commissioning the development of code that in particular is of interest to them (see my initial post) and overall will benefit the entire community.

            The quoted text was not mine really, but anyway 🙂

          • Thank you for your clarification, I fully understand your message now.

          • Hello Shin,

            I think this organization should be formed in the spirit of Open Source in that the goals obtained by this organization are provided back to the entire community, not just some.
            I picture a website driven community where opensim users, grid owners, developers, vendors, etc. can all participate by requesting new features, bug fixes, enhancements, etc.
            Maybe the organization collectively could define a new feature such as vehicle border crossing as an example, we could receive input from the developers on the estimated time/costs it would take to develop this feature and we as an organization could help to fund it in the spirit crowd sourcing. Grid owners as well as opensim users could help to fund the project and move it forward.
            Once the project has been developed, it would then be provided back to the community as a whole by including this code into opensim.
            By working together, the OpenSim platform can continue to grow and attract new users which in the end will be of benefit to all of us.

            I can think of many projects which could be realized in such a manner.

  • Just OpenSim?

    • Hello Sarge,
      I, like many in the OpenSim community am interested in all 3D platforms but I think at least for now this should be focused on OpenSim as this is the community that has thus far shown some interest, and it seems to be a unifying factor.

      • With respect, I disagree. I’ve been working on my own grid for a very long time and finally got it online. It will have HG as soon as it can. But it runs WhiteCore.

        I consider myself to be part of the Metaverse community. Such an association should include all grids. open or closed, OpenSim, AuroraSim or WhiteCoreSim. Be Inclusive, not Exclusive.

  • AlanTupper

    I’m not a grid owner or operator, but I’d like to suggest the name MIDAS: Metaverse Investment, Development, and Advancement Society. In addition to covering all the basic functions mentioned here, it covers all current and future Metaverse platforms, rather than being limited to just Opensim. It also sounds official-ish 😛

    I may or may not have been sitting on the name for a year or two, thinking about something similar to this but never having the courage. Kudos to 3RG for taking the step forward!

    • Oooooh… nice!

    • Janoriacorven Resident

      Not sure if my posts keep getting deleted or not.. (probably i dont actually click SEND >.<).. But i wish to participate too.

  • In addition to all that has thus far been discussed, I would like to add that I personally think an “Open Source” type of organization should be what we seek as that will allow for complete transparency to all members.
    I also think the organization should be open to all who wish to participate.

  • Winter Silversmith

    It should be open to any grid running OpenSim, just because the grid is non-commercial does not mean they shouldn’t have a voice in the direction OS is heading as a collective.

  • Janoriacorven Resident

    I am the upcoming soon to be owner of a new Virtual Universe, and i’d like to work beside 3rdRock and participate in as much planning / strategies as possible.

  • disqusit

    Without going into the details too much… I took part in a massive attempt to bring about a commercial grid several years ago. Although it did not materialize, the efforts taken and the money spent towards that very attempt actually contributed to several bugfixes and some features being accelerated into existence. Being OpenSim, everything went right back into the community and everyone enjoyed the benefits of all the money that the project lead was spending on that custom development.

    It might not at first appear like a commercial interest would be beneficial to an open source project, but it most definitely is. I was just on the web side of things and was amazed at the rapid progress of features being done and watching the Mantis page explode and close one after the other.

    Also think of this… I know that NPCs were initially added and became an after-thought for a long time. Two people completely outside of the core dev team decided to really crank on it just because they wanted NPC functionality. One of them didn’t even know code very well. In the end, it took less than a month to get it working, then after several more months it gained steam and interest and got done *right* by the devs. Now look at it.

    Just some examples of what can happen when people or a group of people take a focused interest in a project and make things happen. The trickle down effect is very beneficial to all of us! IMHO

    Later!

    • I would agree to some extent on this as everyone knows that “Money Talks”.
      Thus far, we have all benefited from the hard work of the developers and others who have been involved with moving the opensim platform forward. Most of the work to this point has been done on a donation basis, that is, most of the coding has been contributed for free by those who have chosen to participate.
      If we, the community, had a mechanism in place such as this organization, we could all chip in in the spirit of crowd funding and achieve great things.
      For example, the organization might be able to collectively define a feature, bug fix, etc. based on input from the different members and even the community as a whole and once we have defined exactly what it is we are focusing on, we could obtain quotes from existing and even future developers who might be interested in working on the project. Once a figure has been provided, we (the community) could all pitch in to make it happen, and the new feature, etc could be added to the core and become part of this great open source project where we could all benefit.
      I’m sure many of the developers could find more time to work on specific issues if there was more in it for them than just recognition and appreciation.
      Individually, some of the grids are in a better position to implement bug fixes, new features, etc.. but others are not able to finance an entire project on their own. Crowd Funding from “ALL” of the opensim community could help bring some of the features we all want and need to fruition, while keeping individual costs to a minimum.

      • My recommendation — set up a private Google Plus community that people have to be approved to join (to keep out griefers and hackers!) — and take the discussion of goals, venues, structures, to that community.

        Google Plus is nice because it allows avatars to join. 🙂

        — Maria

        • Geir Nøklebye

          Yeah, but Google is not nice. Creepy company. 😉

          • Not all grids are hypergrid-enabled. And yes, Google can be creepy, but at least it dropped its real name policy. Facebook still hasn’t (though they have backed down a little bit in favor of “authentic” names).

            You can also set up a LinkedIn group, but those are so spammy these days that not too many people use them.

            Everything else will require a lot of additional work on behalf of the users. Like if you set up a new website with a members-only area, it’s a pain in the butt to maintain, and a pain in the butt to register for, subscribe to, etc…

          • Geir Nøklebye

            The advantage with in-world is it supports avatars right out of the box, and for those who don’t have HG connections, there are ways to work around it.

            While in-world communication admittedly can be a PITA, what beats me was when LL started announcing information on FB, twitter and avoiding in-world and their own product as the plague. I seriously think it hurt their platform. Both because it alienated a group of people, but more so because they removed customers from their own product.

            Because of that I believe in-world presence is very important – actually imperative to get a feel for how a grid works for everyone from developer, to grid owner, to the casual visitor and onlooker.

            I am sure Google has all the technical solutions working fine, BUT they are creepy because they leach off selling every shred of information about you to an extent no other company does. That is where the creepiness comes from. IMHO. 😉

        • Geir Nøklebye

          Besides, how about setting up an in-world HG group – taking our own medicine so to speak? 🙂

          Probably needs some assistance by outside tools, but then again it could spur some development.

        • I have setup a google group… I did not opt to do a google+ community as we are simply in an exploration phase at the moment.
          I had to pick a name, but it can be changed to suit us if we choose.
          You can find it here:
          https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/united-opensim-association

          I am open to other suggestions.. I’m not against HyperGrid meetups, except some may not yet have that ability.
          Skype?
          Mailing list?
          Other?

      • Talla Adam

        I fully agree with this and I would willing to contribute money for projects.

  • UPDATE:
    I have created a google group to move the discussion there.
    If you are interested, pleae go to:
    https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/united-opensim-association

    • Geir Nøklebye

      Great! Count me out.

  • Mark John Wiseman

    ‘The Organization’

    I spent a year helping out in management at 3rd Rock Grid. Lazuli Pooraka of 3rd Rock Grid then already had the idea for Vepa, an association of the type Terry is now also proposing. So, I have some rehashed thoughts on how this can be organised in a way respectful to all the requirements we as a community would have for such an organisation.

    As some respondents have described, one would have to find a good process for the various groups with interest in a better developed OpenSimulator to have their say at the appropriate moments. Then, an organization like this needs practical hands to drive the effort forwards, and those individuals need the tools to do that properly.

    From the comments so far, these are the requirements to this organisation:
    – Organise funding of platform development*
    – Consensus brokering on dealing with knows griefers and online criminals
    – Host forums on community discussion topics
    – Be a resource centre for OpenSimulator news, sites, discussion, rl meetings
    – Foster multiple varieties of platforms (OpenSim, Aurora, WhiteCore)
    – Strive to keep OpenSimulator open source
    – Monitor and advise on Open Simulators overall market position

    * A large number of the comments refer to specific software development requests. One of the mechanisms of the organisation should be to facilitate the requests, developers and funders to progress through the roadmap.

    Besides technical development, a number of the comments refer to dealing with bad elements in the online society, to creating content standards and exploring the philosophies behind what makes a good immersive experiences. For this the organisation can have a community aspect to host forum, online talks and inworld meetings on a variety of topics.

    Fundamentally, we seem to gravitate towards wanting an organisation that is as open as OpenSimulator itself. If required (and I suspect so) the organisation would be registered as a non-profit organisation. It would have a set of founding principles that guide its activities. A chosen board and appointed management team would be its official representatives.

    ————

    Setting this up.
    Organizationally, this project is in its initiation stage. In open spirit, I suggest that the initiation phase is run entire together with the community.

    This would practically mean having a website with a sign up for anyone, and to query the members through simple questionnaires to guide the organisation through its initiation stage. Interaction with the community in this stage could answer questions like:

    – Which founding principles would you suggest or support?
    – Voting for acceptance of the founding principles by the community
    – Help prioritize which developments are most wanted by the community
    – Find out which community topics are in need of attention
    – Vote for a (bi) yearly new board of the organisation

    Any initiation phase should end by having installed a board and management staff to run the organization. In the initation phase the effort can be run by grid owners, but once operational we should strive to have a mix of people with different interests in the board and the management.

    About the board and management
    As this is an open organisation, I suggest leadership should be elected regularly, once every 2 years maybe. I suggest voting for a non-executive board. This board appoints others as general manager, secretary, pr officer etc. This management team is in charge of running the day to day operations of the organization.

    The reason the management team is appointed, is that this team must be able to work together cohesively. An elected management team may not have the correct skill set to perform the duties as needed. The elected board has the job of composing a good team, and subsequently monitoring the activity.

    Dealing with the development cycle
    There is an elephant in the room. Commercial companies are catching up on the virtual space market, and they are better organised. Our challenge is to organise our open source effort in such a way that we cán keep up in new features and platform development, without following the standard model for a (shareholder owned) software development company.

    The following is an approach based in an agile software development, where the customer is the entire community.

    Step 1 – Inventory market wishes
    Send out a questionnaire to the community asking for a ranking of the developments they would like to see take place. Members can add their own requests too. So can developers, grid owners, community managers, artists etc.

    This results in a priority list with the individual development projects that have the most value to the market (the opensim grid users). Feasibility of these requests are to then be determined by the existing developer community.

    Step 2 – Developer adoption
    At this point, opensimulator developers (freelancers) can place a bid for fulfilling items in the (top 10) list of the communities demands for development attention. After a period of a week, bid placing is closed. The organization’s management or community members should then validate the various bids and designs received and accept or decline a bid.

    Step 3 – Crowdfund the development
    Now we have a number of items that the community would like to have as well as a cost estimate for development. This project is now published in the crowdfunding section of the organization’s website. This is where I expect grid owners to step up as part sponsors as their grids depend on the continued work on the platform. Obviously, anyone who is a member of the organisation can contribute to a crowdfunding development, so purely community sponsored developments are possible too.

    —-

    In the above setup, all the code remains open source, as it is community financed. It also supports the existing network of freelance individuals or OpenSimulator oriented development studios. Starting a cycle every 3 months would set a steady train of well funded projects in motion, delivering functionalities that are in the highest demand first.

    —-

    Ill stop here before I write a whole manual 🙂 – I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this, especially on what we would have to do during the initiation fase to create an organisation that fits our desires. Personally I would be happy to be part of a steering group during this first phase till there is a running association set up.

  • Except that they aren’t going their own way. WhiteCore is defintely part of the Metaverse.

    You are proposing an association of grids, to be restricted to OpenSim based grids. A group whose policies, decisions and actions may well affect the whole of the Metaverse, including those of us who don’t use OpenSim. We are participants in the Metaverse, we take part in it and contribute to it. Yet you would deny us a voice?

    • Hi Sarge,
      Please read back, I have never indicated or proposed an interest in creating an association covering the metaverse.
      I do not deny Whitecore is part of the metaverse, but the metaverse is not what is being discussed here.

      I am proposing an association of OpenSim grids/community, that has been the idea all along.
      I am proposing this organization to be made up of, and with the purpose to serve the OpenSim community/grid owners.
      OpenSim is an important piece of the puzzle helping to form the metaverse, but it is not the only game in town.
      The organization I propose in my opinion, should be open to all who may be interested in the OpenSim community.
      You choosing to be a part of it is up to you.
      Additionally, it would never be up to me, or any other individual or group to deny you a voice as I propose this association be open to all who wish to take part in it, but I propose this organization should focus on OpenSim.
      Maybe that’s not the direction the association will take, it will not be up to me, it will be up to the community as we move forward as the community, including you if you choose to take part, will decide the face, direction, and purpose of the association.
      You could always propose an association with a much larger focus if you want, but my proposal is for the OpenSim community/grid owners, nothing more.

      • If I were the owner of a WhiteCoreSim grid (or any other compatible platform) I would join the association of OpenSim grid owners because 99 percent of our issues are going to be the same. And for the 1 percent of issues that are different, I’d subscribe to the WhiteCoreSim dev lists or user lists, or attend those meetings.

        An industry association doesn’t have to meet 100 percent of the needs of 100 percent of its members.

        In fact, I’d consider it a success if it gets one thing done that’s useful for some if its members. (Like, say, sharing info about hackers and griefers. Or negotiating a lower, group rate, for server rentals. Or getting Whisper voice finally done so grids aren’t 100 percent dependent on Vivox.)

  • Mark John Wiseman

    Hi Geir,

    I think an important job for this organisation is to be the ‘glue’ between the different interest groups that OpenSimulator has. Toes need to be avoided, and i think that works best by bringing everyone together in openness and determining who wants what out of the organisation. This new organisation would fail if it did not try to have support and inclusion from all sides.

    Will be taking my discussion to the group Terry started, see you there 🙂

    • Geir Nøklebye

      Right.

      Sorry, not joining a group that requires a Google registered account.

  • UPDATE!!!
    A temporary website has now been setup at:
    http://opensimunited.com/

    Please come to that site and register and share your comments and ideas there.