Taarna Welles: the next Linda Kellie?

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about Linda Kellie while traveling the hypergrid. Okay, not about her per se — she’s probably done more for OpenSim than any other creator out there.

But the fact that Linda Kellie’s content collection is licensed CC0, which is as close to public domain as you can get, and is okay to use in commercial grids and even to create new commercial products, that every grid out there has cleared out all the iffy “I found this floating around and I don’t know where where it came from” content from their freebie stores and replaced it with Linda Kellie.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Always better to offer legal, licensed content than to set your grid up for a copyright infringement lawsuit. (Download Linda Kellie OARs, IARs and XML content here.)

But it does mean a certain … sameness … whereever you go. Linda Kellie, after all, does have a particular building style and color and texture palette.

So it definitely caught my attention when Jeannette van Alphen — known in-world as Taarna Welles — owner of the Bubblesz grid, told me that she wanted to be the next Linda Kellie.

Jeannette van Alphen

Jeannette van Alphen

“I liked her thoughts about providing items for free,” said van Alphen.

van Alphenis an experienced 3D designer who’s previously worked in 3DS Max, a high-end, professional, 3D modeling program, and who now uses Blender for her mesh creations.

However, coming to Second Life in 2007, and, a year later, to OpenSim, provided her an opportunity to create in public and the inspiration she needed to do her best work.

Jeannette van Alphen on the Savvy region on her Bubblesz grid.

Jeannette van Alphen on the Savvy region on her Bubblesz grid.

“This was an endless garden of creativity, so I was able to create more things,” she said. “Also, the idea that you could have your own region that you could control is very attractive.”

Her favorite genre is steampunk, and she has also created a set of “acorn people” based on a set of children’s stories by Jean Dulieu.

Jeannette van Alphen' acorn people on the Chaps region of the Bubblesz grid.

Jeannette van Alphen’ acorn people on the Chaps region of the Bubblesz grid, located at bubblesz.nl:8002:Chaps.

But she is probably best-known for her shoes, which she has learned how to create out of necessity.

“Most content in OpenSim is so old-fashioned, that you have to create something,” she said. “I started with shoes. I hated to create such tiny shoes, but now I enjoy it.”

A shoe store on the Savvy region on Bubblesz grid, located at bubblesz.nl:8002:Savvy.

A shoe store on the Savvy region on Bubblesz grid, located at bubblesz.nl:8002:Savvy.

She’s since moved on to creating hats and goggles, and wants to make more content for male avatars, since there’s a lack of that in OpenSim.

To see her content, visit La Baronnie, at bubblesz.nl:8002:La Baronnie. All content in this store is her original creations, CCO licensed for any use anywhere.

La Baronnie, the main freebie area on the Bubblesz grid. Hypergrid teleport to bubblesz.nl:8002:La Baronnie.

La Baronnie, the main freebie area on the Bubblesz grid. Hypergrid teleport to bubblesz.nl:8002:La Baronnie.

You can also visit Hidden Leaves, here showcase region on the Metropolis grid, at hypergrid.org:8002:Hidden Leaves.

The Hidden Leaves region on the Metropolis grid, at hypergrid.org:8002:Hidden Leaves.

The Hidden Leaves region on the Metropolis grid, at hypergrid.org:8002:Hidden Leaves.

You can also visit her Flickr page to see examples of her work.

Her content is only available in-world however. She says she does not currently have any plans to create OAR region export files.

OAR files are complete regions — with terrains, objects, textures, scripts, everything that’s on a region — ready to be uploaded with a single command.

Linda Kellie, for example, has created 30 OARs, several of which come with stocked malls or stores. That allows grid owners to easily and quickly start a new grid — a boon for educators, small businesses and individuals who need to get up and running quickly and who appreciate having content they are free to adapt and customize.

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.

  • Geir Nøklebye

    Taarna has done some outstanding work! I am looking forward to explore more of her regions.

  • JoJa Dhara

    Nothing to say …. Just adore 😉

  • There is also a La Baronnie in the Metropolis grid.

  • Coolio

    Linda work was really the hot ticket until mesh came along. Still you can modify it to make it your own.
    Mesh often has very little ability for the end user to modify.
    Linda created Prims,Sculpts,Sound Files,Animation Files,Scripts, whole compete sets of custom textures.
    Those 30 oars might not seem like a lot .the content amount is huge while she could have made a fortune with it in second life at the time. she gave it all to the community instead selfishly without asking credit.

    Linda stuff helped one enjoy inworld build tools while 3D Modeling leaves out 90% of the ones who cannot get past blenders difficult interface. or afford 3ds max…it just leaves out the majority even in open sim.
    Really not a fair comparison these two people.. the times and methods are so different.
    encouragement for the creators in the community to share is a good bond for the community. while those of us who remember why Linda left are often left wondering if she stayed around what might had been.

    I think from a readers stand point this article would better serve as the basis for another article based on the ‘Top 20 free content artist today in the metaverse & were to find them’

    • Geir Nøklebye

      The thing about mesh building is that to be efficient, you need a large library of components such as windows, doors, wall elements and more that not only have to be low poly, but sensibly UV mapped so you don’t have to make every texture custom. To get to that point takes a very long time and a lot of effort as there is not much you can buy that will help you. Most mesh on the market in general is medium to high poly and created for still frame renders. – Meaning they often only have surface on the once side meant to face the camera.

      For mesh characters you have the issue of “standards” which both has to do how a character is UV mapped. With no common mapping, there will not be content for from anyone else unless you do a heck of a job to convince others to use yours. The there is the added complication of fitting (comforting) mesh to a character for clothing and so on.

      What would be ideal would be a new standard character every one used that both had a UV map that was optimized for the new geometry, but also had a secondary map that could use the old SL character system clothing/skin maps for backward compatibility. It would have to be able to accept custom rigging though.

    • Han Held

      So much this; sadly opensim is fallow ground for open source (in part due to mental wank around IP and DRM; in part because everyone thinks it’s 2007 and that they stand to make a mint). The way that Linda Kellie was chased out was a very apt demonstration of just how toxic your community is, and why it can never be mainstream or even be a vibrant niche ala’ Linux(‘s community) or BSD(‘s community).

      • Han Held

        That said, Taarna Wells is an immensely generous person who makes Opensim a much, much brighter place and she is a tremendous booster for the metaverse in general (unless I’m mistaken, she’s active in hifi too). She’s definately one of the bright lights in our otherwise dim scene and we’re d***ed lucky to have her!

      • Geir Nøklebye

        How was she chased out?

        • Han Held

          She was alternately harassed (inworld, in social media), and badgered for free work until she finally got sick of both and left.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Right. I googled some out of curiosity. – There seems to be a lot of pettiness.

          • Han Held

            Pettiness is a very, very signifigant part of what makes the opensimulator scene so toxic. That, along with people’s control issues both lead to a metric ton of self-sabotage.

            The sort of self-sabotage which healthier open source projects don’t suffer from.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            It is not a good place to start a discussion on that in a thread that is a tribute to a great creator; Taarna, but I can see how stifling it is.

            On a scale from surprised to shocked, I lean to the shocked end observing how people treat each other.

          • Han Held

            “It is not a good place to start a discussion on that in a thread that is a tribute to a great creator; Taarna”

            You’re absolutely correct about that. I will say that I think her ability to stay in the scene and avoid burnout is a tribute to her dedication and is remarkable in and of itself.

          • lmpierce

            Hi Geir,

            Since Linda Kellie was brought up in the article, and since her experiences are relevant to any discussion on content creators looking to offer a wealth of free content, I’d say that a reference to past issues is not necessarily inappropriate. I take the tone here as one of a cautionary tale being brought up in the face of new hopes.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I’ll give you all a hint as where some of the considerations for any content developer needs to be:

            The FACT that the OpenSim development process completely fails to recognize that OpenSim now is a product on which commercial businesses run, coupled with the close connection between the success of such business and the future success and proliferation of OpenSim, should make anyone think multiple times before dedicating resources to developing content for it.

            There is no roadmap, there is not even a rudimentary sketch on a napkin what OpenSim wants to achieve for the product over the next 1-5 years. Unfortunately the OSB6 conference was a good demonstration of this, where the main theme seemed to be dreams about what a competitor might achieve in some future.

            Someone said in this forum last fall that OpenSim is nothing but a hobby development project. I did not agree then, but I am closer to now.

          • Han Held

            From my perspective, it’s not just that the opensim project is a hobby project ..it’s that it’s a hobby project WITH PRETENSIONS of being Professional. They appear to want all the accolades and prestige of being professional, enterprise blah blah blah but at every turn the project and much of the community rejects accepting the needed responsibility to actually be professional OR to create a viable community; instead opting to hide behind either “we’re just volunteers” or “we’re just coders we don’t community”

            (A very notable and relevant exception being Zetamex, for accepting the responsibility to host and pay the bandwidth for sharing Linda Kellie’s collection).

          • Geir Nøklebye

            I am afraid that OpenSim in its current state is as far from enterprise than you possibly can get.

          • You guys are asking the wrong questions.

            You’re asking “Why doesn’t OpenSim have XXX yet?” and, of course, there are a million potential answers.

            And it’s tempting to ask that question. Technology always moves too slow. Where are our flying cars, I ask you! Why aren’t we on Mars yet!

            But it’s not a productive question.

            The more productive question is, “Is there anything that I personally can do to move us forward, and am I willing to make the effort?”

            If the answer is “No,” then repeat to yourself, “We’ll get there when we get there. I’m going to trust that things will work out okay in the end.”

            Otherwise, all you’re doing is making yourself miserable with needless worry.

            Right now, I’m trusting in other people to handle the environment, various political crises, human rights issues around the world, too much money in politics, etc… etc…

            Meanwhile, at my day job, I’m doing my part to fight cybercrime and, here at Hypergrid Business, to bring a virtual metaverse one step closer to reality.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            No, we are not asking why opensim does not have xxx yet. At least I am not. On the contrary.

            Personally I have offered to help at the practical level, and even moneywise to get things sorted out. Defending silence both from the developers and community.

            While I am not a coder, I am heck of a good tester and identified a number of major issues with the 0.8.1 code during development.

            Or people getting VERY nasty even at the personal level because i dare come where running OpenSim on OS X. In the book of some people that is just about as low as you can go. Unless you run “Lunix” there is no place for you here.

            I was also told I had been targeted and griefed because I had stated in a comment here that certain versions of FS was blocked from XMIR because some copybot viewers masquerade as that. Which is a FACT. They do, and they come in ripping. Entire sims.

          • Han Held

            >The more productive question is, “Is there anything that I personally
            can do to move us forward, and am I willing to make the effort?”

            No, you’re mistaken. It doesn’t matter what any individual does, because of the flak and resistence which they will get from the community. I learned this the hard way after trying to use what skills I have trying to contribute in multiple ways. (support, community starting,)

            People come in, contribute, get harrassed and then get burned out and realise that they could be doing almost anything and getting more reward for it. This happened with Linda Kellie, this happened with Vanish and OSC, this happens with almost EVERY person who comes in to your scene and wants to contribute.

            Your scene needs to change, it needs to become more flexible and less incestuous, or it will continue to wither into irrelevance. There isn’t a third option –blaming would-be contributors or deliberately ignoring the problems won’t help, either.

          • I guess we’re looking at two very, very different communities then. I’m seeing one where people are extremely supportive of one another. An open source project that is the most diverse of any other open source project I’ve ever reported on. A community where competitors reach out to support each other during times of crisis. Where 3rd Rock Grid spearheaded a fundraising campaign for OSgrid, and Avination stepped up to donate a whole bunch of coding work.

            Yes, in any community this diverse, movement is going to be slow, and people’s feelings are going to get hurt. But from where I’m sitting, this happens less here than in any comparable project.

            Okay, maybe I have a bit of a polyanna view on life. Maybe my work experience has mostly focused on covering the best that humanity has to offer. (Hint: No. Not really.) But I see a lot more people in OpenSim working very very hard to make it a better place, and very very few people trying to bring it down.

          • I see that also Maria-)

          • Han Held

            That’s a nice bit of cheerleading, but that ignore the conditions which exist which discourages people from contributing in the manner that Linda Kellie did.

            Problems do not go away by ignoring them, by covering one’s ears and going “I can’t hear you”.

            Problems go away by being worked on, by enacting change. Opensim needs roll up its’ sleeves and make a cultural change, it needs to make a fundamental shift in attitudes and in the way that open source content creators are treated

            …or people will continue to stay away in droves.

            The proof’s in the pudding. Compare where Opensim is now to where Linux was after existing for 8 years; compare opesnim now to where the WWW was after existing for 8 years.

            You all can do better than what you are …can’t you?

          • I can’t compare OpenSim to Linux and WWW — but wouldn’t want to. I DO compare OpenSim to the other open source virtual world projects out there. All the ones that were launched at the same time are now, effectively, either dead or have been turned into single-vendor proprietary offerings.

            Right now, I’m here because OpenSim is the best shot we’ve got at an open source, fully decentralized metaverse. Maybe something better will come along eventually, but right now, this is it.

            And people do leave for a variety of personal reasons, and new people come. You can’t point to individual cases when the overall stats are pretty positive.

            Our active user counts have doubled. Right now, in my database, I’m showing more than 400 active public grids — up from around 300 at the start of the year. The monthly traffic to Hypergrid Business has more than DOUBLED this year compared to last year.

            I am extremely optimistic about this community.

          • Han Held

            “I can’t compare OpenSim to Linux and WWW — but wouldn’t want to. I DO
            compare OpenSim to the other open source virtual world projects out
            there.”

            NOT the projects; the surrounding communities. I could have made that clearer -that’s what I’m talking about.

            Particularly in the case of Linux, you had a strong surrounding community based around a hobbiest OS “that’s not going to be big and professional like GNU” but valued contributors so much that they flocked to it, ditto for the culture surrounding the world-wide web (which found a place for wikipedia as well as ebay).

            To me, it’s not a question of optimism or pessimism; it’s a question of looking at what is wrong and assessing wether or not it can be fixed.

            We need to figure out how to encourage MORE Taarna Wells, and how to fix the problems that chase out other creators (such as Linda Kellie). That’s where I’m coming from.

            There’s a zillion other things to do, contrary to how Talla and others portray me, I wouldn’t spend my energy on this (to the detriment of my rl health) if I didn’t think it matters or didn’t think it was potentially salvageable.

          • Han — I’ve been covering Linux for a long time. It’s not the cohesive, supportive community you seem to imagine it to be. There are so many competing distributions of Linux it’s ridiculous. I would have a really hard time making the argument that Linux became successful due to its community.

            And to call the Web a supportive community is just ridiculous. Just ask any content creator who puts stuff out on the Web about how supportive the community is.

            The thing is, when you get close to where the sausage is being made — of any project — you can see the sausage being made, and it’s not pretty. Sometimes innocent people can get hurt in the process.

            Can we improve the process? Absolutely!

            The problem is, what to one person is “helping to improve the community by raising the level of discourse” is “censorship that’s hurting the community” to another.

            There really is no way to please absolutely everybody. From my perspective, OpenSim is doing as good a job at it or better than any other community I’ve covered.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            There is nothing wrong with the communities that has sprung up around OpenSim, and that is not what I am addressing.

            OpenSim, the software, is the enabler or these communities, many of which have a commercial aspect – actually most of the successful ones do.

            For the Opensim, the software, development process to completely ignore and fail to acknowledge this important aspect of it stifles the development of the entire overall community.

            While you may hail sharing and open source, the fact is that pure open source project without the help of commercial forces are mostly going nowhere (there are exceptions like PostgreSQL)

            Perhaps the most successful is Apache – Apache is used in every comical and non-commercial setting there is and have received great help from companies such as IBM. Also what Apple did to webkit is a good example, where it moved it from the rather stagnant kthml libraries in a world dominated by Internet Explorer, to the gem it has become running on just about every mobile device and desktop there is – even to the point Microsoft is build webkit compatibility into their next generation web browser. And webkit is all open source. – From Apple. As is ResearchKit and 90% of iOS and OS X.

            OpenSim does not have a very strong open source drive. It is open source under the BSD license, but to put it in context it is a reverse engineered version of Linden Lab’s product mostly running on a reverse engineered version of Microsoft’s .NET. The viewers are, despite TP additions and additions, at the core Linden code. – Without which OpenSim would not have an audience.

            The great sharing of code that you talk about is something that happens at times – and as Han points out people trying to, getting stomped on and end up forking or modifying their installations so they become unique to that grid (mostly.)

            If you look some of the very sensible submissions and suggestions that are being put forward on the developers mailing list, most of they are sabred down by entrenched developers. Other code is submitted into the releases willy nilly or by personal interest regardless if they break backward compatibility “because the development branch has to be on the bleeding edge”. – Which is the core of the problem and the gripe I have.

            Yes, the development branch doing research and forward testing needs to be on the bleeding edge, but the release code that is put into the communities on which they are going to produce and grow should not be on the bleeding edge. In fact it cannot. If you want to grow.

            Bleeding edge, unless it is seamless, continually resets the technical aspects of the communities, where they scramble to catch up. Most of them don’t have a lot of resources to make changes so they flounder. This is also something you see in commercial software where even relatively small incompatibilities can have major effect on their user communities and fragmenting them.

            The other aspect of the development process is that there is a large collection of known, outstanding bugs that also stifle the community. – Particularly the Hypergrid community.

            This is usually a situation a pure open source process based on voluntary programming effort fails simply because it is both boring and often difficult when the code is less than ideally structured and undocumented.

            Unaddressed these issues will lead to fragmentation as people become impatient with them and fork. You can say we have an Inworldz branch, an Avination branch, a Kitely branch, a MOSES branch, a white-core branch, a Zetamex branch … I could go on, but all these contains fixes, better solutions, more efficient and secure code that stays there simply because the current OpenSim development process is mum to making strides to better enable communities to grow on top of it.

            As has been discussed here and elsewhere, IMO a strong commercial drive to fix these issues are needed to move OpenSim, the product, forward. This is not the same as close sourcing the code.

            A roadmap has to be built and as with the Linux kernel (not the distros which are both free and commercial) what is added to the core OpenSim product must be filtered by the benefit to the overall roadmap and product sweet spot, stability and compatibility. Around that people may want to build distributions like the Diva one. You could also see a grid as a distribution, but that is less ideal in my opinion.

          • Ada Radius

            I don’t agree that mesh has shut anyone out – I learned Blender basics during chemo while loaded on morphine – rigged mesh clothing, avatar deforms, and basic building, and I’m no rocket scientist. It just takes patience and willingness to feel really stupid for a while. I had a harder time at first, learning how to build iSL when I first joined 8 or so years ago. The concepts are the same, only in Blender you get to drill down to vertices and edges. If Taarna is going to make her models free to experiment with, like Linda Kellie and Aley have done with prims, sculpts and texturing, then YAY!! someone good to learn from. (hint: if you have a full perm mesh model, and permission from the creator, all you have to do is link it to a simple box you created to save as a dae file with the Firestorm viewer. Then import into Blender and delete the box vertices.)

          • Concerned Resident

            Open Sim has been at a development crossroads for a long time, Open Sim needs a leader with a plan of action who can coordinate with grids of all types while bringing in mag or crowdfunding.

            Myself would prefer not to see high fidelity take open sims place and if Justin and foundation along with developers agree the whole open sim project needs an overhaul.

            that allows for a road map with active leadership that holds monthly metaverse meetings with project deadlines and commitments. to take project to beta with a focus on a dual product :Free hobby grid version & paid commercial version

            High Fidelity is partly owned by linden lab. myself preferring to not see them eclipse and make open sim irrelevant as that will be a tragedy.

            open sim could be so much more an example was an ex-developer wanted to give open sim voxel tools. 5 years ago. but core told him no because it would break compatibility with second life.now 5 years later we can see why this was a bad choice.

            as SL moves on to its 2nd gen platform leaving open sim spinning around in circles with the only Major new features was ported over from an old code fork of aura sim that is several years old. beyond compatibility issues but now future relevance.

          • lmpierce

            Okay, I hear you have strong feelings about your perspective on OpenSim. So, let me bring it back to the point I was addressing. You commented that this is not a good place to start a thread of the nature that was presented… let me stop there; this is a good place to start threads that flow from various perspectives if they are related to or derived from the article at hand…. I’ll stop there – that was the main point I needed to make.

          • Geir Nøklebye

            Allow me to cross post from the OS developers list because this comment is so right to the points I have been making:

            > Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
            > Caveats: NONE
            >
            > To address the request for more developers, may I offer my perspective as an
            > outside software development team looking at the OS:
            >
            > 1) Dial down the hostility to new ideas. Our requirements for performance
            > are different than your traditional use cases and we strive to look for
            > overlap in our efforts to benefit the community as a whole. This is
            > particularly a problem on the IRC and direct IMs. My team was harshly
            > criticized for simply announcing we were performing code analysis and
            > profiling activities. My team has been criticized for experimenting with
            > PhysX implementations, although the anticipated payoff is significant. I
            > think we have done an adequate job explaining why we are performing these
            > activities. You can’t expect to retain new developers in this atmosphere.
            > You’ll get more developers by fostering a supportive environment.
            >
            > 2) Get your documentation in shape and keep it up to date. Telling new
            > developers that the code is the documentation is unacceptable.
            >
            > 3) A project this size will benefit from the application of a more formal
            > software development management structure. Do you guys have a schedule or
            > some sort of development milestones? For people like me who want to fold into
            > your development processes, it would be helpful to know where you are in your
            > process and what is currently being worked on. It would help me plan and
            > organize resources on my side. It would also reduce redundant development
            > when you grow.
            >
            > 4) Unless you plan to adopt the Google spiral development methodologies, you
            > can’t stay in Beta forever. If you would like some tips or suggestions on
            > long term project planning, we’d be happy to lend a hand.
            >
            > 5) Backward compatibility. You can’t straddle that fence: pick one and
            > don’t look back.
            >
            > Just my two cents.

          • Han Held

            It’s intended to point out where the opensim community needs to grow if they wish establish a viable community. I think it’s instructive that there appears to be only enough support and encouragement to draw in one creator at a time (first Linda Kellie, then Selea Core …an awesome creator who had to go part commercial because of a lack of support… and now Taarna Wells). Compare that to where Linux was after being around for 8 years (there was enough contributors to justify the founding of freshmeat and sourceforge).

            Linux is more general purpose, but regardless of that it’s still worth mentioning that for having been around so long, the opensim community should be concerned by the fact they appear to only have room for one “name” at a time, and you should be alarmed by the fact that pettiness and burn-out chases off those few who do step in to try to contribute their skills and talents to the open source community.

            The opensim scene never did manage to replace OpenSim Creations, did they?

          • Linda Kellie was *both* a content creator and a member of many in-world social communities, and she took negative things extremely personally. There’s nothing wrong with that — most of us do the same — but as her profile increased, the amount of negativity went up accordingly. So did the positive stuff — in fact, I’m still reading lots of accolades from her work from many, many, many newcomers to OpenSim.

            This isn’t a problem with open source communities. It’s a problem with humanity in general. This is why many high profile people either grow a thick skin, or learn to filter out the negative stuff, or hire someone to act as a filter for them.

            As a journalist, I’ve had decades of experience with people complaining about what I do, and have developed a three-step process for dealing with the negative stuff:

            1. Was there anything valid in the criticism?
            2. Admit it and fix it and thank them for the suggestion.
            3. Pretend that nothing else was said at all. Do not deny, do not dwell, just move on.

            When I notice that certain people ONLY have negative things to say and nothing meaningful to contribute, I just block them. Right now there are exactly two people in the whole world whose posts I never see. So it’s a win-win. They get to rail all they want. I get to stay happy. Yeay!

            I recommend the same approach for any content creator that is getting a visible profile.

            But Linda Kellie also faced a third problem. Unlike most high-profile creators, who, in the end, can expect to see some kind of tangible reward for their work, she wasn’t looking for any.

            She did not want to become a custom builder or a consultant or a designer.

            She just enjoyed the process of making things and sharing them.

            It can be very hard to keep your spirits up when all you do is help people, and they seem to hate you for it. It’s easy to get burned out.

            We, as a community, can do more to support our volunteers. (Maybe an annual award of some kind? A plaque? A tribute dinner? An awards section at the next OSCC? Maybe someone can step up and fund a prize?)

            And, of course, some volunteers can support themselves. I am a strong, STRONG proponent of the freemium model. Give stuff away to build up your brand name and credibility, and then use that to attract paying work.

            This is how it works in the WordPress community — a new design studio creates a gorgeous template and releases it out, for free, for everyone to use. Thousands of people download it and use it. If only a fraction of those users turn into paying customers, hiring that studio to customize that template, or to new custom work, then the effort has been a success.

            Everybody wins. Free templates get better and better every year, designers get their names out, and WordPress becomes the dominant content management system on the Web.

            We could have that in OpenSim. And, in fact, we’re the virtual world platform that’s currently the best positioned to have that. So I’m 100% positive that, sooner rather than later, we will get there. We will have a large community of builders and designers, creating collections that they distribute for free, under simple license terms, who then move on to do custom development work.

            After all, OpenSim is currently the least expensive and most advanced AND fastest-growing open source platform for developing virtual reality worlds.

            We’re the WWW at a time when AOL and Compuserve and other proprietary platforms are getting all the attention — yes, they may have cooler graphics, but our slow-but-steady approach just might yet win the race.

          • Han Held

            Accolades and awards are all nice and well –but I think the problem is
            much deeper than that. Linda Kellie had RL issues which certainly bled
            over into her online life; but to overly focus in on her faults is to
            miss the point.

            The opensim community can’t fix Linda’s failings, hopefully the opensim community can fix it’s own failings, though. So THAT is where most of my attention is focused.

            1)
            The “my way or the highway” attitudes need to be dropped, people need
            to adopt a higher level of “live and let live” tolerance for other
            viewpoints and other ways to use the platform.

            2)
            There needs to be a greater appreciation for open source AND OPEN SOURCE
            VALUES in the opensim scene. Right now the focus in imbalanced towards
            making money; that’s the cultural perspective and open source (and it’s
            needs) is viewed askance, when it’s not completely ignored.

            3)
            People need to stop running their grids with the same level of
            professionalism and patience of a 16 year old OP on an IRC channel.

            4)

            People need to learn that criticism and alternate viewpoints are not griefing or trolling

            5)
            The fact that most opensim-related G+ groups are “beg for entry” is a
            symptom of both 3 and 4; the cause is a paranoid and unfounded fear of
            “greifing” (and, on examination, “griefing” ends up simply meaning
            “posting things I don’t like”). That interferes with the efficient
            functioning of G+ as a support medium (look at the firestorm on opensim
            group for a very solid example of how making something “beg for entry”
            interferes with it’s efficiency as a support medium).

            Long story short; if the opensim community wants to be attractive to EITHER
            creators or (as Geir pointed out) the enterprise market, the opensim
            community needs to adapt a greater level of flexibility and tolerance
            for alternate viewpoints and needs to stop acting as if everything is an
            IRC chatroom. It needs to put a higher culture premium on cultivating Free Culture.

            We’re long past the AOL days; the web was established in 1992, Opensim should be where the web was in 2000 by now.

            But Opensim isn’t …because power issues, because pettiness, because of an unwillingness to be held accountable to a higher standard, because of an unwillingness to work with people they personally dislike.

          • Han —

            Most of the issues you bring up are self-correcting. Overtime, people will leave badly-run communities and grids in favor of better-run ones. (Remember how bad early websites looked! Hah!)

            The commercialization of OpenSim is inevitable — just as the commercial of the Web was. But commerce doesn’t drive out open source — the two can grow together. On the web, we have Amazon AND we have Wikipedia. We have giant collections of free educational resources AND we have websites sets up by retailers, consultants, and vendors of all kinds.

            We’ll have both on the hypergrid as well. And that’s okay. And people will move from one side to the other, or have feet in both camps. They will donate code at night, and code for money during the day, or donate time and building skills and content to non-profits, and sell to commercial groups.

            And customers will use freebies for some things, and buy stuff other times.

            And as to numbers 1 and 4 — people who get caught up in this stuff and get really upset when things don’t go their way and don’t contribute anything constructive will eventually tire people out and will get tuned out. After all, nobody forces us to listen to them. We have free will. (at least… I think we have free will… lol)

          • Han Held

            That’s not the argument that I’m making. I’m saying that the community needs to value and appreciate open source and the culture of sharing.

            In the 90’s, the people on the web put a value on open source, on a cultural level; they thought it was actively a good thing.

            The opensim community …doesn’t. They either tolerate its’ existence or actively talk it down.

            There’s no question that there’s room for the commercial side in opensim; but the opensim community has no INTEREST and places no VALUE in open source, and in sharing.

            That’s the difference; there’s no drive or will to create a wikipedia in opensim; they’re only interested in that which makes them money.

          • You’re kidding, right? OpenSim IS open source! OpenSim Creations wasn’t bullied out of existence — it went down because of server and backup problems!

            Even commercial grids are bending over backwards to donate code and resources back to the community.

            The Google Plus groups are filled with people sharing resources, sharing advice, even donating money.

            I haven’t had a single person complain, EVER, that I don’t charge for people to read Hypergrid Business, or that I give away scripts for free.

            Yes, some commercial creators complain about freebies. But why wouldn’t they complain about their competition? Everybody complains about their competition. (Why you, New World Notes! Your layout is obsolete and your type is too small!) It’s just what people do!

            I personally am really really pissed about the nice new hypergrid directory system that OpenSim Worlds is distributing around the hypergrid. Arrgh. i was lazy and they beat me to it. I shake my fist at them! And they let you know what the busy places are, so you can go where there are other people. I hate that! Grrr.

            Here I am, slaving away for years to create a nice big directory just chuck FULL of out-of-date listings and they come in overnight and show me up! No respect, I tell ya, no respect!

            Did I get a thank you? No! (Well, maybe, I wasn’t paying attention.)

            So now I have to make my own kiosks, and finish up the directory guide, and get the old dead listings out of Hyperica… but I’m actually excited about this. The competition is lighting a fire under me!

            And the commercialization that you’re complaining about means that people are buying ads here on Hypergrid Business, which means that I can hire researchers and programmers to do this stuff!

            And when I put together all the databases, and the scripts — I give them away. (Anyone who wants historic stats, current stats, destination lists, etc… can just email me at [email protected], and folks regularly do.)

            And nobody complains that I give away the stats.

            (Though people DO complain that i collect the stats. Oh, well — can’t please everyone!)

          • Han Held

            Opensim creations and Vanish got flak before it went down, that’s what I’m talking about.

            You say I’m complaining about commercialisation when what I’m saying is that there needs to be a cultural premium put on open source. That’s two different concepts -you’re making the same mix up that Talla usually makes, which is interesting. I’ll assume that isn’t a deliberate mis-characterization and that you genuinely don’t understand the point I’m trying to make, so I’ll write it out very simply:

            If Opensim wants Open Source Content Creators, It needs to VALUE Open Source Content creators.

            If Opensim wants another Linda Kellie, it needs to VALUE its’ Linda Kellies.

            If Opensim wants Open Source, it needs to VALUE open source.

            At NO POINT did I say “commercial is bad”
            What I SAID was “Open Source creators need to be valued”. The community needs to value BOTH.

            If I was wrong, then we wouldn’t have a revolving door of burnout -but we do.

  • Nice article highlighting Taarna, I have always found her to be very pleasant when we ran into each other at events [not lately as I don’t actually login much anymore].

    I recall chatting with her when I made one of my first free OARs, and she was most helpful.

    “But it does mean a certain … sameness … whereever you go. Linda Kellie, after all, does have a particular building style and color and texture palette.

    So it definitely caught my attention when Taarna Welles, owner of the Bubblesz grid, told me that she wanted to be the next Linda Kellie.”

    I recall Linda saying much the same thing about “sameness” but it was rather more like “everywhere I go I see my stuff” and we lol’ed. This was when we both were in Metropolis.

    Got me reminiscing a bit here. So I did a quick search and found some salient blogs about when she was leaving, which was a process that actually took quite a few months. For anyone’s pleasure who cares to read:

    http://elfclan.ning.com/profiles/blogs/hate-wins-again

    http://virtualchristine.com/2012/08/24/linda-kellie-avatar-is-deleted-the-most-famous-content-creator-in-opensim-has-left-virtual-worldsgoodbye-farewell-amen/

    https://journeymetaverse.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/linda-kellie-henson/

    When I first discovered the Open and Free Metaverse I was really very happy to finally find it. I had missed quite a bit of action happening prior, but that is ok.

    But the single most thing I loved is to find the many sharing people…The content creators, The Artists, the builders, and the sharing tech minded people…really, it just opened my eyes and was a really good thing to me.

    It is people like Linda, like Taarna, like Selea, like Jamie, like on and on and on…who have mostly put aside commercial aspects and just enjoy sharing with us all. It is, in fact, my seeing this and talking to Linda about this, that got me to start creating free terrains for the Meta…and it is one of my most busy blog pages to this day, when I hardly say anything about it anymore.

    So I thank you all, and I think I speak for the majority, WE thank you all…xoxoxoxox

  • Serene Jewell

    I’ve been on a little mini-vacation and missed this conversation. I just wanted to add my two cents. I see a lot of kindness and helping and giving in Opensim. Take a look at the conversations in the G+ Opensim Virtual group. If you ask a question, you will get thoughtful answers. When I travel around with the Hypergrid Safari or our own Metaverse Tours, I see all kinds of helping, thoughtful people. There is a ton of free opensource material out there and it is growing rapidly. Blender tutorials are common on G+. People like Chic Aeon and Aine Caoimhe and places like Waymarker in Kitely (where I will soon be teaching intro to Blender!) are growing the community of content creators just as fast as we can. I see opensource folks like Fred Buchenhaus of outworldz.com and others giving freely of their time and scripts and content ALL THE TIME. I will admit that I am second or third wave OpenSim. I missed a lot of the early drama. But I treasure the ability to send a newbie to the Linda Kellie mall and do it at least a few times a week. Thank you Linda! If there are specific ways that we can value and support opensource content creators, let’s do it. Meanwhile, thank you, Taarna for these awesome boots!