AviWorlds offers custom viewers for $125

AviWorlds 1 -- Alex Pomposelli_013

Welcome region on the AviWorlds grid.

AviWorlds, a grid best known for closing repeatedly with no warning, is on a mission to rehabilitate its public image as a member of the OpenSim community.

The grid has hired OpenSim developer Quill Littlefeather, has begun donating code and patches to the OpenSimulator project, and is offering custom viewers to other grids at $125 a pop.

New developer

“I have employed a new programmer and he has fixed and made a new search and classifieds module that makes it possible to be charged,” AviWorlds grid owner Alexsandro Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business. “We have submitted all these patches. We will be submitting lots of patches to the OpenSim devs.”

Quill Littlefeather headshot

Quill Littlefeather

You can already see some of Littlefeather’s work on the OpenSimulator mantis page, which is where developers can submit patches. He has also created standalone modules, such as this module to load release notes from a web page and the OpenSim Avatar Archiver.

His code to enable Web-based welcome messages has already been signed off on by core developer Crista Lopes, also known as Diva Canto, the inventor of the hypergrid.

The most recent donation is a patch for allowing users to pay for classified ads.

“Adding classifieds on money enabled regions would not charge,” Littlefeather wrote in the code submission on the OpenSimulator mantis site on Thursday. The patch also included a fix for land not updating land traffic.

He is also working on fixing search issues in OpenSim, Pomposelli said.

Custom viewers

Many grids, especially closed grids, commercial grids, school grids and business grids would like to have their own viewers so that users don’t have to fiddle around trying to configure a standard viewer to start on their grid.

Alexsandro Pomposelli

Alexsandro Pomposelli

In the future, there are plans to have a way to launch a viewer via a URL that automatically sets the loginURI for a grid.

Until then, grids have had to manually code their viewers, or hire viewer developers to do it for them. Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of viewer developers with time to do this kind of coding.

AviWorlds is now offering custom version of the Firestorm viewer, pre-configured for any particular grid, for just $125.

Pomposelli promises a 48-hour turn-around time for these viewers.

Grids looking to order one can contact him at [email protected] to request a custom viewer.

“We are already taking orders,” he said.

 

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.

  • Sounds great.. could be a very nice service for some grids to allow them to offer custom viewers. We have someone doing our viewers for us now, but I’m interested in knowing more.. contact me when you get time?

  • Alex Ferraris

    Thanks Maria for the article.
    I need to clarify one thing here. I did not close or fail repeatedly. AviWorlds took many steps to get where it is getting at the moment. I never saw this as failures and yes as steps. We live and we learn. Now for this to be constantly reminded here as a bad or negative past of AviWorlds is totally unfair of you Maria. Many grids have closed and never came back! I did! Giving up is one thing but trying again and again is another. I think the difference between these two situations need to be clarified here.
    AviWorlds is now running on its own servers powered by Avi-Labs. It is climbing in traffic and yes I am coming from behind but I am here and I am not hiding either. Not changing my name. You come to aviworlds grid you get me Alex Ferraris nothing else.
    Its time to let this constant reminder go and see AviWorlds for what it is now. Past is past it does not exist. If you are able to register in one of aviworlds past attempts let me know because you have invented the time machine!

  • Alex Ferraris

    Thanks Maria for the article.
    Quill Littlefeather and Josh are now part of the team and they are doing a wonderful job.

  • skylifegrid

    I have been apart of the team from the start not just starting !

    • Alex Ferraris

      Yes Sir. Josh has been a lot of help! We are on the right page and now AviWorlds is growing full of people.

  • Frank Corsi

    I know negativity is strong in the news articles here, but I would like to say the story should start off with — Alex a man who has invested considerable time and money into the opensim grid he now has perfected over time with many great features for his members and visitors!

    • Alex Ferraris

      Thank you Frank!

  • We discussed the $125 custom viewer deal on In-World Review Saturday, and Mal asked about what happens when an update comes out. Does the grid have to buy new custom viewers?

    I checked with Alex, and he said that viewer can be upgraded and the grid settings retained.

    • Quill Littlefeather

      The price is for the Compiling and re branding to the viewer not the viewer it’s self, the viewer does have to be compiled as the artwork is in the visual studio resource file that gets used during compiling into the main binary. Also when a update comes out all they have to do is email there request for the update and it will be given free.

  • Alex Ferraris

    AVIWORLD is getting more and more croweded !

  • Cinder Biscuits

    “Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of viewer developers with time to do this kind of coding.”

    Is there really a shortage though? I can think of three or four people off the top of my head who do this work happily who have five, six, seven years of development time invested in the viewer. They surely deserve a little compensation. It’s just not an opportunistic way for them to make money like this seems to be. Frankly, I’m disappointed to see someone with no attachment to the viewer development community hawking our ten years of work for $125 a pop. I would also warn against doing this type of thing without a commercial FMOD license as this clearly falls outside the scope of non-commercial software.

    • > disappointed to see someone with no attachment to the viewer development community hawking our ten years of work

      Let’s not fool ourselves here but the grunt work of viewer development has been done by Linden Lab by paid-for developers, and the OS support and some functionality has been added on top of that.

      I am also not sure how this is very different from the Avination viewer or Inworldz viewer that were customized version of said work years ago, and for commercial grids. I am sure that was paid for directly or indirectly by those grids.

      • Cinder Biscuits

        Most of the viewer is, in fact, written by Linden Lab, yes, but the Phoenix-Firestorm Viewer, an as example, contains over 13,000 additional commits (about 40 years of work-effort based on the COCOMO Model.) Is this a trivial amount of work for you? It’s certainly a lot more than zero commits if we’re going to go into specific numbers, and hundreds of hours have gone into OpenSim compatibility by myself, personally. Trust me when I say that incorporating OpenSim compatibility into the Second Life viewer is not a simple task, and it’s ignorant to discount that effort. The fact that a corporation oversees and backs the majority of the work doesn’t make it any less of an open source project. Nor does it roll back the clock on the time an open source developer has spent writing code. 10 years of work is 10 years of work.

        To be sure, Avination and Inworldz are branded viewer, but that’s about where the comparison ends, and I take no issue with viewer branding or rolling your own software. Neither Avination nor Inworldz sell their viewer (and I wouldn’t have a problem with it if they chose to!) Both have contributed fixes and code back upstream, not that it’s even a requirement to do so. Hell, Melanie is on the Singularity team roster, but like I said, it’s disappointing to see such brazenly opportunistic carpetbagging.

        • Using open source software for commercial gain has nothing to do with dismissing the developer’s effort.

          You don’t see the developers of Linux, apache, postgresql, mysql, webitkit, openSSL just to mention a few weep and sob because there is made profit based on their work – even massive profit. Profit made by people and businesses who have contributed zero to the development process. Even most OpenSim grid owners, commercial or not, have never contributed to the viewer or server development.

          If you extended your thinking to all the customization and module development that is made on top of apache for instance, you would wipe out a very substantial consultancy environment worldwide leaving people out of work.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Gier, nothing in these $125 viewers is customized or extended. It’s simply a repack. Your argument falls flat on its face, and if you don’t think other people have a problem with this type of oportunism, you’re blind. If you really don’t think this is the case, why don’t you hop on the Gimp mailing list and ask how they feel about their software being bundled with adware and redistributed by SourceForge? Hey, why not, right?

            As I *clearly* stated I have no problems with people using open source software for commercial gain, but I do *find it disappointing that someone would repackage software they make no effort to be a part in in order to turn a buck.* Try reading what I said again and not misrepresent me.

          • The way I think about it is they take on a heck of a support liability for a pittance. For the grid owner, unless they keep their flavor of the viewer updated, they only do their users a disservice and the users will turn elsewhere.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            True, I think a smarter way forward is what I’ve been working on recently in my spare time to finalize the hop:// protocol to make adding and connecting opensim grids to current and future viewers easier to do. Instead of shipping a viewer with a preconfigured setup, one would simply click a link launching the viewer where the grid info is populated and pertinent settings loaded. I think as Diva’s OnLook extensions mature that this becomes an even richer way of customizing your user’s experience than even viewer feature development which can be time consuming for developers and expensive for their backers.

          • Sounds like a good initiative 😉

          • I second that! I would so LOVE to see a way to launch a viewer from a URL — even better if it is able to pull up the right grid — and even better than that if there’s a way to specify a starting location!

            (And even better still if it is able to specify the avatar name and password, so that you can log into your avatar right from a website… )

          • Actually you already can – the problem for OpenSim is that infrastructure is missing.

            For SL you can launch the viewer and have it to set your login location from the web-based destination guide, from the web based SL map, from links in merchant pages on the marketplace or using the web based version of SL search. http://search.secondlife.com

            I don’t see any particular reason why you can’t mark locations as bookmarks in your web browser.

          • Cinder —

            I’m not understanding where the problem is. Last time I’ve asked vendors what it would cost to have a viewer customized, I was quoted prices in the area of $250.

            It does take a certain amount of skill to customize a viewer, plus time, plus the most annoying part — dealing with the customer. They’re charging for the time — not for the viewer.

            Just like you would pay someone to customize a WordPress template for you, or set up a custom Drupal install.

            This stuff takes work. Yes, it involves open source code — but pretty much EVERYTHING these days involves open source code that a lot of people have worked on.

            I’m sure that ANY grid would be MORE than happy to hire Firestorm developers directly to do the customization for them — not only because they’d know the viewer better, but also to give back to the project. And, also, to avoid supporting a competing grid!

            Ideally, I’d like to see a group of viewer devs get together, organize themselves, put up a website, and go into business selling consulting services — customizing viewers for schools, companies, commercial grids, etc…

            (Just like you have a lot of WordPress and Drupal shops out there doing custom work.)

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Maria, one of the reasons you’re quoted prices that high is because of the licensing cost of the libraries included in the viewer. Other than the now defunct Imprudence viewer, all others rely on the non-free FMODEx or FMODStudio libraries for sound. This library has a non-commercial license, but if the viewer is being sold or even if the viewer is being used in conjunction with a service that incurs charges, one must obtain a commercial license (starting at around $500 for your game studio’s second title.) Most freelancers will skirt under this because in the end it’s your grid who is distributing the software and ultimately you who will deal with any licensing issues and lawsuits arising from GPL violation and license infringement. If the viewer is code signed (strongly recommended), the studio would also need to have purchased a code signing certificate which ranges from $780 to $2000 USD to sign their binaries.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Sorry you have no grounds. Simple. I can charge for a service. Im not charging for the viewer. The viewer is distributed freely already and many grids that are commercial already redistribute this viewer on their sites.
            Again im not charging for the viewer. We are charging for the time and skills to pre configure this viewer or any other viewer.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            Alex, you’re distributing software plain and simple, and you must obey copyright law. There’s no skirting around it. If you’re delivering someone something, it’s no longer a service, it’s a product. From FMOD’s software license:

            COMMERCIAL USAGE (FMOD EX AND FMOD STUDIO)
            ——————————————
            IF THE PRODUCT THAT USES FMOD IS INTENDED TO GENERATE INCOME, VIA DIRECT SALES
            OR INDIRECT REVENUE (SUCH AS ADVERTISING, DONATIONS, CONTRACT FEE) THEN THE
            DEVELOPER MUST APPLY TO FIRELIGHT TECHNOLOGIES FOR A COMMERCIAL LICENSE (UNLESS
            THE USER QUALIFIES FOR AN FMOD STUDIO ‘INDIE LICENSE’).
            TO APPLY FOR THIS LICENSE WRITE TO [email protected] WITH THE RELEVANT DETAILS.

            REDISTRIBUTION LICENSE (FMOD EX AND FMOD STUDIO)
            ————————————————
            IF THE USER WISHES TO REDISTRIBUTE FMOD AS PART OF AN ENGINE OR TOOL SOLUTION,
            THE USER MUST APPLY TO FIRELIGHT TECHNOLOGIES TO BE GRANTED A ‘REDISTRIBUTION
            LICENSE’.
            TO APPLY FOR THIS LICENSE WRITE TO [email protected] WITH THE RELEVANT DETAILS.

          • Cinder —

            Aren’t they just selling their time, though? The resulting software — the custom viewer — is not being sold. It’s given away for free. In fact, since the original viewer is distributed under a GPL license, so is the derivative custom viewer.

            How is this any different from a grid using their own employees to create a custom viewer, or hiring a freelancer to do it?

          • Not different at all. The Avination viewer is an example.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            I did answer this question, but it seems the answer never got through moderation.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Ok. I will discontinue the service. As usual the opensim community will be the one with a loss.
            And all opensim hosting companies now need to stop selling their services because they are redistributing opensim and charging for it. And every grid that has a rebranded viewer needs to stop their viewer downloads

          • Cinder Biscuits

            This has nothing to do with OpenSim. It’s the FMODEx library that carries a commercial license.

          • Replace it with Quicktime and other Apple frameworks for the Mac version of the viewer. Problem solved there.

          • Alex Ferraris

            I said I am discontinuing the service. Period. Fine. I wasnt making any money on it anyway. Most of the money was to go to the programmer. I also did not sell any yet. So you can now be at peace Cinder.

          • Cinder —

            So if a grid is not selling the viewer, but giving it away for free — and the basic membership to the grid is also free — then does the grid still need to buy a commercial license?

            What about non-profit, school and personal grids?

          • Alex Ferraris

            Ok so Cinder.You want me to provide this service without any payments?
            As I have explained before; we are not charging for a viewer. We are charging for our branding service. The pre configuration for your grid period.
            But then again. Its AviWorlds and if it was another name it would be ok.

          • Cinder Biscuits

            No Alex, I don’t expect anybody to do anything for free, and I love AviWorlds, for the record. 🙂 Your tenacity to try new things is always a breath of fresh air when so many clutch to old business models.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Thank you Cinder.
            Look I will discontinue this service because I really cant charge less. I. is not easy and a programmer needs to get paid.
            No one offered this service and as you said it yourself i was trying to come up with something new. 🙁

        • Alex Ferraris

          Again. I am not selling viewers.
          You want a viewer pre configured to your grids name? Thats what im selling. The work of doing all that.
          Same as any hosting company charging to host your grid and even placing your grids name on it.

    • Cinder —

      Can you please send me an email with contact info for the developers? I regularly get requests from people and have struck out in the past on trying to find developers to help them.

      My email is [email protected].

      Also, if any developer — viewer, OpenSim, scripting, etc… — wants a free listing in our vendor directory, please let me know! As long as you have a website — or a blog — or a LinkedIn profile — anything, really, I can link the listing to — I can add you Hypergrid Business so that folks can find you.

      Thanks!

    • Alex Ferraris

      Ok attention all opensim hosting companies. You must stop charging for your services too.
      Because you did not create opensim and u are making money out of it.
      You need all kinds of licenses .
      Grids that charge money for regions need to stop because you all are using a free opensource code. Cant change the name and cant even use Firestorm viewer because you are charging money for your services and the viewer becomes part of it all.

  • Alex Ferraris

    I think many developments and help are precluded to be happening because of people like this. Opensim is opensim because SL gave the viewer code.
    Opensim is a product of reverse engineering of SL.
    So now I cant name my grid AviWorlds because Im using an open-source code?
    All the opensim HOSTING COMPANIES now have to stop charging for their services?

    • Alex —

      It is a very common misconception that OpenSim exists because SL opensourced the viewer code. This is NOT CORRECT.

      OpenSim is built on top of LibOpenMetaverse, formerly LibSecondLife, a library of messages sent between the viewer and the server. It was originally created by bot developers who wanted to have automated bots in Second Life. OpenSim was built around these messages.

      OpenSim developers were not even allowed to look at the viewer code for the first few years of the project because the licenses were incompatible. The viewer is released under GPL license, which is VERY contagious and does not allow derivative commercial use. (I think this is where Cinder is concerned that you’re selling a custom viewer, as opposed to selling consulting services.)

      OpenSim is distributed under a business-friendly BSD license, specifically so that people would be able to build commercial packages on top of it (as IBM and ReactionGrid have done in the past).

      So if you wanted to, you could repackage or rebrand OpenSim and sell it.

      Hosting is a separate issue — with hosting, you’re actually selling computer time, not OpenSim itself (though under the BSD license you can do both).

      • Alex Ferraris

        Ok Maria. anyway I am discontinuing the service. No more viewer costumization. Humans are so selfish…geeeessss…

  • Alex Ferraris

    ok everyone. Im discontinuing the servce.

    • Do you have to recompile the viewer or is it a matter or replacing some of the artwork, strings and urls in xml files and maybe icons and such that are stored as loadable resources?

      What I am asking is; is it like making a skin for the viewer such as already exist and that is installed without using the source code or recompiling?

  • gabegw11

    @mariakorolov:disqus I think you should remove this article it is a lot of mis information and can cause some very big legal problems..

  • I just call it QuickTime out of old habit, but you know what I mean. By the frameworks that drives sound and video in every iOS and OS X application out there.

  • Carlos Loff

    Im pretty sure Alex is not becoming rich in the short term at least – His prices and discounts are the most competitive and the performance seams to go along in good shape – He is developing a customer base, a trustable name and believing in the future of OS – He wants people to feel good and enjoy and create most of all – Not just come and drop the $ – Im all for license´s respect and can´t add to the discussion about that issue but give the Man a break and understand he has to make some coins somewhere to keep his motivation and I deeply hope He gets the right income for the right effort – GO GO ALEX

  • Alex Ferraris

    I deleted my commentz here because i dont want to be involved in a continous discussion with no end.
    Im not selling viewers, the people who employ us to place their login URI and logo in these viewers do not sell them either.
    Most viewers take a long time to recognize a grid and place them under their grid lists. So the not so fortunate grids are left behind.
    The viewers are already distributrd. for free and will continue to be.
    My work my time i charge.
    Thanks All.