Many virtual worlds, including Second Life, OpenLife Grid, ReactionGrid and many others, keep the entire grid behind a corporate firewall, and restrict access.
OSGrid, however, is wide open. Anybody can install OpenSim on a server – or, like I did, on a home PC – and fire up a region or two, and connect it to the OSGrid in any open spot.
OSGrid is the largest grid in the OpenSim universe, with over 15,000 registered users and more than 2,000 regions.
According to grid director Charles Krinke, there’s a reason for what sometimes seems like utter chaos.
Opening up the grid to all comers helps connect the developers working on OpenSim directly to the users, he said. ‘To be able to test, deploy, report bugs, and help develop OpenSim – by opening up the whole thing and saying, ‘Hey, anybody in the place, hook up your region to OSGrid, no charge, no problem.’ It gives us a large quantity of folks to help test.”
The second reason to open the grid, he added, is to help create a community around this new platform.
With freedom come problems, he admitted. Sometimes, vandals will come in and deface other people’s property, for example – the same way that hackers sometimes vandalize websites.
But for the most part, OSGrid tends to favor freedom over strict control. People who don’t like it can start their own grids.
Or they can pick a spot far from the OSGrid mainland – way out in the middle of the ocean – and set up island kingdoms.
“I know there are communities from Germany and France who are away from the mainland,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re doing – I don’t even speak the language.”