ReactionGrid released a groups module for OpenSim this week and announced plans to upgrade to the next version of OpenSim “early next year.”
According to its announcement, ReactionGrid’s group module will be rolled out to all region on ReactionGrid over the next two weeks. ReactionGrid doesn’t just run its one public OpenSim grid — it also runs more than 100 private-label grids for customers, including the fast-growing education-focused JokaydiaGrid.
Owners of the private-label hosted grids who want the new groups functionality will need to contact ReactionGrid for pricing and scheduling.
According to ReactionGrid CTO Chris Hart, ReactionGrid’s module works with the o.6.9 version of OpenSim, which is the version currently deployed on ReactionGrid’s main grid and client grids.
“The majority of our work with OpenSim to date has been working on management tools for our customers,” said Hart. “Groups have been the number one missing feature from our grids for quite some time, and we wanted to do it right.”
The new module was created with the help of .Net developer Kurt Evenepoel, Hart added.
The module will be upgraded to the 0.7 version of OpenSim when ReactionGrid upgrades, which, she said, will be “some time early next year.”
OpenSim version 0.7 is the most recent version of OpenSim, and, unlike 0.6.9, supports media-on-a-prim, meshes, and the more secure Hypergrid 1.5 teleportion protocol. OpenSim 0.6.9 uses the less-secure Hypergrid 1.0 protocol. The two are not compatible, so ReactionGrid users can only teleport out to a small fraction of the grids running on the OpenSim platform.
Many grids, including OSGrid, the largest, have already switched to OpenSim 0.7, but the upgrade wasn’t without it’s hiccups. ReactionGrid is waiting for the bugs to be worked out and the testing to be complete before upgrading its clients, who tend to be corporations and educational institutions that value stability.
ReactionGrid’s isn’t the first groups module for OpenSim.
“OpenSim doesn’t have any built in groups module but there are a couple of third party ones, listed at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Feature_Matrix#Users,” said OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey, who is also a freelance OpenSim consultant. “ReactionGrid’s module will be a welcome additional choice, in my opinion.”
According to ReactionGrid’s Hart, the company needed a groups module that went beyond just OpenSim.
“We found the Flotsam groups module a super example of a basic groups implementation, but it was not quite what we wanted to use,” she said. “The main driver for us was that we wanted a solution that we could use for other projects and platforms.”
ReactionGrid also offers the Jibe virtual world platform, a browser-based system that uses the Unity plugin.
“Our server piece is a web service that is contacted by region servers,” she said. “We’ve only just put the module live on a handful of our main regions, so we’re going to put it through as much testing as we can before we release to our customers over the next couple of weeks.”
ReactionGrid is a for-profit company, and could choose to keep the new groups module private, but has decided to donate it to the open source community. The source code will be released in January, the company said in its announcement.
“We have not had a lot of time to give back to the community over the past few years,” she added, “But we are strong supporters of the OpenSimulator project, and we felt this was a good opportunity to give something back.”