The results of the 2018 OpenSim sentiment survey are in, and the responses are, in general more optimistic than pessimistic about OpenSim’s future, and in general planned to more active this year.
Readers were nearly twice as optimistic as pessimistic about OpenSim — 48 percent said that they were optimistic or very optimistic, while 28 percent said they were pessimistic or very pessimistic.
But the difference was even starker when asked whether they planned to be more active this year — 61 percent said they expected to be more active or much more active this year.
Respondents were, in general, more satisfied than not with the technical development of OpenSim and the ecosystem of grids, people, and content. However, they were a bit happier with the ecosystem than with the technical development.
About 45 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the ecosystem, compared to 27 percent who said they were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied.
However, when it comes to technical development less than 38 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied, while 36 percent said they were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied.
One result that surprised me was how few people thought that virtual reality was important to the future of OpenSim.
Only 15 percent said that VR was very important, while 26 percent said that VR was not important at all to the future of OpenSim.
Respondents also had mixed feelings about the progress made in supporting VR on the platform, though slightly more — 45 percent — were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied. About 38 percent said that they were satisfied or very satisfied.
I also asked people about what they did in OpenSim.
Here again the results surprised me.
The vast majority of respondents — 73 percent — considered themselves to be content creators.
That was more than the 62 percent who said they were social users.
(People could select more than one response.)
In third place, with 38 percent of respondents, was helping with in-world support, organizing or marketing.
People were also encouraged to leave comments about their feelings about OpenSim.
There were several people who complained about too much adult content, and the lack of a roadmap for OpenSim development.
The following is slightly abbreviated representative selection of the comments. Comments that included swearing have been removed.
“As with all open-source projects, developers come and go. I would like to see a bit of an update with the OpenSim website. Is there a team for that?”
“Better fix the bugs, so that you have a very good version of OpenSim, then thinking about VR.”
“Commercial OpenSim … has no future. Amateur or hobby OpenSim has a future in much the same way that ham radio had …and I think that’s a good thing, personally.”
“I believe, if the platform is not carefully prepared for it, VR can have much negative impact on OpenSim.”
“I don’t believe OpenSim’s future is really there. I think that it is a niche and we might get new people and I think there will be some development. But I don’t think making a new viewer, adding VR — which the community really doesn’t seem to care about — or a web based viewer is going to change any of this. It is a niche and the users here will stay around and new people will come and some people will leave.”
“I just think it is time to stop thinking about how to make the software more adaptive to others which will push out current user base, but rather keep alive and patch and make new features that are within the realm of what we have currently. This is just one of the things that have caused me to start moving away from OpenSim and onto other projects that I find interesting, because people are trying to make it into things that it is not really meant to be.”
“I really think that OpenSim has halted in terms of production. The same issues are not being fixed. You see a mis-match of grids on different versions. The OpenSim development community itself is a mess. You go and report issues and they don’t seem to have priorities to fix things. It seems like OpenSim needs its own viewer to get any better and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It costs too much money and time to develop such a viewer not to mention OpenSim would probably have to be rewritten. Hypergrid is so clunky and messy and buggy. Things are not stable every upgrade breaks things which cost money to be fixed. I don’t see the use in spending as much money and as much time as I was in OpenSim any more due to this. Look at the big OpenSim virtual worlds they are struggling and also don’t really have anywhere the numbers of people Second Life does. The community feels very small you see the same faces and same people everywhere not many new faces. The OpenSim scripting engine is still lacking it is no where near Second Life scripting engine in terms of compatibility or functionality. The other big gripe and downfall is security. OpenSim is very unsecure running it is a security nightmare. Its dangerous to run OpenSim in a production environment despite a lot still do it. This year I will be spending a lot less on OpenSim and virtual worlds in general.”
“I think OpenSim will need more work but the main thing is a viewer that is what we need most to make it grow.
If by VR you mean headsets, I do not believe they are important at all, not everyone can use them after all. I feel the latest fork of OpenSim (0.9) is akin to what Google did to the Oculus Rifts in that anything before it is now unusable with it, as far as real code improvements that have been made. Any real improvement for OpenSim cannot come at the expense of the many improvements that others have done…improvements that are for more critical.”
“More grids need to take a vocal stand against botted content.”
“Much of the OpenSim social networking off-grid is at times toxic. People feel too entitled to free … [stuff] and the spirit of pulling together is gone.”
“OpenSim grids are too spread apart in technology, currency and politics, so without a strong federation or unification I find out Second Life is the place to get back for stability and social reasons.”
“OpenSim has not done anything to keep up with the new VR platforms. This is going to cost it dearly I’m afraid. It is the consequence of being too reliant on Linden Lab’s viewer. OpenSim needed to have become 100 percent independent of Second Life by creating its own fully dedicated OpenSim viewer, but it failed to do this. The community and developers preferred to keep it as a third-rate Second Life clone instead. The only way OpenSim will have a future is if they finally make a new viewer that is OpenSim-only, because it is only this way that we will be able to add new features that Second Life won’t have, like full VR support. I love OpenSim, always have, but the complacency and unwillingness to move away from Linden Lab’s shadow has always been disappointing to me. The consequences of the developers’ bad decision-making and lack of foresight are going to become apparent now that so many other virtual world alternatives are popping up, including another open source one, High Fidelity.
OpenSim is still way too technical for most consumer and users to handle. There are too many complications to make it as smooth for the user and consumer as Second Life is. Overall, the culture of OpenSim is still too dependent upon grid operators, server developers, and content creators but without advertising and making the platform enticing for users and consumers, what is the purpose?”
“OpenSim looks like its getting left behind. Could have been the de-facto standard but looks like Unity based platforms are starting to overtake. granted that there is very little funding.”
“OpenSim needs to really stop being the Second Life shadow or create a new more modern technology.”
“Personally I have become less active in OpenSim but I still maintain my grid on a well resourced VPS. I’m more active in Second Life again now since most of the role players I associate with still seem to want to stay their with their inventory. So I have three sims in Second Life and 27 sims … [on my] grid including a 16 region var for cross-grid events… I can’t say how long I will remain committed to OpenSim because I do think that the newer technology is progressing. I don’t see anything replacing hypergrid yet though and that remains it’s strongest feature in my view and I still want that kind of freedom in my virtual experience.”
“Re VR support as I think its a waste of time, I am very satisfied that nothing seems to be happening on that front.”
“Still too damned much nudity and focus on porn spreading from Second Life…Â Too many times in public events or locales people interact in a sexual way.Â I, as a male, am here to create content, not to be lambasted by mesh breasts with mesh clothing that leaves barely a thing left on imagination or to a further extent the amount of sexual harassment in OpenSim…”
“For the sake of OpenSim, tone down the sex in public.”
“Technical development is still lagging. The development team remains a dysfunctional collection of hobby coders totally disregarding industry best practice around testing, quality assurance, agile coding, and platform to name but a few topics. That being said, the OpenSimulator application is much more stable now than it probably has ever been. Over the last year or so I have noticed much more growth of smaller grids and micro-grids, probably helped along by the Dreamworldz installer package. Why a functional installer is not parceled with the app is yet another forehead slapper. However, an economy is slowly building in fits and starts as evidenced by the spread of Gloebits. The future belongs to an entirely portable personal inventory completely free of any grid IMHO.
The OpenSim community being diverse as it is, needs to be more welcoming to commerce. Granted, the OpenSim community was founded on the principle of making OpenSim free and opensource. Free and opensource is a wonderful concept, but the many talented creators who have purchased licensed software, cannot always offer free. I personally offer both but have found I am blacklisted in the OpenSim community because I sell. This is unfortunate because more creators would create in OpenSim communities if they were welcomed for their talent. Afterall, most creators who sell content give much more away free.”
“The Wiki needs to be updated. Detailed information on how the server works with viewers. Updated links for content.”
“VR is not the answer. A team of developers that behaves a little more professionally that users and that businesses and other organisations can trust is key. So… documenting a roadmap with input from users and businesses, and sticking with it; not going off on personal projects and prejudices; looking at what bugs need fixing and working on them systematically; being prepared to properly collaborate with viewer teams… Updating the OpenSim wiki might be helpful too; broken links and outdated information do not suggest a very professional organisation.”