On this day in 2008, Crista Lopes, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, sent an email to the OpenSim developers mailing list.
“I started working on an extension to OpenSim that makes it work in peer-to-peer mode… I’m really excited to say that this is working!” she wrote.
The email went on to detail some behind-the-scenes details of how the hypergrid was implemented, and where folks could download the code and try it out.
By the spring of 2009, several major grids were hypergrid-enabled, including OSgrid.
By November of that year, of the 33 known public OpenSim grids, 22 were hypergrid-enabled.
This month, we have 348 public OpenSim grids in our database
Only about two dozen of these grids are not hypergrid enabled.
The hypergrid accounts for 92 percent of OpenSim’s active monthly users, and 95 percent of its land area.
Meanwhile, our database doesn’t include hundreds — possibly thousands — of grids run by individuals, schools and companies without a lot of fanfare, often behind a firewall. These grids, too, are often hypergrid-enabled, either full time, or just when the hypergrid is needed.
For example, a school might turn on hypergrid during setup, to help bring in content and staff for building projects, or for staff training, then turn it off when classes are in session.
The hypergrid is the virtual world equivalent of the World Wide Web, allowing anyone to put up a world and connect it to a whole metaverse of other people’s worlds.
OpenSim is the only platform that does this. Meanwhile, other virtual world and virtual reality platforms are closed ecosystems.
Here’s hoping that OpenSim’s example will be followed sooner, rather than later, with the coming virtual reality metaverse.