Accurate? My Guesses for OpenSim in 2009 Reviewed December 31, 2009Posted by justincc in opensim, opinion, secondlife, virtual-environments, virtual-worlds.
Hi folks. I thought that I would spend a little bit of time today assessing the guesses I made for OpenSim back at the start of 2009. It might be less than usually coherent since I’ve been struck down by a cold today, so please forgive that. Next year I’ll stick my head out again and make some more guesses for 2010 :). Anyway, here goes:
- OpenSim will remain in alpha for the first half of 2009, and probably for the second half as well.
CORRECT. This wasn’t a hard call. For a project with over half a million lines of code, I don’t think that 2 to 3 years of development is a long time. It’s also notable that one of my missing feature examples from the start of 2009 – “allowing rez/derez of collections of objects” – is still not implemented. However, I would say that there has been a reduction in hard race condition bugs.
- Lots more public OpenSim based grids will appear but growth will be steady rather than spectacular.
INCORRECT/CORRECT. Here’s where I wish that I’d get a copy of the OpenSim grid list page from the start of 2009. The earliest version of the page still available in the wiki history is 04:55, 23 May 2009. On this date, 57 grids were listed. As of today, there are 59 grids in this list. Other possible sources (such as GridHop and YoSims) are less comprehensive and don’t provide historical data.
Of course, the grid list is an extremely inaccurate proxy. We only have ‘data’ for 7 months of the year. People can put any numbers they like in this list and some people don’t even know about it. But it is true that some individual grids, such as ReactionGrid, have grown significantly. For instance, Kyle Gomboy of ReactionGrid is quoted in an October 2009 piece on The Metaverse Journal that
“On growth, since launch in January we’re up to almost 5,000 users platform wide, with over 60 independent servers and almost 500 sims platform wide, 150+ here on our world. So extrapolating to next year, we could be pretty huge hehe….”
Maria Korolov appears to have some region numbers but these are from a point in time and aren’t useful for comparative purposes. So it’s pretty difficult to tell but on balance I’m going to venture that the absolute number of public grids has not grown significantly. However, some individual grids (such as Reaction Grid and OSGrid) have probably steadily expanded. I’d be very interested in any feedback from grid operators on this.
- The leading Second Life viewer by a very large margin will remain the Linden Labs Second Life viewer and its derivatives.
CORRECT. On reflection, what I meant to say was that the leading OpenSim Second Life viewer would continue to be the Linden Labs viewer and its derivatives such as Meerkat, Imprudence and Hippo (though I’m informed that nobody is currently working on the Hippo viewer).
From personal anecdotal experience I think that it is the case that Linden Lab derived Second Life viewers remain the most popular for accessing OpenSim-based Second Life grids. Some interesting new viewers have appeared such as 3di’s Rei viewer which can operate as a web browser plugin. Realxtend also started work on their new Naali viewer this year – a viewer rewrite that is not based on the Linden Labs codebase (unlike their previous viewer). LookingGlass is also an interesting active project.
However, none of these have hit the core OpenSim big time (which is an extremely relative term considering the embryonic size of OpenSim). Rei is oriented towards support for their own 3di OpenSim platform and isn’t yet compatible with Second Life features such as avatars
and textures(actually it is now compatible with textures from looking at this YouTube movie and Zaki’s blog post – many thanks to JeanRicard Broek for the correction). Naali is too new to have had any impact and is also oriented towards realXtend’s modrex extension of the OpenSim platform. LookingGlass is still a fairly new one person project right now.
Of the viewers that Adam highlighted last in December 2008, none of them appear to be active (Xenki was last updated in April 2009, OpenViewer in February 2009 and IdealistViewer back in November 2008).
- Open Grid Protocol (OGP) efforts will remain almost at a standstill.
CORRECTISH. As far as I know, OGP has effectively morphed into VWRAP (The last update to the OGP draft documents was in October 2008 last year.). VWRAP is still alive so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, particularly as standards documents always take a long time to produce. But it’s hard to get excited about a process that hasn’t yet produced anything except a draft charter. It’s notable that few OpenSim developers are participating in the mailing list discussions.
- Experiments with Hypergrid and similar cross grid architectures will continue but will not become mainstream.
CORRECT. There has been continuing interest in the Hypergrid idea but it’s impossible to secure assets where any third party simulator is available for teleport, as outlined in the linked blogpost. Diva continues to work on the Hypergrid infrastructure but she has also started work on an ‘HG2’ Grider project. HG2 is a second generation Hypergrid architecture where assets and other important data are delivered directly to the client rather than via a potentially malicious region simulator middleman. In Grider’s case, this trick is managed via a proxy that wraps around existing viewers. This project seems to be still in its early days.
- Linden Labs will launch their “grid behind a firewall” product but this won’t significantly reduce interest in OpenSim.
Don’t know. Guessing the release of Second Life Enterprise (SLE) itself wasn’t exactly hard, particularly as it had already been unofficially announced. But I don’t think that there’s enough data to tell whether SLE has hurt or hindered OpenSim at this early stage of open-source virtual environment platforms. All I can say is that I haven’t personally detected any notable decline in interest in OpenSim compared to 2008, hopefully for the reasons outlined in January’s guess 🙂
- There will be growing corporate interest in OpenSim.
CORRECTISH. I would say that Intel has significantly stepped up its involvement – OpenSim was featured as part of this year’s SC09 SuperComputing conference as part of their 3D Internet ‘thrust area’ :). They’ve contributed a fair number of patches and now have two people in the core OpenSim development team.
On the other hand, IBM’s direct involvement in the OpenSim codebase has declined with the absence (temporarily?) of IBM’s OpenSim representative Sean Dague as of September 2009. We haven’t seen any other big companies step into OpenSim yet, though one always hears rumours of skunkworks projects in some big organizations. On balance I would say that there has been uptick in interest.
- Later on in the year, products using OpenSim as part of an application will start to beta.
INCORRECT. There have been occasional projects of this nature, such as Shaspa.
But these don’t appear to have caught on(actually, Oliver Goh of Shaspa e-mailed me to let me know that the project is still very much alive. For instance, they’ll be at CES in Las Vegas on 7th – 11th of January and there will be a panel discussing the Shaspa framework).
I think that 2009 was still too early for this considering the alpha nature of the OpenSim codebase and the lack of any published standards for intergrid or grid-viewer communication protocols.
- There will be considerable growth in third party OpenSim modules this year.
INCORRECT. On the OpenSim forge, 10 projects have been registered since the middle of July 2009. Of these, 1 was a region module project. Linear extrapolation makes for 2 modules this year, which isn’t very many.
I’m not sure exactly why this is. There are probably lots of contributing factors; a lack of documentation for region modules, the still embryonic nature of OpenSim, more interest in projects surrounding the simulator (such as monitors and automatic deployers) rather than embedded within it. The forge itself is also likely another inaccurate proxy but I don’t know of a better one.
I’m going to charitably call this 61% (5.5/9) which is a pass mark I think :). Any comments/agreements/disagreements/clarifications are very welcome. Other than that, I hope everybody has a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2010!