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A look back at my OpenSim 2010 predictions December 31, 2010

Posted by justincc in opensim, opinion, secondlife, virtual-environments, virtual-worlds.

So, it’s that time of year again when those of us rash enough to make predictions for the year ahead get to look back and regret them.  Actually I shouldn’t say that – I think that I’ve done pretty well this year!  Or perhaps I just don’t take enough fun risks.  Anyway, on with the show.

  1. OpenSim will remain in alpha for 2010 – CORRECT. A pretty safe prediction really (assuming nothing crazy is going to happen in the last hour of this year!). OpenSim has progressed a lot since the start of 2010, but there was no serious consideration that it had moved to ‘beta’ quality during the year.  There remain a very large number of bugs and a few major missing features (e.g. the ability to take groups of separately linked objects as a single inventory item).  Moreover, a lot of internal rework needs to be done if OpenSim is going to become a general virtual worlds/environments server platform.  At the moment, the system is still too tightly tied to the needs and protocols of the Second Life environment.

  2. There will be a lot more experimentation with OpenSim in education and business contexts CORRECT. I think I can safely call this one.  In particular, since Linden Lab ended their discounts on land for education and non-profits, OpenSim (along with some other virtual environments and platforms) has seen a surge of interest from educators.  Pioneers are doing some very interesting things, such as Ener Hax and David Miller’s work on virtual science field trips.  I find this increased attention very encouraging – a massive chunk of the Internet’s infrastructure, after all, was built by universities and they could play a huge rule in constructing a genuinely distributed Internet-scale virtual environment (in fact they’re already involved as Crista Lopes, the creator of Hypergrid, is an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine).

  3. Both general-purpose and specific use grids will grow – CORRECT. I have Maria Korolov to thank for being able to assess this prediction.  During 2010 she charted a steady rise in the number of regions simulated on OpenSim grids.  Much of this rise has occurred in general purpose grids such as OSgrid.  However, specialized environments such as Jo Kay’s education oriented jokaydiaGrid have grown significantly as well.

  4. Some form of OpenSim foundation will appear, maybe more than one – INCORRECT. I thought that slowly increasing popularity and greater pressure for predictability would bring about an OpenSim-related foundation this year but I was wrong.  That’s not to say that there aren’t organizations – pretty much every grid has it’s own governing body, for instance.  But there’s no organization yet for the core OpenSim project itself.

  5. There will be a few more OpenSim distributions INCORRECT. There actually has been one new distribution – the Diva distribution – from core OpenSim developer Crista Lopes.  This packages OpenSim in a standalone megaregion Hypergrid configuration by default.  This joins the existing OSgrid distribution (which is primarily used to run a region on OSgrid).  But I don’t know of any others and I did say a few, not one, so I’m counting this prediction as incorrect.

  6. The vast majority of OpenSim access will continue to be through the Linden Lab viewer and its direct descendents – CORRECT. The Imprudence viewer (soon to be renamed Kokua) has become a popular viewer for accessing OpenSim, as they specifically provide OpenSim friendly features.  However, Imprudence is still based on the Linden Lab codebase.  Realxtend continued to develop a new viewer called Naali from the ground up and there are some interesting projects such as Rezzable’s Unity web-based viewer and the as yet unreleased Canvas web-based viewer from Tipodean.  All of these are at a very early stage, though, and a long way from the mainstream.

  7. Cross grid experimentation will continue but not go mainstreamCORRECT. There’s been continuing interest in the Hypergrid this year – an OpenSim architecture that enables users to move between installations of OpenSim that are completely separate from one another.  However, the protocol is still under heavy development – OpenSim 0.7 saw the introduction of the Hypergrid version 1.5 which is incompatible with the earlier version 1.0.  Therefore, use is still restricted to very early adopters.

  8. OpenSim will start to support mesh objects – CORRECT. In October this year, Linden Lab made their beta mesh support publicly available.  Just a week later, with the help of the libopenmetaverse library and its developers, Teravus added mesh support to OpenSim.  This support is still incomplete – chiefly because the implementation in the viewer is also incomplete – but it does give encouragement that OpenSim will have COLLADA import ability before too long.

So there we go, 6 out of 8 isn’t too bad, I think.  Tune in soon for my predictions for OpenSim in 2011.  And Happy New Year, everybody!



1. Tweets that mention A look back at my OpenSim 2010 predictions | justincc.org -- Topsy.com - January 1, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mal Burns. Mal Burns said: "A look back at my OpenSim 2010 predictions" http://bit.ly/fe3m0A […]

2. rjs - January 1, 2011

2010 was a good year for OpenSim. Looking forward to the progress of 2011 with anticipation. I think your 2010 predictions were pretty good myself Justin.

3. Breen Whitman - January 2, 2011

Congratulations on the successful 2010 year, both for Opensimulator, your predictions, involvement, and not least your academic achievement this year.

Concatenating things from a high level view, from my perspective, Opensimulator showed its technical development was on a solid road, and moving forward. Also, as you say, pioneers really started to shine through this year. Isn’t some of the work stunning?

I run no blog myself, I prefer to read as many of I can, and respond to a few when time permits. Given its the holiday period, I have responded to a few with my thoughts on why I read their respective blogs.

I enjoy this blog and its associated articles because it incorporates so bigger picture world views. In July you wrote about modSendCommand(), which is incredibly exciting stuff. As one poster commented; “The possibilities are endless”.

I also appreciate the fact that the formation of an Opensim Foundation gets your consideration. Anything like this is a world away from C# code, and is probably akin to herding cats. How can anyone predict that!

Will look forward to your 2011 predictions, and the continued success of Opensim.

4. Ener Hax - January 2, 2011

oh crap, i misquoted you Justin! sorry, i thought you had predicted Beta for 2010. well if it’s any merit – to me – OpenSim is Beta+. i find it highly reliable and have yet to experience a crash personally on our grid in the last 4 months! now one scripter did dink her region with some massive loop thing (hopefully she was siphoning off those fractional pennies on PayPal transactions! =D

well, our use of OpenSim for the field trips is directly tied to the work you and the OpenSim team do. it is a natural thing to want to run your own grid, just like i would rather have my own website than be part of some collective (damn borgs) =p

the way you guys are continuing to structure OpenSim, the standalone grid just makes sense

thank you for all the work you do =)

Happy New Year! =)

5. justincc - January 3, 2011

Thanks guys!

6. gaga - January 3, 2011

lol, I thought you predicted beta in 2010 too, Justine. I must have read Ener’s blog *grins* but, anyway, 6 out of 8 is pretty good.

I thought I would make a few predictions myself 2011 myself here…


Happy New Year!

7. Ener Hax - January 7, 2011

ha ha, maybe Justin edited that post from last year! =p

just kidding =)

hip hip hooray for Justin, the OpenSim developers, and OpenSim!

i doubt i will ever be able to express how wonderful a creative outlet OpenSim is for me

8. bob wellman - January 7, 2011

Justin…Are you predicting another London Meet Up for 2011?

Seems like its time to buy you another beer, for all the hard work you did in 2010. Thanks!

9. justincc - January 8, 2011

Hi bob. Yes, I’m thinking about it. Possibly in the latter half of March, any earlier and I wouldn’t be able to make it myself. What do you think?

10. bob wellman - February 18, 2011

Any more news on a London Meet Up for 2011 yet? Late March or even early April would be good. I am on holidays End of April to Mid May, but Late May onwards is also good for me. Last year was good so looking forward to a repeat of that.

BTW: Have been tuning in for your 2011 predictions…Hint!…no fair waiting to see what actually happens first…LOL

11. justincc - February 19, 2011

A meetup is still on my mind – just been a bit bogged down with work recently. Things should improve soon.

Not sure I’m going to make any predictions this year – I’m not sure how useful they are! When I actually get some time I’m going to write some more contentful blog posts instead.

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