While on hiatus…

The Blade that Shengri La Spirit ‘lives on’ has a twin.  While I’ve been doing executive/business things, the twin has been being tweaked – MySQL and the latest build from the OpenSim tree being the most notable additions.  Spirit was being built on SQLlite and an older OpenSim build, which meant a lot of the innovations and new code hadn’t been implemented yet. 

The twin is now about ready to go live. I was in yesterday looking around and briefly use-testing its performance. I thought it was a bit slower than Spirit, but it may simply be that my memory of the case is dim since it’s been a month or so since I was actually IN Spirit. it may also have been that since  I was busily twiddling terrain, perhaps that was what was causing my sense of ‘slowness’. 

I guess we’ll see. I’m not sure if the Spirit build is going to be ported over to my new Blade or if I am going to start from scratch and do something different.  In some respects, I’ll be sorry if the old build doesn’t come over, but in others, I’ll be happy to start over. There were challenges in building in a sim with older code that made building not so thrilling.  We still won’t be going to grid mode just yet – the new sim will be stand alone until we can get more benchmarks. 

It’s been interesting to see the commentary from VW08 that has developed around OpenSim and other platforms, and the concurrent fallout from the great trademark flap and the pending land cost changes by Linden Labs.  As a concierge member of Second Life, with five islands inworld, I’ve been following the debate to a small extent; as someone who is banging on an OpenSim island with the intent of using it as soon as its hardened as my virtual world of choice for enterprise solution, I’ve been mostly amused by the commentary about OpenSim. 

OpenSim is a baby. It’s creeping, not even crawling yet, but that will change.  Comparing OpenSim to any of the other worlds out there is specious.    OpenSim may take awhile to acquire the rich depth of content that worlds like Second Life have, but on the other hand, once OpenSim grows up and is running on IBM hardware, the performance issues plaguing Second Life simply won’t be there in OpenSim, and I tend to trust my IBM technology partners more than a much smaller technology company to ensure that my datacenter stays up and functional and ready for work. 

So what’s better for a user? For those of us with enterprise aspirations, we want stability, we want power, we want security…and above all, we do not want our business intelligence in the form of our data sitting on any else’s servers, especially not anyone else’s servers whose terms of service agreement may prohibit us in any way from using our data as we see fit. 

For those who are using someone else’s platform for their business model, it’s critical to keep in mind that this means your business model is at the whim of fate or of the executives of the company providing you with this service.  These executives can change their terms of service at any time in a way that may well be prejudicial to your business but supportive of theirs.  They are in business ultimately to make money for themselves and their shareholders, not necessarily for the benefit of their customers. It’s certainly clear to me that many have forgotten this, or perhaps never knew it, or knew and chose to ignore it.  From an entrepreneur’s point of view, that’s a dangerous barn blindness.

For the average user though, none of this is critical.  The richness of content of more mature worlds is what will attract them and keep them.  For a lot of users, worlds like Second Life are great entry points and training grounds to learn to use virtual worlds.   The Fashion Research Institute will continue to keep its presence in Second Life for training grounds to teach people to use virtual worlds.  But we’re also eagerly awaiting the day when OpenSim becomes robust enough to let us develop our business entity in greater depth.  And we hope the right people talk together and develop appropriate interoperability standards so we’ll be able to drop our OpenSims around Shengri La.

2 thoughts on “While on hiatus…

  1. Jaymin, yes, this is true for nonenterprise customers who just want a more stable platform, which SL server code running on IBM hardware can deliver. Based on my experiences with IBM as both a research partner, a business partner, and a customer, I think IBM will do a much better job of keeping its bit of the grid 24/7 accessible. If what I wanted was an island for micro-business purposes, I’d be all over an IBM-hosted Second Life installation.

    But I have to reiterate that those of us who have specialized business needs will need something that’s been built from the ground up to handle our specific work and dataloads. OpenSim server code has to be specifically developed to handle our unique needs. I actually do have to wait for OpenSim to grow up. Not that I mind, it’s interesting going first….

  2. Of course at VW08 IBM also announced Second Life running on IBM hardware. 🙂 Once that can be rolled out as an option to people they won’t have to wait for OpenSim to grow up. 🙂 They’ll, literally, have the best of both worlds!

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