[SLED] Open source and clients - the future

Tom Werner tom at brandon-hall.com
Tue Oct 14 06:57:29 PDT 2008

Hi Stan, 


Your forecast makes great sense to me. 


The only thing that surprised me in your 'rant' is your projected


Such as a distributed/federated model in three-four years. 


And visiting different worlds while keeping a link to assets and identity in
ten years. 


Without having any knowledge or experience with how open-source
organizations or standards committees (etc.) work, I would have guessed at
half or less on each of your time frames. 


It just seems to me that we hear about some new development or world almost
every day (Wonderland, Croquet, Qwaq, OpenSim, IBM teleportation, Forterra,
sandbox games like GTA 4, Google Lively, ExitReality, Ogoglio, etc., etc.). 


(I just visited Prototerra last week. It was intriguing. They can handle an
'infinite' number of avatars in a space by setting a max number of avatars
in a space to X and then duplicating the setting instantly at X+1.)  


Anyway, I would have seat-of-the-pants guesstimated that
open-source-on-your-own-server + distributed model + linking worlds + 3D
file-format standards + import-your-own-assets would be here TWO years from


Can you comment more about your projected timeframes? 


Tom Werner (Carston Courier)


From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
[mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com] On Behalf Of Trevena, Stan
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 6:34 PM
To: SL Educators
Subject: RE: [SLED] Open source and clients - the future


So I am not accused of stating personal opinion as fact, this is my
disclaimer.  What follows is my rant on future virtual world developments.
Take it for what it's worth:


All of our debates on the future developments of virtual worlds are always
focused on SL, as if it's a given that SL will be the dominant platform
moving forward.  In the future (inside of four years) we will be hosting our
own servers behind our firewalls for education, and not all of us will
choose OpenSim.  There will be public grids that we will attach to when
necessary.  We will be able to link our grids with other education
organizations through portals and linking grids.  We will teleport between
places of interest, not walk or fly.  We will make our first moves towards a
distributed or federated model in the next three years with our virtual
worlds (we must come up with a new term, virtual to me means "not real").
It's at least another year and a half before the first viable alternatives
will emerge. 


Internet -> Metaverse

Webpages -> Grids


Everything is moving in this direction.  Unless there is a breakthrough with
Grid/Cloud Computing none of the models (including SL) scale to the sizes
necessary for mainstream adoption.  Someone will come along and do for
avatar transport what IBM did for eCommerce in the 90's.  You will have a
core avatar that is your personal (and verifiable) identity.  Dropping into
different worlds you will be able to take on alternative identities while
still keeping the link to your assets and identity.  We'll get there in less
than ten years.   Early attempts at this will take place inside of five


Private individuals and small business will be able to pay monthly fees for
services to host anything from a personal space to a full size grid.  Some
of these will be business and education focused with heavy emphasis on
applications, collaboration and communication.  Others will be more like the
fantasy MMO's of today.  Expect all the same advertising as you see on the
web now to offset costs and drive traffic in these future grids.  And all of
these will move to industry standard 3D file formats for compatibility
issues.  If I want to bring my 'Legendary Sword of Knowledge' from World of
Starcraft back to my OpenSim property to show it off to my guild, I'll be
able to do that.    


Second Life as it exists today has hit its limits.  Until there is a major
shift in the infrastructure (database) and underlying design we will
continue to be stuck in sub-100k concurrent user ceilings.  The performance
of the avatars in SL pale in comparison to "games" of today.  One of the
first responses I get when we get new students into our SL projects is about
how clumsy and forced the movements are in SL.  While many will shudder at
the suggestion of a web client today, other non-local clients will take hold
later.  And portability will become more important in the equation, again
pushing towards a OS and device independence.  Even at this early of a stage
in Wonderland's development upgrades to the client are a no brainer and
everyone gets them on their next login because it's web based.  Version 0.5
will be out after the first of the year, early look videos in the next month
or two.  We'll have to see how the new avatar skeletal system is


We are passing through a necessary stage right now, but this is not what it
will be like in the not too distant future.  We all need to expand our
vision beyond just SL and OpenSim.  Far too many of our discussions and
projections are limited to our fixation on this one platform for education.
And photo realism may not be the ultimate virtual world goal.  And let's not
forget augmented reality and the potential there for mass adoption by the
mainstream in portable devices.  


Ok, got that out of my system.  Thoughts? 


Stan Trevena

Director, Information and Technology Services

Modesto City Schools

P Please consider the environment before you print this email


From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
[mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com] On Behalf Of Alto Xeno
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 1:47 PM
To: SL Educators
Subject: Re: [SLED] RE: A larger problem with forced upgrades


I am not sure the opensource sims will ever catch up in the sense of
matching SL faeature-for-feature. I'm also not sure that is really
necessary. At some point, a fair number of educators will probably say,
"this is good enough, we'll switch" as they will value the control over the
"bells and whistles" features. And yes, many will likely keep one toe in the
SL environment, if for no other reason than it provides access to so many

A characteristic of open source software development is the tendency for
some developers to "fork" development at some point and go off in slightly
different directions. This is happening with, for example, LiteSim. I can
imagine a developer deciding the education community represents a large
enough potential market that she launches a version of OpenSim with an
associated viewer that is targeted at this market and offers some of the
"fixes" many educators have asked for - in particular, a known release cycle
with long-ish intervals to better fit the needs of those who can only do
upgrades during class downtimes.

Hope the headache accepted your persuasion :)



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