Thursday 10 February 2011

Growth of Opensim & Hypergrid Progresses

I did a rough count of Opensim traffic on the top grids back in September and got a figure of around 600. This month for the same sample I got a figure of around 1200 which is double. I don't claim this very rough count says that much but it dose show considerable growth in recent months. Most remarkable of all has been the rapid rise of Avination, a new grid launched by Melanie Thielker (also known as Melanie Miland), a core Opensim developer.

Avination has come from no where to a peek traffic average of around 220 online in just one month which is unusual when many grids are still struggling and yet have been around for a long time. This has sparked some negativity on the forums however - mostly from supporters of other grids worried they will loose residents - but that has done nothing to dent it's growth.

I noticed that Avination traffic has grown rapidly from around 35 online when I joined and quickly increasing to 165 peek about a week or so ago. At the same time InWorldz had dropped from 233 peek for the same period to 157. Meta7 dropped from a peek of 53 online to a peek of 29. There was not much change to OSgrid during this time so Avination seems to have gained some users from both InWorldz and Meta7 but I think they have probably gained more from SecondLife and the Internet. Over all though I think it shows an increase in traffic for Opensim grids in general since both InWorldz and Meta7 seem to have recovered some ground now even while Avination continues to grow. This is in stark contrast to Second Life which remains static.

Naturally, I had to go visit Avination but first I checked their web site which
proved easy to navigate and informative. I registered a name. Gaga Gridlock (couldn't get gaga gracious *sighs*), added the login URL to my Hippo viewer and arrived. No one was there to meet me but the grid did have 65 people on it. So I looked around and it proved average. It was bit laggy but at least I didn't need freebies to dress up. The avatar I got to chose was actually quite good for my visit (see pic) and I didn't need to race to find freebies to deal with the usual ruthed avatar.

I found some good brand names from SL there so that was a good sign and it was clear enough, the owners of the grid wanted to give maximum protection to them. I still didn't meet the rude person everyone was ranting about above on the forums so I put that issue down to anti-Avination propaganda. I set off to explore and as you see from the pic the builds aren't half bad. Seems lots of people are beavering away constructing and as the sims are relatively cheap at $40 and free setup that was not surprising. I did have a problem with search initially but this was down to Opensim viewer because search worked fine when I returned using Imprudence.

Hypergrid; Important Update!

Diva Canto (Opensim developer, Crista Lopes),added an OutboundPermission configuration setting to the HGInventoryAccessModule in the Git ‘master’ branch of Opensim.  Setting this to false prevents foreign Hypergrid visitors to a local grid from taking assets back to their home grid.

This news was published on Justincc blog.

The most secure grids are walled gardens which prevent content being removed to another grid and mwhere it might be copied. Adding the new setting effectively makes HG grids walled gardens too but still allows avatars to visit with their full appearance and clothes drawn from their home grid. Thus, with the new setting, nothing is exchanged between grids during HG travel.

According to Hypergrid Business blog...
The way it works is that you - or the hosting company running OpenSim for you - have to set the "OutboundPermission" setting to "False" in OpenSim’s HGInventoryAccessModule. The setting applies to all the regions running under that instance of OpenSim. Typically, each instance of OpenSim would handle between one and four regions, but it can go higher.

According to Lopes, this is just the first step towards having asset security on the hypergrid.

"I did it now because ScienceSim is planning a big event," she said."A lot more will be coming regarding these kinds of policies."

Melanie Miland, owner of Avination grid, and Opensim developer working with Deva Canto has said in another topic on SLU, "Avination, is anyone there yet?"
And, to confirm, I work pretty closely with Diva Canto, who I will meet up with on February 24th. That will be our second real life meeting. The first time we put our heads together, Hypergrid 1.5 was the result, this time, I'm hoping for a push towards HG 2.0.
I do promote the secure Hypergrid; Avination is not a walled garden by choice. However, to keep the work of our creators safe, we can't, with the cuRrent state of HG security, safely enable hypergridding in Avination. Rest assured that, once it can be done without inviting wholesale permission exploits, it will come to Avination.

No one can say how this will work out yet and it wont be available until the next general release of Opensim, by which time it is sure to be much more developed, but it is as well for content creators to be aware of the progress and consider how it might help them grow their business on the free metaverse as it becomes more secure.

On the face of it, it may not seem helpful to content vendors if their virtual goods can't leave the grid in which they are sold but the important thing to remember is that someone came from another grid via Hypergrid teleport and was able to buy something and that means a bigger consumer base since you are no longer limited to your own grid's population (I have read elsewhere that HG grid owners are reporting that 50% of their traffic is via HG links). However, the question remains; Why would someone buy something they can't take away with them?

My thoughts are that stores will have access to a much bigger market via Hypergrid and I would want to find out which grids I could trust with the stuff I sell. It's unlikely I would trust a standalone but a reputable grid with a good track record and policy should present no problem. If I already have an outlet on the customer's home grid then that should make it easy but, given that I have some accounting record on my off-world server, or should have, then I should be able to make the goods available provided the grid is on my trusted list.