Run Your Own Virtual Reality with OpenSim
Some of the alternative grids are very interesting places to visit if you're adventurous. One of my favorite places to check out is OSGrid. OSGrid is a loose confederation of independent OpenSim operators who have tied their sims into a cohesive grid. Some of the operators are universities experimenting with virtual worlds, and others are amateur enthusiasts or OpenSim developers. Getting onto OSGrid is easy; simply go to the OSGrid site (see Resources), and register for a free account. Then, start your Second Life client with the following command:
./secondlife -multiple -loginuri http://osgrid.org:8002 \ -loginpage http://osgrid.org/loginscreen.php \ -helperuri http://osgrid.org
Once you log in, feel free to wander about (Figure 5). There's lots to see and do, and unlike Second Life, there is no economy, so you either find and utilize freebie items or you create your own content. OSGrid is a great sandbox for builders in Second Life who want to experiment without upload costs as well.
If you want to try running your own OSGrid-enabled server at home, you can find instructions on how to join your own server to OSGrid at the OSGrid Web site. Attaching your own server to OSGrid is much simpler than running your own private grid, because the centralized login and asset servers are maintained by the OSGrid group. Reserve a spot on the OSGrid map for your sim and check it out! It's easier than it looks.
You can get help with your own OpenSim deployment via various methods. Possibly the most convenient method is the OpenSim IRC server that you can log in to for help with running your own server. There is a great FAQ on the OpenSim site as well. Other great resources are the residents of OSGrid. Because they all had to connect their sims to OSGrid themselves, they can be great technical resources.
OpenSimulator Build Instructions: opensimulator.org/wiki/Build_Instructions
OpenSimulator Configuration Instructions: opensimulator.org/wiki/Configuration
Connecting to OpenSim: opensimulator.org/wiki/Connecting
OpenSim Scripting: opensimulator.org/wiki/Scripting_Documentation
OpenSim IRC Channel: irc://irc.freenode.net/opensim" (#opensim on irc.freenode.net)
Video: How to Run OpenSim on Windows: blip.tv/file/1421954
Second Life Viewer Download: secondlife.com/support/downloads.php
Openlife Grid: openlifegrid.com
Bill Childers is an IT Manager in Silicon Valley, where he lives with his wife and two children. He enjoys Linux far too much and probably should get more sun from time to time. If he ever finds the time to make it into Second Life, he goes by Bill Deere.
Bill Childers is the Virtual Editor for Linux Journal. No one really knows what that means.
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