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Project History

The OpenSim project was founded in January 2007 by Darren Guard (also known as MW), who, like so many other people, saw the potential for an open source 3d Virtual Environments server that could be used for many different applications. Also like many others, Darren had watched many other attempts at open source virtual world servers fail, often due to the massive task of writing both a server and a client at the same time.

Then in January 2007, the Second Life(tm) client was released as open source, and libsl (a BSD open source library for creating custom clients that could connect to Second Life(tm)), was reaching the point of being stable. So the idea of opensim was born, with the initial goal of creating a proof of concept server that the SL client could connect to and allow some basic functions. The idea was that over time the project scope would hopefully become much more than its humble beginnings. This has happened, with the current goal of developing a standard virtual world platform that any application could use as a framework. While we still maintain compatibility with the Second Life client, we have been working towards supporting several other clients.

Personal Memories

This page is still in need of info, if your name is MW, Adam or Sdague, please (for the sake of getting each person's individual experience) dont read any further. Alternatively, add your own remembrance of history as you remember it, or dictate to gryc on #opensim if you get a couple minutes.


"Me, I was working with SL integration for a web community and had been working with #libsl for a couple of months when MW came on that channel and said 'I have a prototype for an c# SL server, but before I publish it I need somebody to log onto it to see if it supports multiple clients' - and pounced on it; when I saw that first void region with a single prim and blood red sun on my client I realized that "this is epic. This is the future." The first thing I did was to refactor out the authentication so that I could logon with my web community credentials and the method 'CustomizeLoginResponse' (It's still in there) and would be greeted with 'Stefan, Welcome To The 3D Web' - also, the void region was filled with my web community friend list as dummy avatars. At about the same time came Gareth, then AdamZaius (Adam Frisby) and we were all rather excited when IBM entered, in the shape of sdague. We were all in agreement from the start that this was to be 'the Apache of 3D' - which we took to mean 'a modular general purpose platform' upon which developers would build '3D applications'; right around that time MW and I did the first big (it felt big at the time) rewrite called Zircon; this introduced the notion of the 'client stack' which meant we could support other protocols, and the 'Client API' which was supposed to be the base for creating private or shared 3D application user interface servers with opensim. The next big rewrite (We were big on rewrites back then) was 'Sugilite' which introduced the 'Scene' with it's entities and objects - and also marked a complete restructuring of the project into Framework, Region and Grid layers, as the project was meant to be used to 'brew your own' installations. As people started pouring in, the project grew, more people used it; from my perspective, this is now a baby that's grown into a teenager. I am very proud to have followed the project since the start, and I'm very proud of what we have achieved. Thru OpenSim, Let a thousand worlds bloom!" -- Stefan Andersson


"anecdotally speaking. My memory says: Once upon a time Mw posted to a libsecondlife forum (about 12/06) an innocent post saying "I have a little program that allows an avatar to login and chat. Does this interest anyone?". Others were interested and around 5/07 Deepgrid appeared one day. Co-incidentally, it was the day I showed up on #opensim. There was a sim, its name was "Mortville" and a half-dozen crazed programmers were jumping around on a little island, flying into the ground, all chat was showing up twice, IM crashed the sim, all objects were phantom, no trees, no nothing,but it was wondrous. Within a couple of weeks there were a dozen sims on Deepgrid.

In July, OSGrid was created by Gareth. Personally, I had a sim (Bao) on Deepgrid and a sim (Yang) on OSGrid. Everyday was a race to update the sims by seeing if Linux would compile as the core was 90% Windows. Most of the time it did compile. And yes, svn started out as "r1". My first svn was around r600 or so.

In 8/07, Gareth went to other things, and I took over OSGrid with about 245 users. 2 weeks later on the first software update, all the passwords were lost. After a while it was learned how to update reliably. Around 10/07, OpenLifeGrid appeared. We marched through r1000, r2000, and are now at r279x. Along the way various folks said " Wait a minute, we need to scope and specify this out. You are moving too fast, we need meetings. The response was then and is now. We are moving, please join us, it will evolve as it evolves."" -- Charles Krinke


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