Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nebraska and OpenSim

Back when I started this blog, my main focus in the area of virtual worlds was business usage. IBM was experimenting with Second Life and as an IBM business partner, my then employer asked me to keep an eye on what IBM was doing. Over the years my focus has shifted a bit, but the business usage of virtual worlds is still interesting stuff and there are still plenty people believing in it. Linden Labs, anyway, still does: in a few days, they will launch their 'SL behind the firewall' offering Nebraska.

"Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab, will unveil “Nebraska”, a stand-alone solution based on the technology that runs the popular Second Life virtual world. “Nebraska” is the much-anticipated behind-the-firewall solution which will allow enterprise to host their own virtual world environments within their organizations."

Kindon will unveil Nebraska at a Metanomics conference which promises to be one of the most interesting events of the year.

I'm sure I'm not the first one to talk about OpenSim vs Nebraska, but here's a few thougts. From an OpenSim point of view, Nebraska is a validation of it's existence: yes, there is a need and market for a standalone simulator. At the same time, Nebraska might be a threat to a part of OpenSim's marketshare, as companies might be sensitive to the fact that Nebraska is a corporate offering from an established company with a formal support organisation behind it, and not just something built by a bunch of hobbyists. Shortsighted? Perhaps, but this has been mentioned to me at least twice when talking about OpenSim!

From a technical point of view I'm interested in the security aspects of it. Does it require a separate directory server or can it use an existing LDAP server? Or MS Active Directory? Does it use encrypted network connections?

Interoperability is also an issue. Can I create a grid of Nebraska sims, and can I join that to OpenSim as well? How is content shared between Nebraska sims? Perhaps these issues are covered elsewhere already - I've been too busy with rl stuff to really read up on Nebraska!

Anyway, as an owner of an OpenSim, I'd like to test Nebraska as well, but I'm not sure we'll get the chance..

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