Adding flavor to OpenSim


The term has become more than what it originally described. Nowadays a whole culture and mindset is attached to it. At its core all it describes is that the source-code of a piece of software is available for anyone to easily view and use themselves, without having to reverse-engineer anything. Open-source and the whole FOSS philosophy is about sharing, contributing and furthering software. Many projects rely on volunteers to make additions, fix bugs or maintain compatibilities, but they are not solely bound by that either. Many projects receive help from companies using the software or even develop it in the first place. These companies usually make profit on selling the support for the software or additional pieces or versions not available in the open-source version.

OpenSim is open-source as well. It has historically been developed by volunteers aiming to create a virtual world platform similar to SecondLife. At the time of its creation it truly had the philosophy of an open-source project. Over time the people working on the project left and new ones came in. With new people came new directions and those directions now somewhat differ from what they were initially. These days OpenSim is being developed by people who have a commercial interest in the software and may want to sell any fixes or additions to it. This, as described above, does not break the nature of the open-source idea or philosophy for that matter. At the same time it does mean that the project has somewhat deviated in its course for making the software better to, well, making money. Again, no issues with that in itself, but it must be said that this does create the possibility of additions or fixes being rejected based on the commercial aspect the software is used for by its development team. This has lead to a feeling of stagnation and rejection from the development team towards the community surround OpenSim.

We have always supported the decisions of the development team and have made efforts to support them financially and with additions to code, however the response we have gotten has been rather negative. We no longer see a future for the development of OpenSim with its current development team. As a result we have decided to create our own flavor of OpenSim in order to make sure development continues under the pretense of making the software better. In technical terms it’s called a fork, a divergence from the original. We will start to implement and change OpenSim based on the needs of our customers and to an extend the feedback from the community as a whole. We will continue to support those who want to better the original OpenSim, but the internal politics and money involved for the current development team has lead to unsatisfactory state for us and our customers and we would be mad not to attempt to correct it. This does mean that beside the original OpenSim we will be offering our own ZetaSim for our customers. Additionally we will make efforts to support other forks with the same intend of furthering the development of OpenSim and contribute some of the changes and fixes we have developed for ZetaSim. We feel that is the most liberal decision we could make given the current state of development and the need to support our customers as well.