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.
With the metaverse steadily growing, more grids pooping up almost every week, we realized many do not wish to concern themselves with a detailed breakdown of costs and rather pay a “flatrate” for everything. While we continue to offer our highly customize-able options for grid and simulator hosting, we also want to make it easier for those who just wish to have a single solution, out of the box, running with a set of options already pre-configured. The new packages are available in north America and central Europe and include the basics needed to start your own grid and build a world all of your own.
A little overview of the packages for those interested.
Grid Complete Pack
-Includes all necessary grid services
-Money Server(Podex) or/and Gloebit
-PHP Asset Server with 100GB of asset storage
-Single Simulator for your welcome or failover region
-Integration to Zetamex Website packages and future embedded control panel
Price (excl. Fees): €95.00*
-As many regions as the hardware can handle
-From stable to bleeding-edge all OpenSim-Core versions available upon request
-Access to all future module additions
-Integration to Zetamex Website packages and future embedded control panel
Price (excl. Fees): €85.00*
-Full DDoS protection
-Global caching to reduce loading times
-Daily backups and coldstore for months
-Full realtime monitoring
Price (excl. Fees): €69.00*
*As usual these prices have some flexibility. Name us your budget and we will see how we can accommodate to fit your needs while keeping cost down.
We hope these new packages will make it easier to get your ideas and dreams off the ground. If this sounds like the package you have been looking for feel free to drop us a message!
Zetamex Network continues to grow and that means our network of servers and systems is growing and becoming more complex. Naturally, if nothing is done, it quickly becomes too much to manage. Proper monitoring of systems and automation of common tasks is key. We have made numerous advances in automation already, but monitoring continued to not be touched. This was partly due to the stability of the systems we have made and relatively low amount of incidents we have encountered the last couple months. Still, we don’t like to leave things to chance and it is simply common sense to monitor software like OpenSim, which is still considered somewhat alpha or beta software at this point.
We have spent some time this last week working on just that and introduced a centralized monitoring system for our entire network. Some of you, who may be more familiar with the IT world, might have heard about this system before. It’s the widely used Nagios Monitoring System. A fairly easy decision for us as Nagios is widely used and thus offers a great deal of resources to properly configure the monitoring of our servers and systems. Further have there been numerous drop-in replacements for it, should there ever be a feature we might not find in the standard Nagios system.
Historically the sale of regions has been the biggest market associated with OpenSim with the sale of inworld items, scripts, clothing and infrastructure being a close second place. Commerce have had to deal with currencies coming and going and subsequent customer relations suffering from it all. For the shop owners maintaining a constant income through local residents meant heavy advertising and a reliance on the stability of the grids community. Expansion across the metaverse often meant dealing with different currencies or direct-to-paypal vendor systems to accommodate for total lack of currency. The continuous growth of marketplaces like the Kitely-Market have shown that, first and foremost, ease of use and reliability are what keeps people invested in the creations of the OpenSim community.
To the rescue comes Gloebit, a new currency specifically designed for the hypergrid. Gloebit offers stability, usability and a level of integration that has not been seen in OpenSim thus far. We are happy to announce that with the production launch on ZanGrid, Zetamex Network will be offering Gloebit integration for grid customers.
As another year comes to close Zetamex Network is moving into 2017 with some fresh plans and changes that we hope are as exciting for you as they are for us. Among the changes are the official launch of Zetamex.solutions, our custom OpenSim and Web-Solutions branch aimed at those who need something of their own and no run-of-the-mill packages. Also on the horizon are some new projects we are working on at the moment and that will see the light of day in the coming year.
To go into some closer detail, as previously announced we are changing billing to better reflect the scope of our customers projects and adjust pricing according to their needs and budgets. This now also brings a change to the currency we use. So far we have billed in USD, a currency widely used on the internet and international markets. However USD is not the currency we file our tax forms in and as a result each invoice has to be converted to EURO before we can file taxes. With the recent fluctuations on the stock markets the value has jumped up and down resulting in an immense workload of our financial department, converting each little amount according to historical data just to file a “handful” of taxes. This additional workload is time consuming and unfortunately time is still money. With USD and EURO only being a few percentages apart from one another we have elected to eliminate this workload by switching the billed currency over to EURO. This will significantly reduce the time spent on our end of billing and thus reduce the prices in the long run. Our payment gateways will automatically convert the invoiced amount from EURO to USD for you at no additional fees.
With Zetamex.solutions bringing fully custom OpenSim solutions to the market we did not want to neglect the entry-level side of OpenSim. People who just want to try out OpenSim or lack the budget for a large custom solution will be happy to hear that we have been working on something that will make OpenSim as easy as ordering pizza. OpenSim.hosting will be our new, standardized, fire-and-forget, one-stop-shop for your drive-thru OpenSim needs. All cheesiness aside, OpenSim.hosting will feature a simple to use interface allowing you to easily spin up a simulator and manage almost all aspects of it. You will be able to choose from a host of new features we have been rolling out to our custom solutions in the past along with daily billing, for when you just want to host an event and need some extra space. We will be going into more detail about the features of this new system in the coming months as we continue to develop and refine it. We currently do not have a specific launch window and will most likely soft-launch the system for early adopters. Stay tuned for more information as 2017 progresses.
Nope, not done yet, we got more to share. Another big construction zone over the last couple months has been ZetaWorlds, our in-house grid we have been using both as beta-grounds for new features as well as space for refugees from other grids. ZetaWorlds will continue to be a major focus for us next with new features being added and sales of land opening up as well. Our aim for ZetaWorlds has always been to provide a stable platform for those looking for a new home and to hypergrid and explore the metaverse. For a couple months now we have been developing features for both the grid and website to finally start engaging the community of ZetaWorlds. For that matter we have signed up a Community Manager that will help us build the community and work together with you, the resident, to bring better service to you and create the events you would like to see. Give a warm welcome to Edison Rex(Paul Harriman) your new address for anything community related. Edison will also take over the ZetaWorlds specific blog and post updates and events there so stay tuned for that.
That was quite a lot of information all at once, we will give you some time to digest it all over the holidays and already wish you a happy New Year and thank you for your continuous support throughout this year!
Zetamex Network has offered a host of standard packages for OpenSim in the past. That is all well and good, but sometimes standard run-of-the-mill solutions are not what you may be looking for. For that purpose we have created Zetamex.Solutions specifically aimed at those who want to make more out of OpenSim. Our existing customers already enjoy many of the perks this branch of our company offers. Now those are available for everyone.
Along with this we are changing part of our billing system to better serve to the different budgets and projects people approach us with. This means removal of the standardized packages to be replaced with flexible, budget-based billing. Further are we streamlining our support system removing the need for the Dedicated Support package. Instead support is given equally to everyone and special requests are met with more transparent billing system. These changes were made after the feedback we received over the last couple of months has shown that they were needed. We hope you are as excited about them as we are. We will continue to gauge the feedback we receive to improve the quality of our products and the support we give for them.