Saturday, October 3, 2009

OpenSim Update: Reacting to Linden Lab

Reaction Grid 2
Location: Reaction Grid Virtual World

When will educators begin to explore other grids? When it gets easy enough and inexpensive enough.

Today, I found a grid that met both tests: Reaction Grid. Thanks to Tateru Nino, I'd read that a group of educators have begun meeting spontaneously there to discuss a crisis: Linden Lab's poorly handled decision to issue a cease-and-desist order to jokay Wollongon, creator of the soon-to-be renamed sleducation wiki.

jokay sought no profit from her site, and Linden Lab itself had promoted it. I know she feels burned, as do so many other educators who have promoted Second...I mean, Linden Lab's copyrighted content.

Time to go exploring. Unlike Open Life (where I've met with disaster after disaster, lately, if I can even log on) Reaction Grid seems stable and well rendered. And other grids await bold explorers not worried about leaving their inventories behind. I used the Hippo client and, with some tomfoolery, changed the settings to log on to any number of OpenSim grids.

That was the only difficult moment for me--putting in the settings so the virtual-world client logged in Iggy Strangeland (who looks like he played with Oasis in the 90s).

Technical glitches aside, once I did find the settings panel it went very well. An experienced Reaction Grid builder helped me at the orientation area and I visited his build--a wonderfully conceived extraterrestrial jungle.
Reaction Grid 1

The crowning irony of this moment is that in protecting their trademark, Linden Lab pushes more educators to mistrust them. Here's a reply I posted at the New World Notes coverage of the topic:

In time, as new alternatives come online, many of us will do more than talk about reducing our investments in SL. The brave are setting up OpenSim servers right now.

Most of us don't really need the shopping, the drama, and the impressive hair-styles that SL dishes out. We academics revel in our bad hair.

We do need solid, inexpensive, and immersive educational content that will run on the sorts of machines our students lug around, and many but not all of us need the ability to make content of our own.

I stand by those words--they've been a long time coming as I see Linden lab, under Mark Kingdon's leadership, moving away from the visionary era of Philip Rosedale.

Now is precisely the time that we should all be looking at other virtual worlds, as hard as it may be to leave some of our SL content and our personal goodies behind. Yet I say that with some regret. Just at the moment when SL seems more stable and adult content has been segregated to make a new user's experience more selective, LL has alienated many in its core customer-base.

Tateru Nino's first and second posts about this situation provide some depth to the issue, as does jokay's decision not to fight Linden Lab but to pull down her wiki and move it to a new site. I'll be sure to update my links to her, since her site is part of an assignment for my students and a "must see" for colleagues new to the Lindens' virtual world.

Now, live from Reaction Grid, Iggy Strangeland invites other educators to ponder what other worlds may be out there, ready for us to use. For now, at least, uploads on Reaction Grid are free.

e.e. cummings springs to mind..."Listen; there's a hell of a good universe next door: let's go."

1 comment:

Penguink Graves said...

the Imprudence viewer has a nice drop menu that makes logging into different grids very easy.