Well, would you?

Found this Wednesday, on Crap’s blog:

I was posted a very interesting question in e-mail:

“If you could move all the content you have in SL to OpenSim, would you?”

Well, if I’m able to move stuff, then others could too, right?

And when you say content, does that include functionality? Voice? Maintaining backups?

*drums fingers*

First thing I’d want to know is: which OpenSim? People who refer to the server software as if it were a grid seem somewhat… less than diligent. Here’s the March 2012 statistics from Maria Korolov’s Hypergrid Business. If you don’t feel like counting them (I sure don’t!), she also says this in the monthly article which accompanies the stats:

We are now tracking a total of 258 different publicly-accessible grids, 143 of which were active this month.

The next question, of course, is “which content?” Everything in my inventory — shapes, skin, hair, clothes, shoes, entire furry avatars — no matter whether or not I have permission from the creators? A whole lot of creators would call that “IP theft”. It’s officially Against The Rules, and not possible with any “legal” viewer because it’s Against The Rules.

On the other hand, it’s been possible since Emerald to move stuff you created from SL to OpenSim grids, or the other way. Case in point:

My home in West Harbour – built it two years ago in OSGrid; imported it to SL and lived in a copy in Tehama for a while; imported it to InWorldz to sell (and lived in the three-room version), and rezzed it again, last fall, where you see it now. It’s been around… and it’s also still a XML file on my hard drive, along with a bunch of other builds first rezzed in InWorldz.

We can already do that, with the right viewer (I used Imprudence). The textures get stripped, so you have to make other arrangements for those — ethical arrangements, one hopes.* But otherwise, if you rezzed the prims, you can take it with you.

Not so for all the other stuff that defines how you look and move: what makes you you when you look at the screen. “If you didn’t make it, you can’t take it” — plain and simple. When you go to a new grid, you start with whatever they have available as noob avatars, quite often the infamous Ruth from… when, 2003? Earlier?

With luck, you’ve chosen a grid where a lot of SL designers have set up branch businesses — say, for instance, InWorldz — and you’ll be able to recreate your look, more or less. But you’ll have to buy the local currency first, and pay the vendors. No free lunches.

So, was that email Crap got a sly invitation to some “copybot” software that will let you archive everything in your SL Inventory to your hard drive, and upload it elsewhere?

The answer doesn’t matter.** If it is, it’ll get busted soon enough. If, on the other hand, the question was more hypothetical than leading, there’s another point to consider: not content, but context.

In other words, we are more than our stuff. Having kept a foot in two virtual worlds for a while now, I can at least tell you this: You may find people you know from SL, or from the meta-virtuality that Twitter, Plurk, and others have become for so many of us, there in that OpenSim grid of your choice… but, for the most part, it’s like moving to another city (which I’ve also done in recent memory). “Starting over” doesn’t merely apply to your Inventory.

That’s why nearly everyone who goes off exploring OpenSim grids also keeps a presence in SL, no matter how reduced. It ain’t about your things, it’s about your people.


If it were possible, and kosher, to make my SL inventory portable across worlds? Hell yeah. Sure would be nice to look at the same avvie on my screen, no matter where I was.

* With the house, all but one of the textures is either out of the Library or a readily available freebie in SL — the rice paper walls is “Ambient Woodlike” by Torley, from his use-anywhere zip file.

** Think the Lab might implement Hypergrid? Not a chance. They’ll turn off the servers for good before allowing a breach in the garden walls.


2 responses to “Well, would you?

  1. Lately, I've been getting more and more of my stuff in OpenSim — and uploading it to SL to keep my look consistent.But yes, I would very much like to take the stuff I've bought in SL and bring it over to my grid — my company grid, for my work clothes, and my personal grid, for the personal stuff.I'm willing to pay extra for this. I understand that the original creators sold me the stuff with the understanding that it would stay on Second Life. And I understand that there are copybotters out there ripping everything off right and left. This is actually one reason I want to pay the original creators for my stuff — I want to make sure that I'm not inadvertently buying stuff in OpenSim that was originally stolen. (Creators do file DMCAs, and the stuff does get taken down — but there's a lag between the time the bad stuff is posted and the time it's taken down, and I've been bitten in the ass by that before.)I would actually be willing to pay more than the original amount I spent, just to have the rights to use my stuff elsewhere. Does it mean that I'll be able to make backups? Yes, on my personal grid, I can save the entire grid, or individual regions, or individual items. The thing is, hackers can do all that anyway — and they can do it without bothering to buy the stuff first.So not selling things on OpenSim isn't hurting the thieves. It's just hurting legitimate, paying customers like me. It's like a music company not wanting to sell on iTunes because there's no DRM on those songs, and people can copy them and distribute them to their friends. When, of course, the kinds of people who are copying and distributing music to their friends do that whether or not a song is on iTunes — keeping it off iTunes just cuts you off from all of the iTunes shoppers. It's cutting off your nose to spite your face. No, it's worse than that — it's cutting off your own nose, and not even getting to spite your face, since the hackers can rip CDs. — Maria

  2. I've long said that LL and its creators miss a golden opportunity: to become the marketplace for all the grids.Someone will do it. And they'll get rich.

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