Zonja Capalini <3 Opensim in Linden Lab Smackdown

by Alphaville Herald on 21/05/09 at 7:56 am

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Did Linden Lab really think through last fall's 66% OpenSpace price increase – and what it would lead to? You might wonder after reading Zonja Capalini's diary of the diaspora: The Openspace fiasco: six months later – a tell-all tale of her journey to metaverse self-sufficiency. The Lab's fanboys are not going to like it, but Ms. Capalini's advice on selecting a virtual world platform for business and education rings true – and leaves the Lab's marketing hype looking hopelessly optimistic, at best. Some highlights of Zonja's targeted takedown of SL:

Skype voice quality is by far much superior to Second Life voicequality! In particular, 3D spacial voice is a nuisance for education(because it forces you to constantly zoom around the virtual classroomwhen the speaker’s voice is not audible enough), and Skype’s dynamicfeedback and noise cancellation algorithms are so good that mostvirtual students can attend the class without even having tomute/unmute their microphone.

Ms. Capalini goes for the throat on Second Life support:

If you are absolutely forced to do business with the Lindens (which I obviously won’t recommend, given my experience), don’t even think there will be somebody there who knows about you and about your business. 3,540 US$ + VAT per year doesn’t entitle you to be treated like a customer. They don’t even have a list of how many islands you own, or how much money you spend per month, so that they can care about you and advice you properly. Or if they do have such a list, it doesn’t show. Plan ahead of them, taking into account the inefficiencies of their support system — you’d better do, because you’ll be paying for them (i.e., when you transfer an island, neither you nor the buyer can use the island in the meanwhile — but you have to pay for it anyway, and there is no guarantee about how much time it will take them to implement the transfer; if their queues are collapsed, you pay for their collapse).

The beatdown continues on pricing:

Second Life is grossly overpriced, and their product is monolithic and quite inflexible for educational and corporate uses. The idea of a permanent world is very nice, but it’s unneeded and overkill, and also bad for the ecology; above all, and compared to Opensim, it’s unbelievably expensive. Opensim allows you to switch on your virtual world when you need it, and switch it off afterwards. Since you don’t need a dedicated machine (or even a powerful one), your hardware costs are near to zero, because you can recycle an old desktop from the accounting department, for example. The only thing you really need (and you have to pay for) is bandwidth. And this will get cheaper, much cheaper, as time passes.

Zonja points out better alternatives are available:

Opensim is ready for prime time for educators, at least when the classroom is composed of a small number of students (and this will for sure improve very quickly in the near future). Students and teachers don’t need fancy avies and wonderful dresses; a ruthed student can learn exactly the same as a fancy student avie

And finally:

Never, ever build or create contents in a world that doesn’t provideeasy, clear, manageable tools to backup and restore your stuff to thesame or to another world. Being able to have a copy of your creationsin a pendrive in your pocket is a must for virtual world developers.

2 Responses to “Zonja Capalini <3 Opensim in Linden Lab Smackdown”

  1. Alyx Stoklitsky

    May 22nd, 2009

    >Skype voice quality is by far much superior to Second Life voice quality!

    Skype is dogshit, use Ventrilo.

  2. At0m0 Beerbaum

    May 22nd, 2009

    Actually SL does have superior quality to skype, SIP based VOIP (true VOIP) can have better codecs with better quality than skype, Ventrilo is better than skype, so is mumble (think opensource ventrilo with lots of french servers for some odd reason)

    However, I said this months ago, SL is not a platform to do business on, it’s more of the spider enticing the fly into its web. Linden Labs has no interest in actually providing enterprise support, they just want to push out a half-assed system, claim it has business potential because it can play embedded video and has voice, and profit from it with lots of feel good sales speak.

    Hell, they havent even properly implemented shadows in their mainstream client, nor did they go anywhere with windlight.

    You can easily go with a cisco conferencing solution or any other video conferencing solution, and pay much less overall than what Linden Labs wants to charge for zero support, and small pieces of server space.

    SL is an entertainment platform, aka, a game. If you want to conduct real business, go with a company that has experience in this field. Otherwise if you just want a time waster and some eye candy, or a marketing hook, then look into getting a sim.

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