OpenSim Regions Predicted to Overtake Second Life in 2011

by Alphaville Herald on 24/01/10 at 2:42 pm

OpenSim growth rates shame Linden Lab

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Citing an annualized OpenSim growth rate of 177%, Maria Korolov predicts the OpenSim grids will overtake Second Life in early 2011 in an article in Hypergrid Business. Ms. Korolov made her prediction after comparing the 29% increase in OpenSim regions between September and December 2009 with an anemic 6% growth in Second Life resident-owned land in 2009. Are the projections sustainable – and believable?

The OpenSim grids claimed 7,246 regions in December 2009, up from 5,613 regions in September. In contrast, Second Life's 6% annual growth resulted in 23,900 regions at the end of 2009. Korolov's crystal ball tells her that if it might even be possible for OpenSim to overtake Second Life in 2010 if current trends accelerate – driven by low costs starting with free and very inexpensive.

Korolov points out that more control and backups are also appealing to land owners, noting that "OpenSim region owners can save backups of their entire region on theirlocal hard drive. If they want to shut down a region — or keep ahistorical record of how a region evolves — they can do this, andrestore the region later". But this sort of backup-on-demand function will be difficult for Linden Lab to match without nerfing the DRM system on which the in-world economy is based.

Linden Lab may find it difficult to mimic OpenSim's backup features because on-demand region backups and rollbacks create significant problems for enforcing "no-copy" DRM on content that can reside in either an avatar's inventory or in-world. This issue was seen in the Eros vs. John Doe copyright complaint where  unauthorized copies of Second Life sexbeds were created by using region rolbacks as a copying mechanism to defeat Second Life's "no-copy" DRM content flags. Backups to users' local hard disks are also problematic for an economy dependent on DRM enforcement.

While content creators are understandably concerned at weakening copy controls, virtual land owners have a conflicting desire to save multiple versions of their land – and retain the option to move their worlds to a different metaverse service provider should there be sudden pricing or policy changes.

Is the growth of OpenSim partially to blame for the loss of tractionSecond Life has been experiencing over the last year? In a down real lifeeconomy, less expensive virtual land is certain to have appeal, but will  Linden Lab's cost structure and DRM-dependence will allow it to respond in-kind and in time to the OpenSim threat?

37 Responses to “OpenSim Regions Predicted to Overtake Second Life in 2011”

  1. Zauber Exonar

    Jan 24th, 2010

    The grid SpotOn3D seems to actually care more about content protection that Linden Lab does, with some automated measures they have against content theft.

  2. Kate M.

    Jan 24th, 2010

    Exponential trends rarely continue forever, because there are environmental limitations. I will be surprised if OSgrid overtakes SL so quickly, but the writing is kind of on the wall – eventually it will happen. Maybe not OSgrid, maybe not next year or in 5 years… But eventually SL will go the way of AOL unless they drastically change what they do.

  3. Kate M.

    Jan 24th, 2010

    ETA: the trend shown may be linear instead of exponential, it’s hard to tell without more data points.

  4. OpenSim is pretty much a big joke. We tried to set up our own a while back and all it ever did was crash and have trouble doing the most basic of things. As incompetent and pathetic as Linden Lab really is, the people working on OpenSim have proven themselves to be ten times as such. Moreover, one of our own was able to take down an entire grid comprised of OpenSim sims just by himself. For a month. Add that to the fact that these servers the opensims are hosted on are probably worse than anything LL has, and you’ve got a wonderful recipe for fail casserole.

  5. Lalo Telling

    Jan 24th, 2010

    On the other hand… a standalone OpenSim on your desk and/or laptop is the perfect sandbox. No IM interruptions, no jerks, no lag, and you can export copies of your creations for importation to SL.

  6. Jumpman Lane

    Jan 24th, 2010

    yeah and how many of those thousands of grids are online at once. prok says 40 lol
    PROK IS RIGHT! except when it is wrong!

  7. Darien Caldwell

    Jan 24th, 2010

    Actually Prok said there were only 40 *people* online at once in OpenSim. Which is a sobering statistic in itself.

    But comparing the number of sims in Opensim to the number of sims in SL, is like saying the number of Tricycles will soon overtake the number of BMW roadsters. Nowhere close to an apples-to-apples comparison.

  8. James

    Jan 24th, 2010

    The client/server architecture is an outmoded organization derived from human hierarchical social patterns (in fact, client/server is called master/slave in several areas of computing still.)

    The future is peer-to-peer, free from the chains. One of the leading peer-to-peer virtual world platforms is Cobalt

  9. P Charisma

    Jan 24th, 2010

    It doesn’t matter how many Sims it has if it doesn’t have people and legal content on them.

    That’s the catch-22 though. To get content developers you need traffic in users. To get those users, you need content from content developers.

    You could do what a lot of Open Sims did early on, and steal a lot of content. But then you’ll be locked somewhat in how much content you get as developers will see you as a sort of online plague, and that will scare off any traffic your stolen content at first generated.

  10. @James

    Speaking as a Computer Science and Networking major, P2P seems like a really great idea until it is actually applied. The main problem with this setup is going to be how you communicate information about the entire simulator with all peers without using too much bandwidth and bogging down your own system. Peer-to-Peer systems always require significantly more bandwidth than the standard Client/Server distribution network. Compare a standard FTP download versus BitTorrent and you’ll see what I mean. The second problem is also comparable to a torrent. Imagine there is a file with only one seed on a poor connection. It takes significantly longer to download than a file with several seeds on better connections. Thus, the reliability of the connection is very low and completely unpredictable. It’s just not efficient to use a P2P model for something like a virtual world.

  11. Tengu Yamabushi

    Jan 24th, 2010


  12. Ranma Tardis

    Jan 24th, 2010

    not everyone is looking to be a content provider. Linden Labs charges too much, I would rather have a large space to develop than a small overpriced spot in sl!

  13. OtakuMegane

    Jan 24th, 2010

    Keep in mind, the statistics for OSGrid as an example are based on what is registered currently. At any given time roughly 20%-30% of the region count may actually dead regions that simply haven’t been purged yet. The numbers of active regions for OSGrid At least will eventually overtake SL though, most likely in another year or two, depending partly on SL’s growth. Add in other opensim grids and it will likely be sooner.

    Also because it often gets confused, OSGrid is *not* opensim, it’s just the largest grid at present and often used as testing ground. Opensim itself is just software.


    How long ago was that? I only started playing with Opensim less than a year ago but the difficulty and problems at that time were vastly greater than they are now. Things are changing rapidly with opensim since it’s a much less mature platform than SL. Even 2-3 months can be a large difference.

    As to hardware, it varies widely. Some people do host them on unstable home connections alongside their porn and MMOs. Others rent VPS services. Some like me have a dedicated quad- or oct-core server with RAID, several GB of RAM and 100mb+ pipe at their disposal. Remember LL only allots 1-2 GB of RAM and a single core to an entire sim. A mid-range VPS can supply that much or more in resources and at about 1/4 the cost of what LL charges in tier for a sim.

    I am also not subject to a bunch of arbitrary content rules or shifts in policy because some newspaper in another country doesn’t like something that’s present in-world. For OSGrid, if it doesn’t break local laws where the server is hosted or disrupt the grid, nobody cares what’s there. And the latter is not even a factor if you are running a standalone. So how much is real freedom of expression and creation worth?

  14. Imnotgoing Sideways

    Jan 24th, 2010

    So… OpenSim has more empty regions than SL? SL already has a glut of empty regions and that’s often pointed out as one of the failures of the grid. If OpenSim does eventually overtake SL in region count, continuing applied logic would dictate that they’ve simply failed on a much larger scale. (^_^)y

  15. A Furry

    Jan 24th, 2010

    Don’t die Second Life,Opensim doesn’t have a furry community. );

  16. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Jan 25th, 2010

    region count != popularity.

  17. Wordfromthe Wise

    Jan 25th, 2010


    Your comment is “pretty much a big choke”. You have absolutely no idea what your talking about.

    “… one of our own was able to take down an entire grid ..”
    Entire Grid ? i think he just crashed your/his own regions .. his fault

    “Add that to the fact that these servers the opensims are hosted on are probably worse than anything LL has,…”

    lets see .. my 12 islands are hosted on an Intel 8 Core with 4GB RAM ..
    for just 35 Euros a month ..

    .. and i will not digg deeper into your P2P comments

    best regards
    Wordfromthe Wise

    and .. it i so easy to download the Software, unzip it on your PC , RTFM, and fire up your sims connected to the e.g OSGRID ..

  18. Ari Blackthorne

    Jan 25th, 2010

    Nice regurgitation of someone else’s bogus and agenda-based so-called reporting.

    Here are the flaws: that so-called 177% “growth” is among all the OS grids combined. SL grid is ONE grid. So it’s like saying the number of Windows machines across the internet is huge, compared to the average household number of Linux and Macintosh machines!

    I still find it funny every time people try hard to make it sound like OS is better than SL.

  19. I’ll ignore the poor grammar, spelling errors and blatant stumping for OSGrid and respond to what I can actually decipher.

    OmegaX held down all of OSGrid by himself for a good month. As far as servers, I’m still willing to bet LL’s are better as they still have plenty of morons dumping cash into their ponzi scheme. You can spout “PEER TO PEER EQUALS FREEDOM” all you want, but a client/server model is still the best for efficiency and reliability, which is why it is still used today.

  20. Orion Pseudo

    Jan 25th, 2010

    @At0m0 – “region count != popularity.”

    Yeah, you’re right on that one. But there are many factors involved. For instance during Linden’s OpenSpace Massacre OSGrid and many other grids were swamped with people looking to relocate and rebuild. For many of those, one or more sims would comprise of a personal home. In contrast on my grid we commonly use between two and six sims per OpenSim instance for an environment in order to provide enough usable land mass to build to scale. Also, it needs to be taken into account that some people are also running what are called “Megaregions” which are a group of two or more regions configured to operate as one single sim without border crossings. While those are counted from the grid end as one sim per 65535 sqm, in reality they’re a single sim.

    By this point I think its safe to say that OpenSim ain’t Second Life therefore to compare the two is pretty much pointless. OpenSim may be compatible with Second Life, but by all means Second Life is quickly becoming more of a distant relative as OpenSim and its derivatives evolve and extend the technology from where Linden left off. Eventually, as OpenSim matures as will its user base.

  21. markbyrn

    Jan 26th, 2010

    This sham chart brings to mind the Mark Twain quote; “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” You can run a openlife type server on your PC and have your own grid with hundreds of “regions”. That doesn’t make it Second Life or even comparable to the Second Life experience.

  22. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Jan 27th, 2010

    @ Orion

    You do realize you basically said nothing, right?

  23. Caren

    Mar 9th, 2010

    This has always been an interesting argument – and SL has for obvious reasons has always been at the heart of it… However .. no one chat room or chatter has all the answers or can cover all the arguments – and needless to say it’s not an argument .. nor even a debate, we are simply all observing the progress of social networking and whatever anyone thinks, it will inevitably develop and change and there will be winners and losers with regards commercial entity’s.. as for Linden labs .. it will go the way of all commercial entity’s it will either simply fail for whatever reason or it will be sold off to the highest bidder – it might transform to another kind of service or simply break !!??… and just out of a point of interest … and to maybe explore the diversity of these arguments with regard to linden labs .. I see a lot of statistics stated all over the place for linden labs (and other grids) .. and all sorts of meanings attached to them . Its fair to say .. that the statistics for linden labs (seecondlife) itself leave a lot to be desired and you can read many online chats about what exactly they mean – but in a nutshell .. those of you that see lindens stats as a strength as opposed one or ‘all’ of the many opensim grids need to understand something of the difference .. linden labs run a commercial service.. and as such the statistics can never be considered a comparative tool in the metaverse e.g. .. just look at the huge resident online figures… but does anyone have any idea how many of those are real people and not just traffic bots ?.. I can hazard a guess I have investigated this to some degree and was quite surprised (shocked even)… what is of more interest – and more relevant .. is the volume of accounts created every day at linden labs but never used or used once and never again … this is an issue the lindens take seriously and spend a huge resource in trying to grasp .. this follows also for the greater metaverse. Well blah blah etc etc etc .. I am trying to make a point here, or indeed several – and its not easy … as we can do no better than to generalise – but just a few considerations. Firstly .. those of you I see putting down the open source aspect of the metaverse are those who have had a bad experience .. or are secondlife ‘users’ .. Running your own sim is not for the feint hearted u need to be .. or become a bit of a geek to do it …. u don’t simply download a client and log on – go clubbing and spend a load of virtual money.. so if u don’t understand it .. and cant get it working or it doesn’t work well for you – don’t celebrate your ignorance by paying disrespect to all the open source programmers and all those people who do for free what the likes of linden labs struggle to do commercially .. and on that point you really need to watch this space in this regard, as the metaverse is developing at break neck speed – no one yet knows truly what is its product or products .. tho many hazard a guess.. no one knows its true social value either, we all have our opinions we all make or own observations .. and we all have our own ideas on what it is and what it should be – it’s my opinion however that few of our pre conceptions will be the case – as not only will social networking grow in scale but in doing so will metamorphosis into something I’m sure few of us had envisioned.. and needless to say it has already attracted the attention of many of the giants of the commercial networking fraternity. Here is something to consider… ‘Metaverse’ .. this is the operative word … you cannot look at linden labs as a separate entity .. ‘ as Linden labs do ‘ .. and this in my humble opinion will be their undoing at the end of the day … as for statistics .. they presently stand for nothing .. all that we can observe is the greater interconnected metaverse is growing exponentially … “has it peeked” .. not a chance .. has linden labs peeked ?… quite possibly. The point here, is to be successful (whatever you think that means) operators and users alike need to understand what it is that’s happening here .. and I go back to the term social networking – and trying to apply quanta to a phenomena that’s barely off the ground seems to me a bit ridiculous.

    A few considerations:

    Many Opensim ‘users’ will be the ‘providers’ of the future. So take an interest if you like .. and if you don’t like .. then at least be respectful.

    Linden labs … will cease to exist .. if for no other reason than it is a business and no business lasts forever – for the lindens its just a matter of timing – when and what to sell .. how long to operate etc. but we must pay them respect also .. for they have been instrumental to say the least in popularising 3D social networking, I know it gets a little personal if you have a lot of time invested in this platform .. but open you mind a little .. and embrace the future.

    Last but not least .. Content.. big word this .. no one has the monopoly on content .. tho many would like to – in my experience those who make the loudest noise about ownership of content are those who are the least well equipped to provide it… whereas those who create and provide the best content are too busy doing just that to bother arguing about its ownership … this makes these particular individuals vulnerable .. and we could do worse than to consider them and pay them our respects also.

    Understand content for what it is .. content is not a hat .. or a shirt or a virtual vehicle .. content is information – which is as broad as it is long. I’m sure we all get a feel for what ‘information’ means or is becoming to mean in the world .. it is “THE” commodity of the world it is what is important – and what we are dealing with here is ‘Information Technology’ (IT).

  24. Daniella

    May 16th, 2010

    Anyone that can’t install and maintain OpenSim must be a bit slow upstairs and that’s why they are best sticking to the shemale and pervert porn game of choice called Second Life, notably because they don’t have much of a sex life in their first life…

    What I love about OpenSim is I can transfer all of my Second Life purchases right now, except scripts to it and why not, I paid for the pixels and so on anyway.

    LL’s Tier prices are ridiculously high, SL has thousands of griefers and ugly looking avatars running around who are allowed to do what they want to others, so do I miss any of that, duh no.

    The changes in LL TOS, blocking of decent viewers, losing Residents Inventory without compensating them or allowing proper backup’s to Residents hard drives of everything they bought, etc etc along with all the above, combine to make SL an increasingly silly waste of time and money.

    As for their recent block on my favourite viewer, it don’t matter as software now exists to backup what you like regardless of perms or viewer used to access SL.

    All blocking popular viewers did was prompt software developers and crackers to make better software for borrowing content or backing up.

    Can’t wait for Buildabot to be released, I have so many homes and shop prefabs I need to backup for OpenSim which I can backup now but the method is a bit slow mainly because of SL lag :(

    In conclusion, OpenSims are where the bright people go who are interested in creativity and educational use of virtual worlds.

    Second Life is where the sexual predators go and education there means doggy position.

  25. [...] I suspect more alarming is this little tidbit of news in Alphaville Harold.  See: OpenSim Regions Predicted to Overtake Second Life in 2011 [...]

  26. logansryche

    Aug 7th, 2010

    @A Furry
    OpenSim does have a spot for furs, just not yet. Give it time and it’ll pop up soon enough.

  27. Not ment for this hoax site

    Oct 4th, 2010

    To funny, always with the things you read here.
    Based on loose screws, not to mention thats its unstable as hell.

    And for the word of the wise dude that has 12 islands…

    lol you got shit, just a few pixles on a screen get over yourself. Like most here all fake experts that have nothing better to do. Then hangout on a gossip site trying to sound even more intressting with difficult words choices.

    Sl will soon be over, 1 year, 2 years, 10 years does not matter much.
    I will be glad that all these ppl here will be nothing but a relic in the google cache roflmao!

  28. bc

    Oct 22nd, 2010

    Opensim just lacks people. Otherwise everything else works.
    As for continual crashing that’s a joke: I was in a store in SL last night and I crashed out six times in an hour. And I’m not talking about heavy lag either. So if Opensim can beat that it’s technically acceptable.

    As for content protection, that’s also a big joke.
    Though there are tons of people who would copy there are those who will pay because they think the creator *deserves* the money.

    If you spend time looking the source code to copy everything on SL is out there freely available on the web. That doesn’t mean that everyone is going to use it to copy everything and then destroy the creator. Who hasn’t heard of copybot for example? I think the whole DRM idea of SL is overplayed. I’m personally happy to pay higher prices to get templates for clothing or BVHs for animations and with mesh now available it will be much easier to get content into Opensim.

    There’s also the fact that rezzable has created a web-based browser that is capable of linking Unity3D to opensim.

    I really hope SL continues, but if it doesn’t it’s not relevant, we have a viable upgrade path and escape route.

  29. General Drama

    Oct 23rd, 2010

    Opensim has shitass for physics engine. Opensim beats a lagged out fully occupied, mall sim full of camping blingtards because Opensim is VACANT. That’s like saying “Mah homestead sim runs so much better than your big nightclub or combat full sim” when the only reason is you and your pixel gf are the only two people there and the only scripted object there is your sexbed.

  30. Nhoj

    Nov 24th, 2010

    Wow, what a heated debate over a simple topic. Opensimulator is software that allows a user or grid operator to generate a virtual environment similar to SL. SL is a business that provides virtual content to users. It’s really not even the same thing.

    I understand that because of the compatibilities and scripting engines, etc. the comparisons are never going to stop, but seriously – it is up to the user / operator to do whatever they want with Opensim (just run it or make a biz or whatever) Whereas with SL you can create whatever you want within the confines of that system.

    As far as stability goes, it just fluctuates from update to update. The last year has been incredibly stable, then the version 7 update came out, which was a huge update to structure and the first week was pretty hairy. Already it is now very stable and working out some bugs.

    Physics engines are by choice. HUGE advancements this last year and you can fly, drive, float whatever you like these days… and with megaregions – oh yeah, LOTS more fun with no sim borders :)

    Anyway – it is all personal preference so just stick with whatever floats your boat. I still have an ‘island’ and some mainland in SL that I have a couple of low-key malls and homes and just fun stuffs on, and I also have a VPS with a 10×10 megaregion on that my buds and I race dirtbikes around on.


  31. Yep

    Nov 24th, 2010

    “Opensim has shitass for physics engine. ”

    As if Second lifes physics engine is anything to brag about.

  32. Peter Bliss

    Jul 26th, 2011

    Second Life has one huge and simple-to-name problem– it is just too difficult to use! So much of it is non-intuitive and/or behind the curve of other computer control terms and methods. (Oh for a joystick to move my avatar!!!)
    SL animated figures are woefully old-tech. The avatars often have squared edges on their natural curves (a real turn-off) in an age of consumers trained of what to expect by movies like AVATAR and even home animation programs.
    Who cares if the trees have viewable leaves if the ladies’ beauty is marred by a square behind?
    SL has to change from being in the “change the world” business or the “wow, look at that” business and realize, a la Facebook, that they are in THE PEOPLE BUSINESS. I surveyed 100 worlds/places over two months using different days and different times and found 90% was EMPTY of people/avs and only the sex places were populated on a continuous basis.
    SL, wake up before you join CompuServe in the grave yard.

  33. Peter Bliss

    Jul 26th, 2011

    SL management– I dont care how techie u are or how Calif-hippie you are. Ordinary people… your growth base… dont care about anything but wandering around in SL, meeting people, and playing. Today, newcomers are lambasted by older residents and become three months and out users BECAUSE IT IS TOO HARD TO USE by people who dont care about computers.
    SL– your growth area is in people who WANT EASY, quick, and friendly. None of these qualities SL now has.

    Bye bye, SL !

  34. GG3

    Jul 26th, 2011

    Peter Bliss, you hit it on the nail.

    Not everyone that comes to Second-Life is someone who is going to buy an over-expensive, over-rated island to run some e-monopoly under Linden Labs. Along with the old, out-dated technology and the sheer backwardness of the SL “system” (which I commented on a topic before).

    Second Life needs competition, it’s a system that has set too comfortable for too long in it’s blane, boring, and ancient ways in a bias of fan-boys and fan-girls that screech at the moment of “change”. When the new consumer comes to join, their not worried about building a fake e-business, they want a fun, easy platform in which they can “play” (yes, I said “play”) on as a “game”(*GASP*voodoo word!), basically for fun.

    As for “griff0rs”, there just about the only thing lively on the entire grid to began with, everything else is pretty much dull or some stagnant “RP” with a billion lame rules to follow. Along with people taking their avatars as the “Real” them and all the oddball/whacky behaviors that can be observed on the adult-grid (and just about anywhere else on SL), the retarded mic-trolls that swarm ahern, and the grid-skitters aka stalkers(oops, sorry, fake “Police Groups”) and the general butt-kissing/foot-rubbing proportions is enough to turn that new-user out the door and onto another service that isn’t so ridden with b.s. (and yes, SL has ALOT of b.s.)

    It’s an over-glorified virtual chat-room that puts a lot of “bang” in the commercials, but when stepping into the actual game, it’s a sheer disappointment and ill-representation.

  35. Orca Flotta

    Jul 26th, 2011

    @ GG3:

    Not everyone that comes to Second-Life is someone who is going to buy an over-expensive, over-rated island to run some e-monopoly under Linden Labs.

    No, of course not. And your point is? Having fun without owning land isn’t possible?
    I spent almost 4 years in SL as a basic, wasn’t bored a single second, earned some money, spent some money, met awesome and awfull people, went shopping, created social content, had sex, had fights, was always busy …

    When the new consumer comes to join, their not worried about building a fake e-business, they want a fun, easy platform in which they can “play”

    Consumer? F@ck it, who needs consumers? Why are they anyone’s concern? At least LL is trying to push a dumbed down, consumer friendly, viewer version onto us as we speak.
    You expect it to have a super easy to use GUI?
    I never played any online games, or any computer games at all before I found SL but also never had any probs moving my avie, using vehicles, using scripts and whatnots. At least in V1 it’s all quite easy for starters. Advanced features are easy to learn as well. V2 is a huge disappointment for anybody who wants to build or do stuff other than just shopping and spending money.

    BUT you’ll see how SL will go down rapidly once we have more consumers than creators in SL. Remember the old SL slogan “Your world, your imagination”? That’s SL! A 100% resident-made world. If you can’t contribute to it in any way we don’t need you here. It’s pretty simple.

    It’s an over-glorified virtual chat-room that puts a lot of “bang” in the commercials, but when stepping into the actual game, it’s a sheer disappointment and ill-representation.

    The “actual game” is resident created, which means the game is made by you and me, and if it’s a disappointment we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.

    Honestly now, what tf do you expect SL to be? I bet once I hear your definition I wanna leave SL at once.

  36. frank perlov

    Jun 22nd, 2012

    LOL NOT GONNA HAPPEN! they fail to mention how many of the “new regions” are from people reinstalling because of issues. this is the same old debate, mac vs pc, linux vs windows, crunchy vs creamy. bottom line unless they look at the other’s that failed to “overtake” thier competion they will fall short as well. if anyone wants to see linden labs fall, two words. USER FRIENDLY. people do not want to go editing lines of code, changing settings on all thier hardware, putting thier left foot in taking it out doing the hokey pokey all about, just to interact online. the techy group is very small compared to the rest of the world. most will go ahead and pay the fee’s and not spend so much on asprin.

  37. Writer

    Jun 25th, 2012

    It’s 2012 idiots

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