Call for participation: Web Monday, Aachen Euregio, Dec 3rd 2007

22 11 2007

On December 3rd we will be organizing again a Web Monday here in Aachen. We call it Web Monday Euregio because we would also like people from the surrounding countries (Netherlands and Belgium) to attend and make it more international.

So what is a Web Monday?

Basically it’s a meetup taking place on a monday evening with topics all around web2.0, internet and so on. It consists of a one hour of people arriving and getting to know each other, one hour of 10 minute talks (depends on how many we have) and then open end for networking and getting to know each other. The whole event is free of charge and drinks & snacks will be provided.

Everybody is also invited to give a talk. Last time I gave a talk on the new Second Life Grid Architecture and two guys from introduced their project.

This time we are also having a talk about Second Life as the guys from will be introduce their Analytics package (actually it will take place in their office :-).

So if you are interested in either participating (and you are in the area around Aachen/Aken/Aix la Chapelle) feel free to sign up on the Web Monday Euregio Wiki page. If you want to give a 10 minute talk feel free to add this to the list of talks which you can find on the wiki as well. You will find all further information such as location on that page.

I hope that some people from outside Germany will come as it would be great to connect also over the borders (which indeed are very close here).

[Web Monday wiki page]

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Linden Lab releases more Python libraries as Open Source (technical)

22 11 2007

Eventlet and mulib, two Python libraries have been already released by Linden Lab earlier (during SLCC) and Certified HTTP (CHTTP) is developed in the open already.

So what are these?

  • Eventlet is a networking library written in Python. It achieves high scalability by using non-blocking io while at the same time retaining high programmer usability by using coroutines to make the non-blocking io operations appear blocking at the source code level.
  • mulib is a REST web service framework built on top of eventlet.
  • CHTTP basically wants to implement a more reliable HTTP by ensuring that each message is guaranteed to be delivered exactly once.

Now Linden Lab opensourced further libraries which can be found here. Citing Ryan Williams/Linden Lab from his mail to the SLDev Mailinglist:

  • base.llsd : full-featured llsd parser and serializer for all three wire formats
  • base.lluuid : interface for generating, representing, and parsing UUIDs
  • base.config : global-config-file interface
  • ipc.llsdhttp : HTTP client that automatically encodes/decodes LLSD. Great for web services passing around data.  Works with eventlet beta-1 (not trunk).
  • ipc.saranwrap : wraps a module in a child process that is spoken to via pipes, so as to use eventlet’s socket swizzling around blocking code like MySQLdb.
  • ipc.mysql_pool : pool of saranwrapped database connections
  • ipc.russ : Recursive Url Substitution Syntax.  Build urls through variable expansion.
  • : similar to base.config, uses a config file and russ to build urls
  • ipc.webdav : webdav convenience module, this looks like it should be revamped to use httpc
  • ipc.xml_rpc : an xml-rpc module
  • : named query runner that uses a directory tree of llsd files

Great to see Linden Lab publish all these things (although I have no idea yet if they might be of use to me ;-) ). Documentation is more or less missing on these (and I wish they would have used at least doc strings but this seems to be changing) and of course this is mostly intended to be used with Second Life (while eventlet and mulib as well as CHTTP should have quite nice used also outside this realm). But as they are in the process of creating a standard protocol it’s definitely nice to see them publishing it so we might save some time.

Oh, and all of it is released under an MIT License.

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Standardising Virtual Worlds, an update

31 10 2007

Some time has passed away since I last posted something about the Second Life Grid Architecture Working Group and related efforts (because there are now).


So what has been happening on defining a new protocol for Second Life? Well, actually technically not too much, we are still being in the discussion phase. But a lot of discussion has happened. A big one was of course the discussion around Intellectual Property and fears such a new protocol can open the door to all sorts of misuse. There is a lot of detail on this wiki page about it. Summarized the situation is that we don’t want to implement any DRM as it will be hacked anyway but we will keep the permission system as it is (other grids are free then of course to implement their own permission system like a true GPL one) and make sure the objects will stay in the trust domain you define.

Then there was some discussion about alternative region and geometry formats but Zero made clear in his lates office hour that we won’t define a new format for all this. Groups who want to discuss this can do so but in a different place while they still should stay abreast with the protocol work the SLGAWG is doing. Should there be the fear that some doors might get closed which are not being that easy to reopen again, they should say so.


From these discussions which got a bit unstructured the idea of the Viewpoint Advocacy Group (VAG) was born. Those groups have a special topic such as Scalability, Quality Assurance or Geometry/Physic and they will closely follow the protocol definition. They will also discuss certain use cases under their individual viewpoint. Should there be conflicts between different views then somebody (probably Zero) needs to decide on them. The goal though is of course to reach consensus where possible. You can find more about them on this wiki page.

In-world group AWGroupies

Zha Ewry of IBM founded a group called AWGroupies as a group for meetups in Second Life. Zha also provided some group space for those meetings to take place. Meetings are once or twice a week and there is an agenda on what to talk about here. This group is invite only but if you are interested in the technical details of the protocol definition and want to contribute to a technical conversation there should be no reason not be allowed in.

These meetings are sort of preparation sessions for the office hour with Zero Linden. Results will of course be posted on the wiki.

AWGroupies also have a public subversion repository here:

The Scope of the SLGAWG

In his last office hour Zero Linden was talking about the scope of this project: The main goal here really is Second Life and how to make it possible to open up the grid and that way also make the architecture more scalable. It is a project for the next 1-2 years. It is not about redefining everything, most of the data structures present in Second Life today will probably also be used in the new architecture. It is also not about being able to host 5000 people on a region because this needs severe rethinking and experimentation about how to do that with all the SL features still intact. For a more general standardization of virtual worlds there is actually the vwinterop project which I will describe later.

The last decision of what is in scope and what isn’t is now defined by Zero should there be problems coming up regarding this. He also promised to edit the wiki next week and move stuff not in scope “elsewhere”.


Well, on the coding front not much really has happened yet. We are sort of still in the discussion on how this project actually should work instead of working on something. There are some exceptions of course, like Gareth Ellison who is working on some python based components. From the official site (== Linden Lab) there is only known right now that they want to have an implementation for a customized client logging in to an agent domain at the end of Q4.
But now that Q4 is passing past fast and Zero will edit the wiki I hope that some more official coding is happening soon. I think this is very important because right now probably everybody has their own view on how things might or might not work.

Code can then also be used as a basis for discussion and an example for the ongoing work

Virtual World Interoperability

At the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo in San Jose earlier this month IBM hosted a closed session with many players from the virtual worlds business, such as AutoDesk, Samsung, HiPiHi, Anshe Chung Studios, Sun, Transmutable, Areae, Forterra, Mindark, IBM, Cisco, Google, Linden Lab, Sony, Multiverse, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, and Philips. According to Peter Haggar, Emerging Technology and Standards Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM, this meeting was mainly meant to check out if there is interest in creating standards for virtual worlds to make them interoperable.

It seems there is some interest and so a group has been formed which now has a home on the web at This page includes the full agenda for the day complete with presentation slides.

The status of the group is probably “forming”. Not real work has been done except some discussion about how this group might work. So it’s definitely an interesting place to watch and maybe participate. I missed the last meeting unfortunately but will try to attend the next one. Everybody can join this effort btw, just signup at the site. You need to be confirmed but for me this seemed not to be any problem.

So there are definitely interesting projects going on. One a bit more concrete (SLGAWG) and another somewhat broader (VW Interop). Now if the first one just gets a better name than SLGAWG it might be all fine ;-)

PS: There is also the press release from Linden Lab and IBM regarding creating e.g. a standard for universal avatars. This is probably more related to the work done by the VW Interop group.

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Webmonday Aachen/Euregio rocked!

23 10 2007

So yesterday we had our first webmonday in Aachen and the region called Euregio which consists of closer parts of the neighbouring countries Netherlands and Belgium. The idea was to get participants also from those areas but somehow we failed in addressing the right people. Nevertheless it was great for a first webmonday in Aachen. 25 people showed up while we were expecting 5 ;-)

We even had two talks, one about which is some nice event portal for organising dinners in a city and by doing that meeting new friends (each course will happen in a different place and after that there will be an after dinner party).

The second talk was held by myself and I was talking once again about the new Second Life Grid Architecture which seems a very important topic for me. We had quite a bunch of people in the audience who never have been in Second Life and have been somewhat sceptical about it but in the end they might see Second Life in a different light now. Which is cool! :-)

You can find another summary in german on my german blog and you will find there also the videos of the two talks. Attached is the slideshow of my presentation:

[link to slideshare]

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New Client looks

22 10 2007

It seems that soon we will have some new looks for the Second Life client. One is done by Benjamin Linden and thus will replace the existing look of today at some point and the other is the OnRez viewer which will debut on Wednesday in conjunction with the airing of the CSI:NY episode about Second Life.

So here are the two screenshots:

Linden Lab viewer

(The long term goal here is btw to make the official client more easily skinnable in general)

OnRez viewer

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Lessons learned from the Plone Conference streaming

11 10 2007

So doing the streaming for a Plone Conference is quite a stressy task at times. You mostly run around trying to get the right people, you are searching for a possibility to plug into a sound source and you are trying to get a good network connection. Sound was working in the end after I check the mixer myself and managed to get a long enough cable (wireless mic would be nice but is expensive). And instead of having a dedicated line I had to share the wifi connection. But in the end it worked better than expected and I had 2 streams running, one to for the website and one to for Quicktime to use it in Second Life.

So should you plan to stream a conference or any other event live, make sure you

  1. arrive early, 3 days in advance might not be too little time. Make sure, the technical staff is around, too.
  2. bring enough long cables with you (or buy some in the area).
  3. have a power connection. Make sure you have power adapters should you be in foreign countries.
  4. check in front if there really is a dedicated line for you (not sure how good a 3G connection might work but it can be better than nothing and especially not shared)
  5. setup a Second Life venue far before the event
  6. prepare a streaming website (basically showing a widget) also ahead of the conference. This should be announced early and should also contain up-to-date information. A CMS like Plone is of course quite useful for managing such things.
  7. announce the life streaming early on as many channels as possible. Prepare a text and send it out to your blogs, to news sites, as group announcements etc. (create a group ahead of time or use existing ones)
  8.  have a good enough Quicktime Streaming Server. You might want to look out for a sponsor which should be easy to find for interesting events. If there is a budget it is even easier of course. As for our sponsor, StreamGuys, I can only say that it worked like a charm.
  9. don’t forget to hit the Record button on also. This way you directly have an archived version of the video you can link to.
  10. you link to the agenda of the conference and eventually convert it to Second Life times (something which I hadn’t time to do yet).

Of course I knew some of these things before but you forget quickly ;-) Especially doing the website before leaving is a very good idea as you probably will have enough stress already on location.

So if you want to join today’s streaming of the conference (starting in about 1 hour), join us via web or Second Life.

(photo by Aaron van der Lip)

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Plone Conference 2007 in Second Life

9 10 2007

Plone Conference 2007

We are doing it again! After the great reception of streaming the Plone Conference last year to Second Life it will also happen again this time. From Oct 10-12 about 340 Plone fans and experts will meet in Naples for the Plone Conference 2007, over 50 people will give over 60 talks in 4 tracks. Topics will range from Beginner’s tutorials to highly technical details about the Open Source Content Management System Plone.

And you can be part of this even if you are not in Naples yourself. Just join us for the Plone Conference in Second Life. We are working hard right now to make streaming possible. The great thing is that Second Life also helped in finding a sponsor for streaming. Some months back I was visiting a Cisco event where the keynote of the Cisco CEO was streamed live to Second Life. The stream was provided by StreamGuys and we talked a bit about streaming into Second Life. This turned out to be a great connection as they are now sponsoring us to get the stream from Naples to Second Life. Thanks to StreamGuys!

For more information check out the Plone Conference Streaming Page.

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