You can run OpenSim from a USB Stick?


Yesterday I noted a tweet by Maria Korolov, the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business.  Her tweet said, “OpenSim on a USB Stick…”  When I first started researching the use of OpenSim in education, I recall reading something about this however, I was still getting my head around the basics of this kind of virtual world and had no idea of the possibilities it offered.

So what does “OpenSim on a USB Stick” actually mean?  By downloading and installing the required files to a USB Stick, you can then use your 3D viewer software, for example, Hippo OpenSim Viewer, to access your “local grid”.  Therefore, you create an OpenSim grid that runs directly from your own computer and USB Stick.  Whilst this is not a multi-user environment, there are still a number of advantages that I will outline shortly.

Maria’s tweet had a link to the Tasmanian Polytechnic Wiki, featuring the incredible work by Roger Stack with detailed instructions and video tutorials about the process.  After watching the tutorials and reading a blog post by the wonderful Ener Hax regarding her experience with the setup process, I decided I was up to the challenge and would give it a go!

My technical knowledge is very, very limited but Roger’s video tutorials are excellent and I found that within 30 minutes (in between preparing our Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner! 😉 ) I was running an entire OpenSim grid directly from my USB stick!

There are a number of clear advantages for educators wishing to utilise this feature:

  • For educators who are investigating OpenSim as a virtual worlds platform, this is the perfect way to explore the features and possibilities.  You can “try before you buy”.
  • Our private grid is made up of four sims, all of which are being used for our current projects.  OpenSim on a USB Stick offers me the opportunity to continue experimenting in a virtual space.  I can import and export items that I build in this space, just as I would on our regular private grid.
  • I have previously blogged about the use of OpenSim Archive files (OAR files) and their exciting possibilities.  There are many wonderful OpenSim users who kindly share OAR files.  I can now upload these OAR files using OpenSim on a USB Stick to explore them prior to use on our private grid.  As mentioned above, this is particularly useful when all of the sims on our private grid are being utilised for other projects.
  • I also love the idea that OpenSim on a USB Stick offers you the ability to explore, create, test, etc… and then “surprise” the students with something on our private grid that they have not seen at all. 🙂
  • Whilst I have not tested this myself as yet, I am hoping that the USB Stick can be used on another Windows PC with a 3D viewer installed and also without the need for an internet connection.

Overall, I can see that OpenSim on a USB Stick will offer us even greater flexibility and a valuable testing space to continue our school’s Virtual Worlds Project.

Sincere thanks to Roger Stack for sharing his amazing work!


5 thoughts on “You can run OpenSim from a USB Stick?

  1. it runs great on the machine i used to install it but i have tried three other machines and no luck =(

    this does not take away from the value of what this means for development though but may limit it. i am sure the error i am getting is something easily overcome

    i installed this on an XP machine and tried on two Vista 64 bit and one Vista 32 bit

    stay tuned and let’s see what happens

    ps – i did export an OAR from the stick and load it onto one of my hosted OpenSims – it all carried over fine, even the scripts came over and were running =)

  2. Since my initial experiments with USB OpenSim, I’ve continued to make some nice discoveries.

    I have been able to copy the files from one USB to another and used the USB on difference computers, including our students’ HP Mini Netbooks. No internet connection is required to run USB OpenSim.

    Roger Stack contacted me via Twitter to let me know that he has updated the Tasmanian Polytechnic Wiki with extra instructions to create a complete USB OpenSim experience including the addition of a 3D Viewer on the USB Stick. I’m keen to try this too as my ultimate goal would be to setup our own customised version of USB OpenSim, including avatars, that I can copy to make multiple versions. Students and Staff who are part of our Virtual Worlds Project Team can be given a USB stick that they can use “anywhere, anytime” as part of their exploration of virtual worlds.

    I can see that USB OpenSim would also be valuable when conducting PD with teachers in terms of saving time. Participants would be given a USB Stick and be in-world within minutes! No need to worry about software installation, account setup, etc…

  3. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this blog post. I sent this to a student of mine and yesterday after much tweeking and help from our IT support staff he managed to get OpenSim running on a USB stick. He was so excited that he didnt want to leave at recess. I will blog all about his adventure soon but in the mean time I wanted to thank you.

    Andrew Blackwell
    IT Teacher
    Newcastle Grammar School

  4. Hi Andrew!
    I’m so excited to hear about your USB OpenSim success! I can’t wait to hear about how you’re using virtual worlds at your school!
    Lucy 🙂

  5. I’m currently working on a “template version” of OpenSim on a USB Stick that can be copied as required to give to students who are part of our Virtual Worlds Project Team.
    A Year 10 Student who is a member of the Project Team has asked if she can build an Art Gallery as part of her VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) Studies in Art for 2011.
    OpenSim on a USB Stick will give her the opportunity to experiment “to her heart’s content” :).
    She will then be able to export items and share her work on either our public or private OpenSim spaces.

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