Applications and Tools, Second Life, Virtual World Platforms

Back Up Your Region to Your Hard Drive We’re Moving to OpenSim!

There’s something odd going on - an increasing number of tools to back up content, even full regions in Second Life so that they can be ported elsewhere, and the odd thing I suppose is that I don’t hear all the screaming about copybots that seemed to arrive every time there was a new tool that let you save a single item, or integrate content development with 3DS or whatever.

Maybe Second Inventory softened the ground or something, the idea of being able to move your inventory to your hard drive became a sort of standard operating procedure.

Or maybe Linden Lab doesn’t care any more - they’re letting you “peel off” mainland parcels and transfer them to a private estate, so the idea of backing up a sim and moving it around is just sort of the way it is.

Whatever the case, the move towards full region back-up has picked up steam, and it’s only a line or two of code away from being more than just copying YOUR stuff, but being able to copy EVERYTHING, it’s only the good graces of someone like, say, Adam Frisby (who is highly invested in both openSim AND Second Life) to keep that extra little code snippet locked down out of public view.

The Frisby Region Back-Up (Permission Checks to follow)
Case in point is his post on Maxping, where he outlines the tool he’s built:

I have for a few months been testing an internal tool which allows you to export a OpenSim Archive from a Second Life Region - it was originally developed to export a clients region (their IP); but ended up being handy to preserve some of our workshops and builds from deletion when we closed the sims or rebuilt them. Today, I rewrote it - the previous version was based on the old libomv PrimWorkshop viewer, the new version is now based on the Simian Periscope (Periscope is a kind of multi-user version of GridProxy).

Before anyone asks, the modifications aren’t public - unfortunately for every legitimate user for a tool like this, there’s ten asshats prepared to use it as copybot deluxe, so the source is going to stay private (although I might release a binary version containing creator and permission checks similar to Second Inventory - we’ll see what my schedule looks like in the next few weeks).

This new version is overall a bit more reliable - a number of small bugs and niggles got fixed along the way - but the key factor is it’s now not a 2 hour effort to run, a region can be grabbed with 95%+ accuracy in minutes. You can see here, my personal workshop region ‘Aleph’ in Second Life - it’s a fairly old sim, but it’s gone through a ton of revisions in it’s history. The current revision is a sort of moonbase cross sandbox, complete with orbital lasers.

Now, Fisby is a bit vague about whether he owned all of the objects being backed up. But I’ll take it that the fact that he still needs to write “permission checks” implies that the current one doesn’t have them.

He helpfully notes, however, that he can assist you with a region back-up, but ONLY if you own all the content: “The easiest starting point is instead probably to provide some kind of service for creators to voluntarily backup their sims (say, in the case of a creator shutting down their region - but wanting to preserve it). Perhaps there are options here to look at providing some kind of transfer service for people moving regions from say SL to OSGrid [providing they own the copyright]. If anyone is interested in that kind of service, let me know - this might be useful for folks contemplating migrating over to OpenSim/OSGrid and have all their own content.”

Second Life’s Slow Death - Region Back-Up Required
Also on Maxping, Jani Pirkola is also helpful, offering to save Second Life through - well, through region back-ups:

“If Linden Lab decides to open up and join the hypergrid movement, and enable the full backup-restore of the hosted regions, they could really make the 3D web grow. With wise business planning they are in the best position to grab huge portion of the market, without needing to do any walled garden solutions that slow down the growth.”

If the Lab DOESN’T enable full back-up, according to Jani, they are destined to wither away behind their walled garden.

Viewers and Back-Up Oh My!
There have been a raft of new viewers lately - the kinds that make content creators swoon, and Bettina Tizzy has it covered at NPIRL.

Now, I think it’s great that there are all these new viewers - and I’m tempted to use one or two of them myself, like Snowglobe maybe or Meerkat. Mind you, I’m also holding out for the NEW new SL viewer, but that’s a few months off at least. Plus, hearing that one of the new viewers had timed trojans and malware doesn’t exactly instill faith that open source viewers are necessarily, um, stable, tested and safe and has me a little antsy but whatever - it’s a buyer beware world right? Or a “don’t buy it’s free” world anyways.

Now, what’s interesting about these viewers is the back-up function. Skills Hak comments on the Gemini viewer: “The new import/export function should be very handy for grid hoppers, too.” The release notes say that the viewer “respects permissions” so that’s good.

The Meerkat viewer does the same thing: “Import/Export allows you to save builds that you have created anywhere you’d like. These builds can then be reimported into any grid, allowing you to work offline in OpenSim or bring your creations to new virtual worlds.”

But here’s the thing - with all these viewers allowing all this back-up, the code for checking whether you own the objects being backed up is, well, inconsequential. A few snips and it’s gone.

Here’s the code:

“if ( (! ( isItemPermissive() || gAgent.isGodlike() ) )”

Change it, done. (I’ll leave out what you change it to, but really, it’s not that complicated).

And yet we don’t hear any outcries about copybot. Because I guess no one is changing that snippet of code.

But what all this leaves me wondering is: has inter-grid content copying arrived without anyone really noticing? Is it now standard procedure? How many content creators have full region back-ups over on OpenSim? How much of a standard practice has this become?

I’d like to hear from you and get a sense of how prevalent double-regions are and whether mirroring content is now a standard way to back up content from Second Life in openSim.


speak up

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site.

Subscribe to these comments.

*Required Fields

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.