Mono 1.9 install script

Unfortunately no one has made ubuntu packages yet, however here is a script that I built based on Dirk's post to automate mono 1.9 installation onto Ubuntu environments.

Upgrading my Linode to Xen

I just did the upgrade of my linode (which hosts, planet opensim,, and a few other sites) to Xen. I had put in the request to join the beta for Xen a couple weeks ago, got in, and was slow on my side to actually kick off the migration (which was painless, but required about an hour of down time). It turns out that all of linode is now going to Xen. Based on very simple latecy tests, the box feels much snappier on serving up wiki pages.

Fun with Morphing

After a bit of playing around with gtkmorph tonight, I came up with this morph between myself and my Second Life avatar Neas Bade. I haven't quite figured out where I'm going to use this yet, but it seemed like something handy to have. I need to actually replicate my avatar shape into the various OpenSim environments that I use, which I haven't gotten around to yet, but will soon.

Further Thoughts on Open Virtual Worlds

I was just lucky enough to be a participant in the Open Source, IP and Privacy in Virtual Worlds Life 2.0 panel in Secondlife. I would have to say being on the floor with such incredibly big names as Zero Linden, Eben Moglen, and Zha Ewry was rather humbling, even if I know Zha pretty well in real life. All of them have incredible thoughts on the space, and I personally learned quite a bit through the panel. An additional thought occurred to me after the panel, which isn't all that fleshed out, but worth at least jotting down (I'm sure I'll have a few more of these random thoughts over the next few days).

Freedom to Leave in Virtual Worlds

Eben talked very eloquently on the two powers provided by participants in an environment: Voice and Exit. While we explored both of them on the panel, something occurred to me is that Exit is really not all that possible today in any Virtual World sense. You can decide not to participate, but you don't really have the freedom to leave.

"freedom to leave", an open-standards based assurance that users can move their data easily between interoperable platforms and services.

Today, if you decide to leave any virtual world platform (even OpenSim), you pretty much have to leave you data behind. I think that one of the features people will be looking for in the virtual worlds of tomorrow is the same freedom to leave that they get from any standard web or mail infrastructure provider today. Part of what has made Google successful in the application hosting space is by ensuring it's easy to leave the platform.

One of the biggest reasons I left LiveJournal was that it was hard to leave, and the longer I built up content in that environment, the harder it was going to be for me to get it out.

Planet OpenSim Gets a Facelift

Some hacking last night got the bulk of the Planet OpenSim site pulling style elements directly from the OpenSim wiki, which makes for a much more unified them experience. 

We're now tracking 10 blogs on Planet OpenSim, with lots of very good information on OpenSim development and usage being written up by members of the community.  If you've got an OpenSim relevant blog and would like to be included on the list, please just drop a comment on this post to tell me about it.

Hacking on OpenSim Infrastructure: Mantis Improvements For The Win!

Among other roles in the OpenSim project, I'm reluctant admin for most of the infrastructure. Infrastructure being defined as: scm repo (subversion and mercurial), bug tracker (mantis), and wiki (media wiki).

Recently I decided to do some hacking on our mantis tracker to make it work better for the project. There was a very real reason to do this, our mantis has over 350 open and unassigned issues, and was starting to get massively ignored by most developers as it was far too overwhelming to route out real issues in mantis vs. stale issues vs. user errors in such a large sea.

The first change in this area was creating an osmantis bot. This is an IRC bot that spits out a message in our #opensim-dev channel on every mantis change. This brings the same level of visibility to our bugs as to our svn commits (which get the same treatment). This involved a rather brutal amount of hackering in mantis, and a perl IRC bot that runs on If you've been on IRC at all in the last couple of weeks you've seen it.

This morning I introduced 3 new states related to patches (patch included, patch feedback, patch ready). The agreed policy of OpenSim is that patches come in via mantis. However, as nothing really makes patches stand out more than regular issues, we were loosing a lot of patches in mantis. I believe our oldest patch in mantis which clearly hadn't been looked at by anyone was over 3 months old. Not a great state to be in. With the new set of states mantis issues with patches can be set to patch included as part of triage. This will make them pop up to the top of everyone's attention.

Another issue we've had is that users can't close their own issues. I just fixed that (I think), so if you have reported issues via OpenSim mantis I'd ask to go check to make sure they still look valid. If they aren't, please close them, to help us clean up the current state of things.

I'm hoping these changes make it easier for us to manage issues coming into the project, and make using mantis more effective for everyone.

Publishing my first gem: thermostat 0.0.2

When not working on OpenSim, I've been doing a bunch of random side projects in Ruby. One of the more recent ones has been a more advanced control and monitoring tool for my thermostat.

Along the way I created a module for the thermostat control. Last night I finally figured out how to package this work up as a gem file, which makes this easily installable to the world. Right now, the code is really raw, and I haven't put in any documentation yet. But, for those interested, it's available.


Passing of Gygax

I remember very vividly being introduced to D&D at the age of 12.  A friend of mine from junior high, Travis Dudley, had all five 1st edition boxed sets.  Our first coupld of days with them were mostly creating level 55 characters and fighting Dragons.  Not high art, but incredibly fun.

A year later 2nd Edition came out, and we started being interested in things besides just battles with dragons.  I remember getting issues of Dungeon Magazine, and DMing adventures out of there.  D&D lead off into other RPGs, like the teenage mutant ninja turtles universe, shadow runner, cyberpunk, and a range of table top games.  It even lead to my friend Chris and I writing our own table top game (85 page rule book), that had 3 generations of game play mechanics at the age of 15.  Yes, at 15 we spent our spare hours writing an 85 page rule book, printing out drafts on my dot matrix printer (which took about 3 hrs), and doing play testing and editing.

But it all started with cracking open Gygax's D&D and a realization: with a few well crafted rules your imagination can take you to places you never imagined.

RIP Gary.