Open Source Virtual Worlds May 14, 2009

Open Source Virtual Worlds

As we look forward to ever greater varieties and applications for virtual worlds, a number of open source projects are beginning to gather interest and users.  In this presentation we will hear from project leads of 3 important platforms, Sirikata (, Open Croquet (  and OpenSim (

Sirikata is an alpha stage open source project underway at Stanford University. Open Croquet is derived from the highly flexible Squeak environment and forms the platform for projects such as (previous Virtual World SIG presenters) Qwaq ( OpenSim utilizes Linden Lab’s Second Life open source client and is utilized in projects such as Sun Microsystems’ “Science Sim” (

This information packed session will feature presentations about the architecture and current state of each platform, followed by an opportunity for question and answer.  Don’t miss this one of a kind meeting bringing together 3 of the most important projects that will shape the future of virtual world development.

Presenter bios:

Julian Lombardi
Julian Lombardi’s early research program centered on the evolution of complex organismal function in vertebrates and the evolution of maternal-embryonic physiological relationships. An advocate of the use of imaging technologies and early adopter of information technology in university teaching and learning, in 1987 Lombardi began writing HyperTalk-based software applications in support of learning and instruction in anatomy and physiology. In the mid-1990s, Lombardi combined his interests in information technology, complex systems, and the phenomenon of emergence in biological systems to begin designing and developing computer-supported collaboration systems involving self-optimizing massively multiuser online 3D environments.  In 1989 he developed and marketed The Bone Box[2], a commercial 3D auto-tutorial program for use in learning human skeletal anatomy with the early Macintosh computer.  Lombardi eventually founded ViOS, Inc. where, during the  period from 1999-2001, he served as the venture capital-backed company’s first CEO and then Chief Creative Officer/Software architect. There, he and his team designed and implemented ViOS, a client-server technology that enabled the first 3D user interface to network deliverable resources (including the Internet) in the form of a highly customizable and massively multi-user online virtual environment – essentially a very large scale social software system/3D wiki.  Lombardi is one of the six principal architects of the Croquet software developer’s toolkit and from 2006-2008 he served as Executive Director of the Croquet Consortium[3], a not-for-profit organization to promote the adoption of Croquet open source software technologies.  Lombardi is presently leading a National Science Foundation funded effort to develop Open Cobalt, an open source and multi-platform metaverse browser and toolkit application and toolset to support the large scale  visualization and simulation needs of educators and researchers. Open Cobalt is being made available in the open source as a way of fostering a viable community-based software development effort leading to open virtual world technologies supporting the needs of research and education.
More information at: (

Dan Miller
Dan Miller  followed early interests in music and technology to a career in digital music production. This led to an interest in signal processing and multimedia software design. He founded his first company (Computer Crossware Labs) in 1986; next company, On2 Technologies, was founded in 1992. Later, he took On2 public in 1999 (AMEX:ONT). Dan’s technical areas of interest and experience include: video/audio compression, encryption, DRM, 3D modeling, physics simulation, open source methods, robotics, artificial intelligence, artificial life. Other interests include music, philosophy, and science fiction.  Dan holds 6 patents, programs in C, C++, Java, Python, Lisp, and FORTH, and has  hired and managed software development and website production staff of over 100 employees. He has led numerous software products developed with complex requirements and difficult deadlines, and managed multi-site R&D team responsible for core research in video  compression. Dan has has written several business plans, raising over $60M in private and public equity rounds.

Henrik Bennetsen
Henrik Bennetsen is the associate director of the Stanford Humanities Lab. He maintains a strong interest in virtual worlds and open source  technology. These interests converge in his active participation in Sirikata (, a BSD licensed open source platform for virtual worlds. The aim is to provide a set of libraries and protocols which can be used to deploy a virtual world, as well as fully featured sample implementations of services for hosting and deploying these worlds. Other work includes heading out the Speed Limits research project, a collaboration with the Danish Bornholm’s Kunstmuseum to explore artistic expression inside a virtual space. Henrik is also working on the Preserving Virtual Words project funded by the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program (NDIIPP) funded by the U.S. Library of Congress. Previously he lead the Lifesquared research project. The idea was to explore building a 3D immersive  archive of the art of Lynn Hershman inside the virtual world of Second Life. The work was shown at The Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal and at the SFMOMA in late 2008. In 2007 he co-founded the Stanford Open Source Lab that has since grown to about 60 members from across the Stanford community. Henrik is Danish and has a MSc. in media technology and games from the IT University of Copenhagen and a BSc. in Medialogy from Aalborg University. Before his return to the world of academia Henrik was a professional musician and still has a strong side interest in creative self expression augmented by technology.

Henrik will  be joined by Daniel Horn (Stanford dev team, programmers) to discuss the architecture of the project.

Pillsbury Winthrop Office Silicon Valley
2475 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1114

Streamed Live from:

6:30 PM Registration and Networking
7:00 PM -8:40 PM Presentations

$15 at the door for non-SDForum members
No charge for SDForum members
No registration required