[still very much in early draft form at the moment … t.b.c.]

This tutorial will guide you through the process of downloading, installing, configuring, accessing, and managing your own region using OpenSimulator.  Rather than pointlessly replicating tutorials already online, this document will for the most part give only an outline, with links to external documents that deal with topics in greater detail.


  1. What is OpenSimulator?
  2. Why should you use OpenSim?
  3. Connecting to other grids with 3rd party viewers
  4. Installing the OpenSim server
  5. Importing content to your sim
  6. Installing and configuring the OpenSim Web Interface
  7. Connecting your region to the OSGrid
  8. Essential resources

What is OpenSimulator?

OpenSimulator (or OpenSim) is an open source server platform for hosting multi-user virtual worlds that are fully compatible with the Second Life viewer and the several alternative viewers now available.  See the section Second Life viewers.

Why should you use OpenSim?

There are a number of reasons why you should consider installing and running your own OpenSim server:

  • Were you to otherwise be creating your content in a public sandbox in Second Life, you would need to take your creations back into inventory at the end of your building session.  In your OpenSim installation your content will remain permanently where you left it–no sandbox worries, as you have in Second Life
  • each upload in Second Life will cost you L$10.  Although this is not a large sum (there are around L$260 to the US dollar), on a large build the costs can mount up, leaving you with the problem of how you will acquire your Linden dollars.  In OpenSim all uploads are free.
  • Running your own OpenSim server, you own an entire region for free.
  • You have up to 100,000 prims at your disposal, far more tan the upper limit of 15,000 for a Second Life region.
  • OpenSim encourages building from scratch.
  • You have access to estate manager features.
  • You acquire additional skills–running an OpenSim server.
  • Your OpenSim region can be made public by connecting it to a public grid, such as MyOpenGrid or NewWorldGrid.
  • portability–oar file

Before I show you how to install and configure your OpenSim server, let’s first give you a taste of OpenSim by connecting you to other grids.

Connecting to other grids

You can connect to other grids with the Second Life viewer by editing arguments.txt.

A simpler solution, however, is to instead download and use one of the alternative third-party viewers (see the list of links in the Essential resources section at the bottom of this page).  Four I would recommend are the Firestorm viewer, the Imprudence viewer, the Hippo viewer, and the Meerkat viewer.

Configuring the grid manager in Firestorm

First, download the Firestorm viewer from  Make sure that you download the Firestorm for OpenSim Grids version.  Once downloaded and installed, launch the viewer and, from the Viewer menu, select ‘Preferences’:


In the Advanced tab check “Allow login to other grids” and click Apply.  This will give you an additional tab, Opensim:

Phoenix Firestorm-Release v4.3.1.31155-2

You will probably at this point need to close and relaunch your viewer.  Again open Preferences, and now click on the Opensim tab: this opens the grid manager in which you will see a list of available grids.  You can always add more; but for the moment we’ll work with the default list.

At this point I shall assume that you have already signed up for an account with an OpenSim grid, for example OSgrid.  Select OSgrid from the grid selecting on the right:


and then enter your account details and click Log In.  Voilà! you should now be in OSgrid!

Now let’s add a further grid to the grid manager.  Jokaydia, for example, a specialist education grid.  Type the login URL in the ‘Add new grid’ field, click Apply, and the new grid should now appear in the grid list.

Phoenix Firestorm-Release v4.3.1.31155-3

You can now close preferences, select Jokaydia Grid from the grid list, enter your avatar name and password, and log into the grid:


Configuring the grid manager in Hippo and Meerkat

When you first launch the Hippo viewer you will notice that the interface is very similar to the Second Life viewer, but additionally has, adjacent to the Log In button, a Grids button and, below that, a Quick Grid Select pop-up menu (see image below).  Assuming that you do not, at this stage, either have an account with another grid or have your own sim running standalone, you will select secondlife from the Quick Grid Select menu to connect to Second Life.

Hippo OpenSim Viewer

The Meerkat interface, on launching the viewer, is similar to that of the Hippo viewer, with the pop-up menu for grid selection (Second Life, by default) and the Grid Manager to the right of the Connect button(see image below).

Meerkat panel

How will you now connect to other grids? The procedure is effectively the same for all grids other than OpenLife.

Configuring the grid manager in OpenLife

Although in principle any viewer should allow you to connect to any grid, the OpenLife grid and viewer are slightly different: the viewer (so far as I am aware) allows one to connect, via the pop-up menu on the far right, to OpenLife (by default), Second Life, or a local standalone sim.  There appears not to be a ‘grid manager’ that can be configured to access other grids.  Correspondingly, other viewers, even though listing OpenLife in the grid menu, are unable to connect.

OpenLife viewer

Connecting to your Kitely world

Kitely works a little differently, giving you your own free world, but launching it on demand.  You will first have to create an account for yourself in Kitely, then click the New World to set up your OpenSim server:

My Worlds | Kitely

Once you’ve done so, click the name of your world and, in the following screen, click ‘Enter World’:

LearningWorks I | Kitely Virtual World

This will launch your world.  You will then be asked to start your viewer:

LearningWorks I | Kitely Virtual World-3

LearningWorks I | Kitely Virtual World-1

Launch Firestorm, select Kitely grid from the grid menu, enter your avatar name and password, then log in.  You will see you are connected and, in Firestorm, you’ll have entered your region:

LearningWorks I | Kitely Virtual World-2

Installing the OpenSim server

Download the latest version of the server (source code, or binaries from Windows and Mac OS X) from and unzip it to the top-level directory of your web server.  @@@ blah blah blah

Importing content to your sim

You can import content from your Second Life inventory into OSGrid, New World Grid, or your own installation, provided that

Installing and configuring the OpenSim Web Interface

blah blah blah

Connecting your region to the OSGrid

Hippo blah blah blah
Meerkat blah blah

Essential resources


OpenSimulator web site

OpenSim source code and installers

The OpenSim Webinterface

OpenSim tutorials

How to install Opensim on Mac OSX – The Easy Way…

Grid list


See my list of viewers here.

Non-SL Grids


OSGrid web site

Who’s Online?

How to connect a region to OSGrid

Open Coordinates

New World Grid

The New World Grid web site


OpenLife web site


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