it’s no surprise that Reaction Grid is scaling down (ending) it’s OpenSim hosting – they have been on that trajectory for two years. Kyle really loves Jibe and it is a phenomenal platform. however, it’s a platform that does cost more but it is very well suited for larger use such as military, government, and large institutions
don’t panic if you are an educator with Jokay – her grid will continue to operate and continues to be a great destination for educators (Jokay is a wealth of real experience and gives of herself freely – i am still flabbergasted by Linden Lab’s atrocious treatment of her incredible online resources back in october of 2009 . . . )
there are many advantages to doing a Unity-based virtual world like Jibe – one of which is envied by me – browser-plugin access. the graphics are many times more photo-realistic than OpenSim and for hardcore simulations and training, that is a strong selling point
however, for many of us we don’t need photo-realistic environments. in fact, there is a lot to be said for “simpler” environments in some circumstances. look at the success of Minecraft and its use as a fun game and as an educational tool (and Farmville’s success)
simpler does not mean inferior
if that were true, then books would hold very little educational value – for Pete’s sake, it’s globs of pigment staining crushed up plants squished into flat sheets using a technique developed before the pyramids were built - how utterly primitive and simple! =p
the loss of Reaction Grid as an OpenSim hosting provider is significant and leaves a void in this small market. our host, SimHost, offers similar hosting – basically able to set you up with your own server and then let you do whatever you like. if you are looking to do something like what Jokay has done, i highly recommend SimHost – it’s cheaper for us to use them than to lease our own server!
i know there are others out there with similar models and even some which are less than what we pay like Kitely, but if you are looking for your own box and absolutely no TOS, then there are not many like SimHost
i think there will always be a need for full independence but it is a small one. most people can do very well with something like Kitely. i’m going to use it for my recreational OpenSim use and we are considering it as an alternative channel for Enclave Harbour. if we use it, it would be to offer another choice in how to experience Enclave Harbour. however, Kitely’s TOS prohibits US kids under 18 from using it on their own (they need supervision – in Mississippi you can’t use Kitely unless you are 21!)
Kitely has something coming up that will make it more attractive to a large group of potential users – stay tuned to their blog in the coming weeks!
Kitely also keeps their version of OpenSim up-to-date (even faster than i can do new versions of Sim-on-a-Stick!) and when hypergrid 2.0 is ready, they’ll implement it which will blow the doors off almost any other hosting
the loss of Reaction Grid’s OpenSim hosting (which was quite successful) shows a maturing and evolving marketplace. it also indicates the success of their Jibe platform – good luck Kyle, Robin, Chris, and John! =)