Creating an OpenSim Private Sandbox on Your Home PC

Confession:  It’s been so long since I logged into my blog, I momentarily forgot the password.  Yikes!

I’ve had my head buried in work, house repairs/maintenance, family stuff, and when I have spare moments – OpenSim.  I intend to write up my first try at installing OpenSim in grid mode sometime soon (I’ll skip the part about it taking a weekend to rebuild a box to use a server, hello Blue Screen of Death, not nice to see ya so often), but in the meantime, this week I walked a group of educators through the installation of OpenSim on their personal PC to create their own private OpenSim sandbox, and I thought I’d share the slides:

Note that this guide skips all of the networking configuration that would be required for someone else to log into your sim.  This is intended to be an entirely private sandbox for only your own personal use.

Why would you want that?  Well, a couple of reasons.

First, if you’re a virtual worlds or Second Life enthusiast, watching the console and seeing what’s happening on the back end when you’re rezzing a prim or changing clothes or running a script is endlessly fascinating.  It’s like seeing your virtual experience through the Matrix.  It boggles my mind to imagine what that looks like for Second Life, with hundreds of thousands of users and transactions and activity.

Second, anyone who builds or creates content in Second Life really SHOULD be able to save a local copy of their work to their personal machines.  With OpenSim you can do that, indeed, you can back up objects and whole sims, and re-import them wherever you like.  I think from this point forward, I intend not to build a single thing IN Second Life ever again – I’ll do all my creation work on my sandbox and then import it in to Second Life when it’s done.  That way I really DO own my content.

Finally, installing even the most simple instances of OpenSim gives you a new appreciation for the service Linden Lab (and Reaction Grid and InWorldz and all the other grids out there) provides.  This is not trivial stuff, and in the aggregate, it’s important to understand the sheer complexity of what running the Main Grid must be like – running your own OpenSim installation helps give you a sense of that complexity in a way that 7 years of being a Resident did not.

I hope the tutorial is helpful and I’d encourage you to give it a try even if you consider yourself to be a “non-techie” sort.  It’s strange and disorienting to find your poor Ruthed self on a little island all alone, but it’s also.. enchanting and exicting to know it’s your very own world to do whatever you like.

What will you create for yourself?  Go find out!

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  1. Great information, Fleep. Thank you for sharing it!

    Please blog more. You write great stuff, and I love reading it.

    Not that I’m guilt-tripping you in any way to get you to blog more.

    Well, maybe a little.

  2. Thanks for posting such a useful resource 🙂 And great to see you enjoying OpenSim – we’ve come along way since The Garden of Learning on EduIsland! Another thing you might find useful is this resource for creating the entire package on a a USB – not hypergriddable yet though I believe.
    Looking forward to more postings 🙂

  3. Very useful blog. I did a series of plain text instructions for the Tateru USB install here.

  4. nice slideset! thank you

    i echo a prior comment with sim-on-a-stick. i have done 8 or 9 posts on it, including considering the speed of the stick

    once the stick is made, the files are self-contained and can be copied to your machine as well

    it is a nice way to migrate your work from Second Life into OpenSim and to actually build and create as well

    anything you make can be exported as an OAR file (entire sim) or IAR file (inventory – either entire thing or individual items, say a home or vehicle)

    good luck!

  5. Professor Afterthought

    Thank you for the tutorial. I tried, but failed miserably with numerous error codes in the console and no luck googling for answers. I’m not a techie, so it’s like reading a foreign language for me.

    It would be nice for all the Ohio educational users to get together for a workshop to get everyone on board with Opensim. We could all set up our grids and connect them at one place at one time.

  6. hello Professor Afterthought, i hate to hear all the errors. maybe try the files i placed on

    i have them all zipped up and all you have to do is download them anywhere (they don’t need to be on a stick). depending on what your system is, you will run either opensim.exe or OpenSim.32BitLaunch.exe

    the workshop is a great idea! my subQuark has done several workshops on OpenSim but never on setting up networks

    another thought if you really want to get a grid for educators going would be to have an expert dial in to your server. we have someone who can do this and is rather expert at all things OpenSim. it would probably be about $500 or less to have this type of thing done and may be a great way to go

    good luck and do try that download out. i love free things and that is about as free as you can get! =)

  7. Professor Afterthought

    Thank you, Ener. I was able to get simonastick running on a USB on my old XP computer at work, but still can’t get anything going on my Windows 7 pc at home. I really appreciate your help!

  8. will MOWES run? on Win 7 the Apache won’t load for me but MySQL will. OpenSim will run w/o the Apache when i launch the 32bit exe

    there are a few Win dialog boxes that need to be agreed to. alternatively, if you right click on all the files you have to launch and select Run as Administrator, will that work?

  9. Professor Afterthought

    With simonastick, apache will run but not mysql. When I tried to do it myself, I could get everything to run until it got to the login screen at which point opensim couldn’t find the user, even though I had already created the account once via the setup and again via “create user.”

  10. sorry, hard for me to keep up on another blog . . . MySQL for sure has to run, it stores everything for your world, your inventory and all your actions (make box, move here, rotate there, etc)

    no MySQL means absolutely no OpenSim startup =(

    this is very odd because myself and others have it going on Win 7 – do you have Skype? if so, close it and try

    also, are you using Tateru’s zip or mine from

    in Roger’s video tuts he builds it on either a Win 7 machine or a Vista 64, so both are 64-bit i believe

  11. Hi.. I have the 4 sims on a stick and when I texture the terrain..only one sim will texture.. is there something special I must do? Please help……..

  12. Hi there, my guess is the sim-on-a-stick package uses “megaregions” which are not like 4 regular sims, but instead a special kind of sim that kind of glues the 4 regions together into one. Unfortunately, megaregions do not behave like regular regions and things like texturing, media streams, terraforming, and other things will only work on the one “root” region and not on all the others. See this thread for more information about terraforming and ground textures for mega-regions:

    Best of luck! 🙂

  13. Hi, I’m new to Open Sim and students and I are learning together. We are using Simonastick. Can we take the avatar we save on the drive and copy or upload it another computer? If so, How? We are in a lab but will get bumped out with testing. So I’d like us to have it on a thumbdrive as well as computer drive.Basically I want to be able to move my avator (that is in the simonastick on the hard drive) to another computer when mine is not available.