This is part 2 of a series of blog posts about installing and running OpenSim. In part 1 I talked about choosing where to install OpenSim: at home on your own computer, or on a server. Whichever you choose, you can do so on Linux, Mac or Windows.
Part 2 is going to discuss the technical details of downloading and installing OpenSim in its most basic form: running as a stand-alone OpenSim instance, on a single computer, accessible from that computer only, and using the built-in database system. Future blog posts will talk about accessing your OpenSim from other computers across the internet, and installing and using the MySql database engine.
All you need to install and run OpenSim, and use all of its features, is described here.
My experience of installing OpenSim is limited to Windows machines only. However, installing OpenSim on Mac or Linux is similar and I will try to describe the installation process as generically as possible.
Step 1: Prerequisites
Note: This step is for Mac and Linux users only. You can skip this step if you’re installing on Windows.
The software for OpenSim has been written using the .NET Framework. This means that the software can run on any computer, regardless of its operating system platform, that has an implementation of the .NET Framework for that platform.
The most common .NET Framework implementation for Mac and Linux is called “Mono”. Mono is available for free and can be installed very easily and cleanly. Windows users do not need Mono because they have Microsoft’s implementation of the .NET Framework by default.
To download the Mono installer file that’s specific for your platform (including Mac and various distributions of Linux), go to http://www.mono-project.com/Download, click on the appropriate logo, and follow the instructions to download the file.
For Mac users: You do not need the so-called CSDK packages; the Framework is sufficient because CSDK packages are useful for Mono software development only. The download consists of a single .dmg file. To find your .dmg download, you have two methods. If you want to just open it quickly then you can move your cursor to where your pop-up Dock is, find the Downloads icon, click once to expand the icon and it will show a list of your most recent downloads. Click on the icon of the download you want and it will open a Finder window with the folder or file highlighted for you.
Alternatively you can manually search by going to Users Folder> Your User Name > Downloads.
Step 2: Downloading OpenSim
The latest version of the OpenSim software (at the time of writing, this is version 0.7.0.2) is always available for download at http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Download, in the Binary Packages section. You will see two download links – both have the same content, they just have a different compression format. If you don’t know which one to choose, the .zip format is likely to work for you. Download the file and save it.
Step 3: Installing OpenSim
The compressed file you just downloaded contains a number of files and folders. Create a new folder on your hard drive (I used C:\opensim, but you are free to choose any folder name and location) and extract the contents of the compressed file to the new folder.
For Mac users: create a new folder called ‘opensim’ in your user folder.
Step 4: Starting OpenSim for the first time
The first time you start your sim, it will automatically create the database that OpenSim needs. The built-in SqlLite database engine will be used by default, but the automatic process will work for MySql too. As a database engine, SqlLite is sufficient for now; if you’re planning to create a large sim, and have multiple users connect to it at the same time, you may get better performance by using a MySql database. I will describe the installation of MySql for OpenSim in a future blog post.
Starting OpenSim in Windows
To start your sim, look in the folder contents you just extracted. In the subfolder called “bin”, find the file OpenSim.exe, and double-click to start it.
Starting OpenSim on Mac/Linux
On Mac or Linux, we need to open Terminal and type one simple Mono command in order to start OpenSim. Please take the following steps:
- Open the Terminal program, which should be located in the Applications… Utilities folder.
- Type: cd opensim <Enter>
- Type: cd bin <Enter>
- Type: mono OpenSim.exe <Enter>
If you are using firewall software, you may see warning about OpenSim trying to gain access to your network or internet connection. This is normal and you can allow access.
You should see a console window or terminal window now. During preparation of the database, and other configuration, you will see a long list of messages. They are just there for problem solving and showing progress – you do not need to read them.
After the initial configuration, OpenSim is going to ask you for some information so it can create your default region and avatar. OpenSim will suggest a default value for some questions. Just press the Enter key to accept the default value.
The information you need to enter, is:
New region name: Choose your region name
Region UUID: Choose default value
Region Location: Choose default value [1000, 1000]
Internal IP address: Choose default value [0.0.0.0]
Internal port: Choose default value 
Allow alternate ports: Choose default value [False]
External host name: Choose default value
Do you wish to join an existing estate: no
New estate name: Choose your estate name
Estate owner first name: Choose the first name for your avatar
Estate owner last name: Choose the last name for your avatar
Password: Choose your password
Email: Leave this empty
That’s it! Your sim is running now.
Step 5. Connecting your viewer to the sim
Before you can log into your new sim and see your avatar, you need to tell your viewer where to find your sim. You can do this in your viewer’s Grid Manager, which you should be able to access from the main screen of your viewer.
Open the Grid Manager, and create a new grid. Choose a new name for your sim, and fill in the following value in the “Login URI” field: http://127.0.0.1:9000
To confirm, click Apply, and OK.
Now it’s time to connect to your new sim. In the login screen of your viewer, fill in your avatar’s first name, last name and password, and select the grid you just created. You should be able to log in now.
In our next blog post, Belochka will talk about the first visit to an OpenSim region. What you will see, what is in your inventory, and which things you can do next.