Linux Foundation launches Open Metaverse Foundation

Linux Foundation launches Open Metaverse Foundation
Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

The nonprofit Linux Foundation has launched the Open Metaverse Foundation (OMF) to promote an open metaverse.

Current participating organisations of the OMF include the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Futurewei, GenXP, Hyperledger Foundation, LF AI, LF Edge & Networking, Open Voice Network, Open Wallet, and Veriken.

When discussing the metaverse, it’s important to consider the history of the web.

The original vision for the web was a decentralised network where anyone can access the information they need. Web2 brought innovations in how we share and interact, but took away content ownership and locked users into centralised services controlled by a handful of large companies.

Web3 aims to use technologies like blockchains to build trust, give individuals control over their data and how it’s monetised, and return to a decentralised network that’s resilient against censorship, manipulation, and shutdowns.

So, the metaverse can go in two directions:

  • A Web2 metaverse where companies and governments control user data and what they can experience.
  • A Web3 metaverse that puts that power in the hands of individuals and creators.

“Our industry needs innovation through interoperability driven by open source and open standards to realise the promise of the metaverse—if we’re to build something that benefits everyone—just as was the case with the early architecting of the Internet,” commented Anni Lai, Head of Open Source Operations and Futurewei.

“Futurewei believes in the power of open source and open collaboration, and we’re excited to engage in building the Open Metaverse Foundation community to extend initiatives we already have underway in XR, Web3, mobile gaming, and more.”

With the Open Metaverse Foundation, open-source communities and organisations will promote the Web3 vision for the future of the metaverse.

“We’re still in the early days of the vision for an open metaverse and we recognise that many open source communities and foundations are working on vital pieces of this iterative puzzle,” said Royal O’Brien, Executive Director of the OMF.

“While the challenges may seem daunting, I’m energised by the opportunities to collaborate with a broad, global community to bring these pieces together as we transform this vision into reality.”

The OMF believes that open standards must be created to prevent “lock-in” to any one experience—enabling users to take their avatars to any interoperable virtual world.

Current Web3 terms, especially NFTs, still carry negative connotations due to their association with inflated art prices. In time, the important underlying technology — which proves ownership — will begin to shine. Users won’t need to hear about NFTs but just know the ownership of their assets are recorded on an immutable ledger.

“The metaverse will drive the demand for innovative digital products while providing the frameworks to connect creators directly with consumers, setting the stage for a disruptive opportunity not seen since the early days of the internet,” explained Chris Clason, Founder and CEO of Veriken.

“Veriken is excited to work with the Open Metaverse Foundation to create the open standards for digital commerce and property ownership necessary to accelerate the initial adoption of the metaverse and protect the long-term interests of all stakeholders, including consumers, individual artists, and enterprises.”

One company, Ready Player Me (a play on Ernest Cline’s famous metaverse-based ‘Ready Player One’ science fiction novel), is building a 3D avatar creator.

Avatars built with Ready Player Me can already be used with over 6250 apps. At the end of last year, the company announced the ‘Avatar API’ which it calls the interoperability layer for the metaverse.

“While it’s very difficult to create an avatar system, it’s far more difficult to create one which works well for thousands of games with their quirks, which lets users customise their avatars with body shapes, detailed customisation options, and continues to remain performant for any gameplay scenario and enables users to seamlessly travel with their wearables (which could be NFTs) across different metaverse applications. All the while, the aesthetic representation might change from game to game,” explained Rainer Selvet, Co-Founder and CTO of Ready Player Me.

“The big challenge is establishing the right standards developers are willing to adopt and building the technology that lets 3D avatars fit into a wide spectrum of apps, enabling interoperability.”

The eight Foundational Interest Groups (FIGs) of OMF are:

  • Users
  • Transactions
  • Digital assets
  • Simulations and virtual worlds
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Networking
  • Security and privacy
  • Legal and policy

“The metaverse brings exciting possibilities in revolutionising the way we interact and engage, but with it comes immense technical challenges. Through the power of open innovation, the Open Metaverse Foundation will foster collaboration and community-driven development to realise this promise,” said Taylor Dolezal, Head of Ecosystem at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

“Together, we’ll build a truly open, accessible virtual world, where anyone can participate.”

(Photo by Barbora Dostálová on Unsplash)

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