OpenSim – Install and Configuration Tutorial

*** NOTE **** This guide is outdated, you should refer to the Updated – Opensim Install and Configuration Tutorial instead.


So, you’ve heard of OpenSim – and wondered “what is it, some kind of fancy client?”. Well, good guess, but no – its much more than that. OpenSim, directly ripped from the homepage at is described as:

Open Sim Logo

The OpenSimulator Project is a BSD Licensed Virtual Worlds Server which can be used for creating and deploying 3D Virtual Environments. It has been developed by several developers. Out of the box, the OpenSimulator can be used to create a Second Life(tm) like environment, able to run in a standalone mode or connected to other OpenSimulator instances through built in grid technology. It can also easily be extended to produce more specialized 3D interactive applications.

While that is a mouthful, it just means that many talented developers banded together, (take the time to look at the contributor page here, these guys are AWESOME shared code and programming skill in building an open-source (hence the BSD License part) virtual world that is compatible with a number of readily available Viewers, including the latest (as of this writing SL Viewer v1.19.1(4)) SL mainstream client.


(Link –

Pretty exciting eh?

What this means, essentially, is that you can run your own simulator, or ‘sim’ on fairly modest hardware. Yes, go ahead and read that again – I’ll wait. Now you HAVE to be excited (I sure was), if you’ve used such things before, because everyone I’ve ever known who has tried Second Life has always wanted a nice simulator they could run on their own, that didn’t depend on connecting to the Linden Lab Grid.

If you follow the steps below, you’ll have your own personal sandbox, which is pretty exciting – and because of some recent utilities, you’ll be able to port content into your own personal simulator and back into SL. There are some limitations that I’ll go into with later tutorials, but overall having your own sim to build in without any distractions is very attractive, indeed.

Ready? Good! Here’s what you need to begin!

Binaries, sweet, sweet binaries! For most, downloading a pre-compiled binary is the way to go – its fast, eliminates the need to compile (which can take a bit longer and may be a bit complicated for some) and you hit the ground running, fast.

The only downside is that you won’t have the latest features and bug-fixes that the most recent code release would provide.

That is your first decision – to compile or not compile! I’ll detail the steps below for both methods, but for most people, binaries that have been pre-compiled may be easiest.

NON-COMPILED: (This means that you won’t have to follow the ‘Compiled’ section after this one.)


Head over to OpenSim’s main site, to the downloads section –
You’ll see a few things about source code, just ignore that, and page down to the section “Un-Official Builds”.

Unofficial Build List
Got it? Great, now download (as this tutorial is focused on Windows XP OSes) the latest ZIP file, (but not the ‘alpha’ designation, that may be a bit more unstable), as of this writing, that would be the file named


“OpenSim 0.5.5” link – Don’t worry about the TAR.GZ files, as this is intended for Linux systems, which is not part of this how-to.

This file is approximately 37.8 MB, so it will take a little bit, depending on your connection.

Now once you open this zip you’ll see a folder called “opensim0.5.5-build” which has a subfolder “bin” (once you click on the first one) below it, and below THAT, is a bunch of files and directories.

Open Sim Zip File Contents

Create a directory on your main drive, (for most, this is the C: drive) called “OpenSim”.

Under this directory, create one called “bin”. (this helps if you later decide to go the compile route)

Extract the contents of the zip file (after clicking on the ‘bin’ directory in the zip to show all the files there) to your local OpenSim/bin directory.

Open Sim Directory

Lets take a breath here and detail the compiled steps, since after this point you’ll be working with the same executables and configuration files.

(Feel free to skip this if you want to get up and running, I included the compiled section for completeness.)

COMPILED: (Only do this series of steps if you elected not to do the ‘Non-Compiled’ section.)

For the geeky souls willing to compile source code and use SVN (Sub-version source code management) to retrieve it, here are the steps.

First, you need to grab an SVN client, this will allow you to contact a code repository and pull down the source you’ll be compiling. The SVN utility that I used is TortoiseSVN, available here –


The specific SVN client I downloaded as of this writing is the 32-bit installer for Windows XP available at Tortoise’s download section – file size is approx. 8.9MB – available here –


SVN Installer

After you finish downloading, install the client, accept the defaults.

After it is installed, you’ll want to add a repository. First, create an ‘OpenSim’ directory under your main drive, (for most, this is C:), then, right-click on the folder and select “SVN-Checkout”. (This utility integrates itself into the windows ‘shell’ or file explorer, so you should have this option after a successful install – if not, reboot and try to install again.)

SVN Checkout

A dialog box will pop up, and under the “URL of repository” put in:


If you’re feeling adventurous, you could put in:

SVN Checkout Dialog

Be forewarned that this puts you on the ‘bleeding edge’, so some functions and performance may change – its the true frontier of the OpenSim source code ‘tree’ 🙂

After confirming the target directory, you should hit ‘ok’ and the download process will begin. Feel free to take a break at this point, there’s a good bit of data to transfer.

Back from break? Good, there’s a few more things you need to download before you can compile!

Referencing the OpenSim website, it says: “OpenSim requires either the .Net framework version 2.0, or the latest Mono.”


I didn’t do Mono, I just grabbed the free visual C# Express Edition, which includes the .NET framework install. Its available here – (note, don’t get confused and grab the Visual C++ version, its similar, but not what you need.)

Visual C Sharp Download – this downloads a file called “vcssetup.exe” (its the ‘web based’ installer) Be sure to download the Visual C# Express Edition – as there are numerous products listed on this particular web page.

Open this after download (it will be pretty fast, the file is fairly small – 2.6MB) You’ll know if you have made a mistake or not in your selection, since the installer dialog box will have the title of the compiler you are attempting to install.

Go through the steps, and accept the defaults to install – this will take a bit, depending on your system and


Just in case you need the .NET 2.0 framework (I’m pretty sure it installs with the compiler, but just in case…) here’s a direct download link for Windows XP – 22.4MB –

Got the code? (Check your OpenSim/bin/ directory – it should have a lot of files and directories in it now.) Check!
Got the compiler? (Should be under Start -> Programs) Check!

Navigate to your OpenSim directory, there should be a file there called “runprebuild.bat” – double click on this to execute. (See below note – updated)

Select Run Prebuild Batch File

(Now I have to admit at this point I don’t recall which I used to get my OpenSim.sln file – it was a late night, so if the following steps fail – retry by executing the “runprebuild2008.bat” instead.)

Edit – Turns out you should run the “runprebuild2008.bat” for Visual C Sharp solution file, my mistake.

Open Sim Solution File

Launch Visual C# Express Edition.

At the top menu bar, select File -> Open Project

A dialog box will pop up, allowing you to browse to your OpenSim directory – do this now.

You should see a file called “OpenSim.sln”, select this, and click the “Open” button.

In the right side, under the “Solution Explorer” You should see at the top “Solution ‘OpenSim’ (60 projects)”.

Visual C Sharp Open Project

At the top menu bar, select Build -> Build Solution.

Visual C Sharp Build Solution

If you have an output window below the main Start Page, you’ll see some text scroll by as it builds all the projects contained within the OpenSim solution file.

When it is done, you’ll see – “Build: 60 succeeded or up-to-date, 0 failed, 0 skipped” – awesome, you did it!

Visual C Sharp Build Success

Close Visual C# Express Edition.

Great! This is where both install paths converge, since you’ll be working on the same files and configuration entries.

Take a break, get up and get a snack and a drink, you’ll be OpenSim-ing in no time after these remaining steps, I promise 🙂


So, you’ve got all these files in your OpenSim/bin/ directory, right? Here’s what to do before you run your first simulator.

Navigate to your OpenSim/bin/ directory, and find the file called “OpenSim.ini.example”.

Open Sim Ini Example Selection

Right-Click, and select “Open”.

Because Windows XP doesn’t know what to do with this, you should get a dialog box that says “Windows cannot open this file”. Select the radio button that says “Select the program from a list”, and click “Ok”.

Windows XP Can\'t Open File

Find the program “Notepad” in the list, (It may already be at the top under “Recommended Programs”), making sure you DON’T have “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file”, which would permanently associate notepad with .example files (it really isn’t necessary to do this, essentially.) Click “Ok” and you should see the contents pop up in notepad.

Opening Ini With Notepad

Since you don’t want to mess with the original, in case you make a mistake and need to revert to the default settings, select File -> Save As, and save this as “OpenSim.ini” under your OpenSim/bin/ directory.

Save As OpenSim Ini

Now its time to look at a few key settings.

At the top, under “STORAGE” you’ll see a line:

storage_plugin = “OpenSim.Data.Null.dll”

OpenSim Ini Storage Lines

This means that when you start your sim, and build in it – your objects won’t be there the next time around when you run your sim again. This is lack of persistence, and we’ll fix that right now.

Put a “;” in front of the above mentioned line, and scroll down to the line:

;storage_plugin = “OpenSim.Data.SQLite.dll”

Remove the “;” in front of this line, this will enable a lightweight database to store your prims! Cool, eh?

Note: I know it may be tempting to set “appearance_persist” to “true”, but I haven’t gotten this working yet, and I’m pretty sure that will cause a crash if you were to try it right out of the box. (I’ll be sure to edit this when I’ve figured it out).

Scrolling further down past the “PHYSICS” section, you’ll see a line:

physics = basicphysics

OpenSim Ini Physics

This means that you’ll be able to walk on terrain, but objects will be phantom to you – you’ll be able to fly and walk right through them. The desired physics plugin seems to be (according to what I’ve read so far) the Open Dynamics Engine, but when I changed it to this, I experienced a crash on attempting to run it. I’ll edit this section once I figure out this detail. Leave this at ‘basicphysics’ for now, you can experiment with the others later.

Scroll down to the line:


Below this, there are the lines:

accounts_authenticate = true
welcome_message = “Welcome to OpenSim”

OpenSim Ini Auth Welcome

I recommend changing the accounts_authenticate to false, and feel free to change the welcome message to anything you wish, like – “Maxx Monde is awesome for writing this tutorial!”, hahah.

Save your work, you’re ready to run your first simulator!

You’ll need to launch OpenSim.exe, but first, to make this easier in the future, (and so you don’t have to constantly navigate to the directory to get it running) navigate to your OpenSim/bin/ directory and right-click on OpenSim.exe -> Send To -> Desktop (create shortcut) to place a shortcut in easy clicking range on your desktop. For extra style points, right-click on the shortcut, select Properties, click the Change Icon button, and use one of the built-in icons within your SHELL32.dll to make it cool-looking (I selected the Globe with the band swooshing around it – MY WORLD, MY SIM!).

Open Sim Exe Select

OpenSim Server Icon Properties

Double-click on your shortcut for OpenSim.exe

(If you get a windows firewall message about this, choose to ‘unblock’ this program.)

This will launch a Dos-style command window, and a few things will pop up. You may have to hit <ENTER> to make the prompts appear (this only happens the very first time you run it) to input some final startup details.

At this point you’ll be prompted for a few things, like the simulator name (feel free to change from “OpenSim Test”) and the x,y coordinates of your simulator – just leave all of them alone, hitting enter to accept the defaults.

OpenSim Server Dos Box

After a few more lines scroll by, you should see a “Region#” prompt. (If not, hit enter and it should appear.)

OpenSim Server Dos Box Success

This means you are running your sim! Lets setup the SL viewer to connect, shall we?

Note – you may see a startup_commands error, however if you get the ‘Region#’ prompt, things are still running just fine. (This is just referring to an optional file.)


I assume you already have the SL viewer, if not – download it from here –

If the version has changed the link will break, so just in case, the main download page is here –

(You’re looking for the main installer, not the “Release Candidate” or “First Look” viewers. While these will possibly work, I haven’t tested them all.)

SL Installer Download

Install the SL viewer, this should produce a desktop shortcut.

Right-Click your SL desktop shorcut and select “Copy”

Right-Click on a clear area of your desktop, and select “Paste”

This should make a copy of your SL shortcut. Feel free to rename this by selecting the shortcut, and pressing “F2”. I called mine “Opensim Client”.

Right-Click your newly renamed shortcut, and select Properties

We’ll need to change the “Target” entry slightly to allow you to login to your sim locally.

Right after the “C:\Program Files\SecondLife\SecondLife.exe” text, you’ll need to put:

-loginuri http://localhost:9000/ -loginpage http://localhost:9000/?method=login

OpenSim Client Shortcut Properties

This will direct you to your locally running simulator, and the proper login page.

Click “OK” on the properties box, and double-click on your altered OpenSim Client shortcut.

The secondlife viewer will start, but with one crucial difference, you’ll see a white page with a “First Name”, “Last Name” and “Password” prompt.

Now at this point, I’ll admit I haven’t tested what happens if your name doesn’t match what is in the first and last name boxes at the bottom – so for simplicity sake, just keep them the same 🙂

Put in any first or last name, make sure they match below – both with no password.

Then click the white page “connect” button up top.

The SL Viewer should connect, and you’ll see your welcome message as it does.

If everything went well, you should be on a small rounded island in the middle of your very first simulator.

Congratulations, you did it!

When you’re done laughing with joy and loving low-lag building, make sure to disconnect the client in the usual way, and enter ‘exit’ in the Dos-box of the server to shut it down in an orderly fashion.

I’ll be following this main tutorial with how to change your appearance, terrain, etc.. so stay tuned!

Happy OpenSim-ing!


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