Maybe you think that VR is better served by the giant developers, but if you’ve been playing a lot of VR games, then you will likely have known the frustration that is Proprietary Content. You know, that pesky thing where Vive and Oculus have a technical specification hissy fit to make sure you buy one of the headsets only to be frustrated by that headset.

Let’s Be Real

You want VR and so long as your headset does what it is supposed then you’ve got no cares in the world, am I right? If I’ve been too 90’s for you, then prepare yourself for some more with Linux from 1991. The market was dominated by Windows and Mac by a few years and everything was extremely limited as to what it could do. Each year, Mac would improve its product and Windows would… remove the previous year’s errors for new ones. All the computers were insanely expensive and the average consumer priced computer was just a baby on the market.

Then some guy… oh, what’s his name… oh yea, Linus Torvalds introduced us to Linux over in Finland. However, Linux had a very comparable start to what Samsung Gear had when it first came out. There was a model before Linux known as Multics, developed by AT&T, that gained a lot of traction before Windows and Max because of how easy it was to obtain and install. Someone over at Berkeley Software Distribution decided they would create their own based off of what AT&T had done. Then AT&T were pricks because they tried to say that it was theirs and the next couple of years ensured with a new Intel processor handling paging and Minix for academics coming out in the sway of things. Since AT&T was suing, Minix was a hell hole to install, and the GNU project was in tatters, Linus decided to invent Helsinki. Helsinki would be the first Linux kernel in existence, but what made Helsinki like OSVR?

Here comes a heavy dose of irony because Linus used Minix and GNU to develop Helsinki to take full advantage of Intel’s new processor. What he made was specifically for his computer and he wasn’t even trying to make one of the world’s most prominent Operating Systems today. Listen up Microsoft because Linus sent out a message requesting for any issues people had with Minix and what they like about it. Linus didn’t even name Linux, it was named by Ari Lemmke when he found the fold on an FTP server. Linux is developed by the community and is completely open source because of how Linus came about developing Linux.

What is OSVR?

First and foremost, OSVR stands for Open Source VR. This means that the community of developers are responsible for adding and removing things. It also means that everything comes under the scrutiny of EVERY OTHER DEVELOPER. We developers are the pickiest bunch there is when it comes to making software specifically designed to handle other languages. I mean, just look at how many Linux versions there are now. I don’t know the exact number, but it’s gotta be somewhere around fifty.

Secondly, OSVR is meant to handle all platforms dealing with VR, which means PC, Mac, Mobile, and Linux. Just looking at the project navigational guide here makes the project look like a behemoth. What other software supports all forms of gaming? Unity and Unreal. What other software is also open to the scrutiny of community developers? Unity and Unreal. What two software are on the top of nearly everyone’s list when they look up the top game development engines? Unity and Unreal! If you haven’t noticed a pattern, it would be that anything that is open sourced with a big community behind it automatically becomes a top candidate in its field.

Why compare OSVR to Linux’s Origins when there’s Steam’s OpenVR?

How about the fact that Valve has already said they will make their system compatible with OSVR? That’s right, this originally small venture to unit the VR units has the backing of Steam and the venture was started by Razer. Legitimately, this OSVR is mostly community supported by both the regular developers and the developers of the massive gaming community.

What does this all have to do with you and what is the hidden treasure?

You are the community. You come here to get the latest and greatest about fitness in VR and it is still all about you. Standardization is what made Linux, Mac, and Windows the software they are today. One thing that has long been a source of pain for console and PC players alike is playing incompatibility. The ability to play your games across the platforms, especially when so many competitors are arriving on to the scene means that those incompatible games will now be compatible.

There may be some hardware limitations, obviously… PC master race, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy something like Sports Bar VR with someone who is playing on a mobile phone while you play on your Oculus. Standardization is the second big hurdle that I’ve mentioned that the VR community has to overcome in order to become a leading industry. So far, we’ve made wireless VR possible, VR feeling, VR movement and it looks like Standardization is now becoming standard, pun fully intended. There’s only one item left to work on: Cost for Performance. Oh, is that AMD Ryzen over there? You know where I’ll be for the next while.