Building the Open Metaverse

Open Standards Governance

Technologists Neil Trevett, President of The Khronos Group and VP of Developer Ecosystems at NVIDIA; Ruth Suehle, Director of Community Outreach at Red Hat; and David Morin of the Academy Software Foundation, discuss governance of open standards on the Building the Open Metaverse podcast hosted by Patrick Cozzi (Cesium) and Marc Petit (Epic Games).


Neil Trevett
President, The Khronos Group, and VP, Developer Ecosystems, NVIDIA
Neil Trevett
President, The Khronos Group, and VP, Developer Ecosystems, NVIDIA
Ruth Suehle
Director of Community Outreach, Red Hat
Ruth Suehle
Director of Community Outreach, Red Hat
David Morin
Industry Manager, Epic Games and Executive Director, Academy Software Foundation
David Morin
Industry Manager, Epic Games and Executive Director, Academy Software Foundation





Announcer: Today, on Building The Open Metaverse.

Neil Trevett: The nice thing about glTF is that it doesn't try to be an altering format. We're not a little USD. We're something completely distinct and different. And I think we definitely don't want to try to be USD. We need USD to be the pervasive, authorizing format, and then we need those two communities to work really closely together to make sure, exactly as you say, we can distill USD authored seams down into glTF for, for global publishing. And I think that is a very powerful model because both the communities are doing great work in their own domains.

Announcer: Welcome to Building The Open Metaverse, we're technology experts discuss how the community is building The Open Metaverse together, hosted by Patrick Cozzi from Cesium and Marc Petit from Epic Games.

Marc Petit: Hello, everyone. This is the second installment of our podcast series on the open metaverse. Last time, we attempted and putting some definition around the concept of the metaverse. And today, we'll be discussing openness and the various ways that openness can be achieved to open source and open standards. During the last podcast, Matthew Ball made the point that the internet was born out of the government funded projects and openness was mandated, and that openness was critical to the success of the world wide web to avoid fragmentation. As we look at the metaverse and the future of the internet, I think, we all think, that we will want the same level of openness as we had on the world wide web. But this time around, there is no government mandate and we are collectively responsible to make this happen. My name is Marc Petit from Epic Games, and my partner in crime for this podcast is Patrick Cozzi, CEO of Cesium, by the way, makers of 3D Tiles, the open standard for massive 3D geospatial datasets.

Patrick Cozzi: Hi, folks.

Marc Petit: And to help us understand the world of open software, we have invited three distinguished panelists for our conversation today. First is Ruth Suehle, director of community outreach at Redhat Software and executive vice president of the Apache Software Foundation. Welcome, Ruth.

Ruth Suehle: Thanks. Hello.

Marc Petit: And then we have Neil Trevett, who is the vice president of developer ecosystems at NVIDIA and the president of The Khronos Group, which manages, as you guys probably know, OpenGL, Vulcan, OpenCL, but also WebGL, OpenXR, and glTF to name a few. Welcome, Neil.

Neil Trevett: Hey, Marc. Hey Patrick. Thank you for the invite.

Marc Petit: And finally, we have David Morin, industry manager, fulfillment TV at Epic Games, but also the executive director of the Academy Software Foundation.

David Morin: Hi, Marc. Hi, everyone. Glad to be here.

Patrick Cozzi: So once again, thank you all for joining us today. When we think about building and connecting experiences and the metaverse, the developer and their creator communities need well-defined and open API APIs and formats and reusable software libraries that we can leverage the collective work of the community. And in this area, we hear two terms. We hear open source and we hear open standards. And Ruth I'm hoping, can you help define and compare these?

Ruth Suehle: Sure. So in the heart of pretty much everything that I do, at Red Hat, at Apache, and all of the various organizations, communities that I work in, open source is really the core of most of those. So I get to describe it a lot. I like to use a cookie analogy. So let's say, Patrick, you think that oatmeal raisin cookies are fantastic, but David's kind of like, "The reasons are terrible and I always feel like I got cheated and I wanted chocolate chips." So David wants some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but he's got to start from scratch. He's got to figure out how much butter and how much oatmeal and how many eggs and everything that goes into them. And at the end of the day, he's like, "You know what? I might just go buy some cookies. I don't know."

But if Patrick shares his awesome oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, all David has to do is take the raisins out and figure out how many chocolate chips go in, and that fundamentally is how open source works. So when we get to softer, there's an organization called Open Source Initiative, the OSI, that has a 10 point definition of what open sources and what an open source license should look like. It's 10 points, obviously, but to me, the big points are free redistribution. You must allow distribution of the source code and you must allow derived works that can be distributed under the original license. So then when we talk about open standards, to compare and contrast, we could define those in a lot of detail, but basically a standard is requirements, specifications around some repeatable process, service, material. There are lots of different types of standards. Obviously, we're talking generally about software standards.

So similarly to open source, basically an open standard has that information publicly available, and there are many standards bodies that create them for various needs. I think it's easier to think of them in terms of examples that most folks know. Do you like that you can work on the wifi at the coffee shop and your office and your house without a problem? You need wifi standards. Some of the latest generation of phones aren't even coming with USB cables because we already all have piles of a million of them. In fact, thank you, USB Standard. Just recently, the European commission has released a proposal that no phones and devices are going to come with those cables and everybody's got to use USB-C, which I personally would find very exciting. When it comes to file types, do you like being able to open files that you created 20 years ago? Or in contrast, if you've ever gotten frustrated because you wanted to open something and that software doesn't exist anymore, or you don't have it anymore or whatever, nothing else opens it? There you go. You've met the world of open standards, or lack thereof.

Like the open source definition, a bunch of those standards defining bodies got together about 10 years ago and created a set of principles defining open standards. And then of course, there are lots of other organizations that have created definitions, but that set that collectively came together cleverly called OpenStand, it includes some things that I think are really going to be important to the metaverse. So the principles include things that we think of very basic openness, respectful cooperation among all the organizations that are involved, principles of consensus and transparency and openness, commitment to standards that are chosen for their technical merit.

But when we think about the success of a metaverse built on openness, it's the third principle in the OpenStand principles that I think is really important, and it's called collective empowerment. And under that, it says that we'll be providing for global interoperability and scalability and stability, that the standards are chosen as building blocks for further innovation. And then how about this, that they contribute to the creation of global communities benefiting humanity, which, if we could write a great description of what the metaverse should be, I think that sounds like it, right?

Marc Petit: Absolutely.

Patrick Cozzi: Sorry, go ahead, mark.

Marc Petit: Yeah. So Neil, the Khronos Foundation manages both open standards and open source software, right?

Neil Trevett: Yeah. Actually, Khronos, we're primarily an open status organization. We love open source and we use open source in many cases for tools and libraries and other components that let us build the ecosystem around our APIs. But because we're a standards defining organization, our primary work product are specifications, along with conformance tests. And don't forget the conformance tests, because without a conformance test, the specification is just a piece of paper. You don't enable the industry with the right tools to enable multiple implementations of that specification that provide a consistent and reliable interoperation.

And I think the key difference between open source and open standards is they're both awesome tools, but they're tools to be used in the right contexts. For open source, that's the right tool when the industry has decided that they want to collaborate over a small number, potentially even just one implementation of the functionality in that project, whereas open standards are for the situation where the industry wants to have multiple competing implementations. For example, my world is around GPU's. We wants to have the various GPU vendors competing as a healthy, competitive dynamic that pushes the industry forward. They are very interrelated, but they're actually quite different and should be used wisely in the right situation.

Marc Petit: So is it another way to summarize it is open source is of vector of commoditization while open standards allows people to differentiate themselves in the implementation?

Neil Trevett: Yep. Well, the open standards is still commoditized in a good way because they provide interoperability. So they're still removing friction. They're enabling more forward progress in the industry and for software developers to have an easier time reaching into hardware, for example. It's just that you're competing on your implementation goodness. You're not competing on providing fragmented functionality. So the standards provide a common place for interoperability so the industry can move forward. Because you do have the interoperability between two things where it's two pieces of hardware or a hardware community and a software community or server and a device, some kind of interoperability. But of course, but then because it's a specification and you're all doing significantly independent implementations, you unleash people competing at the implementation level, so faster, cheaper, lower power, whatever it may be. And again, I think it's a healthy dynamic in the right situation, not every situation, but the right situations that can be a very healthy and necessary thing.

Marc Petit: Absolutely.

Ruth Suehle: I think an important distinction to remember is that open source is code and it's code that we want to change frequently and improve often, and an open standard is a document that ideally you would like to not change frequently.

Neil Trevett: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Patrick Cozzi: Ruth, that's really well said. And I do think there's some confusion out there today on code verse documents, so thank you for clearing that up.

David Morin: Yep. And up at the Academy Software Foundation, to your opening statement, Neil, we are more about opensource than open standard. And we're an organization that, to show another angle here of what we're talking about in terms of open, is more of a grass root, bottom up organization that came out of a need of software becoming more and more present in the film and media industry in essentially being the tool that all artists, all filmmakers use to make films now. And it's all made with software. The engineers doing the software are in the trenches, but they're very important. So one of the goal of the Academy Software Foundation was to bring up out of the trenches, the work of the software engineers in that particular market, which is based on artists, which will be very important for the metaverse. Artists will be key in the vision. One of the vision to the metaverse is that artists populate the metaverse, benefit from their creative work, and that we have a very open creative environment for the metaverse to be this rich place to be.

But in the motion picture industry, open source happens spontaneously very early on in the development of software, and some key defacto standards that were not specified originally, but they were made open source from the get-go, became defacto standards in our industry. And as our industry grew and the pool of software grew, there were points of friction with open source software that we needed to help with. And so the foundation was created to facilitate that, to remove the friction in doing open source software industry-wide, to help the engineers, because it's often the engineer that has the idea about a library or a piece of software that everybody should use, to use the cookie analogy, to be able to share the cookies. And it rarely comes, originally, rarely came from the top, from the studio-

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David Morin: Originally, [inaudible 00:14:01] came from the top, from the studio executives saying, oh, let's do this open source. It was engineers who were coming up with it. And one of the big mission of our foundation is to empower the engineers. And we regrouped a number of libraries that were defacto standards. We were founded three years ago, so we we're still in the early phases of doing that. But ultimately we want our foundation to become a platform, a place where in our industry, if there is work to be done that benefits everyone, that people would know where to go. And with the group of like-minded people that put their competitive pressure and checked it at the door and then come in and say, hey, we have to do this. There's a new thing coming up. It's called whatever virtual production, something, there's always something new. And there are parts of that, that we should all do together. And so open source is the base for that in our media and entertainment industry.

Marc Petit: That's an interesting segue into the next point that we wanted to discuss with you guys. So as you mentioned, David, we saw a lot of open source initiatives in the movie industry start in studios and then migrate to the Academy Software Foundation. And we still have some open source software that are sponsored or defined by independent companies. So can you give us an example of practically of, let's try to be pragmatic. I mean Neil, you guys manage glTF. David, the Academy Software Foundation manages OpenVDB and then we'll take the open source flagship of the moment, USD, who is managed by by Pixar. So if you wanted to add a feature in each one of these format, how would you go in the three of those for example?

David Morin: Right, so when anybody can start an open source project at any level from the individual engineers to the companies, and to consortium, or foundations, a lot of the time they start small. And the owner, the maintainer of the project who created it, takes on the collaboration from others and checks in the code. And you have a community that's formed around that specific need. And that's all good and fine when you have a small group of people working on the project. And there are phase, there's a life cycle to open source projects and they will reach at some point, not all of them, but the one that are really useful and by way of the community will reach critical mass. And then they will need more support and structure to grow. And so OpenVDB for instance, you mentioned is a volumetric data exchange format in tools that go with it, to do all explosions and fireworks and things like that created by Dreamworks originally. They open-sourced it while they were working on it. Others started to use it in the industry.

At some point there was a question of who should maintain it? Where should it go? And that's where the foundation and something, an organization like the foundation comes in to help make that work. Now, sometimes companies like Pixar, you mentioned, will consider a project that they do internally. And from the get-go, will say, hey, this is big. This should serve the industry, not just us. And we may be, would be nice to have other contributes, or they decide that their USD Universal Scene Description project is going to be open source. And then they manage, they have engineers already, many engineers working on the project internally. They assigned some to manage the community. And the project is vibrant and going well. And that's beautiful. We want those kinds of open source project to happen everywhere.

And then perhaps at some point in the future, when the demands become greater than what Pixar wants to do, things like other industries, being interested in USD, doing education, and training, and product management, and all these things that may need to be done later. Then maybe at some point that's where a transfer to the foundation would come, where we provide with our partner, the Linux Foundation, a lot of these services.

Marc Petit: Just for the clarity, right now, the way the Academy Software Foundation, who actually makes the decision that would, makes it to OpenVDB or not?

David Morin: So once a project joins the Academy Software Foundation, immediately there's the creation of a technical steering committee, which is made of the engineers that are working on the project. And the engineers very often the same engineers that were working on the project that Dreamworks come in. But we saw also that the minute you're in the foundation, the other groups are interested in what you're doing. The process of getting in exposes what the library is about, and you already have more eyes, more engineers contributing, and it's the TSC that grows over time that is taking care of its particular project.

Marc Petit: Okay. So Neil.

Ruth Suehle: This also... Sorry.

Marc Petit: Go ahead.

Ruth Suehle: This also isn't the only software foundation model. There are a lot of them and a lot of different ways of approaching it. And I think that it's worth spending some time as a broader community, figuring out what the right approach is. So one of the common complaints about the foundation model is companies having too much control. And when we started talking about the metaverse, Ready Player One comes up a lot. Oasis isn't the model we want. That is not the reality we're looking for. I've always been kind of amused that he describes it as open source in the book when it clearly is not. And trust is going to be so critical to the metaverse. So any sort of closed door production builds no trust. There are so many issues to solve around identity, and privacy, and data, trust is fundamental. And openness and transparency inspire trust. So I'm concerned about what the approach looks like and what the corporate involvement looks like because corporate involvement often in many folks does not engender that trust.

Marc Petit: Ruth, if I can play devil's advocate for a minute, isn't multiple corporations better than one corporation?

Ruth Suehle: Absolutely. No question, but so by way of example, just to use my own other hats, the Apache Software Foundation works very differently. Companies do sponsor and are involved, but it is different from the paid membership gets you a governing board kind of seat model. It is supporting the projects because you see the value in the projects. They are valuable to your company, they're valuable to the world, whatever reason you support. But there is not a relationship between those things, if that makes sense. And then there are other models as well. It's not just a Apache versus Linux Foundation Model. There are a few other ways about it as well.

Marc Petit: So Neil, how does it happen in the world of a Khronos adding a feature to glTF?

Neil Trevett: Yeah, so using glTF as an example but I think there's probably more commonality in the world of standard developing organizations STOs than open source. Because that the nature of the task is to have a consensual development framework from the get go, because you are creating a specification rather than a piece of software. So Khronos is typical that we have a very democratic process. We have 180 members, everyone gets a say in any standard that they're interested in. So there is never a company inside Khronos that has more of a say over the direction of a standard than any other company. Even if a company brings, it's an idea of company A, company A wants the project starts, it's just one more vote amongst equal participants. And I totally agree with Ruth, both the open standards and open source, trust is the foundation on which everything is built and that trust, I think comes from two directions.

One is that I kind of invest into this open source or open standard, because I have a voice, and more importantly, maybe there isn't another voice that can just override me for illogical reasons. But also, because the industry is very dynamic. It's important that the long term health of any project, open source or open standard, is not dependent on the support and involvement of any one company. Now there's many examples of companies initiating something and then using interest in going away. If you have a truly open collaborative framework, you're not dependent anymore on one company's involvement. So that's trust building because you can guarantee longevity, but to get to your question, how do you extend glTF? There's two levels of extensions to glTF. One is Khronos initiated extensions. So it's the working group that will decide all of the members have the equal vote, but it is the working group in the end that decides on what would be a good extension to build into glTF.

Anyone is welcome to join and join in. That's an important part of being an open consortium. And we try to involve the community as much as we can. So a lot of the developments, discussions, and ideas, in some cases for new Khronos extensions come in from the community through our GitHub service that people, give us issues and ideas. And it's a very open process. But the working group has to decide. You need a deciding body or else you have chaos. And the working group is that deciding body. But another important parts of glTF is that we have what we call vendor extensions. It's bit of a weird misnomer name, but basically it's an extension that anyone could define at any time. We have guidelines and a central registry so we don't get naming conflicts. But basically anyone can define the glTF extension at any time to meet their own market, or even specific customer needs without needing the permission from Khronos, or even to tell us.

Although we loved to be involved, because maybe we can synergize with what's going on. It's an important part of the freedom of using glTF that you can extend it for your own needs, for certain, without being blocked by anyone. And we actually do find quite all the people using that, but we're trying to encourage them to engage with Khronos so we can coordinate some of these activities and leverage the good effort and insights that some of these vendor extensions are bringing into the specification.

Patrick Cozzi: So Neil allowing these vendor extensions, kind of allow rapid adoption and rapid innovation, but could also potentially lead to ecosystem and market fragmentation. And I think you're kind of hinting it. Hey, we want to avoid that, and we want to foster collaboration by bringing folks who are doing vendor extensions into potentially maybe promoting to official extensions. I mean, could you talk a bit about how that works?

Neil Trevett: Yeah. So yes, fragmentation is a danger, but to be clear, the vendor extensions aren't part of the official spec. So the official spec is not being pushed around by the vendor extension. Canonical spec as defined by Khronos with the working group extensions, is a stable target and is being evolved by the working group. But yes, the vendor extensions, that there's lots of good work going on out there. And so we are actively outreaching into the community, encouraging people to join the working group. That's the best thing, but not everyone can do that, so now we're setting up an advisory panel that anyone can join for free. And now we'll have much closer interaction with our advisory panel, than we would do even with the GitHub community. So it's got an onion rings model of engagement with the community, the working group, the advisory panel, then the general GitHub based community. And then people that do stuff at glTF never touch.

David Morin: Openness is key to every type of different organization that are there to help the open source movement. And so on the foundation type model, you get companies, and it was well suited to the film industry and that you have a number of studios and each one of them have different policies. One of the reason we set up the foundation is because there was friction around the licenses, the open source licenses that are used in the industry. There's as many open source licenses as sometimes there is open source projects. And often studios legal department would block the use of a library or a project when they became aware of it, even though it was already used in many years. And that would stunt the growth of open source in our industry. So one of the things we did is we have a committee, a legal committee where we regrouped the legal counsel of all the studios who are normally fighting with each other-

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David Morin: All the studios who are normally fighting with each other in very strong ways. And when we got them in the room, in there, I saw a benefit of our partner foundation where they do that all the time with all the other projects they have. And they have the right bedside manner to bring warring parties to eventually agree on the license. It took a while to agree on the recommended license that we put at the foundation, which is Apache 2.0, but we got there. And now we have this group of legal folks who understand much better open source and there's a lot less friction now when they hear about an open source project being used on this or that movie. It's like, "Okay, which license does it use?" If that's the right one, then it goes through not a problem anymore.

So there's many aspects around open source being software that we need to help as it grows at all aspects, legal, community, helping the engineers funding it in our industry, as I said. In other industries like Silicone Valley, the engineer is at the core of all products. So they have lots of visibility. In film and television, the engineer is doing the software that the artists use. So it's very important for us to promote the work of the engineers, to shine the light, to talk about diversity and inclusion in our industry. We have a big effort in that direction to bring people, engineers of all backgrounds, male, females, and people of color, to bring their work up and shine a light and prepare for the next generation of engineer going to school, K-12 talking about taking our best examples of engineers who do work and making that visible and making space also for... Traditionally our industry, you may have heard the Oscar's all white and all that. There's a lot of white people. So we need to make space for the other communities and diversity in our industry. That's part of open source as well.

Ruth Suehle: I have to underline what David was saying in the first half of that about what the academy software foundation has accomplished. I'm a big fan and use as an example all the time of a group that was able to bring together this industry that was historically really reluctant to use, acknowledge, or be involved in open source in any way whatsoever, and has come so far in really what, three years? Not that long.

David Morin: Thank you. We still have another work to do to get to this collaboration platform that we want to achieve, but the response has been great. And we found in the companies that joined, lots of companies are members and they're helping us fund our activities so that we can invest in the community. And it's a lot of learning. I will say for someone like me who comes from commercial software, there was a time I was at Microsoft when Steve Vollmer described open source as the evil empire. I don't remember exactly what he described that it was, but open source has made great strides since then in its acceptance, but there's still enough to do. And our topic here, the mid diverse, is our biggest challenge. We need to really open our doors and our minds to kind of aerating together and to do what we have to do, meaning there's always going to be legal issues and there's always going to be... People have to eat. We need to find a way to fund these projects, but to do it in a way that's collaborative.

Ruth Suehle: Well, if you want to know how far we've come since then, I was talking to a couple of 20 somethings at a conference two or three years ago and they were completely unaware that Microsoft had ever not done open source in some fashion. Had no idea. That's where we are now.

David Morin: That points to my age. Yes.

Patrick Cozzi: Well, so on that note of collaboration, I'd like to shift gears a little bit and maybe look at the open standards today and maybe where they need to go in the future. When we think of the metaverse as a future internet that has 3D immersion at its center, we will need a lot of 3D interoperability, especially to have a fully simulated world. Right? So maybe Neil, could you help explain where do you think the gaps are and where we as a community can collaborate to make sure that we have broadly interoperable 3D for the metaverse?

Neil Trevett: I'm glad you put the word 3D in there, because without that, it would've been a huge question. Okay, 3D, that scopes that a little bit, but I agree with your premise, we're going to need an inordinate amount of interoperability. So for those of us that are active in trying to foster collaboration through open source or open standards, I think we're going to have a busy time over the next few years as the metaverse comes together. And that's great because I think the people that get involved in this kinds of stuff, we have a certain mindset that we believe in collaboration in helping to move the industry forward faster. Now to the benefit of all, to the commercial benefit and the general benefit of everyone involved, and the end users. So 3D, we're kind of discussing in Kronos, we have a number of standards and the way we segment it down is there are three pillars of spatial 3D or XR, whatever you want to call it.

And that's the graphics rendering. And in many ways that maybe is the most advanced of the... That's been around for many years, but it's nowhere near done. We want completely realistic looking humans and simulated cloth and clothes and avatars. There's lots of good research ongoing still on how we can achieve that in a graphical system in real time. A lot of it's being done in Epic. That is a very interesting area. Then there's the whole interoperability issue of the 3D displays. In other words, XR displays HMDs or handheld devices. Can we create a single APIs that provide application portability across all this diverse hardware? And also that's much younger. Kronos, we're trying to help in that domain. We have open XR, which the web is uplifting into the browser with WebEx on it, and that's getting quite a lot of adoption.

I think actually it's past the threshold into widespread adoption. I think it's going to be used very widely in the industry, but we need to keep evolving that, the facial based UI, as well as hand UI, all kinds of interesting topics to build into that. So that's two of the three pillars. And the third pillar is interchangeable and interoperable 3D assets because assets for objects or scenes, both. Because in the end, any XR or metaverse application is going to need to have the assets and the scenes and the avatars and all the other 3D objects to be interoperable. Now this is where glTF comes in. glTF is a very interesting project because it's not trying to be at the cutting edge of technology, but it's definitely at the cutting edge of global deployment because we've been most recently working on PBR materials.

Now, the movie industry has been using advanced PBR materials for decades. So why is glTF just over the last year we've brought out a whole series of PBR extensions? It's because glTF is the forum by which the industry is now agreeing how much can we make globally pervasive? How much PBR can we put into your browser running on your mobile phone? Because suddenly you're not just reaching a few thousand users with high-end workstations building movies. You're reaching billions of users that have a mobile phone in their hand. And that's I think a very interesting exercise. And I think glTF has proven to be the place where we can rise that tide for every user in the world. So-

David Morin: If I can riff from that?

Neil Trevett: Yeah, go ahead.

David Morin: From the professional industry, the people who make movies, it's really important that we connect the dots between the way things are done for the content in movies and what you're doing in terms of developing the wide distribution and a standard for everybody out there. And it's hard, and we see that every day. You go from product, to product, to product, and so many times the content is reinvented. Even if it's the same character, it's the same Iron Man or Batman, but you redo the Batmobile. That's an example. Same Batmobile is being redundant for every movie. Even though there is an asset that should be shared, it's not. And to, we need within the content creation industry to figure that out.

And then the ideal place that once we figure that out, this content is usable immediately into the metaverse. It's not some sort of a high-end full of custom code thing, but it's something that is readily available. And to empower the artists to be creating for the metaverse, that has to happen. It's really important that we standardize the way to a degree movies are made. There will always be special sauce and things like that, but then that we connect with what you're doing at the worldwide distribution level. That's key to the metaverse.

Neil Trevett: I'm really happy you said that, David, because we have exactly the same view looking in the opposite direction. The nice thing about glTF is that it doesn't try to be an altering format. No, we're not a little USD. We're something completely distinct and different. And I think we definitely don't want to try to be USD. We need USD to be the pervasive authoring format. And then we need those two communities to work really closely together to make sure, exactly as you say, we can distill USD altered scenes down into glTF for global publishing. And I think that is a very powerful model because both the communities are doing great work in their own domains.

Patrick Cozzi: So there's a-

Neil Trevett: And it's-

Patrick Cozzi: Sorry. Go ahead.

Neil Trevett: Go ahead. I was just going to finish off by saying, and that is going to become more interesting over the next few years too because we focused so far on the glTF side on just the 3D asset, the mesh, the texture, the animation. Now, how do you package all of that up? But it came up at the Boff that Marc and Patrick were running at SIGGRAPH. Vlad from Mozilla had the awesome pointers that if we just keep doing that, we're just going to have more and more 3D viewers, where we need behaviors to be authored and encapsulated for delivery if we're going to have genuinely composable reusable metaverse assets that'll go beyond just the textures and the polygons, and they start having things like behaviors and physics, price, the whole economics, the DRM, all these different things that you're going to need to be able to take an asset in all its complexity, not just the 3D mechanics of it, and take them between these different parts of the metaverse. Now that's going to be a very interesting interoperability challenge.

Marc Petit: So do you see Kronos tackling those issues in the future?

Neil Trevett: I think we can contribute certainly to some of those. So how do you put physics into a 3D asset? How do you put a certain set of behaviors? I think we do have the right quorum of companies to do some of it, and we can leverage the work that USD has done on behaviors and be a good distillation partner for USD, but we can't do everything. There's things like DRM and even akin to game mechanics. Mars, you work in circles, I'm sure, you'd have more insight than we do have of what the weapon's going to be and what are the vehicles going to be, and how you're going to take a vehicle from one game to another written by a different company? It's going to take all-

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [00:42:04]

Neil Trevett: ... another written by a different company. It's going to take all kinds of input from different. We need to coordinate to make sure we slice and dice this problem and work together. That's an interesting challenge in itself.

Marc Petit: Yeah, I agree.

Neil Trevett: We do have good liaison between standards of organizations and open source organizations, but we need more.

Marc Petit: I agree. I agree with you. The shareable, drivable car is a little bit far away. But if you could share a car configurator and swapping out rims, that would be already a great progress. And I do hope we can contribute to make this happen quite quickly.

Neil Trevett: Right.

Patrick Cozzi: So there's a great collaboration theme here that's multidimensional in that we need to come together to build open standards as a community. But the communities building open standards also need to come together for serving the full market needs when we're talking here. Both USD for production and GOTF for transmission, for example.

Neil Trevett: Meta-corporation for the metaverse.

Ruth Suehle: I was thinking, when you're talking a minute ago, I was like, so we need a meta-organization, a metaverse of bodies?

Patrick Cozzi: Well, is it a meta-organization? Or is it the liaisons, as Neil mentioned?

Ruth Suehle: Maybe we need a whole new model for a whole new world. I think that's entirely plausible.

Marc Petit: It's interesting, Ruth-

Neil Trevett: That is potentially possible, yeah. Because the way it works... I'm actually interested in David and Ruth. Maybe Khronos is behind the curve. I'm interested to learn from you guys. The way we do it, it tends to be rather ad hoc. We do establish liaisons, and we very much welcome liaisons, but it tends to come when we hit a problem rather than an opportunity. And then we liaise and we start working, but it's on a point-to-point basis. I wouldn't know where to go for a meta conversation around how these different organizations should be being more proactive to figure out a roadmap together. I haven't had that opportunity yet. Do you guys see anywhere else that that's happening?

David Morin: Building roadmaps for open source can be a challenge. And one thing I learned is that open source wants to be free. And every time that someone attempts to put a roadmap to control it in any ways, it gets a little difficult. There are ways, but it's very different ways than the way these things work in commercial companies and commercial software companies. And because we all come from commercial software companies, we tend to have this muscle memory of, well, this is how a project will work. But it does not work that way with open source, is my personal experience. You have to completely contact switch in your mind, and you have to empower. And I think a meta-body would be a good thing. It would also need to be driven by this understanding of what open collaboration is about, which is not so directive or prescriptive, but more descriptive of what we want to do.

That would be a very interesting conversation as the metaverse is becoming a little bit more... It's clarifying what is meant by the metaverse besides the movies and the books. And there could be a case study there. That's not saying anything about how, but that could show what. What the benefit of the metaverse would be. When I get to the, I do not name any name, the Amazon page, and now it's a metaverse experience instead of a flat image. What does that look like? And to start talking about those things, what would the experience be? And then we can count on our open source community to, if it's exciting, and it's motivating, to go right in and start writing code. And then we just have to have our resources at the ready to help those who are doing the right thing. And-

Ruth Suehle: I think that...

David Morin: Go ahead.

Ruth Suehle: Sorry. I didn't mean to cut you off. I think the challenge will be, we're all well aware of a lot of companies that would like to win the metaverse race, so to speak. And that's not how open source works. We're going to have to convince a lot of people who do not natively work openly... At Red Hat, we say default to open to everything. It's not just about the code. It's about how we do everything, and that is not how most companies work. And so we're going to have to convince a lot of folks for whom sharing was something they did in kindergarten and forgot somewhere along the way, how that works.

David Morin: That's true. Yep. So there's a big culture change.

Neil Trevett: Yeah.

Marc Petit: Yeah.

Neil Trevett: Yeah. And I agree with you, too, David. I'm a big believer, too, in grassroots. Bottom up, not top down. It tends to be the way. But having a better, some meta-organizations that the Khronos can understand which bits it doesn't have to worry about would be great. "Oh, okay. I know that this group over here is doing that. Excellent. We track it and make sure we're in synergy with it. But thank goodness there's something taken off our plate because we have more than we can cope with."

Marc Petit: Absolutely.

David Morin: So maybe it started here.

Marc Petit: Hopefully it started here today. Live.

Ruth Suehle: Done. We've solved all the problems. Go team.

David Morin: All right. Have a good weekend.

Patrick Cozzi: So, Marc, on that note, should we wrap up and maybe do a quick round robin for each guest in case there's anything that they didn't get to talk about that they wanted to talk about?

Marc Petit: Yeah. So, guys, what didn't we asked that you were expected to be asked during this conversation today, just so that we learned from this experience? So maybe start with you, Ruth.

Ruth Suehle: Oh, I think we covered as much as we possibly could in such a short amount of time. I appreciate you asking me to be here. This is such an exciting topic to discuss. A lot of people lament that the world has been explored. All that's left is the seas and outer space. But the metaverse isn't just exploring strange new worlds and new civilization, so to speak. We're talking about constructing one fundamentally. That's way more exciting. So this is a really fascinating discussion to be a part of.

Marc Petit: Well, thank you, Neil.

Neil Trevett: Yeah. No, I think, too, we've covered the important stuff. I think it is going to be an exciting time. As you said at the beginning, the need for cooperation is going to increase. So I like Ruth's suggestion. We should think outside the box on how to enable that. And if we are successful, like any truly pervasive standard, once it's truly successful, people forget about it because it's just there and accepted as part of everyday life. And that's our goal. We have a way to get there, but it's going to be an exciting journey.

David Morin: Yeah. And the metaverse is potentially the best thing that ever happened to creative and artistic activity in human history. And what else can you do better than create something new? And if we can empower the artists who already are showing all kinds of things in the movies and the games and everything, these new worlds that we see, and that we see them on the screen, movie screen, TV, and getting in there and having artists creating those worlds in a model that benefits the artists. That doesn't rely so much on patrons or studios or having to hire yourself to give all your artistic creation to a company, to empower the individual artist's creativity, music, and performance and all. That's we're developing software for.

Marc Petit: Absolutely.

David Morin: In the metaverse.

Patrick Cozzi: Marc, you think we should do the other two wrap up questions? Or do you think we have more than enough material for...?

Marc Petit: I think we're good. Unless there is the shout-out, there is specific things you want to mention. Ruth, we had talked about all 3D. So we could give you a chance to speak to certain things that you care about. And-

Patrick Cozzi: Yeah, why don't we just do the shout-out if folks have them, and we'll skip the third one. Cool?

Marc Petit: Okay.

Patrick Cozzi: All right. So back on. So lastly, we want to ask if anyone wants to give any shout-outs to any organizations or people? Maybe starting with you, Ruth.

Ruth Suehle: Actually, can you give me a second to find the O3D jam page?

Marc Petit: I didn't want to lead you into O3D. I know we discussed it, but it doesn't have to be that. It could be...

Ruth Suehle: Yeah. Well, that's just as well as anything else I can think of. So I'll take it. Another organization that I've been working on and working with for the last, wow, I guess almost year now is O3DE. We a launched a new foundation over the summer. It's for the open 3D engine. So folks who are interested in that, I would love to see come participate in a game jam that we're going to be running in October. It'll launch right after O3DE Con. So check out the We'll tweet about it. Get on there and create some cool 3D stuff.

Patrick Cozzi: Yeah. Congratulations. And thanks for that large contribution to the open source 3D community. David?

David Morin: Well, I invite everyone to come and check the Academia Software Foundation website at You will find a host of projects there. And a shout-out to all of our member companies that are making this possible to help develop open source in the motion picture industry, and our sister foundation, like the open 3D engine, that are also each one, in their lane, developing open source for the future in the metaverse.

Patrick Cozzi: Very cool. And lastly, Neil.

Neil Trevett: Well, from the Khronos perspective, shout-out to the other organizations we are working closely with, or looking to work closely with, W3C. They're lifting all the good stuff into the web, is such an incredibly important part of the metaverse. OGC that's taking a lot of the 3D work that we do into geospatial. And AWSF. Sorry, ASWF. I always get that wrong. We want to work much more closely with you guys. So we look forward to that.

The person I want to call out... Well, actually two. Firstly, Vlad. You mentioned Vlad before. I think he's actually at Unity now. I said this earlier. That was where he was before. He was the inventor of WebGL, which is been a foundation for all the 3D in the web. And he continues to have these good insights as to how we can build them metaverse. That's a shout-out. Vlad, hey.

The other person I want to shout out to is Patrick. Because you were there the beginning of GlTF and the 3D [inaudible 00:54:09], the geospatial link in. You've contributed much to the whole GlTF and asset ecosystem. So don't stop.

Marc Petit: I concur on both.

Patrick Cozzi: Thanks, man.

Marc Petit: And so maybe, Patrick, that's the idea. We should invite Vlad. And we started the conversation at the [inaudible 00:54:28], and I think it's probably one of the good ideas, is to dig a little bit deeper into how we could create those standards. And hear from Vlad and a few other people who have a very, very strong history and track record in building up things like what you have.

Patrick Cozzi: Yeah. I really like how Vlad talked about assets, attributes, and behaviors. And would love to have him on a future episode.

Marc Petit: All right. Well, thank you all very much for your time today. It was an interesting conversation. I hope we got everybody to understand the world of open source and open standards a bit better. And as you all know, we look forward to an open metaverse.

Patrick Cozzi: And thank you, everyone, for listening. And if you like the content, please subscribe to the Building the Open Metaverse podcast.