We’re making the world’s first VR Linux distro, runnable as a standalone OS on any Head-Mounted Display (HMD) or VR/AR-equipped computer. We’re doing this because we believe the following:
(T) Most people think that the future of VR is in games and entertainment, but it is also in office work; in particular, VR is going to replace screens and laptops.
Because of (T), the VR industry is too biased towards Windows (where PC games are traditionally deployed); moreover, nobody is thinking about how VR can be optimized for (i) clear text resolution and (ii) having multiple 2D and 3D apps simultaneously running in a shared workspace.
The product will work like this: simply plug in your headset, install our OS (or its window manager), and all of your existing 2D and 3D Linux applications will float in a shared work space (3D applications reside in either “cuboids” or “2D portals”, as shown in our demo). This will give users unlimited virtual screens (of any size), crystal clear text resolution (something the OS will be optimized for), and Linux. Initially, the OS will be able to run on any VR ready computer, but our ultimate goal is for manufacturers to be able run it as a standalone OS on their own HMDs (which increases our distribution upper bound; see below).
1. Value proposition for consumers: A distraction-free, highly immersive and unlimited VR workspace that is 10x better than using physical screens. Literally: users can have 10x as many screens as they currently do. Each of these screens is more than 10x cheaper (i.e., free) than any physical alternative. A VR headset is even 10x smaller than a multi-monitor setup, and can fit in a bag.
2. Value proposition for HMD manufacturers: A free and open-source VR OS they can modify and deploy on their headsets without having to pay Microsoft for any licensing fees.
Something analogous to (2) held for Android in the late 2000s. During this period, Apple was closed off to smartphone manufacturers, while Microsoft’s mobile platform had expensive licensing fees and closed-source barriers to the hardware. This created an opportunity for a Linux-based OS to take off – an OS which is now installed on over 1.5 billion devices. In this sense, Simula wants to be “Android for VR”.