Second Life to open-source grid; will Google bite?

Having already taken the timid steps of open-sourcing the code for its client software, Linden Lab have confirmed that they'll be going the whole way, and will soon be opening up the server code for Second Life. Could we see Google make a Second Life land grab?

Having already taken the timid steps of open-sourcing the code for its client software, Linden Lab have confirmed that they'll be going the whole way, and will soon be opening up the server code for Second Life. This is big news, as it furthers Second Life's ambitions to be a fully distributed 3D network -- built on interoperability and not owned by one company -- a bit like the Internet itself. However, while these are much grander plans than simply being a provider of a proprietary 3D world (there are after all an increasing number of competitors), it begs the question of how Linden Lab plans to make money?

Right now, Linden generates most of its revenue through selling 'virtual land' a.k.a. server space and licensing the software needed.

Fellow ZDNet blogger, Dana Blankenhorn, asks whether this could in fact save Second Life? citing a number of different directions Linden Lab could go in, including:

  • Consult with companies wishing to sell through Second Life.
  • Support contracts for open source users.
  • Custom programming for Second Life extensions.
Additionally, it will be interesting to see who is first to offer Second Life hosting or use the server code for their own internal purposes. IBM would be an obvious candidate, perhaps offering corporate SL services. And for the rest of us? "GoogleLife", free virtual land -- ad supported of course. It's certainly a possibility.

Related post: Virtual worlds need open standards and Gallery: brands in Second Life

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