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

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

Summary: 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?

TOPICS: Open Source

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

Topic: Open Source

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  • Anything to put Secondlife in the right hand!

    Secondlife is a very good idea, but exploited by the wrong peopless. The client is extremly buggy, slow and un-efficient. LL should sell the whole idea to a competant company who can make it right.

    why 31 flavors when you cannot even do vanilla right. SL is so full of basic 3d bug that it should be clasified as early alpha. Who can release a software that cannot event apply textures corretly on a flat surface? Worst of all, who today releaae a software that can barely made 20 FPS on a high end machine?

    The competition is comming? as a lot of companies are about to release they own 3d online universe. If LL want SL survive it must be sold to a competant compamy.
    • I just don't get it

      I don't see what SL is about. I just don't get it.
      • thats the same as...

        thats the same as I see about football... don't understand why its popular... but i
        realize everyone has different likes and dislikes.
        • This is what I don't get

          "it begs the question of how Linden Lab plans to make money?"

          Foot ball makes sense, there's money in it. While I don't like Football I can understand it.

          Now if there is no plans to make money on SL what is it all about? I can understand World of War craft, you pay a monthly fee. But it sounds like this one you don't. That's the impression I got from this blog so please feel free to correct me I'm wrong. So if it's not making money why do it? I just don't get that.
      • I don't either, but

        ... like the other poster, I understand others have different tastes.

        I'm guessing the big attraction is it's an alternative to the reality that some people face. If you've been dealt a hand that's not as tenable as you'd like, you can wipe the slate clean in SL. You can be who you're afraid to be, or otherwise incapable of being.

        I don't deny anyone their fantasy. What I'm really puzzled by is who welcomes corporate advertising, politicians, etc. in their fantasy world? And what do those entities assume they'll gain?
      • Another form of interaction...

        I am relatively new to SecondLife (less than a year). So, I am no expert. But, since you are wondering what some of the attractions could be, I have decided to write down the first few that come to mind. The opinions here are my own. As long as this rant is, be glad we are not sitting over beers right now. The list would be much longer! I am not trying to sell you on the idea. I am trying to answer the question, "Why would a rational person even be interested in SecondLife?"

        Here is one useful example:
        I have taken some college classes lately, to broaden my skills. Some classes are on-line. They have really developed. Some of my classes were face-to-face, but taught by instructors that also taught the same course online. The two different styles are growing together. Quizes and tests in my face-to-face classes were taken by going online to take them. No one uses overhead projectors anymore. They use presentation software, like PowerPoint. The presentations are made available for the online students. The only thing missing online is the classroom experience. SecondLife can provide all of this. Several universities have campuses online. For example Harvard, MIT, and Stanford have online counterparts. Harvard holds classes there.

        A similar example:
        Business may soon develop a similar model for meetings. In my opinion, it already beats a conference call. And--I think--it's better than a video-conference. It will be even better, once voice-technology is implemented.

        A different example:
        Many artists--performance artists, painters, and designers--are able to reach a much larger audience on a much smaller budget. Years ago, I had an artist as a partner. Believe me, the phrase "starving artist" is not just a stereo-type. They often operate on a shoestring budget. (I learned that artists and engineers are not always the best personality mix. :)

        There are other examples, but not enough space here. I may have room for one more. My wife is a nurse. She has many patients that are elderly. Some others are bedridden due to illness or injury. Many of her patients still have a sound mind. But, they lack social interaction and discovery. As they succumb to boredom and depression, their physical state declines even more. She hopes that in coming years, as this technology develops and as the general level of computer skills increases, people will be able to keep their minds and spirits sharp through social interaction and intellectual stimulation. This technology, now in its infancy, may be able to supply that interaction. Compare the web to where it was 10 years ago.

        In reference to another post, where you stated that development without financial incentive is perplexing. (I'm sorry I am paraphrasing, this is a long ramble and I have forgotten your exact statement.) But, web-based technology began and continues with a similar altruistic motive. For the most part, the content of the web is user-generated, like almost all of the content of SecondLife. And for all of its commercialism, I would still create a HUGE fuss if someone tried to take away my access to the Internet!