Feeds

Second Life dips a toe in open source

And opens a can of flying penises?

New hybrid storage solutions

Linden Lab is to make some of the code which powers its online game Second Life available under the GPL.

Linden Lab CTO Cory Ondrejka said: "Open sourcing is the most important decision we’ve made in seven years of Second Life development. While it is clearly a bold step for us to proactively decide to open source our code, it is entirely in keeping with the community-creation approach of Second Life."

Only the Second Life "Viewer" will be opened up however; the platform itself will remain locked up on Linden Lab's servers. The firm will maintain an official Viewer, assimilating innovations from the open source community when it sees fit.

In a play to the self-congratulatory mindset that seems to typify the Second Life marketing machine Ondrejka said: "Second Life has the most creative and talented group of users ever assembled and it is time to allow them to contribute to the Viewer’s development."

The Viewer was already provided free to users in the hope that they will be convinced to pay to become "landowners" in Second Life. Linden Lab has wisely stopped well short of opening up its server software; such a move would bring its business model into serious question by breaking this feudal system, since coders would be able to create their own "islands" free of charge.

While keen to trumpet its new policy of semi-glasnost, the last thing Linden Lab would be able to handle is perestroika in Second Life.

Added to that, in a fully open source Second Life, "Residents" of renegade islands would no longer necessarily be subject to Linden Lab's rules, which it enforces from its headquarters in San Francisco. Like any despot, Linden Labs will be anxious to maintain its powers of punishment; recently the virtual theme park has seen a malicious "grey goo" attack, and seen its self-aggrandising journalist community assailed by flying penises.

So this first shuffle into open source could set a dangerous precedent for Linden Lab. By giving its punters the freedom to tinker with the Viewer, it could instigate a more concerted push to open up the whole caboodle. The firm will be hoping instead the consequences of releasing the Viewer code will be limited to it getting free bug fixes and ports to unexploited platforms; so users might spend real world money from their mobile, for example.

Of course, either way there will be a distinct lack of consequence for all but a few thousand hardcore Second Lifers. Still, at least they'll have something to talk about.®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.