This isn't exactly new news, "Linden Lab to Open-Source Second Life Servers", but the fact that Information Week is running the story will undoubtedly give it more publicity. What Information Week blogger Mitch Wagner is focusing on in his article is comments made by Linden Labs VP Joe Miller as part of the "Platforms and Technologies Panel" at Virtual Worlds 2007 in March in New York. In that presentation on March 28, 2007, he mentioned making the server side available as open source and included this now often-quoted (in blogs) phrase:
Second Life cannot truly succeed as long as one company controls the Grid.
Indeed it cannot... so it's nice to see that voiced by Linden Labs. In addition to the great writeup (by blogger Mark Wallace) of the panel session, the audio for that panel is also available, which makes for great listening (if this kind of thing is of interest to you).
The thing missing from the Information Week article (and others quoted) is, of course, a timeframe. It's great that Linden Labs has the objective of open sourcing the server code. Ultimately, they really have to do so if Second Life is going to become the dominant "virtual world" as we look at how to make a 3D web. It's really a question of when Linden Labs can do it... not just from a business model point-of-view, but also from a technical point-of-view. They control all the servers right now and therefore can ensure the (sometimes limited) degree of stability that SL has. But allowing others to connect into that grid is a big step and is fraught with all sorts of issues that could even further destabilize the virtual world.
We'll see. In any event, it is good to hear the continued public statements about making the server code open source.
By the way, the Information Week article also pointed to a couple of other articles that make for good reading:
- Notes from a New World: Interview with Wagner James Au (Part One)
- Notes from a New World: An Interview with Wagner James Au (Part Two)
It's interesting to note, too, that on both of those articles as well as the Information Week article, there were lengthy comments left by Prokofy Neva, which make for interesting reading in their own right.