Is Linden Lab abandoning Second Life?

Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that would not be backwards compatible with Second Life, said Radegast viewer developer Latif Khalifa in a post at SLUniverse today.

According to Khalifa, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg broke the news today at a meeting with third party viewer developers.

Other viewer developers chimed in to the discussion, confirming that it had taken place, that there was only a small team left to continue to support Second Life and that the majority of Linden Lab developers were at work on the new platform.

It was made clear that this will run on many more platforms than it does now,” wrote Catznip viewer developer Trinity Dejavu.

As of now, Linden Lab has not responded to my request for comment. I’ll update the story if they do.

Exit from Second Life

Bad news for the metaverse

As I’ve repeatedly said before, my vision for the metaverse is something like the Web, with many virtual worlds, running on a variety of server software both open source and proprietary, all interoperable with one another.

Right now, the closest we have to this is the hypergrid, where anyone can set up a virtual world using the OpenSim software and, if they choose, allow teleports to other hypergrid-enabled worlds.

I was figuring that, eventually, Second Life would enable export permissions — off by default for most existing content — and allow their users to hypergrid teleport to other grids.

I was also expecting Linden Lab to begin offering Second Life server software, as they did at one point for enterprise customers, for people who prefered to use brand-name commercial software to run their world.

This is the way the Web works today. You can run your website on the open source Apache software, or a couple of other open source alternatives, or you can run it on proprietary Windows or Sun platforms. Or, if you’re an average person like me, you can host your website with a company using cheap open source software, or pay extra for a service running on a commercial platform, and you might never even know what actually runs in the deep background.

Either way, your visitors won’t notice — no matter the back-end system, all website today are pretty much equally accessible by all browsers. Gone are the days when websites posted notices saying, “This site best viewed in Internet Explorer.” Okay, a couple of sites might still do that — ones that haven’t been updated since the 1990s.

In my opinion, one of the factors that made the Second Life-OpenSim ecosystem so appealing as a possible platform for the future metaverse was that combination of commercial and open source. There are no real barriers between Second Life and OpenSim — content can easily move and back and forth, they use the same viewers, and teleports between the two platforms have already been tested.

Sure, the graphics aren’t that great, but neither are the graphics on the Web, compared to almost anything else.

Second Life and OpenSim are good enough. Plus, both are way cheaper and easier than any of the other platforms used to create virtual worlds. Both already have viewers that support the Oculus Rift. And there are millions of people out there who have tried Second Life, and are familiar with the interface.

Platform for a metaverse vs. commercial product

Platforms are rarely replaced. Instead, they evolve. And as they grow bigger and more popular, they evolve more slowly. Moving from one platform to another is a major, traumatic event. Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 is one thing — switching to the Mac is something else entirely.

But products — products are replaced all the time. You get bored with The Sims, and pick up a copy of The Sims 2. You don’t expect to be able to move your characters over — it’s a brand new game. In fact, Linden Lab’s former CEO, Rod Humble, headed up The Sims franchise in his previous job at Electronic Arts.

If Second Life is just a product to Linden Lab, then it makes sense to be working on the second version. One where users will have to buy all new stuff all over again.

Bad news for OpenSim

OpenSim currently draws a large number of users from Second Life. Second Life has brand-name recognition, plenty of training resources, and a lot of content — enough to draw in a million users a month. Some of those users, needing more land, or more privacy, or more control for their school or business, move on to OpenSim.

If Linden Lab builds a new platform and throws all its marketing muscle behind it, leaving Second Life to wither away, some of those Second Life users might cross over to OpenSim. More might switch to the new platform, or leave altogether.

In any case, the flow of brand-new users will probably slow down quite a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

    Just saw that New World Notes also has a post about this: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2014/06/linden-lab-building-second-life-2.html

    And so does Ciaran Laval: http://sl.governormarley.com/?p=4027

  • Cinder Biscuits

    I don’t see how this is bad news for the metaverse. With the eventual closed source client for SL2.0, many more viewer developer may decide to make their viewer OpenSim Compatible. We have invested a lot of time into our viewers and, for me personally, I will continue to invest my time developing a viewer for OpenSim. This may bring more viewer developers to OpenSim and finally put developmental focus on OpenSim instead of Second Life. You won’t have to worry about maintain compatibility with Linden Lab so there will no longer be a moving target for feature completion. OpenSim can grow and flourish into it’s own product.

    • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

      The big question is — do we have enough of a critical mass to succeed on our own? Though Jessica Lyon just posted that this is at least a year or two off, so there might be time yet for OpenSim to build critical mass. (http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/97035-linden-lab-working-next-gen-2.html)

      • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

        I’ve missed your article (shame on me) but I think you’re absolutely right. SL2 — and the end of SL — will mean that OpenSimulator will be stuck to TPVs that will not evolve. There will be no incentive: the number of users in OpenSimulator is simply not large enough to justify developers to spend eons tweaking LL’s code. And, in a sense, as SL evolved, OpenSimulator evolved as well — trying to catch up (or surpass) SL. It was not really an ‘arms race’ but rather SL was the driving force behind OpenSimulator — each time LL came up with something, OpenSimulator developers and TPV developers quickly tried to catch up, and even surpass what LL had come up with.

        Without that ecosystem, what will be the driving force behind OpenSimulator?

        I would imagine that it will be more likely that OpenSimulator users will slowly move to High Fidelity instead… after all, it’s also open source.

    • Han Held

      We don’t have a critical mass -only one grid is able to break 200 users online consistently every day; all of the other grids (save possibly avination) struggle to have double-digit concurrencies.

      As I’ve said elsewhere -if SL tanks, it takes its’ users (except for like a dozen -if you’re lucky) and it’s developer resources with it. Server side baking (known as “xbakes”), fitted mesh, pathfinding, region windlight, mesh itself …all of those came from SL, and opensim played catch-up with each feature.

      Opensim doesn’t really innovate, …even var regions came from Aurora-sim -which is an external project and was developed by people outside of the opensim dev base. If SL tanks there will be no more developments and people will wander off.

      And that will be bad for the metaverse, at least for the SL-protocal-based metaverse…

      • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

        Sorry Han Held but I think you are wrong. SL has kept most of its users precisely because the majority of it’s content creators have felt safer in SL. However, if SL tanks, there will be countless content creators that will lose mountains of content they have made over the years. If this content is not compatible with SL2, then they have two choices 1. Just wave good bye to that content, and all the time and investment spent on it. Or 2. Move that content to OpenSim where it can still be used, and a profit made on it. I don’t know many content creators who will just hold up their hands and say “oh well”. Given the stark choice between oblivion and a life boat – I think this will concentrate many minds to a degree that it hasn’t ever before.

        I see this as the greatest opportunity OpenSim has ever had. It is time to finally cut the ties with SL, and allow OpenSim to be the product that it is

        • Siana Gearz

          Ebbe said at the meeting that he’s quite certain porting content over from Second Life into new plattform by original creator will be possible, even though we know that the technical architecture of the content will be different. Given that scripts e.g. need quite a bit of fixing on OpenSim, and new LL plattform is set to offer a much easier and more flexible scripting, plus L$ economy and potential for every SL user to sneak right in (speculation on my part), content developers will seriously consider moving to new LL plattform and not to OpenSim. It is indeed a chance for OpenSim, given how conservative the SL userbase is, but it’s a chance which will tank if not more effort is given by OpenSim developers and deployers. For now, i suppose it means that there will be little in terms of new features to come to SL, which means OpenSim can concentrate on quality of implementation and on innovation instead of catch-up.

          • Gaga

            I do agree that if SL1 doesn’t get much more development or new features because it is now left with just a caretaker team then this will give Opensim chance to overtake SL1 in terms of quality and innovation. In fact I think there is scope here to advance Opensim in new ways like adding new building tools and even voxels perhaps. I think the avatar might be improved too while the Lab has decided that SL1 is too much of a problem to change. There may not be an open source viewer for SL2 so all the more reason for the TPV developers and Opensim developers to work closer together to bring on new features that benefit Opensim while not available to SL1. I seriously doubt it will possible to upload old prim content to SL2 either so that opens the possibility that more prim content of good quality will be brought over from SL1 to Opensim – especially as export perms are available now. I also think people like to create in Prims then export to mesh and fiddle with it in blender before uploading it back into Opensim and this helps to ensure Opensim based worlds still have a viable furture. The core team just need to keep building on it and remember this, Opensim had mesh long before SL1 and it only took a day to implement it in OS once Linden Lab finally added it. I really do think Opensim has a lot going for it and the confusion and moving house pains the SL residents will have to go thrugh will just add the the appeal of the free Metaverse.

            And, from what I read, SL2 is not just about platform improvements but about a whole new business model in which content creators and buyers pay more while land ownership will cost less. I can almost feel the SL Land Baron’s wallets burning!

          • Samantha Atkins

            Cool! Yes! Speaking of avatars, I would love a direct drive animation interface. I expect it soon from Oculus Rift integration and from Kinects and such reading user movements. I should be able ideally to have my real world expressions optionally map on to my avatars face. No messing about to get an avatar to smile or smirk or wink or whatever. And a much better articulated avatar while we are about it, like hands with fingers that have the full set of normal joints.

            And we need some heavy open source widely reusable bits. Build tools and gadgets, vehicle engines now that we have better physics, and can someone please give us a code interface to groups and to inventory so we can solve some of our own pain?

            We can all thing of things we would like. Perhaps we can put together a simple site, say a wiki or something more specific, to gather them and gather implementation ideas or people that wish to work on parts of the problems? If enough developers get excited then things will start to happen faster.

          • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

            From what I have read over at SLU Siana, Ebbe has said nothing of the sort – in fact he said that backward compatibility is not a starting point or to be desired (paraphrasing) He did mention that taking peoples friends and social connections across would be desirable.

            I have read 12 pages on SLU, and as yet have not seen where Ebbe has stated that current SL prim content will be compatible. May be I just haven’t reached that post yet – can you post a link here showing where he says that, as I haven’t seen it yet? Happy to withdraw that if I have simply missed where he says that.

            If he said this only at the meeting, did he say “prim content” or “mesh content”. There is a big difference. If this new world they are intending to build is supposed to be bigger, better and shiny, it wouldn’t make any sense for it to be compatible with current content.

            The problem that I see here is that SL2 cannot be better and similar at the same time – they are mutually exclusive. For something to be “better” it cannot be similar otherwise it isn’t different, or better. For instance, I am Linux user, I stopped using MS Windows products in 2006 when I switched to Ubuntu (at the time). A lot of cheesed off Windows folk look to Linux expecting to find a Windows clone, but better. It can’t be, to be better requires it to be different. Yes my Linux Mint pc operating system, has familiar elements to Windows, there is a desktop, applications, I can play music and watch videos etc – but what makes Linux “better” for me, is where it is different from Windows – the way it is opensource and free of charge, the way the permissions system works, the way the underlying operating system is separate from the actual graphical user interface, meaning that if the GUI crashes, it doesn’t take down the entire operating system like it so often does with Windows ( BSOD – blue screen of death).

            So in other words, I find it hard to believe that SL Mk2 will be similar enough to SL Mk1 for current content to be imported in, and yet the entire platform be “better”.

          • Samantha Atkins

            One thing OpenSim makes possible is more scripting engines more easily plugged in. Why not build some out? I would love a straight python interface or a javascript one. The latter seems tailor made for many aspects of opensim/SL scripting. And javascript engines are quite fast. Another way to still a march much more highly optimize the data stores and communication paths between regions and services. I could be wrong but I think a couchdb or mongodb makes a lot more sense and would be faster and more scalable than sticking with mysql and other relational databases. I think a much better job of caching at the Robust servers and at the region level can be done. And I have a suspicion that the viewers are not optimizing what can be done with openGL today very well.

        • Samantha Atkins

          It keeps the users because of a rich commercial and user ecology. Most everyone I know is there because of friends, events and the inventory they have gathered. As and if OpenSim markets are as rich the first problem is solved. The second is a matter of enough people. I don’t think the content creators are the prime drivers of continuity. I think the users who find compelling reasons to be in world are the drivers. While content is important so are community builders and event creators and time spent in the worlds building a virtual life. But it is truly chicken and egg to some degree. Content providers won’t go where there are not enough buyers. Region builders and event creators need a lot more content easily available than the open source content plus the small amount on most grids (inworldz is an exception imho).

  • ciaranlaval

    Inara Pey will have the audio up soon but she pointed out to me that Rod Humble was discussing new Linden Lab virtual worlds back in October 2012. I think the worrying part here are the claims that most of LL’s development are being spent on the brave new world.

    • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

      I agree. It seems a shame if all the money being generated by Second Life goes to fund a totally different platform — instead of making Second Life itself more scalable, more user-friendly, etc…

      It’s no big deal for folks who see SL as a product, as a game they play until they get tired of it and then move on to another one.

      But to me, SL — and OpenSim — isn’t just a social game I play. It’s a place where i do real stuff, have real interactions with real people, build collaborative environments that I’m planning to use for years to come.

      • lmpierce

        No doubt Linden Lab recognizes that Second Life has been shrinking, but also that OpenSim has only been moving forward at glacial speed, and mostly growing by attracting ex-Second Lifers. In other words, Second Life and OpenSim aren’t ‘good enough’ for real growth. And apparently Linden Lab does not feel that opening up Second Life to the metaverse is a meaningful way forward – after all, the total number of metaverse users wouldn’t necessarily rise, although activity would rise among users already involved in one platform or the other.

        While they still have a revenue stream and a fairly large interested user base to draw from, they appear to be using this as an opportunity to innovate before their revenue and user base is too small to even consider a new platform. That seems to me an eminently practical business decision.

        However, since OpenSim has not been run for profit-making purposes, it could continue and improve just as well, especially if the new direction for Linden Lab is not targeted towards populist access. It will be up to people to decide what best fits their needs, and that could keep OpenSim active for many years to come.

        Initially, OpenSim was the inheritor of so many who fell out of love with Second Life, or started off with big ideas and relatively small budgets…If OpenSim is still only surviving today because of Second Life, then it’s probably time to break the cords of that dependence, because it is also a severe vulnerability. But since OpenSim isn’t from a company that needs to pay dividends, how will the changes at Linden Lab directly impact OpenSim? As others have suggested, OpenSim will become the only platform of its kind, and that could be just the launch it needs.

        • Han Held

          No it can’t -because if it could, it would have after 7 years.
          Also, this whole discussion assumes that SL will be shut down tomorrow -it’s really unlikely that LL is going to walk away from all the money that SL makes in land fees overnight. I’m betting it will be around (zombified, perhaps, but around) for a while.

          Long enough for people to lose interest in the platform entirely (wether SL or opensim).

          • lmpierce

            I disagree that OpenSim is dependent on Second Life at this point anyway. Maybe seven years ago, but not now. Those who use it are not concerned with SL or Linden Labs as the basis for using OpenSim, although many people use both. I find the critical mass notion unrelated to the actual success or failure of OpenSim. Why would anyone abandon OpenSim if Linden Labs shut down Second Life tomorrow? (which isn’t what’s happening anyway.) People use what they need. As for abandoning the platform, that will only happen if there are better alternatives to OpenSim, in which case, that’s called progress.

            As for Linden Labs, most companies are wise if they invest in new technologies while their current business is strong. If Linden Labs does move forward with something new and it shows strong signs of growth, I think they’ll market like crazy to current SL and OpenSim users, as well as to the general public – they won’t be walking away from revenue, they’ll be walking into greater revenue.

  • Han Held

    Also, the premise of this headline is dumb; LL makes millions off region sales every day. They’re not shuttering SL as long as that’s the case.
    So the answer is “NO”.

    • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

      Dale Innis just Tweeted that the headline is an example of Betteridge’s Law (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines) — any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with the word “No!”

      I totally agree!

      The thing that worries me is the loss of developers in Second Life itself. I do like that platform very much and would like to see it improve, not just get replaced — especially replaced by a fully closed-source, proprietary product.

      • Han Held

        I agree with that. Personally, I keep coming back to hifi precisely because it’s open source and seems to be tackling some of the same questions opensim did (and isn’t shy about learning from it). It’s too early to say “boo” about it, of course, but it’s certainly worth watching.

  • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

    Inara Pey’s story — with audio! — is up on Living in a Modern World: http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/ebbe-confirms-were-working-on-a-next-generation-platform-with-audio/

    Also, Linden Lab just got back to me — more details here: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/06/linden-lab-to-users-dont-panic/

  • Gaga

    Right now it’s all speculation and frankly a bit wacky given that SL founder, Philip is working on High Fidelity while the SL core are supposedly now working on SL MkII. Odd that. Maybe this is all about building a new platform better suited to virtual reality and potentially worth $Billions to buyers like Facebook in the near future who recently bought up Oculus Rift for 2 $Billion – which, my guess is in need of a compatible VW platform going forward into the future. I wonder what they would actually pay for SL MkII? 10 $Billion for it anyone?

    • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

      I agree Gaga, this is the opportunity we have been waiting for.

  • Mircea Kitsune

    I can’t really tell if I should find this good or bad, as panicky as I tend to be as well. This is what I think:

    For one thing, it’s been clear since Linden used the Havoc physics library as an excuse to disable support for Opensim in the default viewer, that Linden’s direction isn’t to integrate their side of SL with OpenSim’s. Although as a big open-source fan this is a disturbing thought, I think Linden wouldn’t have even open-sourced the SL viewer if they knew something like Opensim would exist and get so far. At the end, LL’s primary source of income is hosting regions… at some enormous prices even (300 US$ or whatever it was is just to get food and pay all my bills for a month). Opensim has little reasons to make them happy.

    Second, another sad truth was mentioned here: SL is an outdated technology, which cannot go too much further than it has! Sure, a lot of modern things (like shaders) were recently added. But the architecture and concept dates from a decade ago… you can only push it this far. Yes, SL / Opensim are and have been fantastic at what they’re doing, and have offered us the ability to take part in a 3D global world for 10 years now. But IMO a completely new approach will be needed eventually.

    As I see it, the future is voxels. We need engines that will allow users to build things out of floating points (acting as matter) rather than scripted geometrical shapes. Systems like Minecraft do this, but the voxels are too big and you can’t really build things freely like in SL. The idea is something I’m focusing on, and it’s what I think a main preoccupation for the next generation VR systems should be.

  • PhantomRepublic

    Second Life, still supported by decades-old technology, is seriously in danger of aging-out if some sort of upgrading isn’t done, and in some of the media I’ve heard in the last twenty-four hours, “renovating” Second Life would be much more expensive than just building something new with current technology.

    They realized their new world wasn’t scalable early on, and when I joined in late ’06 and early ’07, SL was fraught with concurrency issues, hyper-fluctuation of land values, and the ever-present “elephant in the room” – a high-90% “new user” loss rate: people that signed on for the first time found something highly unmanageable. For me – a highly creative individual with an insatiable curiousity – I looked past the 2-3 hours it took me to learn the basics and found something beautiful … beyond my imagination. However, I introduced countless RL friends to this world only to be told the next day that they couldn’t get their avatar to move, they couldn’t stay logged on, or they just couldn’t see the point in walking around a virtual lego-land.

    This is a promise of something new; something cutting edge; something *gasps* that is scalable should the new venture be blessed with (and be able to keep up with) a second round of media frenzy. Can you imagine something easily navigable for the brand new user? Something that doesn’t descend into lag-Hades when 41 avatars on sim?

    Several years ago, I took a “break” from Second Life – only to arrive back about 3 or 4 years later to find many of the same faces at the same haunts that had been around years before. This isn’t healthy. Second Life cannot survive as an island of prim fetishists – it needs new blood and new resources to be what it was to so many of us in the early “aughts” – the cutting edge of the promise of virtual reality.

    The news came as a bit of a shock – but honestly, this was what I wanted from Linden Lab many years ago … a reboot.

    • Kelly Whelan

      I’ve recently returned to SL after 3 years away and to me it all feels the same. Apart from mesh, the world just looks the same. I am however seeing a disproportionate increase in system requirements relative to the changes I can see in world.

      I have hardly met anyone in RL that has heard of SL and those that have gave no indication that they would tell me their avatar names. I didn’t offer mine either. To do this would go against the internet anonymity and escapism that SL provides. That’s certainly what I am on SL for. In SL, many people do what they would never freely admit to being into in RL. We’re not all out there exploring the wonders of the only universe. We’re generally up to our noses in sex. Word of mouth for SL won’t be spread in RL by people who are so fiercely protective of their RL privacy. “Hey you should join SecondLife, I live out as a female avatar, earning relatively pitiful sums of money by having pixel sex with men.” – said no one ever. Just about everyone I have met on SL views it as a guilty pleasure which they keep from their RL friends and family. They may not be the ones that create the content, but they are the ones bringing their money in to buy it.

      If SL trundles along as it is doing, the dynamic equilibrium of new users replacing those leaving will stop. Eventually, everyone that was ever going to sign up to SL will have done so.

  • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

    You know, I am a bit surprised at the somewhat limited reaction to this news. I would have thought that there would be hundreds of comments on here by now about what this means for SL and OpenSim, how we can best use this to our advantage as an OpenSim community etc.

    I am rather hoping its just that lots of people are out enjoying the sunshine or are away on holiday, and its not that they are disinterested in this news. I view this news as the single biggest event that will define the future of OpenSim by a mile…or am I missing something here?

  • Red Solar

    Something is going on with the virtual world genre. Just consider the following…
    – Philip Rosedale working on High Fidelity
    – Facebook buys Oculus Rift
    – Cloud Party (Browser-based WebGL world) bought out by Yahoo
    – And now most recent shed of news confirming SL 2.0 a reality

    Maybe I missed something. Anyways, just seems like a lot going on in the virtual world genre.

    • Han Held

      HiFi can possibly muscle into opensim’s turf if it lives up to it’s potential for hosting your own hifi/world on your own computer (or VPS), that will make things even harder for opensim’s miserable adoption rate. However, it’s very much in the embryonic phase right now and it’s hard to say what it will look like when it reaches 1.0.

      • Red Solar

        I’d imagine so. Hifi is still in its early stages so it’s difficult to know what possibilities it will provide its users. Surely it will make use of new tech methods that are attractive and useful, though. Being open-source is a great first step for those who like to get their hands dirty. Although, at this stage, not everyone knows how to compile Hifi code. We’ll have to see how it turns out further ahead. And speaking of VPS, I wonder how this will work out with Philip’s Hifi vision of distributed computing where other computers are used to provide processing power for worlds (Similar to SETI@Home).

        • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

          I wish I managed to compile it. It’s incredibly difficult — more so than compiling the LL viewer from scratch, and G-d knows how hard that is already!

    • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

      I think you also have to remember that OpenSim is NOT a commercial product. It isn’t driven by profit margins and investors – it is driven by a community ideal and community based principles.

      I liken it to Linux. Microsoft did a lot in its power to kill off Linux, but has failed to do so despite its financial muscle. Granted MS Windows is still the dominant desktop pc/laptop operating system in the world, but Linux usage has been growing, and with yet another dogs dinner of an operating system released by MS – namely Windows 8 – some have been willing to explore alternatives such as Mac and Linux.

      OpenSim will die when its core developers decide to stop working on it, or when the community that loves and supports it loses interest. OpenSim is a labour of love and a community based project, this means it isn’t influenced so much in the same way that commercial products are, as the aims and priorities of a commercial product are different from those of a not for profit community driven project.

      • http://minethere.blogspot.com/2012/10/region-creations.html Minethere

        The problem, as I see it, is that many, if not most, outsiders looking in, see opensim as one “thing”, when it is not.

        You refer to “OpenSim is NOT a commercial product. It isn’t driven by profit margins and investors – it is driven by a community ideal and community based principles.” but yet, to many people do not differentiate between the “commercial” uses of OS and the free hypergated Meta, and this serves to further confuse the issues at stake.

        Since the vast majority of OS users are either non-profit, or educational, or hobby things…those people have no vested financial reason to “speak up”, thus allowing those who wish to profit a higher visibility than they actually have.

        In fact, if you only ask around or read certain things said in places, there is not even a basis for understanding the underlying differences in the 2 uses of OS. They do not know the questions to even ask. There are people who like it this way, and do whatever they can to keep it so.

        The free and hypergated, non-commercial and non-currency aspects should be continually mentioned as intrinsically different than those closed commercial non-hg grids who in fact ARE looking to profit.

        This is nothing like the free and hypergated Meta mentality.

        Too many people will let this distinction and lack of knowledge of the differences in these systems, some because they themselves are trying to profit, and some by, I can only assume, some “idea” that there is just not enough people to make such distinctions, and thus they miss the point, and the free Meta aspects are the losers.

        Some promote the free meta while also promoting the commercial grids, when the free Meta on the HG is actually where the growth is and the commercial ones are not.

        But I have nagged on this more than I ever had intended, it is, what it is. If core OS is ever to move past such things and the distinctions be more fully focused on, and people stop diluting the messages, and people start to talk more about the specifics of the differences to those who have no clue there even is a difference, then OS might move on even further.

        It is hobbled by a lack of proper focus, and only a bare handful see this for what it is, and are drowned out by those with agendas, or those seeing dollar signs, or those who simply cannot grasp that what they do does not help the matter, but further hobbles the real issues that need to be discussed.

        Perhaps, over time, it will all mature to the level needed but it is not happening now. If core OS is to capitalize on this [or if it even wants to] then distinctions need to be made and at least onlookers and outsiders and those who have various issues with OS will have fundamental and transparent knowledge to make intelligent decisions on where they would like to spend their time with.

        They do not have this now, and this is a problem, and will continue being one.

        • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

          I agree Miney. OpenSim is many things, and yet it is not one thing. OpenSim is a platform, it’s an opensource community based project. It is also a community. We have grids – like my own Avalonia Estate (get my little plug in : ) ) that runs ON OpenSim, but that doesn’t mean my grid and what goes on there represents the entirety of what OpenSim is.

          When you mention the word SecondLife – SecondLife is a grid, a platform, a company, and its userbase – many things but still essentially one as it is owned and under the control of one entity. This isn’t the case in OpenSim. We have different grids that run on top of the OpenSim platform, some for commercial gain, some for educational usage, some for private fun and amusement etc, and yet none of them are OpenSim in an of themselves, as OpenSim actually is a platform.

          Complex idea, and yes I agree when outsiders see it, they just compare it to SL, the “single entity” and then perceive that as there is no OpenSim grid that is the size of SL, it must be a failure – when in fact it is far from it.

          • http://minethere.blogspot.com/2012/10/region-creations.html Minethere

            Yes. And there are very few who say much of anything about this difference, which, really, is very important to do. I can think of 2 off the top of my head who do, and one is Lani Global.

            I used to comment in slu about this and since I mostly got drama in response, by those who are obvious to me, mostly, and who have agendas and wish to do whatever they can to move any decent conversations away from the free Meta discussions, it became apparent to me that even for the few who could actually see beyond such things, and check them out, were far and few [tho I expect many have who never say anything].

            I have prefered to keep the message simple and focus on the 2 main differences, but often I am drowned out by the gatekeepers and those who have bigger mouths, and the energy to keep people as clueless as possible.

            Not being one to keep banging my head against brick walls, I am not much going to be doing that anymore…things are going pretty well with the hypergated Meta anyways, so nothing can be done to stop that in any regard.

            But, still, it behooves those who wish it to continue to gain momentum, and to open the eyes of those who have no clue, as to the differences…at the very, very least, to help them make clear-eyed and intelligent choices, given the best and complete information those who do such things can offer.

            I do know many people would like to find something other than SL. but the hobbling nature of things currently, does not help them to discern things clearly. so they stay with what they know as it is easier.

            I wish this were not true as I would love to see more SL folks see what I have seen…however, there is hope in things happening, those in previously closed OS grids coming out, doing Hypergating tours and making new connections, with Kitely enabling the HG, and with simply more and more seeing how awesome it is to throw off the shackles and let their imaginations be free, and to see what things others have done with such freedom.

            It will be fine, down the road, and is doing well now, but it IS hobbled, and could proceed faster, and this latest SL thing should be an even better clue to the gatekeepers to focus….we shall see.

      • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

        Linux is particularly strong on the server side, where it’s a major player when it comes to web servers, printer servers, and database servers. For example, Linux is currently used on about 40 percent of all websites — the rest are split between Windows and Unix. Plus, Linux is the dominant player in the mobile arena, where Linux-based Android accounts for 80 percent of all smartphones.

        There’s a strong chance that something similar will happen in the virtual reality space.

        You’ll have some high-end worlds created on top of big, expensive, proprietary platforms.

        And a lot of small worlds run by individuals, groups, small companies, non-profits and educators on open source software like OpenSim.

        • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

          I agree Maria, I just keep forgetting that Linux is bigger than my desktop lol. In fact come to think of it, I am a total Linux user. I have it on my desktop pc, I own an Android phone (which is Linux kernel as you pointed out), and I have a home and two datacentre servers that run on Ubuntu Server – thank god, I can sleep easy now, my life is complete :)

      • Red Solar

        My point is mainly to do with the tech. Regardless if there is profit or not, the technical side of it has an attraction to it. If there are better alternatives that are attractive enough, why bother with OpenSim?

        Generally, people tend to check out new tech even as a hobby. Perfect example of this is all the HTML5/WebGL attraction. When I first saw it, it was just a experimental thing and now it has gone from something experimental to something gaining a lot of attraction.

        So, I’m not coming from a commercial product viewpoint, but more of a technical interest viewpoint.

        • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

          I get you to a point Red Solar, but I would also argue that this is where emotion comes into the equation. Why do people continue to support a losing sports team when there are more successful teams around? Because it’s the local team, their father supported them, their friends and the community supports them, and there are hopes that one day things will turn around for the better – in other words, a sense of belonging.

          Sure this doesn’t describe the average user. There are almost certainly people that if they find a better technical alternative will switch instantly without hesitation. But speaking for myself only, OpenSim represents much more than just a mere technical platform. It represents a community, a heritage from our early days in SL when the whole world and experience was magical and new.

          Then the shattering of the dream after it dawned on most of us that we couldn’t afford a sim in SL. When we discovered that there was an ugly under belly to LL as they refused to listen to their customers and staggered from one bad decision to the next.

          Then the magic was rekindled when we discovered OpenSim, an opensource free simulator platform similar to SL, without all the negatives associated with SL – and so you see, for some, OpenSim represents much more than just a technical standard and platform – probably not the view of most of its users, but a fair few I would reckon.

          • Red Solar

            Ok gotcha. Yeah, there are some that will stay true to the OpenSim for what it means to them. I should have elaborated on my point that it doesn’t apply to everyone.

        • Curtis L. Russell

          Maybe, but in my opinion, not like you think. This isn’t about a new, improved Second Life. I don’t think it is even close. And since I haven’t trusted LL since I lost thousands due to arbitrary LL actions long ago, I don’t believe the waffle language. They need a product that moves outside of borders and makes it easy for the Facebook and Twitter and whatever users to hook to and use easily, if only for a few minutes a day. The current users of SL aren’t clamoring for technical improvements, beyond maybe, hey, can we have a phone app that gives graphics? For LL, these users are dinosaurs, consigned to the tarpit that is SL, now and the future. They simply aren’t enough to warrant the effort talked about, so the effort is for something else. And a new, highly improved, techy as hell version of Second Life still isn’t going to do it. LL has something different planned. Again IMO.

          I understand that the pricing model is different, but this reminds me of the Osborne I (or at least how the legend has it). Announce a new product years down the road, create uncertainty for current transactions throughout the current product, SL (from land owners that rent and now worry about being stuck with thousands of dollars of land worth less and less, to people who aren’t going to add quite so much to inventories that might go completely blewey). Trust Linden Lab’s intentions? Really? Inventory corrupted by the server side? Your problem. TOS harrassment report? Well, the staff doesn’t really have the time anymore. LL has been distancing themselves from SL for years now. Rent land, buy a really nice house and settle in for the long haul? I don’t think so…

          What I know as fact is that a lot of people are talking while in SL about other choices. Some are taking the walk right now (me and at least ten people I know among them). The question short term IMO is more whether the ‘pure’ OpenSims, preferably with hyper, or the branches like Inworldz, take and make the most from it.

          • http://minethere.blogspot.com/2012/10/region-creations.html Minethere

            It’s not really a question anymore [and to more and more people who open their eyes and read a bit themselves, rather than buy into various agendas that seek to reduce options in order to try and profit] as to where the tech is moving, specifically in regards to the hypergating aspect.

            More and more are throwing off the shackles of over commercialism in favor of actual freedom, similar to how the net has always operated.

            Freedom to explore other peoples visions via hypergating, freedom to allow themselves to expand their own imaginations more fully [due to no longer having artificially imposed prim limits and land costs that are much less than the software actually can give them] and let other hypergaters in to see, freedom to fully, or more fully, control their own destinies in opensim, and the overall freedom to just relax and enjoy it all.

            Reduce the over commercialism [for examples that many can certainly understand…hands out for tips over and over again in clubs who need that to compensate for overpriced land costs…the drama and stressors associated with too many people trying to make a buck or so with too few people willing to pay for it for content and lands and shops, etc, etc].

            All one who has not experienced such things needs to do is actually experience it, or, just imagine how nice it would be to attend an event given by a live or dj performer, doing it for the love of sharing, where they do not have multiple people shouting, “show your linden love (or whatever any closed grids commercial equivalent] and tip the venue, the hostess and the performer, and while you are at it, tip the region owner and tip anyone else you can think of so you can run out of virtual money, go buy some more with real money, so you can continue the cycle of virtual life!!!!

            Or imagine the reduced stress in running your own simulators or paying such as kitely or zetamex or metropolis for regions that free one from having to worry about tier payments, ad nauseum, infiniti….

            In short, as more and more actually open their eyes and remove the imposed blinders, and actually go out and experience what a growing number of others are already experiencing, the better it will be for everyone, but most especially, for themselves.

            And those who need the money they make in virtual worlds can still find [and better and better] ways to make it, free from those shackling passé business models, such as Kitely and their market are showing forward and clear eyed thinkers, and which I expect we will see more of over the next couple of years or so.

            But don’t take any one persons word for such things, all this can be easily seen and experienced for oneselves.

    • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

      You could even expand a little. High Fidelity is already a ‘product’, in the sense that some gurus are able to connect it, run their own virtual world, and contact HiFi’s central servers. It works now. You just need to add content.

      Facebook did not only buy Oculus Rift. They have announced they would be launching a virtual world with user-generated content with a marketplace where content can be bought and sold.

      There are more ‘original Lindens’ working at HiFi and Facebook than at Linden Lab. That should also draw some attention. Also, Facebook has legendary game developer superstar John Carmack working for them on their upcoming virtual world.

      Cloud Party… well, that would have never worked. Yahoo is not launching a virtual world. Instead, they acquired the know-how to do better web-based games. That’s all they wish to do, because they know it’s a growing market.

      SL2… is either a very desperate attempt for LL to grab some extra income which might completely backfire and ruin the company in two years (6 months after SL2 is launched), or, well, we don’t know the whole picture. LL might, after all, have been bought by Facebook — under the condition that they develop a completely new platform instead ;-)

      • Red Solar

        Hmm… so Facebook is stepping in with a virtual world. That’d be interesting to see. Hope to see some competition among the companies with VW tech.

        The possibility that Linden Lab being bought out by Facebook would raise a lot eyebrows. I personally don’t mind Facebook as long as I can fake my identity or completely hide my real identity. This matter is subjective, though.

        In regards to Cloud Party, I thought it was some nice web-based tech. I especially enjoyed the scripting side of it being a JavaScriptor. There was just something about it that appealed to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as you mentioned. Not to mention it lacked some important features.

        • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

          Ah yes. Short after the Oculus acquisition in March, Zuckerberg was quite clear that Facebook was going to develop a virtual world. He said that it would have user-generated content and a Marketplace to buy and sell virtual goods, with FB getting a fee. Advertising was not being considered at the beginning, but it would come only later and not be the focus. We speculated back then that Facebook would buy either Linden Lab or High Fidelity (or both, as per my suggestion on April’s Fools :) ), but Zuckerberg dismissed the idea. After all, he has all the people he needs for that — joining teams with former developers from iD software and Linden Lab, he certainly has the know-how to do that.

          Here’s a bit more about what Facebook is going to do, from Oculus’ chief: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/06/tech/innovation/oculus-vr-billion-users/ On other interviews, Zuckerberg very calmly admits that he won’t get any money back from buying Oculus in the next 5-10 years. That means that he is in this for the long haul. He can afford to wait; he has the money. Small fry — competitors Linden Lab and High Fidelity — cannot do the same.

          The information we have about Facebook VW is pretty much this quote from Zuckerberg:

          “We’re clearly not a hardware company. We’re not going to try to make a profit off of the hardware long-term…but if we can make this a network where people are communicating, and buying virtual goods, and there might be ads down the line…that’s where the business could come from.”

          Source here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/25/why-facebook-bought-oculus/

          There is no doubt that the tech used in Cloud Party was great. So great, in fact, that Yahoo wanted it! But it was also clear that as a virtual world with user-generated content it would never generate enough revenue to make it worth the trouble. Yahoo bought the tech and will now use it for 3D web-based games instead, where there are no doubts about revenue models :)

  • UnityCoreAlpha

    I think if Linden Labs does abandon Second Life it will be the end of the company, look how much money people have spent in Second Life, for all that to go poof, people wont trust Linden Labs ever again, its bad enough they changed the T&C so they pretty much own all content, this will be the nail in the coffin.

    • Melissa

      I quite agree, in many ways LL has ruined sl alone themselves – bad customer service – being the top issue. However I see this too as a ploy to sort of redo sl to get a better economy status. If you recall the economy in sl in the beginning was great , everything wasn’t dirt cheap – people were actually able to build and make a few bux where as now a competitor is forced to sell well lower . However I also see that SL gave up on sl and getting new players as well , hoping the players themselves would bring more people instead of just working on some advertising projects. Most people I know have never even heard of LL or SL So I doubt seriously they will only hear of the new generation either. Just saying …. LL get to work on things that need to be fixed in sl instead of worrying about some other gaming that quiet honestly doesn’t need to start until you get the first one right. Trust will fly out of the door — Kudos on that comment – they wouldn’t be trusted again by many. I agree.

  • http://www.avalonia-estate.co.uk Justin Ireman

    Ok, then that’s fair enough. Although… “I think it should be possible. Look guys, if we don’t do it, somebody else will, right?” Isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. We will have to wait and see, but as you said, even if most of the content is compatible, that could leave a stack of fashion clothes content that would not be compatible like you say, and this alone would definitely find a welcome home in OpenSim.

    I respect that you were there and I wasn’t, so I wont say more on that, only that the push seems to be towards mesh as HF has already said only mesh content, so it is doubtful that little old prim content will continue, either way, some content creators my still want to hedge their bets – so I still think this can be good for OpenSim

  • Haw Haw

    Look, the ski school graduate with ZERO experience in virtual worlds or videogames surely must know what he’s talking about.

  • ATX Night

    Cinder Biscuits, you say,”With the eventual closed source client for SL2.0…” The Firestorm team says on their site that the SL2.0 will be closed source “initially” which leads one to believe it may not be later on. They also say that it is likely that inventory won’t be transferable from SL1 to SL2 so you can stop sorting your inventory! Yay Progress?! Time to sell those gatcha prizes!

    • Han Held

      It’s weasel words. Saying that it will be closed source “initially” implies it could possibly be open later — but does not actually *state* that they intend on being open later.

      Given all of the control issues coming from LL, I don’t see any reason at all to believe that they’ll open the source up later. It doesn’t fit the pattern of behaviour that they’ve consistently displayed since 2009…

      • ATX Night

        Normally, I would not give much credence to “weasel words” either but I consider who it was that was relaying the information from LL (It was the firestorm team).

        It is not at all uncommon for a platform that is still under development to be closed source and as for LL’s pattern of behavior I can list the names of several viewer teams they have opened their source code to so I’m not sure what pattern it is that you’re referring to?

  • Samantha Atkins

    I think we should wait to see if LL can still build anything more compelling than SL was and even still is. I don’t believe they have the chops and the vision to do it anymore. I could be wrong. If I am right there is no threat. If I am wrong then there is new stuff to play with and to emulate elsewhere as the bar is raised. In the meantime, why worry?

    I also wonder if they are pulling a Microsoft tactic. Announce something stupendous that will put FUD around your competition even if it is just a pipedream and far from close to market. Microsoft did it with Access database to crush Borland database team (not to mention raiding their staff with million dollar sign on bonuses).

    LL has lost too much hacker good will and tossed out too many good people. I don’t think there is much chance they will come back with something better than ever.

    • Samantha Atkins

      If we are really worried about something really compelling from them then it is an excellent chance to push experimental branches exploring more radical improvements to both OpenSim server and viewers.

    • Han Held

      The only thing I can think of that they’d be “crushing” is High Fidelity, and unless I’m mistaken (I may be), LL has some involvement with that (i’m not sure what -either tech sharing or investment). They’re going to want to harvest hifi for ideas and tech, so I doubt they’re trying to crush them –though I may be wrong!

  • Jas24k

    Bottom line is dollars, you all can argue this and that..SL is hemorrhaging money from LL , It can not sustain this course.

    • Han Held

      …and you’re basing that on what, exactly?

  • http://www.fredadjani.fr/ Fred Adjani

    i love second Life – fredadjani.fr

  • Padi Phillips

    Some very interesting comments on this post. I think the uncertainty caused
    by the SL announcement could very easily be used to promote OpenSim
    to Second Life users. As most of us know, much of the objection by
    ordinary Second Life residents to OpenSim grids is lack of users…
    This is something that fundamentally needs to change before those
    usual suspects with the agendas will consider moving to OpenSim: the
    content creators. But get user concurrency up and I think we’ll find
    that most of the silly objections that content creators come out with
    will be suddenly forgotten – especially when they see the financial
    potential.

    Most ordinary users of Second Life remain blissfully unwaware of the existence of
    OpenSim, and it is they that those of use who care passionately about
    OpenSim that we need to persuade to come here. All of the technical
    aspects are important, but it is the social side of things that seems
    to be the most important determinant. Commenting on blogs and forums
    is almost a guarantee of attracting the attention of anti OpenSim
    trolls – anyone who frequents Linux blogs will be familar with the
    idiot Windoze trolls who extoll the superiority of their (quite
    possibly pirated) chosen operating system. I changed to using Linux
    some six years ago after having finally become fed up of an operating
    system that got in my way and needed an anti-virus packaged that
    slowed everything down and took an age to boot – and an eternity to
    launch a SL/OpenSim viewer. If we are to promote OpenSim we need to
    think carefully and think out of the box – why not advertise
    directly inworld – in Second Life? Already one of my alt avies can
    be seem at infohubs in SL advertising OS Grid, (Illuminated sign
    above her head which can be clicked to get a notecard) and I have
    often considered using one of the grid-wide advertising agencies to
    advertise my own regions in OpenSim, so why not OS Grid? Perhaps the
    biggest drawback for OS Grid is that it is primarily a development
    grid, which can sometimes behave in weird ways, (we, who are regulars
    in OS Grid pay that no heed, but then perhaps by definition we
    ourselves are also somewhat weird?).

    Maybe we could persuade those that run OSGrid to set up the OS Grid Danger grid once
    more, much as the Second Life Beta grid? Obviously there would be a
    financial aspect to this, but that is probably merely a matter of
    fundraising – Many of us already happily donate a montly sum, but
    the OSGrid devs could hardly be described as money-grubbing, and if
    anything have a tendency to be somewhat reluctant to even ask for
    money – and seemingly equally reticent about even having an inworld
    currency system, though this is quite understandable given that then
    it could involve huge issues of accountability etc, and no-one sane
    should have to deal with that: all that kind of crap should be left
    to the capitalists!

    @SecondLifer, there are several currency plugins available for OpenSim and the reasons
    the devs do not want to get involved with that kind of thing are
    pretty bloody obvious: they have nothing to do with the actual
    technical function of the grid, and due ot being open source, it’s
    best left to third party developers to create the plugins and to also
    deal with the headache that currency systems are always going to be –
    and and far as a viable currency system goes for a distributed
    metaverse, one already exists in VirWox which is tied to the Linden.
    Anyone can enable a currency system on their region, if they so
    desire, the OS Grid devs advise against it for several good reasons
    which can be found in a post on the OS Grid Forums.

    So, whose up for getting involved in a concerted marketing campaign in Second Life
    promoting OpenSim? It could be a whole lot of fun, but we’d need to
    think it through carefully and perhaps stage social events in OpenSim
    grids aimed specifically at visitors from Second Life that would be
    widely marketed in Second Life. Keeping the message simple would be
    the best approach I woulI’d suggest, and only once visitors were at
    these focussed events could the intricacies of things like Hypergrid,
    varregions, or the possibility of running your own regions for a
    fraction of the cost of SL be broached. Even business opportunities
    could be part of this, though perhaps me as an anarchist and avowed
    anti-capitlaist would perhaps not be the best person to promote this
    aspect :) (I’m not anti economy, or even particularly anti money, but
    I do tend to think that people come before money and not the other
    way around. Money is only any good when it’s in circulation and
    everyone is able to enjoy it; it’s no good letting rich people have
    it all, as they tend to either put it in banks in places like the
    Cayman Islands or invest in schemes to screw us over and give it to
    politicans who male it legal for them to screw us over or alternately
    invade Iraq or Afghanistan on so called wars against terror which are
    really just elaborate cons to justify their greate survillance of us.
    Am I cynical? You bet! Both Second Life V2 and High Fidelity are yet
    another attempt by the wealthy to screw yet more money from us.

    I personally think
    that OpenSim is superior to Second Life in many ways, and apart from
    just me being horribly biassed, (which I am) it is a far more
    democratic platform and generally it users seem to be far more
    democratically minded. I lacks users, and aas we know, this is a
    chicken and egg situation. But, and I passionaltely believe this, we
    can change this, we can attract the users, and we can keep them
    coming back.

    The potential for
    OpenSim if Second Life finally withers is huge, but we need to start
    now, and I think some clever, well thought out propaganda is key to
    this, allied to inworld events that play to OpenSim’s strengths.

  • 10-yrs-on-SL

    Personally, I think I will be pulling back my memberships and spending on SL. No point in buying things that might not be able to be taken to the new world. I agree that LL has needed to make vast changes for a while now… so I am not too shocked by the announcement. Inworldz and other games have been far more user friendly (cheaper, better service) than SL.

  • Jody

    I am finding a lot of abandoned land on SL that is not available to purchase…it used to be common along the beaches now it is inland as well….is this due to everyone being busy on the next second life?

    • Sid Walker

      Yeah sl has been getting slow and boring last years, i started playing in november 2008 and i was a daily player until december 2010, then i came back in juni to july but realized how boring it had became and i havent been playing for years now. All my favorite places are gone, almost no of my friends are active anymore

    • Catori Shadi

      One of Second Life’s biggest mistakes was that there was too much cheap land. People were too thinly distributed. You could go into hundred of poorly attended clubs on a Saturday night & not find any you wanted to stay at. SL’s internal economy needs business (and land) to be more expensive to run, to deal with the over-diluted flavor right now.

      • Geir Nøklebye

        At the time most of SL was developed it was simply not technically possible to do it any other way – cramming a lot of people together would have created an epic lag-fest, as it partly still does. There is a very good reason a region have the agent limit set to 40. :-)

  • Sid Walker

    So, is it closing?

  • Catori Shadi

    After 8 years in SL, I have several thousand USD in inventory (once over 100,000 items). On one hand, I fervently hope it WILL all be imported. But on the other hand, it’ll look like garbage, once new stuff gets created – I start learning new building techniques !