How Second Life works (techically speaking)

First, a disclaimer…

I do not have any type of connection to Linden Lab (wish I had, though 🙂 ). Information collected about how the system works has three main sources: looking at the logs (SecondLife.log), reading the forums, and talking to older residents (who sometimes have exchanged ideas with Jeff, Ben, or even Philip himself).

Philip and Cory themselves have written a technical paper on the technology used. This is excellent reference material!

Most things are “obvious” for someone with some experience managing Internet server farms. This is not “magic” or “reverse-engineering” or “hacking into machines” to see how they work from the inside. Like a doctor can tell you why you’re ill by just feeling your stomach and making some questions, a system administrator can make a pretty good guess at how things were implemented by just seeing how they work (or better even, how they fail to work). The more experienced you are, the more different solutions to the same problem you know, and the more easier it is to see which one was used. It’s never easy to do something radically new from scratch when you know about “best ways” to deal with some issue. Why reinvent the wheel when someone already has done the crude work?

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