Second Life Client Becomes Open Source

It’s true that we have “MMORPG development platforms” like Multiverse, allowing people to even develop their own clients from scratch under a simple licensing agreement — and there are more. But none have 2.4 million registered accounts. None have over a million US$ of daily transactions. None have dozens and dozens of companies establishing their virtual presences there, in a unified virtual world (they create “their own virtual worlds” instead — separated, disconnected).

The message now for the competitors is that Linden Lab has raised the bar. Now it won’t suffice to get millions of users to “catch up” with Linden Lab and establish an economy from scratch. It won’t suffice to have cooler graphics. No, now the competition will have to release the source code, the communication protocol, and replicate the developer community in order to survive. And this to potential competitors which don’t even exist — yet.

It was very, very clever. Also, of course, the nice side-effect is that Linden Lab will now be able to say: “friendly residents, if you want to help us to fix bugs once and for all, download the source code. Show us how good you are”. As always with open source software, at the end of the day, we all win.

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