This project started early 2007, and what is surprising is how quickly it progressed. The core team is actually small, as most of these open source projects tend to be. Linden Lab was very encouraging — who knows, probably they could come up with something that LL didn’t ever think before (and my, haven’t they…). Also, it was quite exciting to see a small group of enthusiastic hard-core programmers doing from scratch what Linden Lab was doing in the remote days of late 1999. Eight years later, the wheel was being reinvented from scratch, but it was far more than “just another wheel”. The open source metaverse was born.
One might argue that there are plenty of open source virtual worlds out there. Well, there certainly are. Many of them would probably be usable as the base for an open source metaverse, with enough tweaking. VRML/X3D is still a strong candidate. People still haven’t given up on OpenCroquet. There are plenty of semi-abandoned projects on all sorts of open source repositories around the ‘net.
But there is only a single technology that allows you to use the very same 3D viewer downloaded by 16 million people to connect to a virtual world. Or rather, several virtual worlds. Which can even be interconnected (more on that later).
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