Linden Lab released an awesome new way of creating plugins to display media — any media — inside Second Life. While everybody was thinking, “cool, we can finally stream Flash Video into SL!” (which is certainly one of the very first plugins released so far), this video (thanks to Mal Burns for the tip!) shows a much more dramatic change, created by Aimee Trescothick: pushing your whole desktop into Second Life:
How this works is quite clever. By using a free and open source remote desktop sharing protocol — VNC (which is, by the way, exactly what Apple uses straight-out-of-the-box, and has been popular on Linux desktops for ages too — and, of course, there are client & server versions for any Windows flavour too) — Aimee managed to stream the output of a remote desktop on top of a prim inside Second Life, thus allowing avatars to directly interact with a “desktop-inside-Second Life” (her video shows even more complex things, like running Second Life on a prim inside Second Life 🙂 ).
While the common user might not have much use for this, the corporate and education markets will benefit tremendously from this — they will be able to start Second Life from anywhere in the world and work on their desktop at the office remotely 🙂 And, of course, during a (virtual) meeting or in the classroom, they can show whatever they have at their desktop to their colleagues. This goes way beyond interactive HTML-on-a-prim, but all the way through what the future of desktop computing might become: like the old DOS shell being accessed inside Windows (or, well, bash inside Apple Terminal 🙂 ), the 2D desktop of the late 20th century becomes just a flat panel inside the feature-rich, 3D environment of a virtual world.
Thanks, Aimee, for the awesome demonstration 🙂