Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Linden to open source Second Life

From Information Week blogger Mitch Wagner:
Linden Lab plans to open up the source code for Second Life's servers, allowing anyone to run their own version of Second Life, a company spokesman said today, confirming the widespread belief among many in the 3D community that open-sourcing the servers was inevitable.

I'm glad I got this one right. I have had some conversations with people, however, that don't think this move is all that positive. People trust Linden to do the right thing, as I do, but they fear that open sourcing the server will feed educators' desires (tendencies, obsessions?) with creating walled gardens. Not a trivial concern at all.

This worries me too, but I think the positives outweigh any potential negatives. It's risky having the control of such an important application in the hands of a single entity no matter how virtuous. Opening it up will spur massive innovation. Finally, if Second Life is going to scale it's going to require an infrastructure so large that controlling it isn't possible.

So I'm declaring this a good thing, and will prepare to fight the openness battles in academia once again.

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