Second Life goes open source (this time, for real?)

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According to mashable.com, LindenLab will open up the source code for Second Life servers, too. (Awhile ago, the client software was open-sourced.)

As if there weren’t enough freedom on Second Life (letting avatars fly), now the virtual land will operate much like the actual Internet itself. Linden Labs, private owner of Second Life, is making the back end available, allowing for the creation of non-trusted areas for avatars to venture into. It could be the epitome of a Wild West effect, given the potential for the service to be hosted on other servers, and incorporating the use of open protocols. Second Life says that they will not succeed if the service is controlled by one grid.

Opening up the backend, too, i.e. the servers, means opening up the Second Life grid itself. This has been discussed in the community for quite a while. (I’ve ranted about the issue before as well.)

With an open-source grid, particularly with the above-mentioned non-trusted areas, come both problems and opportunities.

Problem-wise, we’ll face all kind of chaos, scam attempts, and all the other things we see on the web on a day-to-day basis. No doubt about it.

However, open-sourcing the grid can solve Second Life’s two top problems: Ownership of the world itself (LindenLab vs “the community”), and performance (more eyes produce better code; open code means more servers running the software). Also, it’ll provide a basis for a incredible outburst of creativity – I don’t even dare imagining what kind of hacks we’ll see within the first few months after the code is opened up!

(Now the only thing that’s missing is the official confirmation by LindenLab – so far, there’s been no public announcement of any sorts, is there?)

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