It's been awhile since we've written about Second Life here at IT Business Edge. That's usually my colleague Ann All's domain, but since the latest news intersects with the world of open source, I'll take a crack at it this time.
OStatic reports that the Linden Lab creation is facing competition from an open source alternative known as OpenSimulator. Though Second Life's client software is open source, its server side has yet to be opened. So OpenSimulator (OpenSim) project participants have created and implemented a Second Life compatible server. Users can log on to an OpenSim server using a Second Life client, the story says.
Even more interesting, however, is this:
IBM and Linden Lab have demonstrated interoperability between the "official grid" and an OpenSimulator server, moving an avatar (virtual world user) from one to the other. From there, it is only a short conceptual step -- and not a much longer coding one -- to moving users and virtual goods between more than one virtual world.
Once that happens, Second Life will no longer enjoy its server monopoly, the writer says, and its business model will have nothing to stand on. The company doesn't have a choice now but to get serious about opening its own server code and finding other ways to monetize its virtual offering.
In other open source alternative news, Twitter now has open source competition in the form of Identi.ca. Launched by Evan Prodromou, the Twitter clone is about giving users autonomy over their respective online presences. Rather than competition, however, at least one blogger sees the new platform as a step toward federation, and another says Identi.ca will be a nice backup when Twitter is down.