Thursday, April 1, 2010

From Impotent Pissing and Moaning to Voting With Our Virtual Feet


Linden Lab has once again exercised its right to institute sweeping unilateral changes that negatively impact the avatar community. Recent modifications of the Terms of Service and Third Party View Policy erode and constrain resident options and expand legal claims by the Lab.

I posted the image above exactly two years ago today. Since then I've watched wave after wave of unwanted policy changes burst upon our shores such as the Trademark Use Policy and OpenSpace Pricing Change. Each edict sparked a brief meaningless fury of impotent and incredulous pissing and moaning across the Second Life SocialNet and Blogosphere, shortly followed by business as usual.

The good news is that this time around things may finally be different. Emigrating pioneers such as Zonja Capalani are being followed by more avatars who have awakened to the Lie of the SLand, realized that we don't own crap in Second Life and are voting with their virtual feet by shifting to other grids:
Even venerable musician and blogger Grace McDonnough closed her last blog post with "See you around a grid."

Once we can imagine our virtual lives extending beyond the Second Life grid, it's only a small leap to start moving our social capital and whatever digital assets we can move (by hook or by crook) to other domains.

7 comments:

MaggieL said...

While I'm still a Linden Research customer for now, I'm focusing my VW software development attention on http://openwonderland.org

Linden Research is not a reliable business partner, perhaps because they seem no longer to be able to distinguish the roles of "partner" and "disposable food source". Their arrogance and contempt for their "existing users" as opposed to their "target users" as T Linden so blithely put it in his recent interviews hyping the latest diktat from the Lab is more and more difficult to explain or ignore.

Gwyneth Llewelyn said...

I will remain a Linden Lab customer until Linden Lab shuts down or I die, whatever happens first :)

Nevertheless, it's fair to say that for my RL projects involving academic institutions, with access to cheap labour for system administration, unlimited and free bandwidth, and usually plenty of servers available, my planned projects for the next 3 years in that area will happen on internally-run OpenSim grids. But it's not just because of the cost, it's mostly because of the service, as so many people are finding out.

SL will remain for many, many years (or decades!) the largest of all grids, though, with an economy that will be hard to surpass (or replace). This means that not all projects are adequate to be run on OpenSim grids. If the target is pure research, then, well, it makes little sense to be on the SL grid. But if the target is a wide audience of users, engaging in the community, and having a very strong economy, well, nothing will beat SL for years and years...

Stefan said...

Botgirl, thank you for your blog and your twitter feed. At this very moment I think that commercial endeavours will not bring OpenSim to the front; if it happens, it will happen because users made it do so. Slowly, OpenSim is getting to the point where it's installable, maintainable and usable. But the "era of grids" is over. Slowly, OpenSim is getting to the point where there is no need for grids at all. At that moment, the need for a central monetary system will have vanished too. Which probably will make the business case for a central grid competing with LL moot. So, LL will probably always be the largest grid, but their service may not always service the largest amount of users. I still adhere to the AOL vs Apache metaphor I once coined.

家瑩 said...

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Hiro Pendragon said...

Specifics, please.

Botgirl Questi said...

Maggie: I really like Wonderland, especially the ability to import Google Warehouse models easily.

Gwyneth: Never say never! ;) I agree with you that it's likely that nothing will beat Second Life for a number of years, as far as the sum of reliable platform capabilities + huge diverse community + content availability. I think that probability contributes to Linden Lab acting like a monopoly.

I'm actually pretty optimistic about other platforms improving. The team at Reaction Grid is particularly innovative, as well as incredibly customer-service oriented. The not only have a large OpenSim presence, but are developing what looks to be a promising new VW package using Unity 3D.

Stefen: I like the AOL vs. Apache analogy. I think there is plenty of room for multiple VW platforms and it will be interesting to see how things play out.

Hiro: Specifics on ???

Jo Kay said...

Gotta agree with Gwyneth here.. despite the fact that I've had my um...'issues' with Linden Lab, I will be in SL for a long time to come. The jokaydia Community was born in SL and has extensive networks there.

HOWEVER, I would expect that the vast majority of our educationally focussed projects and our almost all my virtual worlds investment will happen in Opensim environments where we can manage content, security and IP effectively....without the risk that LL sadly represents these days. At the moment, they are not a reliable service provider or business partner.

The jokaydiaGRID activities we are embarking on at the moment are an attempt to start to figure out how we can multi-grid it... to combine the value we get from the SLED (and broader) community, the value we can gain from being part of the SL economy/market and the freedom/openness we can achieve with Opensim.

I also MUSTgive a huge shoutout and thanks to the fabulous peeps at Reaction Grid, who have welcomed and encouraged us over the last 6mths or so. They are an inspiring team!