Second Life Goes Open Source – Affiliate Life Coming?


Now this is something to get excited about.

I’ve been a big fan of Second Life for a while in terms of its ramifications for studying sociology and metanarratives. However, it’s hard to translate such interests beyond just describing the coolness factor.

How to relate a platform such as Second Life to online marketing is not an easy task, especially when you are trying to convince the uninitiated. Sure, there’s already an audience of 2.5 million users there, but what does it mean for online marketing, and can you (or should you) really attempt to market to the users? I’d argue yes, but it takes a certain brand of marketing with a good handle of finesse and flexibility and a base knowledge of the pre-existing community.

Now, Linden Labs has announced it is opening up Second Life to coders and hackers everywhere (a la Firefox or Linux)…

Aiming to take advantage of its already-impressive momentum, San Francisco’s Linden Lab, developer of the Second Life virtual online world, will announce Monday that it is taking the first major step toward opening up its software for the contributions of any interested programmer.

The company will immediately release open source versions of its client software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. In order to enter and move around the Second Life service, users must download and run this software on their computer desktop. But now, says Linden CEO Philip Rosedale, independent programmers will be able to “modify it, fire it up and sign on with it.” The company gave Fortune exclusive access to executives in advance of the change.

This is just the step that was needed to make the platform more accessible, more friendly and potentially easier to grok in terms of how to do marketing on a platform such as this.

Of course, this will take some time to roll out, but expect quick and numerous alterations, split-offs and eventually different “flavors” of Second Life within the coming years (such as how there are different flavors of Linux from Ubuntu to Fedora to Red Hat).

The burning question is when will Wayne Porter and his band of merry men create Affiliate Life (deliberate bait since Wayne doesn’t like the term “affiliate”) for all of us to enjoy??

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