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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 2:01PM (Unverified) said

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Since when is SL not interoperable? :)
It uses a standard protocol. You can have pretty much any kind of client connecting to it.
From outdated official versions, to completely reworked Nicholaz editions, to ghettoSL and other libSL clients...

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 4:47PM (Unverified) said

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I have to say that companies like Accenture are really very much on the second rung when it comes to new technologies; they are

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 4:48PM (Unverified) said

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I have to say that companies like Accenture are very much on the second rung when it comes to new technologies - they are the first to pick up on things when they come to the mainstream, that is their job, but they only pick up on what other people have done or are doing.

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 5:18PM (Unverified) said

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SL will be interoperable when you will be able to TP from Linden's grid to any of the other's grid and not to lose your inventory and money.

Though I find Swaminathan is right, there will be Second Life in two years. But it will not be operated and maintained by linden Lab exclusively.

Posted: Jun 1st 2008 10:01PM (Unverified) said

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The Compuserve analogy is flawed because Compuserve survived for decades without interoperability and was only replaced when something better came along. As yet there is no viable replacement for SL and it's doubtful there will be one within the next five, let alone two, years.

The other problem with Kishore Swaminathan's argument is that virtual assets have real world value and while the users would not surprisingly wish to have them transferred between worlds, there is little incentive for the companies to allow that sort of interoperability. It opens up the possibility of security flaws within their own world and would require a 'market value' established for all assets. The possibility of IP becoming freely copyable (modifiable and transferable) through an interworld transfer is a genuine threat to all content providers. I'll note that LL can't even secure their own asset servers well enough to prevent this.

I'd file Kishore Swaminathan's prophecies of doom right next to those that in the 90s foretold of the Internet's demise. He seems to be following the six-monthly pattern established then. SL may very well crash and burn, but it will be through their own ineptitude and lack of business acumen than because of interoperability issues.

Posted: Jun 2nd 2008 11:06AM (Unverified) said

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The two virtual world models that are currently making money are open access freeform worlds like second life, and walled garden special purpose providers such as activeworlds (which has been described to me as the SAP of virtual worlds). In terms of the simplistic "interoperability" models I've seen bandied about by Accenture and the like, they both equally qualify - though for different reasons.

It's a lot easier to open up a firewalled virtual world such as activeworlds, project wonderland etc to open standards and interoperable api's because there's a big fat gatekeeper that keeps the rabble out, and a top down focus to content development which gives greater control to IT departments which run them.

Open access virtual worlds such as secondlife however must close down or carefuly manage a lot of the hooks into their system to ensure any kind of stability. This is not a trivial management and development problem as the system itself must act as the gatekeeper. The lindens are a lot better at this than we imagine given their track record of stability on their grid. I remember when the internet was more like a truck than the polished tubes these days, and things like the robert morris internet worm managed to break the thing, despite firewalls and sensible bespectacled engineers firefighting such threats constantly.

So the two approaches are; closed worlds with open standards on the inside, and open worlds with closed standards on the inside. An oversimplification true, but fairly close to what we see in the wild.

The future of the 3d internet is somewhere between these models, but whatever it is Accenture isn't historically very good at predicting it. Way into the early web2.0 phenomenon they were still advocating compuserve style top down control of content, rather than trying to leverage engagement of the audience. They held on to a passive push media model way past it's due date when it came to web strategy. It wouldn't surprise me if they were thinking of virtual worlds more in the context they existed ten years ago, when activeworlds was trying to do what SL is doing now.

These days activeworlds does quite well thankyouverymuch making closed worlds, somewhat riding on SL's back as secondlife increases awareness of the market. Secondlife itself seems to be doing well expanding on the groundwork activeworlds laid down ten years ago. Frankly if sun and ibm are developing products in the industry I'd be watching their strategy more than listening to accenture - after all, they're the experts in these things and getting it wrong affects their bottom line.

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