Many SLers are upset at the announcement that Linden Lab's follow-up to Second Life will be closed-sourced, so I was planning to explain why keeping SL 2 closed source is actually a good idea -- at least to start -- when this popped up in my Google Alerts, and pretty much did my work for me:
So a forum for CopyBot users (yes, these exist) is not happy about the closed source aspect, not happy at all. Why? Well, one likely reason: An open source Second Life 2 would make it much easier to build some kind of CopyBot-type program for creating unauthorized copies of SL 2 content. (In the same way that open sourcing the Second Life viewer in 2007 also made it much easier for CopyBot-type hacks to arise and spread.)
Now, before any flames arise, let me quickly add this:
To be sure, open sourcing the SL viewer also led to a lot of great, totally legit innovation as well, and I'm not blurring that distinction at all. That said, open source is not the only way to drive innovation. The closed source Apple App Store is full of thousands of amazing apps, most created by 1-2 people, many of whom make a great living from their content, and even sell variations of their app content on other platforms. Also note that I said "at least to start". For consumer-facing products, open source is an option best worth thinking about after mass market status is achieved -- but not before. (First comes the closed iPhone, the mass market for that is established, then comes the open Android standard.) At the time, when Linden Lab opened the code, mass market already seemed to be in reach; in retrospect, however, that proved to be premature.
Please share this post: