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Jan 08, 2007



Great news, Cory. I plan to start hacking things together tonight. Thanks for generating several months worth of fun for me with this one announcement.

Task #1: Joystick.
Task #2: Idle chatbot mode.
Task #3: Interface client to frog central nervous system. Hilarity ensues.


Heh, good luck with #10.

But more importantly, Bra-VO on open sourcing your code! To me, this is a great step and a great sign for VWs in general and SL in particular. It's gutsy and keeps you guys walking the walk. /clapping


What does #3 mean?


Well done, Cory. Congrats to your team.

I admit when I saw the announcement I was hoping it was server-side -- an "open grid" if you will -- but we'll have to wait for that.

It will be very interesting to see how people pick up this ball and run with it though!


Yep, good job on the open sourcing. That's very cool.



@Mike: One step at a time.


This is great news for Gamers/VW Residents. Grats on taking the high road....


Open sourcing the client is the same as open sourcing the server, in a way, because the there are no constraints about building your own server to hook up to the client.

That's why this was a gutsy move. They are betting that they can run faster than (and there are people who have admitted to starting to do this) the people who are building open source servers.

Very f'ing gutsy. I think it'll pay dividends though.



I'll ask the question here I asked you in world: what does this mean for the Feature Voting Tool?

It might seem the least of anybody's concerns, but since so much effort went into letting one guy reform this without any company, then Lindens got on to overhauling it and were planning to put it up soon, how does it work now?

If anybody can write code for the client and add various gizmos, and directly publicize them and offer them to you to incorporate in "Official Second Life" (this concept will likely erode), then they can bypass the features proposals and you could like the idea, GOM it,and have it in the next download without even bothering to hold a townhall about it.

Of course, features proposals are sort of a cosmetic democracy, not the real thing (not policy proposals) but I wonder about the whole "democratic process" used up to this point, flawed though it was, in terms of people who aren't the feted few who program and understand how to rewrite the client code, but who nevertheless want to participate in the world.

Because it isn't the flat Internet, it's the round world.

On the old Internet, you and your colleagues could code things and make the backbone and some companies could layer a series of easy-to-use applications on top for the dummies. The dummies never had to look under the hood.

Now, they are living right inside the carburator, subject to every excess and exploit directly on their second lives.

Also, I think Anshe Chung Studio will reach 100 employees a lot faster than ESC or RRR or MOU, and ACS should count as a development company, too.


I predict that Hillary Clinton and Jack Thompson will finally notice Second Life, especially "age play".

I predict this will get Linden Labs shut down or offshore within 8 months of it hitting the press, who will be furious after swallowing those purely imaginary "residents" numbers like co-eds who've been told about how "it's high in protein and makes your skin glow".


Sweet. I was beginning to wonder about the open sourcing and have now won several interpersonal bets. Yeee-haw. Props to LL for ongoing industry trailblazing.

re: #4, Given the growth projects and tech adoption pattern, that's a given. IBM or ESheep methinks.

re: #5, That may well prove true in perpetuity, and certainly through 2008.

re: #6, Millions of Us will probably enable that. Won't be Hillary. Might be Obama, Clark, Giuliani or a dark horse.

re: #8, I will be pulling for Mr. Moss. Hope that it happens. Glad that LL is such a strong supporter. Double props.

re: the second most important Secondary World of all-time, and the most systematically written narrative ever, #9 -- Is that really a fearless prediction Cory? :) I'd like to hear your thoughts re: how the series will end. Will Harry die after venturing into the netherworld aka THe Deathly Hallows? Will Rowling resurrect all members of the Order of the Phoenix? Has Voldemort been looking through Harry's eyes, prompting the Order to create theater around Harry's POV? What will go down at the Quidditch World Cup? What's love got to do with this, particularly re: Harry/Ginny? (Jesus, I love these freaking books.) When will Rowling open an SL theme park?!

I predict that Cory will score .700 or better this time around.


Love Prok's points about Anshe and ACS. Anshe's biz should grow directly proportionately to user base.


I'm as big of a believer of the SL platform as anyone, but failing some sort of computing miracle, or open-sourcing the servers as well, you won't see 150,000 people using SL at the same time by the end of 2007. More like 70,000.

I'd like to be wrong, but... that's assuming a five-fold increase (again) over the next year. How long can you guys keep up with that? :)


Some of my predictions:

1. Linden Research execs will be sued for consumer fraud over Linden dollar <-> US dollar manipulation.

2. 10 million consumers will happily play MMORPGs, while fortunately oblivious to the sad existence of the Second Life.

3. 50% of all TN beards will try out SL, but ultimately come to the realization that SL is nothing more than an ugly and boring sand box/chat room. The other 50% knew better.


Almost forgot:

4. More flying penises.


5. I will be forced to retract everything I just said.


Interesting about prediction #1 and #3, because these two prediction, along with the recent announcement of opening the gates to the client, are fundamental to making prediction #2 happen.

The perception that it is The Grid is apt as with the move to open source client, people will be able to build interface/clients for a lot of other programmable things. I'm going with a 0.700+ score with Alvis Brigis this year.

Luciftias is already onto one interesting experiment, but another example is a net of microsensors tracking the health of midwestern crops thinly connected to the SL Grid.

My related prediction is that someone will build a RL/SL house where electronics in RL/SL are all interfaced and connected.


P.S. the numbers may be hyped by the media, but the vision for the enabled future is not. Many futurists/technologist, with deep pockets, are trailblazing. Waiting to see how this year will turn out. I think


I'll champion your prediction, Cory. If we lose, I'll shave my head at the next SLCC and wear my baldness until the next Relay. If we win, my trusty Relay sidekick, Fayandria Foley (who swears it can't be done), will shave hers and wear it proudly until SLRFL 2008. The clippers will go to the highest bidder, and you heard it here first.


Hat's off to this bold move. Not many companies would put it out there like this. I eagerly await the open sourcing of the server, and LL taking on the role of keeper of the L$ and object database, and the connecting of the grids through a central service. Toss in a dash of IBM, and a splash of Google, and you will have a high tech mashup of Stephenson and Gibson floating just above RL.

My head spins at the possibilities these moves will make possible. I think immediately we will see the release of a streamlined client for new users to get their feet wet with navigating, camera control and chatting. Can an estate owner client be far off? How about specific clients that are wired into the various services like SL Boutique and SL Exchange? I think we'll also quickly see the release of some chat like text programs on desktops and mobiles. These will be great for educational projects where the teachers/prof needs to communicate with a group of students and does not really need to be in-world for the assignment. And what about a UI-mod friendly client that will spawn a completely separate rush of tweaks and upgrades? Open source server/grid? How about an auction house? Maybe mini-grids that run like an IM client. Education will eat up licensed servers for their campus/district. Business can really tweak out the user experience for their customers. The doors are wide open.

How about another prediction in advance for 2008? A term created in SL in 2007 will be placed in the dictionary in 2008. Any bets on what it will be ? Again, kudos guys. This is the kind of bold move that moves mountains and cements reputations as trailblazers and trendsetters. I hope you are wildly successful and that other companies take note.


Thanks Cory and Linden Lab. Damn that accelerating change! ;)

I predict that some prominent SL naysayers will scramble to reposition themselves, and that it *would* be fun to watch if we weren't so busy making things happen in the metaverse.

> 10) Dmitri will agree that I have won my quarter by the end of the year

I've got a quarter on that too! I plan to buy a gumball with mine, chew it, and move on to the next thing.


"it *would* be fun to watch if we weren't so busy making things happen in the metaverse."

Well said.


(2) does seem like a bit of a stretch given that only 1.6 billion or so people are connected to the internet, and the figure for broadband access would probably be much lower than that. That said, 150,000 concurrent users would be about 10% of the 16.7% global internet penetration. Riding that horsie might be fun to watch, and with my guess of penetration going to 30% by the end of the year (over 2 billion people connected), well - maybe. Still, stretchy.

(5) And the tax would have to be local.

(6) They will try, and will probably screw it up if they follow the lead of some of the corporations... (remembering when politicians entered the blogosphere)

Open Source viewer... yes, I expect so. ;-)


Wow! Props to LL for understanding how Open Source works. (You didn't invent yet another license!) It took 5 years for Netscape's browser to gain traction in the community, but I bet LL halves that time.

The group trying to buy rights to Ryzom failed, but they gained a lot of community momentum and have some cash. It would be awesome to leverage that community and have them run a dev server for LL client testing. The project would be big enough to encourage other Open Source virtual world projects to adopt LL protocols.


You know, if secondlife went down the drain tomorrow, you failed horribly in forecasting

maybe branch out into other area's.
personally tried secondlife, ill wait for a merger between an actual game and social network
wow's winning in that regard, thought from the stoires im hearing from former players who thought wow was the best thing since slice bread, it wont last long
Ill forecast a new platform made by a relative unknown will come out this year and top second life in users


#9's going to be a difficult prediction to confirm, as it doesn't make grammatical sense. Just a head's up.


Nobody Fugazi siad:

(2) does seem like a bit of a stretch given that only 1.6 billion or so people are connected to the internet, and the figure for broadband access would probably be much lower than that. That said, 150,000 concurrent users would be about 10% of the 16.7% global internet penetration.

Erm, your figures are wrong, and your maths are wrong too. I haven't seen the OECD's figures for this year, but last year broadband penetration in OECD countries was 158 million. eMarketer suggests that by the end of the year it will be 500 million worldwide, but lets work on a conservative 300 million. Peak concurrency of 150,000 would therefore represent one in every 2106 broadband users in the world connected to SL at once - extremely aggressive but a long way off of your 10% of broadband users. I think you added three zeros to their concurrency target.


Apologies, link for eMartketer's numbers-pulled-from-air should have been this.


Note to self: when doing maths on 158 million doubled don't then round down to 300 million when writing it up then complain about someone else's maths!

Oh, yet again, for an edit button...


Bragg vs Linden case will make the difference.


Endie, my numbers aren't wrong - google global internet penetration. You're saying broadband is 158 million, right? That's a drop in the global bucket of population.

Here, I'll save you the Google: Internet World Stats.

My mathematics isn't 'wrong' because I didn't do any. :-) Your figure of 158 million works out to - oh - 10% of the 16.8% of the people online.

So - assuming your numbers are right (and that is not a big assumption), you still haven't made a dent in the point regarding internet penetration. All you have done is show what you think the potential is - whereas I stated an opinion of what would probably would be seen. I agree that the potential is there, but let us face facts: SecondLife isn't for everyone, and perhaps '1 in 2106' this year is a reasonable assumption. After all, what has it been these last years?

Yes, it has been less than 1 in 2106 - by your own math.


Give me a good reason to bother about Second Life?

I still don't understand it! Sorry, but Second Life hasn't got is "Killer Apps" yet, in my opinion!


My own open prediction:

That top ten list of biggest events for open source in 2007 does not contain more than ONE reference to Second Life, unlike Cory's list...



"Give me a good reason to bother about Second Life?"

Well, why should I? Do you have something you can offer those of us in SL?

You either like it or you don't. You can't be convinced to like something. You can be convinced to try...but it seems you already have. So why not just move on and let the rest of us have our fun?


2) Second Life’s peak concurrency, currently at 25,000, will reach 150,000

Extremely unlikely if by "concurrency" we mean "simultaneously connected unique clients".

4) A Second Life development company, such as Electric Sheep or Rivers Run Red, will surpass 100 employees

Growing to 100 employees is the easy part. Most entrepreneurs have no problem inciting growth, especially during fads, rushes or bubbles. I think when I was CTO of a dot-com we grew to 160 people in 5 months.

The bold prediction would be that any of these companies still exists in 2008.

5) Exchanges within MMORPGs and virtual worlds will still not be taxed until converted into real-world currency

In the US at least, practically nothing is taxed until a gain or income is *realized*. You don't realize anything until you cash out your chips in SL, so this isn't a prediction so much as a fairly uninteresting statement. If you don't believe me, try claiming your virtual cost of goods sold on your tax form (for the very few who honestly pay their SL-derived owed taxes in the first place).

6) At least one Presidential candidate will use Second Life to build a community around issues rather than simply holding a single press conference

Not a chance. 0%. That is, if you're talking about any legitimate candidate with professional campaign management. Hmmm. Take a visual look at SL. Do we want our candidate in there stumping? How will that play in Southern Indiana if a BMP of flying penises gets out? Maybe we just set up some blogs (which we carefully cull) instead. Eh?

To the admirable optimism I read in some comments above regarding this specific point: I share your enthusiasm for change. Unfortunately, if you bother to read the demographics -- especially given likely voter rates -- you are not the target audience of any major candidates, and won't be for quite some years to come, sadly.



James Au has a great SL related prediction thread going at New World Notes. He puts it at somewhat probable that either 1)"Linden Lab will announce plans to IPO." or that 2) "Linden Lab and/or Second Life will be purchased by a major corporation." (There's a good comment thread going too.)

Some thoughts: As SL attempts to ramp up an entire order of magnitude in less than a year, sn SL acquisition/partnership makes a lot of sense. LL will need more security, capital, achitectural muscle, resources dedicated to expanding into new spaces, micropayment stability managers, etc. SL can and will grow in so many directions and that will require management and resources. Open-sourcing makes a ton of sense, and opening up the back-end will help as well. But SL will also need to diversify its core operational capabilities. The time will come for the open-sourcing / democratization of management of the SL brain. Simply put, SL will become too complex for standard management.

And I think that Cory and Phil are well aware of this, as it has been alluded to in their presentations at SLCC and other places.

So how will this transition to total open sourcing (architecture / corporate /social), take place?

What type of partnerships will make sense along the way? Which actors? NYSE - money management / IPO assistance, IBM, limited partnership w/ CNET or NYTimes, Hasbro, Google - help build the killer Total Metaverse, Microsoft - OS market, NewsCorp, Apple - IPhone interface, Cisco, RIM, Palm, ESheep - perhaps acquired by SL for their cool gizmos, restaurant chain - put the SL interface all over the walls, Adobe - Rivers Run Red consider SL to be a 3D photoshop, film production companies, Discovery Channel - educational sims, MTV - = M3D, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on and on. --- Considering these possibilitites, open-sourcing makes more and more sense.

That being written, I'd like to hear what you TNers, Cory, and onlookers think about this impending and crazy dynamic evolution/development. How will this all go down? And will Harry Potter live or die?



I understand that some people like SL, I mean tons of people have bought The Sims and stuff like that... I know, I can't compare The Sims to Second Life... But, the only way SL would grow, is if it could offer things appealing to everyone... For me, I see SL like a 3D chatroom and a Virtual Supermarket... Well, maybe I'm wrong... Maybe I should roam in it again...


@LEKO: Second Life's killer ap is that you can try your hand at making a killer ap in it.

If you don't like WoW's story or characters or costumes or scenery or plot or weapons or quests or textures or... well... anything... you have one choice: piss off. Which is the same choice you have for any other consumer service you don't like. I'm not knocking WoW. I played it for more hours than I've ever spent in SL.

But in SL, if you have an idea for a better "thing," you can build it. You can code it. You can prim it. You can texture it and paint it and put it all together and sell it.

Now... the tools aren't as sophisticated as the ones used to build WoW. But that's because the tools are on the inside of the tool itself. The platform is self-meta. And that means that it has to be able to support that which it creates "within itself."

Remember when there were no online CMS tools? When all web sites had to be created offline and then FTP'd up to the server? Then somebody got the idea, "Hey. The tool get be on the tool!" Super. Then came blog engines. An even simpler meta-tool. A web page used to create web pages. Now many CMS packages are almost as easy to use as a web page is to navigate, and can turn out pretty OK looking sites. Not really fancy-dancy stuff... but not bad.

That's where SL is right now. Think of it like a blog or a CMS for virtual worlds or MMOs. No, you can't build a site like Disney.com or Yahoo with TypePad or Joomla or WordPress. But the power of those aps is that you can build your blog from right on the platform.

The killer ap is the ap-on-ap. Even before Linden open-sourced any of their code, SL was an example of open sourcing something even more important; the creative experience of a VW. Creativity is meta. And meta will *always* be one of the most killer aps out there. Because it leads to things we can't predict, nor control.

I hope.



OK, let me put it another way, more simply this time.

You said "(2) does seem like a bit of a stretch given that only 1.6 billion or so people are connected to the internet, and the figure for broadband access would probably be much lower than that. That said, 150,000 concurrent users would be about 10% of the 16.7% global internet penetration."

I don't know what you call a billion, but what you write suggests that you think that 150,000 is 10% of 1.6 billion. Whether that is US or rest-of-the-world billions, you are out by either 2 or 3 orders of magnitude.

150,000 is ten percent of 1.5 million. Assuming only 158 million broadband users (very low indeed, being a figure that will be 2 years out of date by the end of the rediction) means SL garnering not ten percent but slightly less than 0.1% of that number.

And read the link I posted before critiquing the figures. You do know what the OECD is, yes?


You do know what the OECD is, yes?

And I'm sure their numbers aren't at all politically motivated to support their myriad asymmetrical taxation positions, no?

I can't really speak globally, but the question at hand was about LL's ability to handle, let alone even attract, 150,000 simultaneous unique broadband client connections. Nearly all SL's traffic is of domestic origins. Broadband subscriptions in the US, as measured by the most recent independently tested OECD statistics is around 20m; or about 6.9 per 100 population (assuming we don't argue about what a RL resident is now).

Some estimate perhaps 70m broadband subscribers in the US by YE 2007. More reasonable predictions are around 54m. Let's split at 62m for sake of argument.

The largest telecom in the US builds backbone capacity engineered to handle about 28% average concurrent broadband utilization (some areas are higher, some much lower).

That leaves you about 20m broadband customers online (meaning actively utilizing the bandwidth) at any given time.

So LL is expecting about 3/4 of a percent of _all_ broadband users online and consuming at any given time to be playing SL? I guess anything is possible with enough marketing. I'd short that bet all day though.


Just to be a pedant, but take 25% of that 150,000 concurrency out for foreign users -- that's the rough ratio of foreign users to US users (not sure if that includes Canada or not.)

So 112,500 people online from the US, 37,500 from elsewhere.


Didn't Terra Nova have an article about WoW hitting 200,000 concurrent users in 2005? Maybe what LL is saying is that SL will be almost as big as WoW was a couple years ago. :)

I think the broadband users are there if LL can carry the load. Though watching CCP work so hard to double from 15k to 30k makes me wonder what kind of magic pixie dust LL has.


Honestly I have to say EVE is a far more interesting game, as far as games go. Tactical/political/economic simulator in space... seems to have a bit more to interest my lay mind than virtual ageplay furry sex and flying penii.


Whenever I play Second Life, there's always some aspect of the coding that seems absolutely brain-dead. For this reason I very much doubt they will reach 150k concurrent players anytime soon.


just for the record, #10 refers to this bet here

With about 14 months to go WoW is currently at 2 Million + NA users and SL is...in real players? No not accounts ever created that the media likes to report on, but in something like Unique logins over the last 30 days? 30k? 100k?


All second life is is a glorified chat client at best. The "numbers" continually put out by the dev company as well as the reports of "millionaires" in the game are dubious at best. Expect the SL bubble to totally burst instead of grow in size.

And if Clinton and Thompson notice the game, it'll be thanks in part to the amount of sex "workers" in the game. Cyber-prostitution is pretty rampant.

Also, why do people care so much about a game with so few players? Is it because Wired and Reuters have "offices" in the game? Because Duran Duran played a "concert" to a crowd smaller than most of their real shows? Gah...


As chat clients go, it's quite glorious. As for all the sex, see also: The Internet.


Just ran across an interesting finding/theory about gaming that may help explain why #2 and #10 are more likely to happen than most people believe.

Health Day Article Excerpts:

In a study published in the January issue of Motivation and Emotion, investigators from the University of Rochester and Immersyve Inc. looked at what motivated 1,000 gamers to keep playing video games.

"We think there's a deeper theory than the fun of playing," lead investigator Richard Ryan, a motivational psychologist at Rochester, said in a prepared statement. ...

The researchers found that the games can provide opportunities for achievement, freedom and even a connection to other players. Those benefits trumped a shallow sense of fun, which doesn't keep gamers as interested. Players reported feeling the best when the games produced positive experiences and challenges that connected to what they knew in the real world.

"It's our contention that the psychological 'pull' of games is largely due to their capacity to engender feelings of autonomy, competence and relatedness," said Ryan.

At first glance, this theory seems highly plausible and totally consistent with the power and pull of MMOGs and SL in particular. While some folks, especially those who seek immediate gratification, despise the SL experience, those that become integrated into the culture and use it to effectively communicate with others in new ways find SL very rewarding. Throw in network effects, platform development and exponential infrastructure / cultural creation and you've got a formula for increasingly greater attachment, at least according to the new theory.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the new theory may shed some light on underlying emotional mechanisms that drive accelerating ICT diffusion and the relentless spread of VW platforms / SL.

Interactive Comm Technologies (like books, radio, web, etc) diffuse quickly because they allow people to communicate information more efficiently. As a result the rewards cited in the gaming study -- "achievement, freedom and even a connection to other players" (aka humans on Earth)-- are made available to those who adopt efficient new ICTs. Being that SL is first and foremost a kick-ass new ICT, its diffusion is largely being fueled by such emotional mechanisms. As the ICT network effects continue to make available more and more of the above rewards we can expect the SL Diffusion Cascade to continue. Thus, SL may well 1) reach 150,000 concurrent users by year's end and 2) close the WoW Gap at an alarming rate (because it can ultimately provide more and more diverse emotional rewards to users).

Once again, the data corroborates the notion that SL is not a game, it is a platform. Or that life is not a platform, it's a game.



An SL backlash story; or at least, another "online stalker" backlash that happens to have chosen SL because of its high media profile.


Whoops - the correct URL for the gaming theory article is http://www.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=600850

Gaming Theory

And here's the awesome link that Peter clipped:

SL Media Spin

BTW, backlash indeed, x10.

An excerpt:

To its defenders, Second Life is a fabulous innovation, fostering an online community rich in interaction. But its success could also carry a much more unsettling message: that there are an enormous number of people willing to spend large amounts of time and money on creating and embellishing a fictional identity for themselves. At some level, that represents an unhealthy disengagement from, and evasion of, the real world.

And that's not just an SL backlash. That's a broader VR / MMOG / VW backlash. ... This prompts the question -- As SL continues its inevitable diffusion, and other platforms enter the fray, and new MMOGs are developed, will the backlash be limited to just SL? -- Ironically, this broader dissonance may be the thang that ultimately unites the MMOG / SL crowd. TN, prepare to be polarized!


Was just reading the comment thread on the SL Media Spin link and came across this insightful post:

I was not aware of SecondLife, but I am now thanks to you and have registered. ... BTW, I showed your article to my kids who live almost permanently connected to cyberspace. They said if you can't tell the difference between reality and unreality, you must be a nutter and that old people should not be allowed on the internet, it's obviously too confusing for them.

Part one just reinforces that all press is good press, that even negative reviews will fuel SL diffusion. The second sentiment is just plain funny.


Thanks for the link- good comment thread on there.

The "attack" may have been on all VRs, but it will only stick on SL so WoW and the rest should be safe.

As for what the kids are saying- "from the mouths of babes" :)


I'm not sure why we continually avoid the elephant standing in this phone booth:

SL will be shut down for knowingly facilitating illegal gambling activities according to US Federal and State laws. Witness the current direction and momentum of enforcement. All the rest may prove to be little more than hyperbole in a practical sense.


1) Intel and AMD’s battle in the MIPS/watt game will take servers below 30 watts/core

-> Maybe some products, but most smaller organizations and individuals (i.e. not huge datacenters) don't care enough about power usage. And the large datacenters don't care about the power usage as much as the heat generated.

2) Second Life’s peak concurrency, currently at 25,000, will reach 150,000

-> Sure.

3) Graphics cards will be released with small batch rendering and unified texture memory thanks to John Carmack and others

-> Maybe.

4) A Second Life development company, such as Electric Sheep or Rivers Run Red, will surpass 100 employees

-> Probably. If not this year then next.

5) Exchanges within MMORPGs and virtual worlds will still not be taxed until converted into real-world currency

-> Yeah, probably not yet.

6) At least one Presidential candidate will use Second Life to build a community around issues rather than simply holding a single press conference

-> Probably not, unless it's a smaller part of a general campaign; also depends on who the candidates are.

7) AACS will get pwned and at least one major Hollywood studio will experiment with downloading unencrypted DVDs

-> Yes. Maybe not a major, maybe not a studio (i.e. might be Netflix or Apple)

9) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will have more US$ sales [edit: thanks Chris] on its release day than any book, movie or video game in history

-> Probably.

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