In a response to Tateru’s post on Second Life Insider in which she predicted various developments this year–among them, that the Second Life client would be open-sourced–I commented that I didn’t expect that to happen this year.
You should have been here when I opened up the secondlife.com home page, on my way to the Events page (to delete an event scheduled for tonight). I think there was an audible klunk! as my jaw hit the floor.
“But surely,” I thought to myself, “they’ll be using some sort of weird license for the code that’s not compatible with anything else out there? After all, that’s what Apple did, and Sun, and…”
Nope. GPL Version 2, with an exception to allow open source licenses that aren’t GPL-compatible. You can’t get much more standard than that.
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Did I say, “Oh my God”? 🙂
I’ve long been an advocate of open source and Free software. The only reason I use Windows to run SL, rather than Linux, is that I’ve never been able to get the accelerated X drivers to work with my Radeon X1600 Pro. But I have not only used a lot of Open Source, I’ve written a substantial amount of it…including the conferencing system used by Electric Minds. This part of me looks at LL’s announcement and gives an unqualified “YAYZERAMA!”
And yet…and yet…will this make it more likely that someone will use this open source code to create attack tools against SL? Obviously, this underlines, boldfaces, and puts red asterisks by the statement I’ve made in the past: “You can never trust the client.” The question is, has LL properly “hardened” the SL servers against possible attacks of that nature, mis-formatted protocols and the like? I guess we’ll find out.
It’s too early to guess at the ramifications of this development, but one thing is certain: The rules have changed, irrevocably. SL has turned a corner, and now heads down a new road. No one, least of all me, knows where it will end.