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Second Life

Second Life

Overview
Second Life is an online virtual world
Virtual world
A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of...

 developed by Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client program
Client (computing)
A client is an application or system that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network....

s, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, called Residents
Resident (Second Life)
- Activities of residents :Residents engage in many activities, just as people do in real life. Unlike real life, there is no biological need to seek nourishment or shelter. Thus some activities that would be necessary in the real world are purely voluntary leisure pursuits...

, to interact with each other through avatars
Avatar (computing)
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text...

. Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property
Virtual good
Virtual goods are non-physical objects purchased for use in online communities or online games. They have no intrinsic value and are intangible by definition....

  and services with one another. Second Life is intended for people aged 16 and over, and as of 2011 has about one million active users.

Built into the software is a three-dimensional modeling
3D modeling
In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model...

 tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows residents to build virtual objects.
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Encyclopedia
Second Life is an online virtual world
Virtual world
A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of...

 developed by Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client program
Client (computing)
A client is an application or system that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network....

s, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, called Residents
Resident (Second Life)
- Activities of residents :Residents engage in many activities, just as people do in real life. Unlike real life, there is no biological need to seek nourishment or shelter. Thus some activities that would be necessary in the real world are purely voluntary leisure pursuits...

, to interact with each other through avatars
Avatar (computing)
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text...

. Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property
Virtual good
Virtual goods are non-physical objects purchased for use in online communities or online games. They have no intrinsic value and are intangible by definition....

  and services with one another. Second Life is intended for people aged 16 and over, and as of 2011 has about one million active users.

Built into the software is a three-dimensional modeling
3D modeling
In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model...

 tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows residents to build virtual objects. There is also a procedural
Procedural programming
Procedural programming can sometimes be used as a synonym for imperative programming , but can also refer to a programming paradigm, derived from structured programming, based upon the concept of the procedure call...

 scripting language, Linden Scripting Language
Linden Scripting Language
Linden Scripting Language, or LSL, is the programming language used by residents of Second Life, a virtual world by Linden Lab.LSL has a syntax similar to C and allows objects to control the behavior of in-world objects of Second Life from the Internet via email, XML-RPC, and most recently, HTTP...

, which can be used to add interactivity to objects. Sculpted prim
Sculpted prim
A sculpted prim is a Second Life 3D parametric object whose 3D shape is determined by a texture. These textures are UV maps that form the rendered 3D sculpted prim...

s (sculpties), mesh, textures for clothing or other objects, and animations and gestures can be created using external software and imported. The Second Life Terms of Service provide that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 functions.

History


In 1999, Philip Rosedale
Philip Rosedale
Philip Rosedale is an American entrepreneur, best known as the creator of the virtual world Second Life. Within the Second Life metaverse, his avatar is known as Philip Linden....

 formed Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

. He made Second Life, developing computer hardware allowing people to immerse in a virtual world. In its earliest form, the company struggled to produce a commercial version of the hardware, known as "The Rig", which was realized in prototype form as a clunky steel contraption with computer monitors worn on shoulders. That vision changed into the software application Linden World, in which people participated in task-based games and socializing in a three-dimensional online environment. That effort would eventually transform into the better known, user-centered Second Life. Although he was familiar with the metaverse
Metaverse
The Metaverse is our collective online shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet...

 of Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...

's novel Snow Crash
Snow Crash
Snow Crash is Neal Stephenson's third novel, published in 1992. Like many of Stephenson's other novels it covers history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy....

, Rosedale has said that his vision of virtual worlds predates that book, and that he conducted early virtual world experiments during college years at the University of California San Diego, where he studied physics.

On December 11, 2007, Cory Ondrejka
Cory Ondrejka
Cory Ondrejka is a software developer best known as the former Chief Technology Officer of Linden Lab, makers of Second Life. With Philip Rosedale, Ondrejka co-founded Second Life and played a significant role in the architecture of the product...

, who helped program Second Life, was forced to resign as chief technology officer.

In January 2008, residents spent a total of 28,274,505 hours "inworld", and, on average, 38,000 residents were logged in at any particular moment. The maximum concurrency (number of avatars inworld) recorded is 88,200 in the 1st qtr. 2009

On March 14, 2008, Rosedale announced plans to step down from his position as Linden Lab CEO and to become chairman of Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

's board of directors. Rosedale announced Mark Kingdon
Mark D. Kingdon
Mark Kingdon is an American angel investor. He has invested in companies such as Twitter, SayMedia, Kidzui, 140Proof, and . Previously, he spent two years as CEO of Linden Lab, having served from May 2008 to June 2010.....

 as the new CEO effective May 15, 2008.
In 2010, Kingdon was replaced by Rosedale, who took over as Interim CEO. After four months though, Rosedale abruptly stepped down from the Interim CEO position. It was announced in October 2010, that Bob Komin, Linden Lab's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, will take over the CEO job for the immediate future.

In 2008, Second Life was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
Technology & Engineering Emmy Award
A Technology and Engineering Emmy Award is given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in technical or engineering development...

s for advancing the development of online sites with user-generated content. Rosedale accepted the award.

In May 2009 concurrent users averaged about 62,000. As of May 2010 concurrent users averaged about 54,000. The perceived decline in median concurrent users over this time correlates precisely with new policies implemented by Linden Lab reducing the number of bots and campers.

In June 2010, Linden Labs announced layoffs of 30% of its workforce.

In November 2010, 21.3 million accounts were registered, although there are no reliable figures for actual long-term consistent usage.

Classification


During a 2001 meeting with investors, Rosedale noticed that the participants were particularly responsive to the collaborative, creative potential of Second Life. As a result the initial objective-driven, gaming focus of Second Life was shifted to a more user-created, community-driven experience.

Second Life's status as a virtual world
Virtual world
A virtual world is an online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of...

, a computer game, or a talker
Talker
A talker is a chat system that people use to talk to each other over the Internet. Dating back to the 1980s, they were a predecessor of instant messaging....

, is frequently debated. Unlike a traditional computer game, Second Life does not have a designated objective, nor traditional game play mechanics or rules. As it does not have any stipulated goals, it is irrelevant to talk about winning or losing in relation to Second Life. Likewise, unlike a traditional talker, Second Life contains an extensive world that can be explored and interacted with, and it can be used purely as a creative tool set if the user so chooses.

Second Life used to offer two main grids: one for adults (18+) and one for teens. Due to operating costs, however, in August 2010 Linden Labs closed the teen grid. Since then, users aged 16 and over can sign up for a free account. Other limited accounts are available for educators who use Second Life with younger students.

There are three types of what is allowed in sims in Second Life
1. PG (no extreme violence or nudity)
2. Mature (some violence, swearing, adult situations, some nudity)
3. Adult (nudity and violence)

Residents and avatars


There is no charge for creating a Second Life account or for making use of the world for any period of time. Linden Lab reserves the right to charge for the creation of large numbers of multiple accounts for a single person (5 per household, 2 per 24 hours) but at present does not do so. A Premium membership (US$9.95/month, US$22.50 quarterly, or US$72/year.) extends access to an increased level of technical support, and also pays an automatic stipend of L$300/week into the member's avatar account (down from an original stipend of L$500, which is still paid to older accounts; certain accounts created during an earlier period may receive L$400). This stipend, paid into the member's avatar account, means that the actual cost for the benefit of extended tech support for an annual payment of US$72 is only US$14. However, the vast majority of casual users of SL do not upgrade beyond the free "basic" account.

Avatars may take any form users choose (human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or a combination thereof) or residents may choose to resemble themselves as they are in real life, or they may choose even more abstract forms, given that almost every aspect of an avatar is fully customizable. Second Life Culture comprises many activities and behaviors that are also present in real life. A single resident account may have only one avatar at a time, although the appearance of this avatar can change between as many different forms as the Resident wishes. Avatar forms, like almost everything else in SL, can be either created by the user, or bought pre-made. A single person may also have multiple accounts, and thus appear to be multiple Residents (a person's multiple accounts are referred to as alts
Alternate character
An alternate character, often referred to in slang as alt, alt char, or less commonly multi, is a character in addition to one's "primary" or "Main" player character...

).

Avatars can communicate via local chat, group chat, global instant messaging (known as IM), and voice. Chatting is used for localized public conversations between two or more avatars, and is visible to any avatar within a given distance. IMs are used for private conversations, either between two avatars, or among the members of a group, or even between objects and avatars. Unlike chatting, IM communication does not depend on the participants being within a certain distance of each other. As of version 1.18.1.2, voice chat, both local and IM, is also available on both the main grid and teen grid.
Instant messages may optionally be sent to a Resident's email when the Resident is logged off, although message length is limited to 4096 bytes.

Economy


Second Life has an internal economy and internal currency, the Linden dollar
Economy of Second Life
The virtual world Second Life has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars . This economy is independent of the Pricing, where users pay Linden Lab. In the SL economy, residents buy from and sell to one another directly, using the Linden, which is exchangeable for US dollars or...

 (L$). L$ can be used to buy, sell, rent or trade land or goods and services with other users. Virtual goods include buildings, vehicles, devices of all kinds, animations, clothing, skin, hair, jewelry, flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

, and works of art. Services include "camping
Camping (computer gaming)
In video gaming, camping is a tactic in which a player will obtain a strategic position anywhere on the map and wait for characters to arrive and be killed, or waiting for useful objects to appear in an area rather than actively seeking them out....

", wage labor, business management, entertainment and custom content creation (which can be broken up into the following 6 categories: building, texturing, scripting, animating, art direction, and the position of producer/project funder). L$ can be purchased using US Dollars and other currencies on the LindeX exchange provided by Linden Lab, independent brokers or other resident users. Money obtained from currency sales is most commonly used to pay Second Life's own subscription and tier fees; only a relatively small number of users earn large amounts of money from the world. According to figures published by Linden Lab, about 64,000 users made a profit in Second Life in February 2009, of whom 38,524 made less than US$10, while 233 made more than US$5000. Profits are derived from selling virtual goods, renting land, and a broad range of services.

The Linden can be exchanged for US dollars or other currencies on market-based currency exchanges. Linden Lab reports that the Second Life economy generated US$3,596,674 in economic activity during the month of September 2005, and as of September 2006 Second Life was reported to have a GDP of $64 Million. In 2009 the total size of the Second Life economy grew 65% to US$567 million, about 25% of the entire U.S. virtual goods market. Gross Resident Earnings are $55 million US Dollars in 2009 - 11% growth over 2008.
In March 2009, it was revealed that there exist a few Second Life entrepreneurs, who have grossed in excess of 1 million US$ per year.

Alternative user interfaces


Second Life has been criticized for its lack of accessibility, as users unable to use a mouse or unable to see are precluded from accessing it using the Second Life viewer. However, since the Second Life viewer was made open-source, a number of accessibility solutions have been developed (listed in chronological order):
  • A modification of the Second Life viewer has been developed that allows users who are visually impaired to navigate their avatar using force feedback. Different object types are distinguished through different vibration frequencies.
  • TextSL is a web based client developed by the University of Nevada
    University of Nevada, Reno
    The University of Nevada, Reno , is a teaching and research university established in 1874 and located in Reno, Nevada, USA...

     that allows users who are visually impaired to access Second Life using built in speech synthesis. TextSL allows users who are visually impaired to navigate, communicate with avatars and interact with objects using a command based interface inspired by the Zork
    Zork
    Zork was one of the first interactive fiction computer games and an early descendant of Colossal Cave Adventure. The first version of Zork was written in 1977–1979 on a DEC PDP-10 computer by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling, and implemented in the MDL programming language...

     adventure game. This web interface is also accessible using a smartphone.
  • IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center developed a Web based interface for Second Life that can be accessed with a screen reader. This client provides basic navigation, communication, and perception functions using hotkeys.
  • Max, The Virtual Guidedog developed by Virtual Helping Hands offers a virtual guide dog object that can be "worn" by a user's avatar. The guidedog provides a number of functions such as navigation and querying the environment through a chat-like interface. Feedback is provided using synthetic speech.
  • METAbolt is an open source text client developed by the METAbolt Development Team which is fully accessible and also compatible with accessibility client applications (Microsoft platforms only) such as JAWS
    JAWS (screen reader)
    JAWS is a computer screen reader program in Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display....

    .
  • SLTalker is a talker
    Talker
    A talker is a chat system that people use to talk to each other over the Internet. Dating back to the 1980s, they were a predecessor of instant messaging....

    -like (text-based) interface for Second Life. You can connect to it using telnet-ssl or any talker
    Talker
    A talker is a chat system that people use to talk to each other over the Internet. Dating back to the 1980s, they were a predecessor of instant messaging....

     or MUD
    MUD
    A MUD , pronounced , is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, with the term usually referring to text-based instances of these. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat...

     client that supports SSL secure connections.


A study showed one of the biggest barriers to making Second Life accessible to visually impaired users is its apparent lack of metadata, such as names and descriptions, for virtual world objects. This is a similar problem for the accessibility of the web where images may lack alternative tags. The study found that 32% of the objects in Second Life are simply named "object", and up to 40% lack accurate names.

Language localization


In 2007, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 became the first country to have its own independently run portal to Second Life, operated by an intermediary—although the actual Second Life grid accessed through the Brazilian portal is the same as that used by the rest of the worldwide customer base. The portal, called "Mainland Brazil", is run by Kaizen Games
Kaizen Games
Kaizen Games is the company owner of Priston Brazil. Since January 1,2006 it uses the fantasy currency Kaizen to sell in-game items....

, making Kaizen the first partner in Linden's "Global Provider Program". In October 2007, Linden Lab signed a second "Global Provider Program" with T-Entertainment Co., LTD., Seoul, South Korea and T-Entertainment's portal called "SERA Korea" serves as a gateway to Second Life Grid. Previously, starting in late 2005, Linden Lab had opened and run their own welcome area portals and regions for German, Korean and Japanese language speakers.

Public chat within the world supports many written languages and character sets, providing the ability for people to chat in their native languages. Several resident-created translation devices provide machine translation
Machine translation
Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation MT is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one natural language to another.On a basic...

 of public chat (using various online translation services), allowing for communication between residents who speak different languages. Some versions of the viewer (such as Catznip) have language translation built into them.

Land ownership


Premium membership allows the Resident to own land, with the first 512 m² (of Main Land owned by a holder of a Premium account) free of the usual monthly Land Use Fee (referred to by residents as Tier, because it is charged in tiers). There is no upper limit on tier; at the highest level, the user pays US$295 for their first 65536 m². Any land must first be purchased from either Linden Lab or a private seller.

There are four types of land regions; Mainland, Private Region, Homestead and Openspace. A region comprises an area of 65536 m² (16.2 acre) in area, being 256 meters on each side. Mainland regions form one continuous land mass, while Private regions are islands. Openspace regions may be either Mainland or Private, but have lower prim
Sculpted prim
A sculpted prim is a Second Life 3D parametric object whose 3D shape is determined by a texture. These textures are UV maps that form the rendered 3D sculpted prim...

 limits and traffic use levels than Mainland regions. The owners of a Private region enjoy access to some additional controls that are not available to mainland owners; for example, they have a greater ability to alter the shape of the land. Residents must own a region (either Mainland or Private) to qualify for purchasing an Openspace region.

Linden Lab usually sells only complete 65536 m² (16.2 acre) regions at auction (although smaller parcels are auctioned on occasion, typically land parcels abandoned by users who have left). Once a Resident buys land they may resell it freely and use it for any purpose that it is not prohibited by the Second Life Terms of Service.

Residents may also choose to purchase, or rent, land from another Resident (a Resident landlord) rather than from Linden Lab. On a Private region, the built-in land selling controls allow the landlord to sell land in the region to another Resident while still retaining some control. Residents purchasing, or renting, land from any other party than Linden Lab are not required to hold a Premium membership nor to necessarily pay a Tier fee, although typically the landlord will require some form of upfront and/or monthly fee to compensate them for their liability to pay the Land Use Fee charged by Linden Lab. However Linden Lab acknowledges only the landlord as the owner of the land, and will not intervene in disputes between Residents. This means, for example, that a landlord can withdraw a Resident's land from availability, without refunding their money, and Linden Lab will not arbitrate in the dispute unless it is a clear-cut matter of 'land fraud'. You can report such matters to Linden Lab if they occur and they will look into it.

Land types

Second Life Land Use
Additional Land Parcel Size (m2) Square Equal Line Length (m) Max Prims
Mainland Region 512 22×22 (16×32) 117
Mainland Region 1024 32×32 234
Mainland Region 2048 44×44 (32×64) 468
Mainland Region 4096 64×64 937
Mainland Region 8192 90×90 (64×128) 1875
Mainland Region 16,384 128×128 3750
OpenSpace 65,536 256×256 750
Mainland Region 32,768 181×181 7500
Homestead 65,536 256×256 3750
1 Mainland Region 65,536 256×256 15,000
+ Mainland Region (when already at US$195 level) 32,768 181×181 7500
Private Island on pre-2007 server technology (second hand purchase only) 65,536 256×256 15,000
Private Island on current server technology 65,536 256×256 15,000


For Mainland fees, the fee determines only the area of land available; the number of prims available is determined by the land itself. Some mainland regions offer more prims in the same land area. For non-mainland fees, the fee sets both the land area and the prim count.

Grids



The grids are made of regions each 256 meters square. Regions without servers appear as deep sea and cannot be entered and cannot be flown over, but regions with servers can be seen across regions without servers. But, a user's "point of view" can enter a region without a server.

These regions' coordinate numbers locating them within the grid can be from 0 to (220-1), giving in theory a total grid size of about 281.475 million kilometers square, roughly 500 times the surface area of Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

. But all or most regions with servers are in the extreme northwest corner of this vast theoretical area. As of April 2011, 2059.86 km2 of this area consisted of actual regions, a little smaller than the country of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

.

On 19 January 2009 Linden Lab, Philip Linden related an intent to merge the two grids (described below) into one.

Before 20 January 2011, there were two age-differentiated grids. When it originally started, only people 18 years and over could join. However, after much controversy about underage people joining, Linden Labs created the Teen Grid, which was for those ages 13–17. When a teen turned 18, providing documentation verifying their age, they would be transferred to the Main Grid. Linden Lab has received controversy for the lack of integration between teens and adults. Some parents protest that they cannot be on the grid together with their teenage children, and companies cannot market to both teens and adults in SL even if their products have universal appeal. This grid merge was widely supported by teen grid residents, although some also oppose it. Linden Lab employees have also been in favor of merging the grids, most notably Blue Linden, former teen grid manager. As of 20 January 2011, there is only one grid. Users 16 and 17 years of age are allowed to visit any G-rated region until they turn 18 and verify their age, at which point they may visit any region, regardless of rating. In addition, there are four regions only available to 16 and 17-year-old residents, known as Chimp Labs 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Users under 16 years of age are not allowed in Second Life, and anyone under reasonable suspicion of being underage may have their account suspended until their age can be verified. However, Linden Lab places burden of proof on alleged underage users, and does not check to verify anything themselves. As a result, false underage user reports are filed by some residents as a form of griefing or for revenge.

Teen Second Life has closed, So you cannot access it. But meanwhile in the "Main Grid" Linden Lab have imported the "Teen Grid Mainland" so people can see what Teen Second Life once was.the main grid was 18+ but because of the Teen Second Life closure it has become 16-17 PG regions only, If you are 13-15 you can get into the "main grid" but you have to be on a school project etc. In the main grid there is a protest group named Teen Grid Supporters (c), It is a small group but the owner Mitchad95 Adder sometimes goes around mainland getting the "Lindens" attention, The groups aim is to get Linden Lab to reopen Teen Second Life.

-Updated by HamiltonRP Resident 1.12.2011-

Technology


Second Life comprises the viewer (also known as the client) executing on the user's personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

, and several thousand servers operated by Linden Lab.

Client


Linden Lab provides official viewers for XP / Vista / 7, Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

, and most distributions of Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

. A third-party version is available for Solaris and OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris was an open source computer operating system based on Solaris created by Sun Microsystems. It was also the name of the project initiated by Sun to build a developer and user community around the software...

. The viewer renders 3D graphics using OpenGL
OpenGL
OpenGL is a standard specification defining a cross-language, cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 2D and 3D computer graphics. The interface consists of over 250 different function calls which can be used to draw complex three-dimensional scenes from simple primitives. OpenGL...

 technology. Since the viewer is open source, users may recompile it to create their custom viewers; modified viewer software is available from third parties. One such example is the Nicholaz Edition. This viewer, produced by Nicholaz Beresford, includes bug fixes developed outside Linden Lab that are not in the Linden Lab code. More recently a client known as Phoenix, created by a group of residents who previously made their own clients yet have since banded together to work as one, has become popular among the user base of Second Life due to the large number of features they have added to the original client.

An independent project, libopenmetaverse, offers a function library for interacting with Second Life servers. libopenmetaverse has been used to create non-graphic third party viewers, including SLEEK, a text browser using .NET Framework
.NET Framework
The .NET Framework is a software framework that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. It includes a large library and supports several programming languages which allows language interoperability...

, and Ajaxlife, a text viewer that runs in a web browser and TextSL a text client inspired by the Zork
Zork
Zork was one of the first interactive fiction computer games and an early descendant of Colossal Cave Adventure. The first version of Zork was written in 1977–1979 on a DEC PDP-10 computer by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling, and implemented in the MDL programming language...

 adventure game that allows users who are visually impaired to access Second Life using a screen reader
Screen reader
A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen . This interpretation is then re-presented to the user with text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille output device...

.

In February 2008 a partnership between Linden Lab and Vollee was announced. In May,
Vollee launched an open Beta trial for a Second Life mobile application that lets Residents travel and communicate in-world by logging in from a handset using an existing account. The service, introduced for free, requires downloading a thin client to a 3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 or Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 enabled handset. As of June 2009, it seems Vollee no longer exists as their web sites are no longer available. However, there are now a handful of mobile clients which allow users to login to various virtual worlds, including Second Life. While these applications do not provide a 3D virtual view of the world, residents are able to view their contacts, chat in IM or local and teleport to other locations.

A special beta viewer is available, which has been updated and used for software testing by volunteers for special projects like COLLADA
COLLADA
COLLADA is a COLLAborative Design Activity for establishing an interchange file format for interactive 3D applications. COLLADA is managed by the nonprofit technology consortium, the Khronos Group....

 mesh. The beta client connects to a "beta grid" which consists of a limited number of regions running various releases of unstable test server code. The mirroring process overwrites any changes made on the beta grid, and thus actions taken within it are not stored by the servers; it is for testing purposes only.

Server


Each full region (an area of 256×256 meters) in the Second Life "grid" runs on a single dedicated core of a multi-core server. Homestead regions share 3 regions per core and Openspace Regions share 4 regions per core, running proprietary software on Debian
Debian
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

 Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

. These servers run scripts in the region, as well as providing communication between avatars and objects present in the region.

Every item in the Second Life universe is referred to as an asset. This includes the shapes of the 3D objects known as primitives, the digital images referred to as textures that decorate primitives, digitized audio clips, avatar shape and appearance, avatar skin textures, LSL scripts, information written on notecards, and so on. Each asset is referenced with a universally unique identifier or UUID.

Assets are stored on Isilon Systems
Isilon Systems
Isilon Systems, a division of EMC, is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, USA and sells clustered storage systems and software for digital content and other unstructured data, which includes but is not limited to video, audio, digital images, computer models, PDF files, scanned information, and...

 storage clusters, comprising all data that has ever been created by anyone who has been in the SL world. Infrequently used assets are offloaded to S3
Amazon S3
Amazon S3 is an online storage web service offered by Amazon Web Services. Amazon S3 provides storage through web services interfaces...

 bulk storage. , the total storage was estimated to consume 100 terabyte
Terabyte
The terabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix tera means 1012 in the International System of Units , and therefore 1 terabyte is , or 1 trillion bytes, or 1000 gigabytes. 1 terabyte in binary prefixes is 0.9095 tebibytes, or 931.32 gibibytes...

s of server capacity. The asset servers function independently of the region simulators, though the region simulators request object data from the asset servers when a new object loads into the simulator.

Each server instance runs a physics simulation to manage the collisions and interactions of all objects in that region. Objects can be nonphysical and non moving, or actively physical and movable. Complex shapes may be linked together in groups of up to 255 separate primitives. Additionally, each player's avatar is treated as a physical object so that it may interact with physical objects in the world. , Second Life simulators use the Havok
Havok (software)
Havok Physics is a physics engine developed by Irish company Havok. It is designed primarily for video games, and allows for real-time collision and dynamics of rigid bodies in three dimensions. It provides multiple types of dynamic constraints between rigid bodies , and has a highly optimized...

 4
physics engine for all in-world dynamics. This engine is capable of simulating thousands of physical objects at once.

Linden Lab pursues the use of open standard
Open standard
An open standard is a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed . There is no single definition and interpretations vary with usage....

s technologies, and uses free
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

 and open source software such as Apache
Apache HTTP Server
The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to as Apache , is web server software notable for playing a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web. In 2009 it became the first web server software to surpass the 100 million website milestone...

, MySQL
MySQL
MySQL officially, but also commonly "My Sequel") is a relational database management system that runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases. It is named after developer Michael Widenius' daughter, My...

, Squid and Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

. The plan is to move everything to open standards by standardizing
Standardization
Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards.The goals of standardization can be to help with independence of single suppliers , compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality....

 the Second Life protocol. Cory Ondrejka
Cory Ondrejka
Cory Ondrejka is a software developer best known as the former Chief Technology Officer of Linden Lab, makers of Second Life. With Philip Rosedale, Ondrejka co-founded Second Life and played a significant role in the architecture of the product...

, former CTO of Second Life, has stated that a while after everything has been standardized, both the client and the server will be released as free and open source software.

OpenSimulator


In January 2007, OpenSimulator was founded as an open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 simulator project. The aim of this project is to develop a full open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 server software for Second Life clients. OpenSIM is BSD Licensed and it is written in C# and can run under Mono
Mono (software)
Mono, pronounced , is a free and open source project led by Xamarin to create an Ecma standard compliant .NET-compatible set of tools including, among others, a C# compiler and a Common Language Runtime....

 environment. In 2008 there were some alternative Second Life grids which are using OpenSimulator.

Virtual technology


The graphics, the Linden Scripting Language and the Havok physics enable the simulation of various real or imagined machines and devices. There are many light houses, some with detailed Fresnel lenses. Steam punk buoyant airships are common. There are combat weapons systems. A large part of the Linden Scripting Language Guide describes the features available for modeling vehicles. Popular uses of this include cars, boats, motor cycles and airplanes. Manned vehicles have advantages, but there can also be autonomous or remotely controlled vehicles.

A major obstacle is region (sim) border crossings, which unlike cell phone handoffs, are a problem for users, even at walking speed. Although recent work by Linden Labs has been greatly improved this, and if the user in question has few resources assigned to him it can be almost seamless.

Education



Second Life is used as a platform for education by many institutions, such as colleges, universities, libraries and government entities.

Since 2008, the University of San Martin de Porres of Peru has been working on Second Life virtual world, developing prototypes of Peruvian archeological buildings, and training teachers for new paradigm of education.

Arts



Second Life residents express themselves creatively through virtual world adaptations of art exhibits, live music, live theater.

Science


Second Life is used for scientific research, collaboration, and data visualization. Examples include SciLands, American Chemical Society's ACS Island, Genome, Virginia Tech's SLATE, and Nature Publishing Group's Elucian Islands Village.

Work solutions


Second Life gives companies the option to create virtual workplaces to allow employees to virtually meet, hold events, practice any kind of corporate communications, conduct training sessions in 3D immersive virtual learning environment
Virtual learning environment
Defined largely by usage, the term virtual learning environment has most, if not all, of the following salient properties:* It is Web-based* It uses Web 2.0 tools for rich 2-way interaction* It includes a content management system...

, simulate business processes, and prototype new products.

Religion


Religious organizations have also begun to open virtual meeting places within Second Life. In early 2007, LifeChurch.tv
LifeChurch.tv
LifeChurch.tv is an American evangelical multi-site church with multiple locations in five states. Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv....

, a Christian church headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma
Edmond, Oklahoma
Edmond is a city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in the central part of the state. As of the 2010 census, the population was 81,405, making it the sixth largest city in the state of Oklahoma....

, and with eleven campuses in the USA, created "Experience Island" and opened its twelfth campus in Second Life. The church reported "We find that this creates a less-threatening environment where people are much more willing to explore and discuss spiritual things". In July 2007, an Anglican cathedral was established in Second Life; Mark Brown, the head of the group that built the cathedral, noted that there is "an interest in what I call depth, and a moving away from light, fluffy Christianity".

The Egyptian-owned news website Islam Online has purchased land in Second Life to allow Muslims and non-Muslims alike to perform the ritual of Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 in virtual reality form, obtaining experience before actually making the pilgrimage to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 in person.

Second Life also offers several groups that cater to the needs and interests of Humanists, atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers. One of the most active groups is SL Humanism which has been holding weekly discussion meetings inside Second Life every Sunday since 2006.

Embassies


The Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

 was the first country to open an embassy in Second Life. The Maldives' embassy is located on Second Life's "Diplomacy Island", where visitors will be able to talk face-to-face with a computer-generated ambassador about visas, trade and other issues. "Diplomacy Island" also hosts Diplomatic Museum and Diplomatic Academy. The Island is established by DiploFoundation as part of the Virtual Diplomacy Project.

In May 2007 Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 became the second country to open an embassy in Second Life. Run by the Swedish Institute
Swedish Institute
The Swedish Institute is a Swedish government agency with the responsibility to spread information about Sweden outside of Sweden. It exists to promote Swedish interests, and to organise exchanges with other countries in different areas of public life, in particular in the spheres of culture,...

, the embassy serves to promote Sweden's image and culture, rather than providing any real or virtual services. The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt
, Honorary KCMG is a Swedish politician, diplomat and nobleman. Formerly Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994 and leader of the liberal conservative Moderate Party from 1986 to 1999, Bildt has served as Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs since 6 October 2006...

, stated on his blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

 that he hoped he would get an invitation to the grand opening.

In September 2007, Publicis Group announced the project of creating a Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 island as a part of a project Serbia Under Construction. The project is officially supported by Ministry of Diaspora of Serbian Government. It was stated that the island will feature Nikola Tesla Museum
Nikola Tesla Museum
The Nikola Tesla Museum is located in the central area of Belgrade. It holds more than 160,000 original documents, over 2,000 books and journals, over 1,200 historical technical exhibits, over 1,500 photographs and photo plates of original, technical objects, instruments and apparatus, and over...

, Guča trumpet festival
Guca trumpet festival
The Guča trumpet festival, also known as the Dragačevo Assembly , is an annual brass band festival held in the town of Guča, near the city of Čačak , in the Dragačevo region of western Serbia. Guča is a three-hour bus journey from Belgrade....

 and Exit festival. It was also planned on opening a virtual info terminals of Ministry of Diaspora.

On Tuesday December 4, 2007, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 became the third country to open an embassy in Second Life. In September 2007, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 opened embassies. As of 2008, Macedonia and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 have opened embassies in the "Diplomatic Island" of Second Life. In 2008, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 opened an Embassy in the Nova Bay location. SL Israel was inaugurated in January 2008 in an effort to showcase Israel to a global audience, though without any connection to official Israeli diplomatic channels.

Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and the African country Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 are also planning to open virtual missions in Second Life.

Competitive entertainment



A wide variety of recreational activities, both competitive and non-competitive, take place on the Second Life Grid, including both traditional sports and video game-like scenarios.

Relationships


Relationships are common in Second Life, including some couples who have married online. In addition, sex is often encountered (see Second Life criticism#Sex). However, to access the adult sections requires age verification.

There is also a large BDSM
BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...

 community.

Criticism and controversy


Regulation


In the past, large portions of the Second Life economy comprised businesses that are now regulated or banned. Changes to Second Life's Terms of Service in this regard have largely had the purpose of bringing activity within Second Life into compliance with various international laws, even though the person running the business may be in full compliance with the law in their own country. Linden Lab offer no compensation for businesses that are damaged or destroyed by these rule changes, which can render significant expenditure or effort worthless.

On July 26, 2007, Linden Lab announced a ban on in-world gambling, in fear that new regulations on Internet gambling could affect Linden Lab if it was permitted to continue. The ban was immediately met with in-world protests.

In August 2007, a $750,000 in-world bank called Ginko Financial collapsed due to a bank run
Bank run
A bank run occurs when a large number of bank customers withdraw their deposits because they believe the bank is, or might become, insolvent...

 triggered by Linden Lab's ban on gambling, which halved the size of the Second Life economy. The aftershocks of this collapse caused severe liquidity problems for other virtual "banks", which critics had long asserted were scams. On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 Linden Lab announced the upcoming prohibition of payment of fixed interest on cash deposits in unregulated banking activities in-world. All banks without real-world charters closed or converted to virtual joint stock companies by January 22, 2008. After the ban, a few companies continue to offer non-interest bearing deposit accounts to residents, such as the e-commerce site XStreet, which had already adopted a zero-interest policy 3 months before the LL interest ban.

Technical issues


Due to Second Life's rapid growth rate, it has suffered from difficulties related to system instability. These include increased system latency, and intermittent client crashes. However, some faults are caused by the system's use of an "asset server" cluster, on which the actual data governing objects is stored separately from the areas of the world and the avatars that use those objects. The communication between the main servers and the asset cluster appears to constitute a bottleneck which frequently causes problems. Typically, when asset server downtime is announced, users are advised not to build, manipulate objects, or engage in business, leaving them with little to do but chat and generally reducing confidence in all businesses on the grid.

A more disturbing fact, believed to be caused by the same issue, is "inventory loss" in which items in a user's inventory, including those which have been paid for, can disappear without warning or permanently enter a state where they will fail to appear in-world when requested (giving an "object missing from database" error). Linden Lab offers no compensation for items that are lost in this way, although a policy change instituted in 2008 allows accounts to file support tickets when inventory loss occurs. Many in-world businesses will attempt to compensate for this or restore items, although they are under no obligation to do so and not all are able to do so. A recent change in how the company handles items which have "lost their parent directory" means that inventory loss is much less of a problem and resolves faster than in recent years. "Loss to recovery times" have gone from months (or never) to hours or a day or two for the majority of users, but inventory loss does still exist.

Second Life functions by streaming all data to the user live over the Internet with minimal local caching of frequently used data. The user is expected to have a minimum of 300kbit/s of Internet bandwidth for basic functionality, with 1Mbit/s providing better performance. Due to the proprietary communications protocols, it is not possible to use a network proxy/caching service to reduce network load when many people are all using the same location, such as when used for group activities in a school or business.

Needs to hold a meeting of more people than can be supported by a region's server, has prompted a behavior called "four-cornering", i.e. meeting where four regions with servers all meet; this is unwelcome, as it tends to put excessive load on the system sending object and texturing information and inter-user messages between those four regions' servers.

Fraud and intellectual property protection


Although Second Life's client and server incorporate Digital Rights Management
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 technology, the visual data of an object must ultimately be sent to the client in order for it to be drawn; thus unofficial third-party clients can bypass them. One such program, CopyBot
CopyBot
CopyBot is a debugging tool used to access the virtual world, Second Life. It is able to, among other things, export objects within Second Life to an XML file, which can then later be imported for use in the game...

, was developed in 2006 as a debugging tool to enable objects to be backed up, but was immediately hijacked for use in copying objects; additionally, programs that generally attack client-side processing of data, such as GLIntercept, can copy certain pieces of data. Such use is prohibited under the Second Life TOS and could be prosecuted under the DMCA.

Linden Lab may ban a user who is observed using CopyBot or a similar client, but it will not ban a user simply for uploading or even selling copied content; in this case, Linden Lab's enforcement of intellectual property law is limited to that required by the "safe harbor" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization . It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to...

, which requires filing a real-life lawsuit. Although a few high-profile businesses in Second Life have filed such lawsuits, none of the cases filed to date have gone to trial, and most have been dismissed pursuant to a settlement agreement reached between the parties. Overall, the majority of businesses in Second Life do not make enough money for a lawsuit to be worthwhile, or due to real-life work commitments, they cannot devote enough time to complete one. As a result, many Second Life businesses and their intellectual property remains effectively unprotected.

The exception to this trend of dismissal via settlement agreement may be found in the matter of Eros, LLC v. Linden Research, Inc. As of March 2010, the case is currently pending in the Northern District Court of California awaiting a determination of whether the matter may be certified as a class action
Class action
In law, a class action, a class suit, or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued...

.

There have also been issues with the use of false DMCA takedown notices. Once a DMCA takedown notice is served, reversing it requires an individual to expose his personal information to the filer (filing a notice does not require this); for the penalty of perjury to be enacted, a lawsuit is required (anything less, the false DMCA claimer can just claim it from a different account every week causing legitimate business unlimited losses). In addition, the technical process of removal and re-instatement of content on Second Life is subject to failure which can result in content becoming unusable to its owner. This does not effectively prevent content theft; a thief who is subject to a DMCA takedown notice will not challenge it, but will simply create a new account and re-upload the content, often releasing it with all permissions available to maximize propagation out of spite.

Most users in the world as paying, private individuals are, likewise, effectively unprotected. Common forms of fraud taking place in-world include bogus investment and pyramid schemes, fake or hacked vendors, and failure to honor land rental agreements.
A group of virtual landowners online have filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming the company broke the law when it rescinded their ownership rights. The plaintiffs say a change in the terms of service forced them to either accept new terms that rescinded their virtual property ownership rights, or else be locked out of the site.

Third-party viewers


The Emerald client, developed by a group of users based on an open-source branch of the Viewer, Snowglobe, became extremely popular and was used by a large proportion of the user base. The authors of the Emerald client were strongly believed to have gained influence over Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

, to the point that a programmer fired from Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

 was immediately hired by Emerald. Several groups alleged that the Emerald viewer contained trojan code which tracked user details and demographics in a way that the developers could later recover. One of these groups was banned from Second Life by Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

 after publishing their discovery. The second group were attacked by the Emerald development team, who embedded code in the Emerald client to DDoS the whistleblower's site as the client started up. In response, Linden Lab
Linden Lab
Linden Research, Inc., d/b/a Linden Lab, is a privately held American Internet company that is best known as the creator of Second Life....

 revoked Emerald's third party viewer approval and permanently banned several of Emerald's developers. Many Emerald developers left to work on a new viewer project, Phoenix, which is essentially the same as Emerald, but it purportedly doesn't contain any malicious code.

Linden Labs also insisted on a large number of code changes and code library restrictions which are not required/enforced of other 3rd party viewers—for instance, they made the level of detail improvements for oblong sculptie forbidden to Emerald/Phoenix, but other 3rd party viewers still use it.

Competitors


Second Life has many smaller competitors including Twinity
Twinity
Twinity is the first 3D online virtual world to build true-to-scale replicas of large cities from all over the world. Twinity is developed by Metaversum GmbH, a company based in Berlin, Germany. It offers its population, called Twinizens, to navigate around virtual versions of real-world cities,...

, Smeet
Smeet
Smeet is a free browser based 3D social game, developed by Smeet Communications GmbH based in Berlin, Germany. The company was founded in 2007 and is managed by Sebastian Funke , Daniel Bülhoff and Reinhard Köhn . Smeet creates virtual worlds in which people can meet and interact with their avatars...

, Smallworlds
Smallworlds
SmallWorlds is a virtual world. It has over 6,000,000 registered users. It is commonly also known as 'SW'. The website is owned and operated by Outsmart 2005 Ltd, a privately owned company based in Auckland, New Zealand. The virtual world runs inside a web browser, without the need to download or...

, IMVU
IMVU
IMVU, Inc. is an online social entertainment destination in which members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games created by Fydor Guthenschlag. IMVU has over 50 million registered users, 10 million unique visitors per month and three million monthly active users...

, Active Worlds
Active Worlds
Active Worlds is a 3D virtual reality platform. The Active Worlds client runs on Windows. Users assign themselves a name, log into the Active Worlds universe, and explore 3D virtual worlds and environments that other users have built. Users can chat with one another or build structures and areas...

, Onverse
Onverse
Onverse is a free online 3D virtual world, social network and gaming platform developed by Onverse, LLC. Onverse, LLC is a privately held company based out of Tempe, Arizona. Its name is a portmanteau of "online" and "universe."-History:...

, Kaneva
Kaneva
Kaneva, LLC is a privately owned Atlanta-based company founded in 2004 by Christopher Klaus and Greg Frame. Kaneva is a 3D Virtual World that supports 2D web browsing, social networking and shared media....

, Utherverse and Blue Mars
Blue Mars (video game)
Blue Mars is a 3D massively multiplayer virtual world platform currently in open beta. It falls in the general category of social virtual worlds allowing user-created content....

.

See also


  • Active Worlds
    Active Worlds
    Active Worlds is a 3D virtual reality platform. The Active Worlds client runs on Windows. Users assign themselves a name, log into the Active Worlds universe, and explore 3D virtual worlds and environments that other users have built. Users can chat with one another or build structures and areas...

  • Cyberformance
    Cyberformance
    Cyberformance refers to live theatrical performances in which remote participants are enabled to work together in real time through the medium of the internet, employing technologies such as chat applications or purpose-built, multiuser, real-time collaborative software such as UpStage...

  • CyberTown
    CyberTown
    CyberTown is a free , family friendly, online community that has declined to a virtual ghost town over the last few years. There are places available either through a 2D or 3D chat environment...

  • Emerging Virtual Institutions
    Emerging Virtual Institutions
    Emerging Virtual Institutions are patterns of organized culture; such as forms of government, business models, or social norms, that develop endogenously within a virtual world...

  • IMVU
    IMVU
    IMVU, Inc. is an online social entertainment destination in which members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create, and play games created by Fydor Guthenschlag. IMVU has over 50 million registered users, 10 million unique visitors per month and three million monthly active users...

  • Interactive online characters
    Interactive online characters
    An automated online assistant is a program that uses artificial intelligence to provide customer service or other assistance on a website. Such an assistant may basically consist of a dialog system, an avatar, as well an expert system to provide specific expertise to the user.Automated online...

  • Libraries in Second Life
    Libraries in Second Life
    Second Life is an immersive 3D environment that can be used for entertainment and educational purposes. Due to increasing interest in digital services, some libraries have established virtual services on Second Life....


  • Linden Scripting Language
    Linden Scripting Language
    Linden Scripting Language, or LSL, is the programming language used by residents of Second Life, a virtual world by Linden Lab.LSL has a syntax similar to C and allows objects to control the behavior of in-world objects of Second Life from the Internet via email, XML-RPC, and most recently, HTTP...

  • PlayStation Home
    PlayStation Home
    PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social gaming network developed by Sony Computer Entertainment's London Studio for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network . It is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar under PlayStation Network. Membership is free, and only requires a PSN...

  • Simulated reality
    Simulated reality
    Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—perhaps by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation....

  • Smeet
    Smeet
    Smeet is a free browser based 3D social game, developed by Smeet Communications GmbH based in Berlin, Germany. The company was founded in 2007 and is managed by Sebastian Funke , Daniel Bülhoff and Reinhard Köhn . Smeet creates virtual worlds in which people can meet and interact with their avatars...

  • Social simulation
    Social simulation
    Social simulation is a research field that applies computational methods to study issues in the social sciences. The issues explored include problems in sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, geography, archaeology and linguistics ....

  • Virtual reality
    Virtual reality
    Virtual reality , also known as virtuality, is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds...

  • The Sims Online
    The Sims Online
    The Sims Online was a massively multiplayer online variation on Maxis's highly popular computer game The Sims. It was published by Electronic Arts and released on December 17, 2002 for Microsoft Windows. In March 2007, EA announced that the product would be re-branded as EA-Land and major...



Further reading

  • Hillis, Ken. (2009) Online A Lot Of The Time. Durham: Duke University Press (see Chapter 4).
  • Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein M. (2009) Consumer use and business potential of virtual worlds: The case of Second Life, International Journal on Media Management, 11(3).
  • Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein M. (2009) The fairyland of Second Life: About virtual social worlds and how to use them, Business Horizons, 52(6).
  • Olsen, Per; Li Gang, Qin (2011). Second Life Love. A dialog between two partners in Second Life. New York: Lulu Press.
  • Robbins, Sarah, and Mark R. Bell. Second Life for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub., 2008. Print.
  • Rymaszewski, Michael. Second Life The Official Guide. Sybex Inc, 2008. Print.
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