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October 31, 2006


Scoble got it right earlier this year when he pointed out that SecondLife is an operating system. But with all the technology and business involved, it's really the people who make the virtual world tick. Some people know that, some people have to learn that... and some people will never understand it.

That said, there's a lot of potential for things on a very global level within SecondLife. It's fun to consider, to explore, and to be part of something which may well be a forerunner to the future way in which people interact across distances.

Second Life doesn't function as a platform for two reasons. The "API" is an inworld scripting language that can only affect inworld objects and can only communicate with real world software and devices via an http request or an xml/rpc proxy.

Additionally, the software doesn't support a file system. Assets are stored on web servers; so "inventory" consists of nothing more than a page of links. One example that easily demostrates the utter lack of effective storage and retrieval system is that personal profiles, the backbone of a social platform, packed with a plethora of data, are searchable only (ONLY) by avatar name.

These reasons combine under the thesis that Second Life is a proprietary hack project with no clear direction toward providing either a centralized social environment or a useful distributed software set. It is good press at the moment, cutting edge and all; and it's great entertainment for people who want to build virtual environments. That'll hopefully keep it afloat a while longer.

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