My last post of of 2006 had proposed ( 'predicted' ) that if SecondLife has to thrive and become the defacto standard for the Virtual Universe, then there is no option but to take the open source route.
Proprietory products, especially when they are so very useful, cannot stand up to the tide of popularity that sweeps in with Open Source products.
I am not sure if someone in Linden Labs heard me or read my blog ... or perhaps it is that fools seldom differ .. but I am delighted to note that earlier this week, the Second Life client has been put under open source GPL.
Anyone can download and modify the product and if their modifications are good and useful, everyone else, including Linden Labs will use it.
This is stupendous news. This is now like the browser and the way it has become an open product.
Now we will have hundreds of developers working on enhancements and no other Virtual Universe product will have the werewithal to stand up to this tide. Which is wonderful.
As this client becomes more and more popular, all other Virtual Universe products will have to align their servers to be accessible by these clients. Just as from one browser you can access all websites ( and services like Yahoo mail, Google Mail, Hotmail etc), in the not too distant future, we will be using one virtual universe client ... to access all virtual universe servers -- provided you are registered user with a valid userid and password.
Each Virtual Universe will of course be different in terms of content -- some will have fights and war, others will have car racing and others will provide Call Centre services for example )
But just as all websites form a part of the World Wide Web, so shall all Virtual Universes be a part of greater collection called the Virtual Omniverse.