Second Life +is+ an OS

I've been following this discussion over on Dave Winer's blog. Jarod Russell says there's no way that Second Life is gonna be the next OS.

I think he hasn't seen inside of Second Life yet or seen just what a developer can do with it.

You can store files there. You can script things (there's a whole API). In fact, it's a platform. You can build a video game inside of second life. Or a music store. Or a dance studio. Or a city. Or a helicopter. Or a video screen that plays whatever content you want. Or fountain that spits blood.

Or, pretty much anything you can dream up. And it already has a monetary platform so people are willing to pay for things you develop!

Soon you'll be able to blog inside Second Life. Soon you'll be able to run more applications.

This is why I think Microsoft needs to pay deep attention to it and why my son says it's the most addictive thing he's done so far.

It's easy to ignore right now. It takes several hours to really get into Second Life (unless you're 12, then it just takes a few minutes). There aren't very many people in there yet (wait until the hoards show up, though, the traffic is going up about 17% a month). It has a wild frontier feel about it (which means it's easy to get a business established right now — in four years it will be far harder to get noticed).

But, back to the point. This is a platform inside of a platform. Eric Rice was the first one to really explain that to me.

Hey, maybe I should go all Steve Gillmor on you and say "Google, Yahoo, Microsoft are dead." Well, everything has a second life. :-)

140 thoughts on “Second Life +is+ an OS

  1. … an OS? …sorry but your wrong. It’s not an “Operating System”. An Operating System is code that manages how your software connects to your computers hardware.

    Does SecondLife do that?
    Answer: No. It doesn’t have any control over that, the Operating System running the SecondLife client app handles that.

    SecondLife can load and display media and even run interrupted scripting programs. But that doesn’t make it an OS anymore than Flash/Actionscript, or XHTML/Javascript. Sorry, it just doesn’t. Until Linden makes a version of SecondLife that is installed to the computer as the official OS and handles the drivers for hardware and file storage etc, then SecondLife will never be an OS.

    My best advice, look up the term “Operating System” in wikipedia or something. The OS is thown around a lot, it’s starts to get annoying when I see people using it even when they don’t know what it means.

  2. … an OS? …sorry but your wrong. It’s not an “Operating System”. An Operating System is code that manages how your software connects to your computers hardware.

    Does SecondLife do that?
    Answer: No. It doesn’t have any control over that, the Operating System running the SecondLife client app handles that.

    SecondLife can load and display media and even run interrupted scripting programs. But that doesn’t make it an OS anymore than Flash/Actionscript, or XHTML/Javascript. Sorry, it just doesn’t. Until Linden makes a version of SecondLife that is installed to the computer as the official OS and handles the drivers for hardware and file storage etc, then SecondLife will never be an OS.

    My best advice, look up the term “Operating System” in wikipedia or something. The OS is thown around a lot, it’s starts to get annoying when I see people using it even when they don’t know what it means.

  3. Well if it is a platform (i agree) then it needs to be open like most of the Internet is today. Here at the company I work for you strive towards this goal.

    We can export builds from SecondLife and put them into other game engines or work with them in 3DSMax or your program of choice.

    We make a LiveCD called D-GiG that you can run that lets you deploy quickly your own simulator and configure it from your web browser that uses Linux.

    It’s all free, open source.

    DGiG LiveCD OpenSim based simulator:
    http://wiki.magrathean.ca/index.php?title=DGiG

    Videos of sim exporting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRMDhY_bFDU

  4. Well if it is a platform (i agree) then it needs to be open like most of the Internet is today. Here at the company I work for you strive towards this goal.

    We can export builds from SecondLife and put them into other game engines or work with them in 3DSMax or your program of choice.

    We make a LiveCD called D-GiG that you can run that lets you deploy quickly your own simulator and configure it from your web browser that uses Linux.

    It’s all free, open source.

    DGiG LiveCD OpenSim based simulator:
    http://wiki.magrathean.ca/index.php?title=DGiG

    Videos of sim exporting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRMDhY_bFDU

  5. Very interesting points pro & con… Is SL the next OS, I think the point has been made clear by many, NO! It doesn’t (yet) have the management complexity to handle a fraction of what an OS runs. Could it be the next GUI, perhaps! There was a time when we had to load MSDOS before installing our GUI Windows (not to imply Windows is just a GUI). It’s only natural to continue development & the current foundation is a good one. Why break something that’s working well only to have a whole new beginning.

    The idea of developing the now open source SL GUI to provide more productivity or whatever universal use people want is a sound direction. I don’t see much of a difference when a user has to download & install IE or Firefox or whatever app vs. an SL install.

    The day maybe a long ways off, but the likelihood of a 3D SL type GUI being bundled into our OS base is pretty much a certainty. They’ll probably call it something like MS3D…

    I remember back in the 80′s this silly media called a CD-ROM. Everyone said it’s the next big leap in installation & multimedia… Then for about 1/2 a decade it seemingly died out, left the headlines, or was used as an example of what everyone thought is the next big thing that never was… I find this interesting since the following 1 1/2 decades were effectively driven by the CD-ROM. To that I say keep your eye out for the NC, it may need to die several times before it’s ubiquitous in our lives…

  6. Very interesting points pro & con… Is SL the next OS, I think the point has been made clear by many, NO! It doesn’t (yet) have the management complexity to handle a fraction of what an OS runs. Could it be the next GUI, perhaps! There was a time when we had to load MSDOS before installing our GUI Windows (not to imply Windows is just a GUI). It’s only natural to continue development & the current foundation is a good one. Why break something that’s working well only to have a whole new beginning.

    The idea of developing the now open source SL GUI to provide more productivity or whatever universal use people want is a sound direction. I don’t see much of a difference when a user has to download & install IE or Firefox or whatever app vs. an SL install.

    The day maybe a long ways off, but the likelihood of a 3D SL type GUI being bundled into our OS base is pretty much a certainty. They’ll probably call it something like MS3D…

    I remember back in the 80′s this silly media called a CD-ROM. Everyone said it’s the next big leap in installation & multimedia… Then for about 1/2 a decade it seemingly died out, left the headlines, or was used as an example of what everyone thought is the next big thing that never was… I find this interesting since the following 1 1/2 decades were effectively driven by the CD-ROM. To that I say keep your eye out for the NC, it may need to die several times before it’s ubiquitous in our lives…

  7. @ 76: “If the installer asks if you want to be a furry, it’s not an operating system.”

    That’s the best line out of all of the comments.

  8. @ 76: “If the installer asks if you want to be a furry, it’s not an operating system.”

    That’s the best line out of all of the comments.

  9. Believe it or not, most operating systems running int he world don’t even have a user interface. They run on the web-servers, t he file-servers and other servers that run a flavour of Linux, UNIX, Solaris etc. usually, and are behind everything we do in the world. Whether you’re depositing some money in the bank or phoning somebody on your mobile phone, some server probably running one of the aforementioned operating systems will be involved in some way.

    Proposing that this.. game.. could be the next operating system is proposterous. An operating system is comprised mainly of a kernel, the component that manages the hardware, provides virtual memory, file systems, multithreading/context-switching and other services; a programming API that programmers use to interface with the kernel; a collection of programs that make the operating system useful (e.g. see the GNU toolset); a way for the user to interace (be this a terminal, remote SSL session, FTP session or a GUI like X11 or Windows Explorer).

    A game does none of these things, except maybe function as an awful GUI. What you’re proposing is replacing a desktop environment with a user interface like that which this SL game provides. Even that would be an incredibly stupid idea.

    Please at least have a clue what you’re talking about before making ridiculous claims like this.

    You’re retarded. That is all.

  10. Believe it or not, most operating systems running int he world don’t even have a user interface. They run on the web-servers, t he file-servers and other servers that run a flavour of Linux, UNIX, Solaris etc. usually, and are behind everything we do in the world. Whether you’re depositing some money in the bank or phoning somebody on your mobile phone, some server probably running one of the aforementioned operating systems will be involved in some way.

    Proposing that this.. game.. could be the next operating system is proposterous. An operating system is comprised mainly of a kernel, the component that manages the hardware, provides virtual memory, file systems, multithreading/context-switching and other services; a programming API that programmers use to interface with the kernel; a collection of programs that make the operating system useful (e.g. see the GNU toolset); a way for the user to interace (be this a terminal, remote SSL session, FTP session or a GUI like X11 or Windows Explorer).

    A game does none of these things, except maybe function as an awful GUI. What you’re proposing is replacing a desktop environment with a user interface like that which this SL game provides. Even that would be an incredibly stupid idea.

    Please at least have a clue what you’re talking about before making ridiculous claims like this.

    You’re retarded. That is all.

  11. Hey. You’re retarded.

    Remind me when this pathetic game of yours manages memory (it doesn’t even have to use virtual memory, just paging), has any sort of multi-threading (pre-empted or otherwise), runs drivers, handles interrupts, or otherwise does anything an OS does.

    Just a bunch of technical gobbledygook that means nothing, right? Continue to live under that delusion because you, like all other SL players, are delusional that anyone cares about your stupid game.

    “This is why I think Microsoft needs to pay deep attention to it and why my son says it’s the most addictive thing he’s done so far.”

    Look at how stupid you are.

  12. Hey. You’re retarded.

    Remind me when this pathetic game of yours manages memory (it doesn’t even have to use virtual memory, just paging), has any sort of multi-threading (pre-empted or otherwise), runs drivers, handles interrupts, or otherwise does anything an OS does.

    Just a bunch of technical gobbledygook that means nothing, right? Continue to live under that delusion because you, like all other SL players, are delusional that anyone cares about your stupid game.

    “This is why I think Microsoft needs to pay deep attention to it and why my son says it’s the most addictive thing he’s done so far.”

    Look at how stupid you are.

  13. God…this is more comedy than I can comprehend. You’re so obsessed with this game that you’ve deluded yourself into believing that it could be even tangentially related to the next OPERATING SYSTEM.

    Step back. Get a grip. This is ridiculous.

    How does this game even come close to doing what an OS does? Where do I access low-level system primitives? What would a Second Life driver even look like?

    Here’s a quick heuristic to identify if something is an operating system. If the installer asks if you want to be a furry, it’s not an operating system.

  14. God…this is more comedy than I can comprehend. You’re so obsessed with this game that you’ve deluded yourself into believing that it could be even tangentially related to the next OPERATING SYSTEM.

    Step back. Get a grip. This is ridiculous.

    How does this game even come close to doing what an OS does? Where do I access low-level system primitives? What would a Second Life driver even look like?

    Here’s a quick heuristic to identify if something is an operating system. If the installer asks if you want to be a furry, it’s not an operating system.

  15. Concur with Sean’s statements regarding SecondLife being (presently) too centralized and proprietary. Of course, that could be seen as sacrilege on Scobleizer.

    2 million accounts, though… well, out of 1.6 billion people online, 2 million isn’t all that much. Call me at 10 million.

  16. Concur with Sean’s statements regarding SecondLife being (presently) too centralized and proprietary. Of course, that could be seen as sacrilege on Scobleizer.

    2 million accounts, though… well, out of 1.6 billion people online, 2 million isn’t all that much. Call me at 10 million.

  17. Now you can indeed blog from within Second Life – http://bloghud.com/.

    My belated 2 cents – Second Life itself won’t be an OS – as others have pointed out it’s too centralised and proprietary.

    But I do think it’s definitely the precursor of the 3D web, and maybe, just maybe, the precursor of a future OS.

    And it’s just recently hit 2 million accounts, double the one million mark hit less than 2 months ago.

    It’s definitely going to be something!

  18. Now you can indeed blog from within Second Life – http://bloghud.com/.

    My belated 2 cents – Second Life itself won’t be an OS – as others have pointed out it’s too centralised and proprietary.

    But I do think it’s definitely the precursor of the 3D web, and maybe, just maybe, the precursor of a future OS.

    And it’s just recently hit 2 million accounts, double the one million mark hit less than 2 months ago.

    It’s definitely going to be something!

  19. Indeed. It is more than just an OS, it or at least the concept of it has the potential to steer the next major change in direction of the internet.

    Everyone loves the web, most people like games, hell one more dimension is always going to be a good thing.

  20. Indeed. It is more than just an OS, it or at least the concept of it has the potential to steer the next major change in direction of the internet.

    Everyone loves the web, most people like games, hell one more dimension is always going to be a good thing.

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  23. Until an true 3d interface is made, (eg, interacting with 3d in 3d, not 3d in 2d) it will continue to be faster and easier to stick with the twenty-something year old 2d desktop concept.

    So, as of today; no.
    Now, if I had some sort of 3d holigram on my desk I could poke at, it would be a completely different story.

  24. Until an true 3d interface is made, (eg, interacting with 3d in 3d, not 3d in 2d) it will continue to be faster and easier to stick with the twenty-something year old 2d desktop concept.

    So, as of today; no.
    Now, if I had some sort of 3d holigram on my desk I could poke at, it would be a completely different story.

  25. I thought about this for awhile. And I think you’ve got it backward. I think the question you’ll want to be answering is: Can the Operating Systems Become Second Life? Or: Can Operating Systems Get Second Lifed?

    The operating systems were just the old world’s 2-d tools, and they’ll have to fold into the new 3-D metaverse. So I’m hoping you’re going to want to secondlifize Word and fold it into SL.

  26. I thought about this for awhile. And I think you’ve got it backward. I think the question you’ll want to be answering is: Can the Operating Systems Become Second Life? Or: Can Operating Systems Get Second Lifed?

    The operating systems were just the old world’s 2-d tools, and they’ll have to fold into the new 3-D metaverse. So I’m hoping you’re going to want to secondlifize Word and fold it into SL.

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