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.