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Open Standards Coming to Second Life?

In an effort to shift virtual worlds to the broader realm of the World Wide Web, Linden Lab and IBM are partnering to bring open standards and interoperability to Second Life, the online 3D realm created by Linden Lab. The two will also be working with a broad range of industry partners and have discussed the formation of an open consortium for all comers to engage in the effort.

Second Life is a virtual world that's becoming increasingly popular in education circles, with universities, colleges, and even some K-12 schools creating virtual campuses in which students can do everything from interacting with professors to joining student organizations to attending virtual classes.

Through the Linden/IBM collaboration, the two companies said they hope to expand the potential of technologies used in Second Life. This will include the creation of universal avatars, capable of traversing multiple virtual worlds; standards-based security for transactions involving digital assets (3D models, music, etc.); integration with existing business applications; open standards for formats and protocols that can be used on the broader Web; and improvements in performance and stability for "high-volume business use."

"As the 3D Internet becomes more integrated with the current Web, we see users demanding more from these environments and desiring virtual worlds that are fit for business," said Colin Parris, vice president, Digital Convergence for IBM, a a statement released last week. "IBM and Linden Lab's working together can help accelerate the use and further development of common standards and tools that will contribute to this new environment."

"We have built the Second Life Grid as part of the evolution of the Internet," said Ginsu Yoon, vice president of business affairs for Linden Lab. "Linden and IBM shares a vision that interoperability is key to the continued expansion of the 3D Internet, and that this tighter integration will benefit the entire industry. Our open source development of interoperable formats and protocols will accelerate the growth and adoption of all virtual worlds."

Linden has also formed an Architecture Working Group, an open collaboration for building a roadmap for future development of the Second Life Grid.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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