Technology blog TechCrunch interviews Chris Collins, the head of Second Life's Linden Exchange, to discover details related to Linden's server expansion and open-sourcing plans.
Duncan Riley, a writer for technology blog TechCrunch, recently interviewed Chris Collins, the Technical Assistant to the CEO at Second Life development house Linden Lab. Collins is an executive-in-training, shadowing Chief Executive Officer Phillip Rosedale and heading the Lindex Exchange, Second Life's financial service. During the interview, Collins confirms the company's plans to expand its server farms to other countries, and addresses issues that have plagued the virtual world, including lag and in-game financial crises.
Duncan Riley: There's been a lot of talk about open source in virtual worlds, with talk of everything from virtual world interoperability, open standards and web based browsing. What's Linden Lab doing to open up its doors?
Chris Collins: Firstly we've opened up our client. As a direct result of this we are seeing new and innovative ways of connecting to Second Life. There are already a number of browser based clients in development, and more recently we saw a custom browser built specifically for the CSI:NY program. We've also started to provide API's that hook into Second Life; registration is one area that provides Second Life registration capabilities to other sites, for example Telstra in Australia now provides registration from its Bigpond/ SL page.
DR: What about the Second Life world itself? Obviously the sale of server space is the bread and butter of Linden Lab's business model; will you consider opening this up as well in future?
CC: Eventually we want to open up everything, every aspect of Second Life, but it's a massive undertaking and it's not something we can do overnight.
DR: Talking of servers, there has been rumors that we might start seeing Second Life game servers in other countries, specifically there was a rumor that Telstra in Australia would be hosting them. True or not true?
CC: We currently have around 6000 servers and they are all based in the United States. We are aware of the lag caused by people connecting from a distance, so we are looking at placing servers in other countries.
DR: Stability is an ongoing problem for users of Second Life, and lately this seems to have gotten worse. Why? and what's Linden Lab doing about it?
CC: Our biggest focus at the moment is on stability and scalability. We've undergone incredible growth over the last 6 months and this has presented a huge challenge for Linden Lab. Stability is the key. Second Life and our backend is entirely unique so there is nothing else like it so it's not a something that has a simple solution.