Monday, February 18, 2008

Comments on the OpenSim and realXtend Collaboration - How Will Linden Lab React"

"This started out as a comment I was writing in response to Robby's post about realXtend joining OpenSim. It grew so large I decided it was probably a better idea to post it here. It will be interesting to see how Linden Lab reacts to this. I'm sure most of the features realXtend will bring are ones that LL would love to have in their own server code. OpenSim is released under the BSD license, which is one of the least restrictive open source licenses out there. It looks like the license only requires that any code or binary distribution be unrestricted in terms of copying and redistribution, and carry the same license. BSD License:
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
* Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
* Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
* Neither the name of the OpenSim Project nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
But here's the thing: LL doesn't distribute their server code or binaries; they run them on their own servers. I'm not a copyright lawyer or anything, so I'm probably wrong, but it seems like LL might be able to incorporate the OpenSim code into their own server code without really having to publicly release it. That seems a little fishy to me, but I know that the BSD license is often criticized as not being a true free software license, and maybe this is why. From the Wikipedia article on the BSD license: "The BSD License allows proprietary commercial use, and for the software released under the license to be incorporated into proprietary commercial products. Works based on the material may even be released under a proprietary license (but still must maintain the license requirements). Some notable examples of this are the use of BSD networking code in Microsoft products, and the use of numerous FreeBSD components in Mac OS X." I'm a strong supporter of open source software, but the problem with OpenSim is that while they are going to be adding all these exciting features, there's probably not going to be a grid running OpenSim anytime soon that has the resources to support 60,000 simultaneous logins. That's why I'm kind of hoping for LL to "steal" the code (it's OpenSim's fault anyway...everyone knows you're supposed to use the GNU Public License :P) From Colin K;

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