Browse Definitions:
Definition

Second Life

Second Life is a massive multi-player universe (MMU) set in a 3D virtual world created by San Francisco-based software maker Linden Labs.

Second Life was founded by the former CTO of RealNetworks, Philip Rosedale. Rosedale intended the virtual world to closely mirror the "metaverse," a 3D version of the Internet set in the near-future as described in the cyberpunk novel "Snow Crash" written by Neal Stephenson. Residents can design and build residences on land that they own or rent from either Linden Labs or other residents. There is a high level of entrepreneurial activity in Second Life. As of late 2006, hundreds of thousands of dollars were changing hands daily as residents created and sold a wide variety of virtual commodities. Linden Labs provides the software tools for 3D design for free, but many residents prefer to purchase what more knowledgeable programmers have created than try to build things themselves.

Major tech corporations have used Second Life to market products or services to a niche tech-savvy audience. IBM for instance, has purchased 12 islands within Second Life for virtual training and simulations of key businesses processes. Musicians, podcasters and news organizations, including NPR's "The Infinite Mind," the BBC, CNet and the Reuters news agency, have all established a presence within Second Life.

Second Life uses a decentralized server architecture to meet the demands of thousands of users who may be online simultaneously. Rosedale designed the architecture of Second Life to mirror that of the Internet, spreading the virtual environment over thousands of servers in what he describes as a "tiled network." Those who wish to enter Second Life must first download a freely available client program from Linden Labs. Each user, described as a "resident" creates an avatar to represent themselves. Residents can travel through the virtual world by walking, flying or teleporting. Residents can link to specific locations within Second Life from Web pages outside of the environment by using specially formatted hyperlinks called SLURLs.

Second Life recorded its one millionth resident in late 2006. The year also saw its first real-world millionaire, " Anshe Chung," who parlayed an initial investment of $9.95 USD into over one million dollars over the course of two and a half years. She built her fortune primarily by buying, selling and renting virtual real estate.

Second Life faced a significant challenge to potential viability of its virtual economy when a resident released CopyBot, software that allowed the unpaid copying of objects within the MMU. While Second Life took steps to neutralize the issue, the threat of unlimited copies of the intellectual property residents create has been likened to the unlicensed distribution of online content that musicians and filmmakers face.

This was last updated in June 2010

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Is our location and purpose in the second life our own force with no external allotments? What is the significance of the virtual economy?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • cyberextortion

    Cyberextortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of an attack coupled with a demand for money or some other response in ...

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • National Security Agency (NSA)

    The National Security Agency is the official U.S. cryptologic organization of the United States Intelligence Community under the ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

  • 21st Century Cures Act

    The 21st Century Cures Act is a wide-ranging healthcare bill that funds medical research and development, medical device ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical ...

  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close