Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Long live OpenSim. Down with Second Life!

I have tried and failed to order Leeds Met's third Second Life island today. Everything was going fine, until Linden Lab's e-commerce system, Netsuite, refused to authorise payment because the credit card details were out of date. After much effort, it became apparent that it was impossible to update the card details without also making a payment, but this was not possible because I had not received an invoice, which I cannot get until I place an order, which I cannot do because our card is out of date. Aaaaghhh.

Whilst desperately searching for a solution, I happened to notice an outstanding demand for - wait for it - $60000!. Sixty thousand dollars for 2 islands! I quickly calculated that one island had been charged 3 times instead of once, and the other had been charged 6 times instead of once. Until Linden Lab sort out the mess, there will be no third island.

This highlights a major issue for educators dealing with a commercial virtual world provider. The commercial nature of Linden Lab jars uneasily with the ways of the educational institution. I found myself sitting in our finance department, 2 valuable hours wasted, vowing that we would create our own alternative virtual world, running on our own servers, with support that I can walk up to and talk to face to face.

When OpenSim matures, or LindenLab release the server software, we must create the JISC grid.

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