Second Life is a favorite topic of mine since such a virtual world (or Metaverse) in 3D offers a lot of interesting possibilities. Second Life's 'problem' however is its business model. Second Life's creator Linden Labs does have an 'open' philosophy, but it's still, as Joi Ito says it, a for profit company controlling the platform (although that might change, reed comment 22). Joi points at Croquet, which has been under development for a while now, as an (Web 3.0...) example of how this could work differently in the future. Croquet is not just a 3D virtual gaming world, in essence it's an open source operating system. In this post I won't elaborate on what that means exactly, but one of the founders is Alan Kay who developed the 'windowing user interface' and he is also the man behind this oneliner: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
"Croquet was built to answer a simple question. "If we were to create a new operating system and user interface knowing what we know today, how far could we go?" Further, what kinds of decisions would we make that we might have been unable to even consider 20 or 30 years ago, when the current operating systems were first created? We decided that it was time for an existence proof that innovation could still continue and succeed on the PC. We felt that the very definition of the PC and its role needed to be shifted from a single-user closed system to a next generation broadband communication device."