History of Second Life
The beginning of Second Life
It has been reported that Second Life (SL) evolved as an idea by former Linden Lab CEO and founder Philip Rosedale (Philip Linden). He envisioned this vast green, continuous landscape, distributed across multiple servers and went on to build it. While dreaming of virtual worlds since his childhood, Rosedale first thought of connecting computers via the internet and creating a virtual world in 1994 and then in 1999 founded Linden Lab. Andrew Linden stated that Linden Lab (LL) was started as a hardware company geared towards the research and development of haptics. Haptics were subsequently abandoned due to heavy patent concentration. They needed a virtual world to go with their hardware, and so in 2001 they started building what became Linden World and, later, Second Life, the 3D virtual world with user generated content, where users could interact with each other in real time.
In this early state, Linden World wasn't open to the public, very gun focused and it's avatars were made out of prims (so called Primitars). The video beneath shows how the world looked back then and how users could interact with it.
LindenWorld was renamed into Second Life.
"Originally, during the Alpha period, the grid was known as Lindenworld. As we were getting ready to launch the Beta, we decided we needed a name that would convey the expansiveness, involvement and complexity we hoped would characterize this world as it grew. We started by debating the merits of a 'place' name versus a 'descriptive' name. We believed a place name would give people a sense of destination, and possibly some added layer of meaning. And we thought a descriptive name would help people understand this new concept of a shared, 3D collaborative space."
"We had a lot of ideas for place names --- one of my favorites was Sansara, which was not only euphonic, but had an interesting meaning in the original Sanskrit, meaning roughly 'ever changing world'. Ultimately, though, we chose to go with a descriptive name, and looked at many derivatives of Terra, Viva, and life. We kept coming back to Life2, and then landed on Second Life as more interesting, more evocative and more what we hoped the world could become as it evolved and grew to be as big as life."
"And that's how it came about!"
On March 13th, 2002, the first Resident (Steller Sunshine) joined Second Life and the public beta started seven month later in October. The grid consisted of 16 regions, the first one being called Da Boom, which might be a reference to the Big Bang of the virtual world. Da Boom, as well as the other early region additions were all named after alleyways in San Francisco. This was a nod to Linden Lab's original location on Linden Street. The original San francisco regions, from November of 2002, included Clara, Clyde, Da Boom, Federal, Freelon, Hawthorne, Minna, Natoma, Ritch, Shipley, Stanford, Stillman, Taber, Varney, Welsh, and Zoe.
While population and land slowly grew, Linden Lab released Second Life in June 2003. Back then, it had neither a currency nor where Residents able to teleport. It was in the end of 2003 when the Linden Dollar was introduced and the LindeX currency exchange followed about two years later.
In order to restrict simulator usage, a tax system was introduced which required every Resident to pay a weekly fee, depending on the prims they had rezzed inworld. This system was easy to trick, by just packing all prims into the inventory on pay day, and rezzing them again one day later.
The first trailer of Second Life was downloadable in 2003 and is shown beneath. The first Linden official blog post was made on October 4th, 2004 on the Official Second Life Blog. The first Telehubs were created in 2003, in Version 1.1.0, pay to teleport. In late 2005 Linden Lab removed most telehubs on the grid.
While in the beginning, the whole financing concept of Second Life based on payed memberships, the focus was soon shifted to land sales. Residents became able to acquire and rent land, which became also a business model for some Residents themselves.
On May 1st 2006, Second Life Resident Anshe Chung was featured on the cover of the U.S. magazine BusinessWorld and reported to be the first person becoming an Real Life (RL) millionaire due to Second Life business. This story brought great media coverage and pitched the population growth further.
On October 18th, 2006 at precisely 8:05:45 PST, the 1,000,000th Resident joined Second Life. A special Linden Bear was created to celebrate this milestone.
The client was open sourced in January 2007 and Residents were asked to take part in the Architecture Working Group (AWG), to be able to influence it's development. The AWG had it's first meeting on September 13th, 2007.
On April 13th 2007 Linden Lab announced the Removal of Ratings in Beta.
On May 21st, 2007, the windlight rendering were announced and became part of the regular release in client version 1.19.1 on April 2nd, 2008. With the introduction of this feature, the graphics of Second Life improved dramatically.
On February 22, 2008, Blue Linden announced on the official Second Life blog that there would be a new set of city style sims, named Bay City. Bay City opened for viewing on May 8th, 2008, and on May 24th, 2009, Bay City content package was released to residents.
Philip Rosedale announced to step back from CEO in mid March 2008 and introduced new CEO Mark D. Kingdon (M Linden) one month later.. Philip is still an integral part of the company and became chairman of the board.
In March 2009 Linden Lab started a project to create a new continent especially designed for adult content which came online in October 2009. The Adult policy went live September 15, 2009.
On January 29th, 2010, Linden Lab acquired, Avatars United. Avatars United, is a social network for users of multiple virtual worlds to connect.
On February 9th, 2010, Linden Lab launched the new Second Life Forums. The Second Life Forums have been transitioned to the integrated Clearspace software. The old vBulletin forums will be archived.
On February 23rd, 2010, Linden Lab announced the new Second Life Viewer 2.0 Public Beta on the Official Second Life Blog. Viewer 2 went out of beta and was launched as the main viewer on March 31st 2010.
On June 24th, 2010, Mark Kingdon (M Linden) stepped down as CEO of Linden Lab.Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO.
On July 22nd, 2010, Philip Linden announced that Burning Life will be renamed to BURN 2.0 starting this year. http://www.burn2.org will be the website for news and information about this unique community event.
On September 23rd, 2010, Linden Lab has announced that Avatars United will be shut down on Wednesday 29th September 2010.
On October 13th, 2010, Jack Linden announced that Mesh Import Beta Starts Today on the test grid called Aditi.
On December 23rd, 2010, BK Linden announced that Rod Humble is the new CEO of Linden Lab..
On March 3rd, 2011, Linden Lab launched the new Second Life Community Platform. "The new platform integrates Blogs, Forums, Answers, and the Knowledge Base".
On March 29t, 2011, Linden Lab launched Basic & Advanced modes in Viewer 2 to improve new resident experience in Second Life.
Teen Second Life
On February 13th of 2005, Linden Lab offered "amnesty" for the under-aged, in case they'd be beta testers for their new Teen Second Life (TSL). During all this time, Second Life was only open for Residents older than 17 years. Beeing 17 or younger resulted in a ban. The Residents were transfered to the so called Teen Grid (TG), which is exclusively for teens and were no communication with the Main Grid (MG) is possible. However, the Teen Grid was only open within the staffs office hours. During the first few months of TG Beta, the grid was restricted to those that were given an invite by an existing Resident or Linden Lab. Teens counted down to 1000 Residents on December 21, 2005
On January 1st, 2006, the TG opened 24/7.
In March 2006 Global Kids was the first educational organization to enter Teen Second Life, opening an island.
On March 17, 2007, Blue and Philip Linden hosted a townhall meeting on GK island about past, present, and future of TSL.
During 2007 there was problems for teens registering outside of the US WEB-734 because of a server issue. After January 2009 this issue has been fixed.
On June 25th, 2008, at 2pm SLT, Torley Linden came to do a 1 hour long special TSL Q&A session with Teen Residents at TG Multimedia Stage. On July 3rd, 2008, M Linden came to the Teen Grid and hosted a TSL special speech about Second Life 5th Birthday.
In early 2009, the TSL Mentors 2.0 program was shut down by Linden Lab.
As of 2009, Teen Second Life has around 50,000 Residents and over 200-300 concurrent online Residents on average online. There are 203 Teen Grid regions, however only around 130 are open to Teens.
For Second Life 6th Birthday in 2009, SL6B Teen region from Teen Second Life was moved over to the Main Grid and was attached to the SL6B regions. The theme this year for both SL6B and TSL Teen was The Future of Virtual Worlds.
As of 2010, the Teen Grid has 93 Mainland regions, 7 resident-owned estates, and 97 educational/project estates. At any given time, there is around 2,000 teens who have been active over the last 30 days. The usual TG concurrency is about 350 residents.
In February 2010, the TSL Forums was integrated into the new Second Life Forums. Teens and Adults will now share the Forums.
On March 16th, 2010, Green Fun on the Teen Grid.
On August 14th, 2010, Philip Linden announced that the Teen Grid would be shut down.
On August 20th, 2010, Terrence Linden announced that the Teen Grid will be shut down on 31st December 2010.
On December 29th, 2010, Global Kids hosted a Youth Forum on the Teen Grid Merger inworld. Teens Express Concerns, Hopes and Plans at Forum on Second Life Teen Grid Merger.
On January 21st 2011, after 1pm SLT Teen Grid merged with the Main Grid. (14th February 2005 – 21st January 2011)
- The video is taken from the blog entry Historical Movie - LindenWorld August 2001
- The old forum post isn't available anymore and the quote is retrieved from http://secondlife.wikia.com/wiki/Linden_World
- See chatlog with Peter Millionsofus (formerly Lawrence Linden).
- See the Google video Glimpse inside a Metaverse: The virtual world Second Life
- Open sourcing the client in January 2007 http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/01/08/embracing-the-inevitable/
- Windlight announcement: http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/05/21/windlight-atmospheric-rendering-comes-to-second-life/
- Windlight release: http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/04/02/the-dawning-of-a-new-viewer-second-life-1191-now-available/
- Philips announcement to step back from CEO: http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/03/14/changing-my-job/
- M Linden announced as new CEO: http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/04/22/announcing-our-new-ceo/
- Blog about the Mono launch: http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/08/20/mono-launch/