In a world haunted by walled gardens and proprietary software and devices, the promise of open source and interoperability shines like a bright light (not the finest metaphor, but it serves it purpose).
“free” items seem to have a “final” and “consumerist” utility–its utility ends upon its “consumption;” whereas “open” items are constantly evolving–their usefulness transforms and adapts to new situations and scenarios.
“Through my content creation process, I’ve come across many frustrations, many of it includes reliable resources for new residents, reliable resources for content creation, and clear help for many questions for Second Life… As a content creator, I feel that content should be accessible to everyone. While freebies are used primarily for marketing and promotional intentions, I would like to take it a bit further.”
These three quotes explain the core motivation for my new project The Avaverse. There is a plethora of open content available in many forms such as open source software, podsafe music, and Creative Common’s Attribution license. Open software and content aids in all expansion of the web by allowing consumer consumption, the creation of new developer tools, and access for hobbyists to learn new items. It also makes the web more accessible to new users and creates new forms of participation. While open has its benefits, many are still hesitant to the idea, open source seems to be synonymous with free including free’s lack of consumer utility. Open source can be an income generator; WordPress and the recent purchase of MySQL by Sun Microsystems are examples of how open source software can be used as a legitimate business model. These applications have helped transform the Internet, the way business is conducted online, and the ability to develop new, useable, cross platform applications, and to help create a more usable web.
Second Life is an area that has major conflicts with “open”. While the Second Life viewer is open source, and there are open-source scripts or applications, there are little or none open content. The Second Life permission system is, at best, rudimentary and would be best replaced by a Creative Content like system. There’s also free content and pay-to-use however you like, these items exist largely in the Second Life world and don’t transfer outside of Second Life well, or at all. With the continuing problems of Intellectual Property Theft, the continued hysteria of content thievery, and a hodgepodge of resources on content creation, it becomes very hard to find reliable multiplatform content, to create new items using more than one method or application.
What makes the learning curve for Second Life a bit harder is the lack of multiplatform, multiuse, quality content. One example of such content would be Eloh Eliot’s skins, which are not only free (so new Second Life residents can have access to quality skins), but “open source” or rather the source files are available allowing people to use them as templates to create their own skins, or to learn what is needed to create their own skins. I use Eloh Eliot as a frequent example because her example really helped usher this idea.
The plan of the Avaverse
The goal of the Avaverse is to provide quality, open, freely distributable content online for Second Life. In the future I plan to expand it to include more than just Second Life (other virtual worlds such as the Open Sim project, and other forms of web development), but for the time being its focus will be SL. I plan for the project to include more than content; I plan to include applications, scripts, and possibly libraries of code for open use. I also plan, in the near future, to open its doors to any content creator who wishes to contribute to the project. The core of this idea is to think beyond free; this is not just giving stuff away, instead giving access to quality content.
Today, I’m launching avaverse.org, with its first two pieces of content. DAZ Studio is a free 3D modeling program that can be used to create poses and animations in Second Life. DAZ Studio is very similar to Poser, and more feature rich than QAvimator, and Avimator. While DAZ Studio is free and Second Life compliant it suffers from not having native Second Life Avatar Files, until now. Today I’m releasing DAZ Studio versions of the Second Life Avatar files. Along with this, I’m also releasing five male poses that can be used however you feel fit. Both will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. While I have no control over the base Second Life Avatar files (thus you don’t need to credit me),I ask that if you use the poses as is in any form, that you maintain that they are from avaverse.org (which means keeping the www.avaverse.org in the file name even when uploaded to Second Life). If you make any significant changes to them, I would appreciate making a note of where you received your source files to create them.
By launching The Avaverse, I’m not abandoning my own commercial brand. I will continue to release new content for The Avaverse along with my own commercial items under the upcoming [nf_d] brand. Some of my previous content I will be adapted for The Avaverse, other content will not. This is also not a replacement for handing out “freebies,” this concept is about providing open content for many uses.
As I keep on hearing from many different sources, the future is open, and I completely agree.