Second Life Featured Editorial: Linden Labs SL Enterprise Solution Will Not Harm SL Residents

November 11th, 2009  |  Published in SLENTRE.COM Magazine Feature Articles  |  7 Comments

By Sitearm Madonna

“When you get past the hype it’s simple: SL Enterprise is aimed at LARGE COMPANIES with their own DATA CENTERS for their own MEETINGS in a 3D INTERNET environment to SAVE COSTS. Nevertheless, it provides huge OPPORTUNITIES for independent developers.”

The release of SL Enterprise Beta (“SLE”) was officially announced by Linden Lab on November 4th. Everyone knew a “behind the firewall” version of Second Life was coming and now the details have been revealed. As expected, questions and opinions abound. Some are afraid this means the selling out of Linden Lab to Big Corporations but others are seeing whole new opportunities to develop their businesses in both Public and (now) Private SL. Here are the basic facts as known so far, based on an SL DEV Forum held November 5th with Amanda Linden (Enterprise Marketing) and Glenn Linden (Developer Relations).

Not One But Two

For the full impact of SL Enterprise to be understood it is important to realize there are not one but two components of the overall program:

1. There is SL Enterprise Beta, available now
2. There is SL Work Marketplace Program, available early 2010

SL Enterprise Beta is a stand alone, completely disconnected immersive environment with all the capabilities of the main Second Life environment except it lives within a private network behind a firewall. It comes with a web based administration panel giving the owner full “god powers”.

For all intents and purposes, SLE is “SL In A Box” (or rather, two rack-mounted servers with pre-installed software in several boxes). But it does have to be installed in a real data center with cooling system, uninterruptible power, separate DNS server, etc.

SL Work Marketplace, set to launch in Q1 2010, will be a stand alone, completely disconnected virtual world application and solution marketplace with separate, enterprise-wide licensing. The SL Work Marketplace will give SL Enterprise Beta customers a variety of content out-of-the-box that they don’t have to develop themselves.

SL Work Marketplace also provides Solution Providers and SL Content Creators a new market for their products and services. Although it’s basically “SLX For SL In A Box”, it does have major differences such as enterprise-based licensing, delivery of product via regional download, support (sellers are expected to provide a minimum of one year support of whatever they sell), and enterprise-level pricing (e.g., 1,500 USD and up is the rumor). This means that SLE provides huge OPPORTUNITIES for independent developers.

“It’s confusing at first to get it: SLE is COMPLETELY separated from Public SL: You can’t get there – SLE –  from here – Public SL!”

Whom Does It Affect

When you get past the hype it’s simple: SL Enterprise is aimed at LARGE COMPANIES with their own DATA CENTERS for their own MEETINGS in a 3D INTERNET environment to SAVE COSTS. Sufficient case studies have been published to show the most skeptical CEO that this is a safe and proven use of Second Life.

SLE will affect “Company X” employees for any company that purchases and uses SLE. There are currently 14 companies using SLE of whom seven have gone public to share their experiences (see list below). SLE will affect Linden Lab by giving them “street credit” for having a documented, proven use of 3D Internet platforms, as well as additional income from sales of SLE.

SLE affects solution providers and independent developers because of the opportunity it provides for additional sales both in SLE (Private SL) and Public SL. Why? Because a LOT more people are going to be checking out Public SL now, including companies who prefer a cheaper solution than SLE. It’s completely possible to have private company meetings in Public SL – after all, that’s where all the Case Studies came from!

The differences between SL Enterprise (Private SL) and Public SL are:

1. SLE Gives Full God Admin Powers And Autonomy
2. SLE Gives Maximum Security And Separation From Public SL

It’s confusing at first to get it: SLE is COMPLETELY separated from Public SL: You can’t get there – SLE –  from here – Public SL!
A comparison chart helps show the differences:

Type Of User Access to Sell/Buy Xstreet SL Merchandise on Public SL? Access to SL Enterprise Regions? Access to Sell/Buy SL Work Marketplace Products?
Public SL Residents Yes (No Change) No No
Public/Independent SL Developers Yes (No Change) As Given by Company X Administrators(1) Not Applicable
Company X Administrators Not Applicable Yes Yes (Buy Only)
Company X Employee Residents on SLE No As Given by Company X Administrators Not Applicable(2)
Solution Providers and “Recommended” Developers Approved By Linden Lab(3) Yes (No Change) As Given by Company X Administrators Yes (Sell Only)

(1) Independent SL Developers (if retained by Company X) may be given accounts by Company X Administrators to log in to the SL Enterprise Region and create products directly. However, any such products created within Company X may NOT be distributed or resold outside Company X.

(2) Products on SL Marketplace are purchased and installed for Company X use by Company X Administrators only, not Employee Residents.

(3) As an enterprise-class product, SLE and SLM require substantial business paperwork with real names documenting tax and intellectual property rights status.

How Much Does It Cost

Linden Lab has quoted an initial price point of 55,000 USD for one year of licensing of Second Life Enterprise for up to 100 accounts.
The $55K includes Shipping, Setup, Installation, Software, Hardware (both Second Life Server and Voice Server) and Support (One Year). There is additional pricing available based on additional accounts needed. You have to contact Linden Lab directly for additional pricing information.

The viewer for SLE is based on the same code as the Public SL viewer, but has been modified to point to the SLE server instead of SL. Education/non-profit organizations are eligible for a discount.

What Comes With It

SLE comes with several pre-built regions, meeting spaces, business avatars, and clothing. Also the ability to download additional material purchased separately from SLM. Also a maximum concurrency of 800 users.

Using the SLE web administrative page, a company can bulk-create accounts, create regions, rollback regions, bring regions up and down, and so on. A company can give avatars any names it wants including REAL NAMES and of course the users can be any age in accordance with the company’s usage policy. And the company can share proprietary company information safely.

Current Beta customers include, Northrop Grumman, New Media Consortium, IBM, Intel, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Case Western Reserve University, and DefenseWeb Technologies. Case Studies on SL Enterprise are expected to be published early 2010. Several employees of SLE users have Public SL accounts and have been sharing information on the Second Life Blog.

What If You’re Not A Large Corporation

Brainstorming has already begun on other uses for SL Enterprise besides (boring) company meetings. Could a tribe install SLE on a data center on its own land and offer online gambling? Could an aspiring entrepreneur set up an SLE site and run their own version of Second Life, with their own rules for who can have an account and what they can do there?

What if you’re not a Gold Solution Provider (the only group currently authorized for SL Work Marketplace) or even a Solution Provider (supposed to be given SLM access early 2010)? Well, you can offer your services directly to a company using SLE. All they have to do is give you an account on their platform and you can create custom products for them directly.

Also, it’s no secret that many solution providers provide a secondary market for independent developers who don’t want to go through the hassle of extra paperwork, or losing anonymity and autonomy, to work with RL companies. Simply sell instances of your work to SP’s with a full rights license and let them deal with the rest. Charge a suitably high price and be aware you will have to sign at least ONE piece of paper per SP for their protection. So pick SP’s you trust (check their references!) and build an enjoyable, profitable relationship to work with them over time. And these are only initial ideas.

Has Linden Lab Sold Out to Large Companies

In a word, No. Linden Lab has geared up staff for SLE over the last 1-2 years and the executives in charge of development, such as Judy Linden, will already be looking at what’s next to be addressed. Because of the Five Second Life Competitive Advantages, the larger resident community and resident designer base remain high priority.

SL Enterprise Public Information:
Linden Lab Developer Relations:

Sitearm Madonna is Strategist and Expeditor for Virtual Worlds Projects in Business, Music, Tourism, Arts;


  1. Prokofy Neva says:

    November 12th, 2009at 12:01 am(#)

    You couldn’t be *more wrong* about your notion that this “won’t harm SL” and of course, you’re self-interested, Sitearm, so it’s small wonder you’re saying this.

    The idea that “you can’t get here from there” is some sort of static “forever” situation is ridiculous. No one conceives of the Metaverse that way, when it constantly changes and great leaps are made all the time. To cite one very ready example from 2005: Who would imagine that telehubs would be removed in a day and p2p installed the same day, forever losing fortunes and never gaining new ones?

    You have a whole bunch of people working FEVERISHLY on interoperability and trying to internationalize the problem in IETF with the interoperability working groups that grew out of the Architectural Working Groups. You have a fanatic group of script kiddies constantly gridnauting over to OpenSim and OpenSim itself blandly capturing these same customers for less, and possibly positioned to give them their own interconnected grid. So it’s silly to go on nattering about how these things will be “never” connected. They will be connected through Avaline or Sleek or this or that anyway — or by Skype. Don’t be silly, people connect.

    Remember how you geeks have always been telling us that you “can’t” have silos and you “can’t” preserve walled gardens like AOL? Hello! Boomerang time.

    It’s like the way Philip Linden used to say that we didn’t have to worry about the corporate invasion of SL because they’d “stay on their own islands”. But they sucked all the best builders to themselves, they drew away crowds, they drew in the best content, even if they then abused the trust of the community and didn’t deliver much besides tumble weeds in the end. It had a dramatic impact on the mindset of people who no longer wanted to bother with inworld business.

    Most of all, that corporate invasion, and this SLE implosion, very much privileges the “Sitearm License” concept which is that creatives get a job with a company that gets a “site license” and they produce “work for hire” as hired hands at the dikat of those companies, which is then the problem of the company to worry about in terms of IP theft — or not worry as they are selling non-inventoriable experience against the backdrop of ephemera content, and not discrete inventoriable content. That not everybody wants to write over their soul that way seems to escape you.

    But even if that model has its charms, especially in terms of your fees, it isn’t a model for the entire world of big business that could use SLE, especially not to be imposed *by force* and by *negligence* about intellectual property protections which don’t have to be perfect technically if the spines are stiffened to fight for them legally and socially.

    Obviously we all got it years ago that what this is about isn’t about IBM’s conferences but about those entrepreneurs like Anshe or Adam who will be encouraged to “run their own version of SL with their own rules” and most of all, take these blingie customers off LL’s hand-eye and manage them.

    With the heavy steerage of GSP to the clients, it’s a wonder anyone would be able to “offer their services”. How? When Justin Bovington is out there crashing through the tech media warning potential clients ominously of that “deluge” of substandard content that could overwhelm the corporates with “too much choice about tacky stuff”.

    Where? When the Lindens commandeer the forums and when an effort to publish even a list of 12 office furniture makers to prove that they exist — and exist at a very high standard in SL — is scrubbed from the forums by Blue Linden after it is denounced as “advertising” by Maggie Darwin (*rolls eyes*), although it was made to resist the impression created by GSP Kimberly Rufus-Bach that there just wasn’t quality material out there for people to buy. All of these are blatant protectionist tactics to favour the GSPs and position them for the lion’s share of the revenue stream by suppressing media, connections, opportunities — by force, if they must.

    “Simply” sell instances of work? Where? You’re forgetting you just told us you can’t “get there from here to there” *cough*. So there will be secret midnight uploads with the reset bug now deliberately created as an “enterprise feature”? *snort*.

    You’re forgetting just how little widely read media and access there are to blogs in SL, unlike the real world, and how much the Lindens assiduously scrub content they don’t like and steer, steer, steer constantly with a plethora of special programs — SL Dev, certified devs, mentors, SL Views, Community Gateway, Community Partners, special invited blog lists, Battery Street Irregulars and other insiders’ groups where the Lindens make sure the story is told their way, to the people they want to reach without you getting in the way. Only people with incredible persistence and existing RL media connections might get around this barrage of propaganda, but increasingly not (see the uncritical coverage the release got in the lapdog tech press).

    You are completely whitewashing what happens here.

    What has to happen in fact is the following:

    1. At the very list, opportunities have to be opened up to all SPs for sales, not just GSPs that paid high fees to get in the list.

    2. Applications to the SP program should be made by registering against a list of criteria that is checked, rather than through arbitrary discretion. Business people are adults. They don’t need the Lindens holding their hand and spoon-feeding them devs and consultants — they are capable of perusing an open marketplace and picking based on their needs. Oh, unless you want to ensure a job corps for all the people fired by the Electric Sheep forever and stagnate development this way in general.

    3. Sims with SLE stores on the main grid must exist and be advertised openly, with classifieds able to be purchased on it within the media space of SL and its websites, and anyone willing to sign a simple form vouching that the content is their own should be able to sell there. The uploading reset parlour trick can be done by Glenn Linden after a sale is made a flag goes down on the servers somewhere. It’s a trivial matter to code in another checkbox that says “cleared for transport to SLE” or “other grids”.

    4. SLE itself should be exposed to the main grid rather than having it hidden from them as if it is the plague. IN fact, a lot of them are already on the main grid and they should not be discouraged from their presences in both places.

    5. Rather than creating a separate WStreet, XStreet has to be integrated with this program and again, not scorned and hidden — with better tabs, categories, search, possibly a dedicated page for SLE will ensure the content is found.

    You cannot recreate the Soviet special stores system, it’s death. A growing of SL on the premise that Enterprise has to be hidden in a socialist system of company-driven transactions and content access will fail. Enterprise can maintain firewalled spaces with secure communications without also having to cut itself off from the rest of the world. The Internet sure didn’t grow that way!

    Free enterprise necessitates the free flow of people, ideas, and goods. IP can and should be protected by DRM schemes that don’t have to work perfectly to mark intent and track crime, and securing IP or communications is not the daunting task you imagine that requires such sanitation and sequestering.

    Finally, let me say your own performance on the thread about the third-party viewers, insisting that copyright should be done away with as obsolete, lets us know that your evaluation of these prospects is suspect and self-interested.

  2. admin says:

    November 12th, 2009at 11:11 am(#)

    Hi Prokofy,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to the editorial. I would like to invite anyone with an alternate viewpoint to consider submitting their own editorial for publication. Although, I would say you’ve already done that with your above comments.

    I have forwarded your opinions to Sitearm, in hopes she’ll respond to you directly by posting her own comments.

    Thank you so much for your continued readership.
    Avarie Parker

  3. Sitearm Madonna says:

    November 12th, 2009at 5:09 pm(#)

    Hey Prokofy; My position is perfectly clear, I think: I have no issues with SLE/SLM and I intend to stay in the process working with fellow solution providers and residents (like you!) and Linden Lab to participate in keeping things on track. I think YOU want to stay in the process too.

    Cheers! :)

  4. Prokofy Neva says:

    November 13th, 2009at 5:12 pm(#)

    Avarie, I’m not interested in submitting editorials; I have my own blog, and I’ve done a point-by-point rebuttal of Sitearm’s claims here because the public reading *here* needs to see beyond the self-interested hype by the GSP’s themselves.

    And no, Sitearm, I’m not “in any process” with you whatsoever — sorry I can’t fall in step with your fake bonhomie. We’re not working together.

    In fact, you actively, maliciously undermine the inworld merchant community with your disavowal of copyright and your endorsement of a favoured closed store — and that lets us know where your loyalties lie, with interests that directly in fact DO harm the main grid despite your strangely-titled article here. This is not a path for the world to grow as a whole.

    Indeed, this article was a calculated piece of propaganda to try to quell growing questions about the store and the entire set-up.

  5. admin says:

    November 13th, 2009at 5:27 pm(#)


    Thank you again for clarifying your position. My intent in publishing the editorial was to promote an opinion, and I welcome all alternate perspectives on this issue.

    I am still educating myself on this issue and hope to provide readers with multiple perspectives so they can formulate their own opinions.

    Feel free to post any links you feel might be relevant or sway the debate one way or the other.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment,
    Avarie Parker

  6. RaiBlaylock says:

    December 5th, 2009at 11:36 pm(#)

    Thank you for this post. I would not have known that this existed otherwise. I like how this will help businesses that are so internationally dispersed. But the part I semi really like is the fact that they are not letting the corporations buy/sell in for marketplace products. I know there are several corporations that have made their way into SL, but this helps divide it being a choice of use. Something I am sure some corporations will be jumping on.

    Thanks again for the article!

  7. Avarie Parker says:

    December 8th, 2009at 9:09 am(#)

    Hi RaiBLaylock,

    Thank you so much for the feedback and your continued interest in SLENTRE.

    Take Care,