Running the Second Life client
Posted Feb 16, 2006 2:54 UTC (Thu) by vmlinuz
Parent article: Toward a free metaverse
Uh... it doesn't require proprietary drivers.
I have a Radeon 9550 (or 9650, depending on who you believe - it's a marketing thing for ATI) running with the r300 driver barely included in X11R6.9, and the Second Life client runs. It doesn't run quickly - but then the driver is not finished and, as far as I know, has lots of acceleration work to go - and the fonts are messed up, which I attribute to the alpha-ness of the client, but it runs.
Things are far from perfect in the Linux 3D world, but they are not all bleak and hopeless - it seems that even as the clock runs backwards on availability of specs, and people get used to living with proprietary drivers, there are still people out there with the ability and will to do the old-fashioned reverse-engineering needed for useful free drivers. It may not be that big a deal, but it's the reason that the last 3 graphics card I've bought have been Radeons - and that the 3 before those were Matrox cards, when they were the state-of-the-art in freely-supported graphics hardware.
As for the open/closed worlds - I see Jabber as a beacon of hope. These 'metaverses' have a lot of similarities to the IM world, particularly when they are designed as spaces for communication and co-operation, rather than competitive games, and it would have seemed a couple of years ago that we were destined for a balkanised world of IM networks - yet in 2006, we have Google (far from the great white saviour, but, in general, better than the rest) apparently doing Jabber properly, apparently doing open VoIP, and still promising that they'll gateway their network with AIM/ICQ. If/when that happens, a very large minority of the IM world will be on, or at least have access to, an open distributed IM platform. It happened with mail - SMTP won, hands-down - it looks like it's happening with IM, and I hope it will happen with a more immersive virtual world.
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