Applications and Tools, Second Life

SLim Client for Second Life to Open Up Code

The new SLim chat client for Second Life may have hit the streets too early but having seen it at VW08 and talked to the Vivox folks, I think it has more in store than the initial “so what” impression.

In discussions at VW08, Vivox indicated that in addition to being able to sort friends, access group list and notices, and provision of group chat and conferencing, future versions of the SLim client might include integration with other chat clients.

Now, Vivox has announced an Open Initiative to drive innovation, and the SLim client will be the first to benefit from releasing parts of the code to drive innovation. According to the press release:

“By opening its code and network, the Vivox Open Initiative will expand the reach of communications in and out of online games and virtual worlds while accelerating the development of new and innovative features.”

Second Life will be the first beneficiary:

In the first phase, launching today, Vivox will provide the object code for SL Voice, the Second Life voice chat client. By the end of the year, Vivox will open APIs to third party technology providers. Soon thereafter, Vivox will open up source code to the client side SDK.

“Input from the communities that we serve is invaluable to furthering Vivox’s vision of ubiquitous and immersive online communications,” said Jim Toga, founder and vice president engineering of Vivox. “Like many other open source and partner initiatives, we hope that engaging with the community in this manner will generate tremendous creative content and solid improvements for everyone. We look forward to extending the value, performance, and ease of integration of Vivox voice chat with the gaming and virtual world communities”

What’s unclear, because I have no idea what “object code” means, is whether this will allow Vivox to integrate with other chat platforms. But the fact that it will be opened up for community-led innovation is a big tick in the plus column for the new SLim chat client.

More information on the Open Initiative is available including an FAQ page which clarifies its use:

What exactly is Vivox making available?
At this stage we are allowing free download of binary object code for Vivox client-side software. This software allows the Second Life viewer to interact with Vivox servers in order to provide voice services.

Why is the source code not made open and free?
Vivox software includes proprietary third party products. Our license terms for these products do not allow distribution of their source code. However, we are working on restructuring our source code so that these components can be left out for distribution, and later developed or licensed out by the open source community.

When will more code be available?
Vivox engineers are working on code improvements and modifications that will enable the open source community to improve or change existing functionality. We will update the community as this develops and more becomes available.


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