…I think Grace McDunnough is onto something when she describes Second Life’s “killer app” not conferencing or other work-related uses, but a platform for binding weak ties between a large, culturally diverse community. (I’d subsume SL’s internal economy and user-created content under the “community” rubric.) Since OpenSim is still just the province of extremely early adopters, Second Life’s community is the Lindens’ main advantage.
For those who want Second Life’s community to be the organizing principle of their inworld activity, I would agree with Hamlet and Grace. The community of interesting and creative minds is not something to gloss over. It is not the “killer app” on a blanket basis, however.
Of course, there is also a not insignificant group of people who will not leave SL because they would not have access to the inventories built up over months/years when using OpenSim. In my mind, Linden control of inworld inventories is at least as important a “killer app” as the whole “weak ties” argument.
I can easily see a day when Linden Lab creates a tier of premium account with inventory portability across the SL and OpenSim grids, especially now as Philip Rosedale is conducting the open source dialogue for Linden Lab. (I’m still floored that Linden Lab opened up their viewer to open source coders – not the brightest of moves in my opinion – but they did.) As grid hopping will eventually be more and more common, would one not think that inventory hosting would emerge as the “killer app” that keeps people connected to Linden Lab and their Second Life product?