Data Portability and Second Life (technical, but no code)

There are two groups in which I am active these days: The DataPortability Project and the Second Life Grid Architecture Working Group (SLGAWG, we need a better name, I agree ;-) ).

The former is trying to provide policies and a set of (existing) technical standards to enable users on social networks (but also in other contexts) to share their data with other services, control where they go, remix them with other sources and so on. Basically it wants to make living in a global social network (the internet) easier.

The SLGAWG on the other hand is trying to make Second Life interoperable, eventually leading to an open virtual worlds infrastructure based on open protocols (a la the Web) in which you can host your own server(s) and connect to one or more grids. Apparently this sounds a lot like Data Portability, too.

So what are the connection points between the DataPortability Project and the Second Life Grid Architecture Working Group?

Virtual Worlds not only consist of 3D data but also a lot about social data such as profiles, friends, groups. They also usually have a mechanism to send messages between users. Thus in this regard they are actually social networks just with a 3D component attached.

Because of this it’s easy to use existing standards also in how virtual worlds might interact with each other such as:

  • OpenID/YADIS for authentication
  • hCard or FOAF for profile data
  • XFN or FOAF for friends lists

just to name a few. I would really like to see that the SLGAWG embraces these protocols in their protocol so that not too much is reinvented and existing libraries can be used. In fact there already was talk about OpenID and the first draft of the login protocol has a means for a pluggable authentication system in place.

So IMHO it would be good if the DataPortability Project and the SLGAWG would work together on that and the easiest is probably that SLGAWG members join one or more of the DataPortability Action Groups.

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