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The man behind the curtain

Millbank Tower

While Paul managed to span half the globe last week, I spent this afternoon in London, meeting someone trying to make physical distances a thing of the past. Joe Miller is the VP of Platform Development at Linden Lab in San Francisco - the people behind the spectacularly popular Second Life portal/platform/de-inhibitor thing. Even the location of our meeting was apt - PR offices on the 22nd floor of Millbank Tower. It's a striking building that seems to curve around the north bank of the Thames, looking exactly like something you'd find in the alternate universe of Second Life. I've not got a great head for heights, which is why I started writing this blog post facing away from the window with a coffee while Joe finished in a meeting. But the view across south London was fantastic.

What's all this got to do with Linux? Well, Linden Lab uses Linux, and something of the open source philosophy has permeated its business plan. At its heart, Debian Etch servers toil like Atlas to keep the celestial sphere of Second Life in motion. It's a complex framework of interconnecting processes and data streams, tied to MySQL and dozens of other technologies. Linux wasn't chosen because of its cost either, Joe told me it was down to scaleability and keeping control over the operating system. And a lot of effort has apparently gone into the Linux client too, which has just emerged from a long period of alpha development onto new pastures of fully functional beta. Linden Labs has offices in Brighton, which is why Joe Miller has been in the UK for the last couple of weeks. Brighton is going to become the Primary Centre of Execution for Europe, which sounds to me like it should be located closer to the Place de la Bastille in Paris. Interestingly, Linden Brighton is looking for new people. This might be one of those rare opportunities to find a job working with Linux, as well as merging your first life with your second (not always a good thing). In the meantime, look out for our interview with Joe in a future issue.

Oh, and I really wish you couldn't buy partially hydrogenated Krispy Kreme donuts at Paddington...

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Millbank Tower - it is

Millbank Tower - it is indeed a strange beast...

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