These book-lovers wait in vain for any book but just one Special Person's book to come to SL...
Cory Doctorow's book has been "published" in our world, but Gutenberg has not come to our world. What we have is something more like a monk's Illuminated Manuscript...the Illuminati still retain control over the levers of the distribution of information and knowledge in our virtual world -- an Illuminated Manuscript from a Monk -- even a very widely-read Internet Monk -- is still not a printed book.
We do not have a free press -- we don't have any kind of inworld press.
Ever looking for ways to hype SL and synergize SL with the rest of teh Intarweb, God bless him, Hamlet Linden sponsored a contest to actually (virtually) make a "book" for Cory's new novel to be distributed. I doubt few people rezzed the thing after getting it out of the Benicia WA, and for those, like me, who tried to zoom in on the blurry pages, crashing their avatars into the sea on Pathfinder's deck, they probably found themselves guiltily sneaking out to read the book on HTML pages on somebody else's server...
We had a book artifact...but not book publishing. I asked some of the contestants if they planned to release their technology, either in open-source, or on copy with no-mod, or to sell or license it with no-copy, no-mod, or whatever variation would work. Answer: not at this time. Why? Too hard? Not ready yet? Or...Because...they have an allergy to the kinds of commercial uses someone like me might put to it by putting out the Yellow Pages or Ravenglass Rentals real estate brochures? I suspect so. Or...because they don't want to bother promoting some unknown newbie's graphic comic book when they can get all the glory from doing the famous Cory's book? Or...because...it doesn't really work right yet? I often hear the fear of mobs of customer-service IMs constraining the creative...they just don't know how to hire staff LOL.
Falk Bergman, winner of Hamlet's "book" making contest, said his script was open...kinda...some tekkies present begged to differ...but finally he admitted it was not completely open because he didn't want griefers pushing "pictures of goatse out to other avs"...ah...IOW he feared broadcasting...of content he didn't approve of...or LL didn't approve of...or the FIC didn't approve of... Well, that's what publishing is all about when you make it free LOL.
Others were on hand -- as always -- to snarkly answer that a) anyone could "roll their own" (like a fat blunt) -- heheh if they had the patience to upload thousands of tga files of course, possibly at $10 a pop. Yeah. I think that's all that it is, a big bundle of papyrus, not a book book, i.e. printed, i.e. as in mass production for democratic access for teh ppl. Or b) web-on-a-prim will make it all obsolete. Or c) (from a very high placed source) "Someone will make everything...who cares?"
Well do teh ppl care? I don't know how much they buy Second Life Times, a paper I sponsor which runs on that textures system, which is supposed to automatically update its tgas in a kind of rudimentary broadcast system. Still less known is how many people in the masses really access Infonet, which seems terribly cerebral and resists any commercial use and wants to be all "non-profit and educational" like so many tekkie-wikinisty things in our world (scientific utopianism is SO stifling...you'd never get a book like Cory's past these people if they had their way all over the Internet, and thank God they don't.)
Meanwhile, I can see from the forums that some poor devoted drone is making up massive notecard/screenshot novels about some elf warrior and promising to distribute it in IMs -- boy, he's going to get tired of that soon and I wonder how many people will stick with the story! I'd love to have it myself.
But...how will we get this going? First, the creators have to care, and the snarks have to stop thinking no one needs it. They think web-on-a-prim will make all this completely obsolete. Oh, no. Do we want an immersive world with stakeholders immersed in it and suspending disbelief? Then they need flippable books as carriers of information, or flippable screens or SOMETHING, that we can feel, touch, taste, see...well, you know, 2 out of the 5 senses anyway lol.
Right now, there's no whiteboarding -- a group of scientists standing around one of those erasable white boards and doing a formula in group think...but there's no blackboards either -- one teacher delivering a message to students. There's Notecard Taker of course -- revolutionary! CrystalShard Foo made this *by accident* because someone else asked for it for a practical reason for a club business card taker or something, and she made it, and I found it totally revolutionary and gave it to the Lindens so they could GASP *take suggestions*. You know, like a Suggestions Box? I think they didn't do that for two years lol. Well, the forums don't count frankly.
My efforts in trying to make a job recruitment center with group communication tools was abysmally hard...I'll blog on that later...but meanwhile...
Web-on-a-prim, especially in laggy and crashy SL, will take us out of the world. Like RL video that has poured into the world, it takes us farther and farther away from really making a real authentic Second Life that really lives and moves and has its being "like a country".
Instead of holding a book or brochure or screen or information package in my hands as I fly around and interact with others, buying and selling and inventing and socializing, I'll be clicking on a prim...going outside of SL...and perhaps never coming back...The window will minimize, or perhaps the Internet will size into a screen inside the world...but I'll be taken out of the world...out, not in.
What do the Lindens need to do about this? I suppose nothing...except to realize the moment for the reinforcement of their immersive world might be immeasurably lost...but maybe not...
..if some entreprising souls get a newspaper going on tgas at least that they update regularly...or books...because if it is voluntary, it can't fall under ROC about spamming avs in IMs, and it won't need to be moderated.
SL society is closed. Like a totalitarian country at times, it's wierd. Liberal market democracies rely on the free flow of goods, services, money, ideas...we don't have that yet.
Instead of just having a monks' Illuminated Manuscript contest for One Special High Priest, teh kewl SL avatar Cory Doctorow (they put the name in the last name list just for his visit!), I wish Hamlet would push this farther by providing incentive for the real Gutenbergs of SL who can make books that deliver...copy...update....but then, that might make the Embedded Inbedded One obsolete lol...and yet, you can never have *too much* free press, I find, and even not-so-free press.
Even the authoritarian Lindens will realize they cannot manage this world by the mass blue-menued PA system and the forums forever...the forums are read by only five percent of the people (thank God) and horribly sectarian and oppressive. We need the printed word to become free in SL, other than our little samizdat notecards...