September 10, 2008

Second Life recognizes open source community with 2008 awards

Author: Nathan Willis

Linden Lab, creator of the online virtual space Second Life, recognized the accomplishments of outstanding individuals in its open source community this week at its Linden Lab Innovation Awards. Seven winners were announced at a "mixed reality" ceremony held both at a convention center in Florida and simultaneously within the Second Life system.

Linden's head of open source development Rob Lanphier emceed the awards ceremony at the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC). It was the second such annual event, initiated last year at the 2007 SLCC following the release of Second Life code as open source. A panel of six judges selected winners in five categories, with each winner receiving a "Hippo Award" prize package.

Judges selected two winners in the first category, Best Documentation. Asuka Neely and Gally Young were recognized for their contributions translating volumes of Second Life wiki documentation into Japanese and French, respectively.

In the Best Community Organizer category, the judges again decided to award two prizes, but in different areas. Tao Takashi was named Best Working Group Organizer for his contributions to the Second Life Architecture Working Group (AWG), the group that heads up efforts to standardize the protocols and data formats used in the system to make them interoperable with other virtual worlds. Noting that the subject deserved recognition as an award category of its own, Harleen Gretzky was recognized as Best Issue Tracker Organizer for her work on the project's issue tracker PJIRA.

Mm Adler was recognized for Best Code Contribution. Adler's contribution added voice-to-model lip-synching to the Second Life viewer, and was described by Lanphier as both tidy and thoughtful in its execution.

The Jesse Malthus Award for Best Community Influence is named in memory of a significant and well-respected Second Life developer and community member who died last year. The winner of the award was Lex Neva, who was singled out not only for making significant contributions to issue tracking on PJIRA, but also for maintaining "constructive and thoughful" commentary and dialog within the Second Life community.

Finally, the award for Contributor of the Year was given to Michelle2 Zenovka. Lanphier called attention to Zenovka's code contributions in transitioning the Second Life viewer to CMake, and in bringing the Linux viewer client up to par with the Windows and Mac OS X builds.

Nominations for the Linden Lab Innovation Awards are open to the community. The specific awards given each year vary depending on the decisions of the judges. The Second Life wiki contains the full text of the awards presentation ceremony, including more details on the winners and the names and highlights of the runners-up in each category.


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