Although many of us are disappointed with Linden Lab’s refusal to sell the IP and codebase of Versu to Emily Short it should be pointed out that Linden Lab are following a well trodden path. When titles shut down there is often a clamour for it to be saved or for the code to be made Open Source but this does not happen very often. There is no Open Source version of Cloud Party for example, it just vanished without much of a trace.
When City Of Heroes closed down there were campaigns to keep it alive and calls for it to be open sourced, but alas those calls fell on deaf ears. However Open Sourcing a project isn’t as straight forward as some may think, as Shava Suntzu points out in the comments of a previous post of mine about Versu :
There are lots of reasons applications can’t be open sourced. They may include proprietary libraries, or work by people who won’t release rights.
On top of this Linden Lab most definitely spent money on Versu, as Emily herself explained :
To be clear, Versu benefitted a lot from Linden’s early support, and I’m grateful for that. Without external support, what we would have now is not a well-developed open source project; what we would have is nothing in particular, because I would have needed to get a job doing something else.
Emily was of course a paid employee of Linden Lab so it’s not as if Linden Lab have taken her work away without recompense. In situations like this it’s all too easy to paint the company as the baddie … much too easy and whereas it does seem silly to spend money on a project and then shelve it when others are willing to take it off a company’s hands, this is generally the norm, rather than the exception.