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Some years back, XMPP (the same underlying software technology that drives things like Google Talk) was examined by Linden Lab as a possible replacement for its distributed communications system in Second Life. It was examined, prototyped, and then ultimately abandoned because it would not scale reliably to Second Life’s unique architecture.

So, imagine my surprise, therefore, when Linden Lab’s Frank Ambrose announced in October that the same thing was going to be attempted again.

Ultimately, it has met the same fate, however.

Oskar Linden says, “Our work on an XMPP solution for group chat was an investigation. We wanted to determine whether or not we could make something scalable and reliable that would replace our current chat architecture. XMPP didn’t do that for us.”

The last time that XMPP was tested as a Second Life chat/IM alternative, it was found not to handle large groups well (dozens to hundreds – or thousands of users). It isn’t really so surprising to learn that that same protocol performs the same way.

What is surprising is that someone didn’t read up on the results of the last XMPP trial. Or maybe they did and had reason to believe that circumstances were sufficiently different that the same obstacles would not be present this time. It is hard to say.

Nevertheless, XMPP/jabber is off the table once again.

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