Void/Openspace simulators are low-capacity simulators that were once known as 'quad' simulators (because they ran four sims to the CPU rather than the usual one). Void simulators were used for coastlines, patches of ocean, rolling plains and other environments where there was a need for simulated space, but no need for construction.
Second Life pilots, sailors, sightseers and travellers used void simulators extensively. Bought in packs of four, they could add spacious regions for all these activities to private estates. That is, until March this year, when Linden Lab increased the capacity limits on those simulators, and changed the pricing model, allowing them to be purchased individually. People who valued space more than raw capacity snapped up the new offering, building out vast territories and themed communities.
If you've heard Mark Kingdon or John Zdanowski (Linden Lab's CEO and CFO respectively) talking at conferences and to the press about the boom in land area in Second Life lately, that seems to be a direct product of the Void/Openspace simulator market. The announced price-rise seems to shoot all of that PR in the foot.
Linden Lab has not apparently previously concerned itself much with changes that might cause users to sell their land or simulator space and abandon the platform. As they've said before, there is always a queue of people waiting to buy. What happens if that queue dries up, however?
The spirit of 1776
Since yesterday's announcement the Second Life blogosphere has lit up with angry posts, the titles of many of which we won't reproduce here due to crude language concerns. Many users are definitely angry.
Second Life users, and various Linden Lab staff are referring to this as 'a revolution', likening it to the original Second Life Tax Revolt in 2003, which was in a large part responsible for the formation of the modern Second Life economy as it stands today.
Between official and unoffical blog and forum responses, there have been several thousand negative reactions to the announced price rise so far. Operators of open-source Second Life alternative grids have enjoyed a surge of interest, and the open-source alternative 'opensim' (not to be confused with openspace/void simulators) has been getting more interest and more discussion among users than at any previous time.
On the Second Life public issue tracker, issue MISC-1776 is attracting comment-after-comment, and vote-after-vote protesting the price rises, at the rate of over a hundred an hour.
Rumors are already circulating that Linden Lab will capitulate rather than take a negative public relations hit over this issue, which is far from an unprecedented situation.
Linden Lab has yet to respond to any of the protests or protestors, and is not available to us for official comment.