[I]t's not very meaningful to amass in-game wealth if your ability to use it is contingent on your ongoing good relations with a single company. What good is your wonderful Second Life real-estate, architecture, gadgets and wardrobe if Linden Labs can throw you out at any time? It's like amassing Soviet-era rubles -- you could only spend them in Russia.
But by opening up the source code for Second Life, Linden is inviting a competitive marketplace for Second Life hosters. Indeed, they describe a "Second Life grid" of multiple Second Life hosters who interconnect -- the way that today's Web consists of a single Web with millions of servers that are all linked together by their users.