Was flippin' through the Linux Magazine @ Borders today (lazy Sunday, kewl!).. they had a story on the WorldForge project - after googlin, I find that there's actually quite a few other open source MMORPG projects on-going. In the article, one of the fellas in WorldForge apparently mentioned that they're not looking to manage the tremendous load of existing, commercial MMORPGs out there.. and that they'll take it one (baby) step at a time.. hoping for the hardware advances to carry its flexible design to feasibility..
Commercial success or not, the mind-set behind Nel (also covered in the article) is what I'm talking about when I'd first proposed the Mobile MMO Soccer Management game of my ex-company.. but I'd failed utterly to convince the trinity to a free-the-engine model.. From my perspective, we'd only so much resources (in sales & engineering).. why not promote its proliferation (by allowing free downloads and use of the GPL engine) and look at revenue flows from service, hosting, and else-how? Dual-licensing tactic by MySQL worked pretty fine for them..
This made me think a bit regarding the reference implementation I had in mind for Y-Anime. I can't possibly host, nor expect anyone to host the whole wide world.. neither do i want to come to the stage of accepting that the product can't run because i ain't got enough resources (yet)..
A distributed model would be better.. just need some Gnutella-style registration thingy (think DNS in context to current WWW) to hook everyone up.. Each person can design their own room(s) and put up for other people to visit,.. put up exits in the room (think 'related links' in context to current web pages) to connect and travel to other people's rooms. These rooms (like websites) are hosted entirely by the persons responsible for it and the resources required will thus be a distributed responsibility.. much like the current WWW infrastructure.
Then again, those people are looking to do a MMORPG engine.. whereas I'm just looking at another way of communicating with peers, and possibly navigating the web..