Land is a staple within Second Life. While it is not completely necessary for people who simply wish to explore, it is a requirement for those who wish to run a business or build a home.
As mentioned previously, the prim plays a very important part in land transactions: the more square meters one can use, the more prims one may use on that parcel. The basic parcel, at 512 square meters, supports 117 prims. This means that you can have objects that, combined, use 117 prims. Some will say that this is a sufficient number of prims. Your mileage may vary.
The more land you use, the more you pay. Who you pay may differ, and we'll explore that shortly.
The best way to describe land usage in Second Life is "land hosting," much like web hosting. Whether you "rent" or "own," you pay a monthly charge of some sort to someone or you lose the land. It is also like telephone service. You might call a phone number your telephone number, but if you fail to pay for the service you are quickly reminded of who the number really belongs to—the phone company. On the Mainland, you pay Linden Labs if you purchase land. On Islands, you pay the Island owner. This will be further discussed in the "Buy or Rent?" section.
There are two distinct types of land in Second Life: Mainland and Islands (or Estates). Mainland is managed by Linden Lab. Each Estate is managed by the Estate owner.
Land in Second Life looks three-dimensional, so it is easy to forget that the land ...