July 17, 2010

Back to the Basics - Philip (Rosedale) Linden

Interesting after-hours blog post from Philip Linden. Of course it raises more questions than it answers but at least it signals an awareness that the underpinnings for Second Life (server code and Viewer 2) are in serious need of fixing.

I'm optimistic about the comments regarding making Viewer 2 the best. People forget that Philip actually uses SL and Snowglobe was largely his side project. Most experienced users and content creators hate Viewer 2 and opt for Emerald instead. Believe me, if Viewer2 could do 3/4 of what Emerald can do, I'd drop Emerald in a heartbeat just because of the trust issue.

As to the server side stuff, I'm less optimistic there. So many things have been ignored in the JIRAs that it will take major triage to address those things that residents think are important and even more work sorting through what the Lab thinks is cool vs. what's needed. The promise of faster iterations in software also seem to me a pipe dream -- especially with less staff.

My personal concern, being a part-time content creator and full-time fashionista, is what happens to both in-world and web-based content sales (XStreet / SL Marketplace). Linden Lab has royally screwed up the web-based markets and shows no signs of ever doing those right. In buying both XStreet (SLX) and OnRez one thinks they would have taken the best features of both to create their new platform. Instead, they started over from scratch with a hacked together combination of open source junk and incompetent design to come up with the Second Life Marketplace beta. The results have even the most ardent Lab fanbois & fangrrls screaming bloody murder.

Likewise, it seems that no matter what the Lab does to address search, concurrency, lag, photos, postcards, chat and groups, it just keeps getting worse. Plus, the ever-escalating hardware requirements further isolate Second Life. Getting rid of mentors and helpers shows the Lab's cluelessness about customer retention. Installing Jive SBS (Clearspace) to replace functioning forums was clearly an answer in search of a question no "customer" had asked (and of course, only made the problems worse).

And finally, the arrogance with which some Lab members (Wallace and Colossus in particular come to mind) treated customers (residents) only underscored an almost "us vs. them" mentality that I think was allowed to fester under Mark Kingdon.

I personally hope Second Life can succeed and that Philip can follow through. Lovely blog posts are not enough. We as residents really do need to be involved in the overall direction of SL and the tactics used to get there. We need to feel like real customers. Above all, we need results.


  1. "I personally hope Second Life can succeed and that Philip can follow through."

    When has Philip ever followed through? Every feature he's been involved with has been started and never finished. Windlight (the first of many incomplete features he spearheaded) is still less than 1/2 of what it was supposed to be.

  2. All we can do is wait and see. And push back. Like always.

  3. Well at least he acknowledges there's a problem... I guess we will see.

  4. I like "to do" lists. Doesn't make a difference how big it is, or what is on it. It allows you to organize it 1) what is the quickest to solve? 2) What is most important? 3) What will have the biggest bang for the buck? Arrange your list, then one by one cross things off. I read Philip's blog. The nice thing is, once you solve a problem, it is done, then move on to the next one. You don't have to solve everything all at once, but there is progress. In my book, progress equals ....hope. I can go a long way with a little hope.

  5. Until Linden Lab implements Feature Request #17284 I will sit on the sidelines and grumble.


All thoughts are welcome.