Linden Lab CEO responds to technical issues of the past week

The Official Linden Blog is carrying a lengthy post from CEO Philip Rosedale. Its premise is a revamp of Linden Lab’s mission statement but it’s also an exposition on the future of Second Life in Rosedale’s eyes.

First, he admits to how frustrating the problems of the last week have been for residents. He then stated that the new physics engine (currently in beta) will address a lot of those issues. He’s cited the first half of 2008 as being focused on stability. Many would argue that the second half of 2007 should perhaps have been about stability as well.

Second, Rosedale admitted that “we need to create new and different ways to communicate more often and more clearly with the community”. I doubt anyone would argue with that and the few people who are left that frequent the Second Life forums wold argue there were already some useful mechanisms in place thaty were gutted months back. The commitment by Rosedale to a monthly blog post is encouraging but far from a comprehensive communication strategy. Effective communication needs to come from all facets of the organisation, not just the CEO. Some steps have been made in that regard but it’s well and truly a work in process.

What wasn’t said in the post? Well for one, no mention of further internationalisation of servers, which makes me wonder how close, if at all, the Australian servers are as we reported last week.

One statement of Rosedale’s with which I’d agree wholeheartedly: “The rocket is lit. Virtual worlds are finally real”. There’s no doubt about that at all. The trouble is, the rocket doesn’t launch some of the time, crashes after launch other times and even when it gets into orbit it can undergo decompression for no obvious reason. Here’s hoping in six months that the launch pad is still there and is having a much better launch record.

Comments

  1. Merlot Congrejo says:

    Phrrrrt…..Do you think it is a bad sign that i now spend more time reading sl blogs than i do in-world? At the moment the constant mind numbing lag, random crashes, inventory losses and tp failures, to name just a few, are making it really hard to stay positive.

    Sometimes I just simply can’t be bothered

  2. Merlot Congrejo says:

    Phrrrrt…..Do you think it is a bad sign that i now spend more time reading sl blogs than i do in-world? At the moment the constant mind numbing lag, random crashes, inventory losses and tp failures, to name just a few, are making it really hard to stay positive.

    Sometimes I just simply can’t be bothered

  3. Thanks for this post, Lowell. You are doing a great job keeping us informed–keep up the good work!

    I saw one blogger post to Philip Linden’s blog “it takes failure to appreciate success” and I completely agree with this. LL has some serious challenges ahead of it but still–look how far they have come!

  4. Alex Barth says:

    Thanks for this post, Lowell. You are doing a great job keeping us informed–keep up the good work!

    I saw one blogger post to Philip Linden’s blog “it takes failure to appreciate success” and I completely agree with this. LL has some serious challenges ahead of it but still–look how far they have come!

  5. ‘We get it’ is not enough. Lindens are always getting it, What’s needed is something concrete that shows LL is about to change its ways.

    LL’s root problem is that the code base is a small number of large undifferentiated blocks. It is poorly documented. Small changes in one segment of the code base can cascade into poor performance in a completely separate segment, because the code is cross-linked in ways that went out of use in about 1981. Tweak the UI and you find you’re exploding subroutines in the asset server. LL needs a group whose task is documenting the code base in more detail. In the longer term, the degree of modularity in the code base needs to increase drastically. Waiting a little and thinking about documentation and design issues can be the mark of a great designer.

    This unhappy state is a direct result of initial decisions to follow the get it running approach. It is cause for embarrassment, not the proclamation of triumph.

    A monthly blog post is not a communications strategy. That’s especially true when the Lindens continue to close comments after a fixed number ad so rarely respond to comments the way a normal blogger does. The way to cure the communications gap is to, um, engage with people and that means answering comments, not posting a rah rah statement and waiting for the arbitrary comment limit to kick in.

    Sl is wonderful and SL is rubbish. Getting SL up and running was wonderful, but it happened a little time ago now and there’s a point where ‘But we were great in 2004’ begins to sound a little stale. Philip could cure the problem immediately by announcing some actual improvements to the user experience.

    One thing that springs to mind is the limit on groups. 25 was great when SL first rolled, 255 inventory items was equally great when SL first rolled. I don’t know abut you but my inventory is a tad larger than 255 items these days, and I constantly juggle myself in and out of groups trying to keep track of the stuff that interests me. I’d be really surprised if raising the number of groups you can join would have any adverse consequences and it would give everyone a much better sense that SL is paying attention to the soft world, people’s interactions, as well as the hard world, coding improvements.

    In the longer term a way must be found to allow real crowds at least on some sims. When Philip addressed a group of companies recently he was asked a lot of questions about return on investment a company can expect from SL. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic played to less than 90 avatars, although they seem to think they were communicating with 9 million. Until ROI is better, the level of outworld engagement is not going to improve. And that means we need crowds.

  6. ‘We get it’ is not enough. Lindens are always getting it, What’s needed is something concrete that shows LL is about to change its ways.

    LL’s root problem is that the code base is a small number of large undifferentiated blocks. It is poorly documented. Small changes in one segment of the code base can cascade into poor performance in a completely separate segment, because the code is cross-linked in ways that went out of use in about 1981. Tweak the UI and you find you’re exploding subroutines in the asset server. LL needs a group whose task is documenting the code base in more detail. In the longer term, the degree of modularity in the code base needs to increase drastically. Waiting a little and thinking about documentation and design issues can be the mark of a great designer.

    This unhappy state is a direct result of initial decisions to follow the get it running approach. It is cause for embarrassment, not the proclamation of triumph.

    A monthly blog post is not a communications strategy. That’s especially true when the Lindens continue to close comments after a fixed number ad so rarely respond to comments the way a normal blogger does. The way to cure the communications gap is to, um, engage with people and that means answering comments, not posting a rah rah statement and waiting for the arbitrary comment limit to kick in.

    Sl is wonderful and SL is rubbish. Getting SL up and running was wonderful, but it happened a little time ago now and there’s a point where ‘But we were great in 2004’ begins to sound a little stale. Philip could cure the problem immediately by announcing some actual improvements to the user experience.

    One thing that springs to mind is the limit on groups. 25 was great when SL first rolled, 255 inventory items was equally great when SL first rolled. I don’t know abut you but my inventory is a tad larger than 255 items these days, and I constantly juggle myself in and out of groups trying to keep track of the stuff that interests me. I’d be really surprised if raising the number of groups you can join would have any adverse consequences and it would give everyone a much better sense that SL is paying attention to the soft world, people’s interactions, as well as the hard world, coding improvements.

    In the longer term a way must be found to allow real crowds at least on some sims. When Philip addressed a group of companies recently he was asked a lot of questions about return on investment a company can expect from SL. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic played to less than 90 avatars, although they seem to think they were communicating with 9 million. Until ROI is better, the level of outworld engagement is not going to improve. And that means we need crowds.

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