My take on all this
Like many people in SL, I once was under the terribly mistaken impression that whatever we asked for in feature requests could be done with relative ease. The implications and complications of working on an old codebase with a lot of old content whose functionality must not be touched and could very easily be broken dawned on me when two things happened in my life: (i) I ended up working in RL for a small company that depends on such software, (ii) I started frequenting LL’s official user groups.
Really, these two things were eye-openers; they woke me up to the difficulties of professional software engineering like a bucket of ice-cold water on the face. I found out through personal experience that all this “LL are evil, Oz is an *EXPLETIVE DELETED* that goes out of his way to piss users off, etc” kind of talk is a supertanker of horseshit. I’m terribly sorry, but there’s no polite way to say it. If you’re still yapping on about how “LL steals your content” or about how “LL won’t listen to its users” or how “LL is maliciously trying to annoy its users”, you need a reality check. And if, even when presented with facts, you still choose to not let them spoil your story… Well, I guess there’s nothing I can do for you and, if you really think LL’s people are going out of their way to piss you off, I can only wonder what you’re still doing in SL.
Once again, maintaining Second Life is not easy. It’s old. It’s monolithic. There are many things in there that are so inextricably tied to the very way it works (such as the 256x256m regions) that changing them could break everything. Many of the conventions that were made back then were valid in 1999 and 2000, but no longer relevant or desirable now (such as the default avatar mesh or the default camera offsets).
Linden Lab, in my opinion, chose the correct course of action. They’re not killing Second Life (after all, it’s their most lucrative product so far), as Peter Gray wrote to several bloggers (including Inara Pey) on the subject, and they’re not stopping its maintenance and development. What they are doing is leverage their experience from Second Life to make a better platform. Hopefully with a better scripting language, better in-world building tools and (please!) support for lag-busting procedural textures.
Personally, I’m not fearful for Second Life. I’m certainly going to give the new virtual world a go when it’s ready, especially as my interest in virtual worlds has now ceased being that of an amateur. Whether I’ll like it more than SL or less will remain to be seen. As for our legacy content… Well, if and when the time comes for LL to pull the plug on SL, there will always be the option to migrate content that can’t be transferred to the new platform to OpenSim, with the proper arrangements regarding permissions. After all, there are people out there who have a presence in other virtual worlds besides SL.
- Linden Lab working on Second Life’s successor? (this blog)
- Linden Lab working a next gen virtual world – SL Universe thread started by Latif Khalifa
- Breaking Rumour – Linden Lab Working On Nextgen Virtual World? – by Ciaran Laval
- Ebbe confirms: “we’re working on a ‘next generation’ platform” (with audio) – by Inara Pey
- Rod Humble talks-up new products, creativity and Second Life – by Inara Pey
- Rod Humble confirms that LL is working on new 3D virtual worlds
- Lab: “We’re not giving up on Second Life” – by Inara Pey
- Coverage of Linden Lab’s next-generation virtual world on this blog