State of the Art?

Time after time we, the users of SecondLife, are told that the software that powers our Second lives is “State of the Art”. The simple cold fact is that is isn’t, not nearly. Some of the chassis on which SecondLife stands (rather shakily) is 20 years old and showing its age. SecondLife as an entity is nearly 10 years old and some of its basic infrastructure was old when it was created.

The concept of SecondLife as a partly user-created virtual world was pretty close to being unique at the time of its creation, but it is by no means alone or unique now. That it is still far and away the best of the virtual worlds is accepted by the bulk of its residents (as users are called by Linden Lab). The underlying problem with SecondLife (or SL to most) is that its creator, Philip Rosedale, could never bring himself to accept users of SL as customers. He instilled this basic mistrust of “users” in his staff and the attitude prevails to this day in many of Linden Lab’s senior staff.

The antipathy between users, who felt themselves (rightly or wrongly) increasingly sidelined or ignored and the programmers of SL grew until communication between the groups to all intents and purposes ceased.

At various times initiatives have been mounted from both “sides” but little was ever achieved by way of meaningful cooperation. The most determined group, the Firestorm Viewer Project, have made some headway in the last 12 months, but they still face, if not open hostility, then entrenched mistrust from Senior staff at Linden Lab.

User-facing Lindens, like Simon and Andrew, Monty and Maestro (and some others – no I do not rule out Torley but Torley is not a single individual) do maintain a healthy dialogue with those users that can refrain from open abuse, some who appeared to be “warming” to users have, in American parlance, been let go and it still appears that the detached and frankly uncaring attitude of such Lindens as Zen and more recently Oz prevails at internal planning meetings.

The fact that the bulk of SL users simply want their Second Lives to work is often seemingly over powered by the conspiracy theorists and disaffected (and yes the downright malicious) residents of SL. Linden Lab occasionally only seem to have the vaguest understanding of what most folk actually DO in SL and this hampers effective communication with the makers since they simply do not understand the issues being discussed. More recently Simon, Andrew and Monty have begun to show a greater grasp of what is actually occurring in SL, and it is up to them to bring this insight to internal planning meetings of Linden Lab. If they do not succeed, I have the gravest misgivings of SL reaching its 12th or even 11th birthday.

~ by Ayesha Askham-Ezvalt on May 5, 2013.

One Response to “State of the Art?”

  1. I get pleasure from, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for.

    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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