Written 16 August, 2010
I listened to today to Philip Rosedale's speech at the Second Life Community Conference.
No, I wasn't there. I listed to this video at New World News.
Philip, only a few weeks back in his old position as CEO, talked about Linden Lab's road map, naming the company's top priorities-- its road map.
You can see what he calls deliverables in the slide above. Philip tells us that by early next year the Lab will have fixed group chat and region crossing problems, reduced time for starting the Second Life viewer, lowered the crash rate, allow more avatars per region, and allowed parcel owners controls over avatar complexity (this will allow them to keep their land running smoothly by identifying and most likely controlling people wearing stupid numbers of scripts and prims).
All good things-- although, as L. Knoller pointed out in the NWN comments, third-party viewers like Emerald and even the Lab's own 1.23 viewer are remarkably stable for most people-- especially compared to Second Life's three-crashes-an-hour early years. Knoller suspects Philip is talking about the accursed (he or she calls it that Vergeltungswaffe Viewer 2.0. Vergeltungswaffe means a weapon for retaliation or vengeance; it was the German word for the unmanned V-1 drone and V-2 missiles of World War II).
It's commendable that Philip has stuck his neck out on difficult issues like region crossings. As he points out in this speech, crossing from one region to another requires almost instantaneous transfer of LOTS of avatar and vehicle data.
Philip also promised public beta for mesh in Second Life before the end of the year ("We are gong to ship mesh!). He pointed out that in Second Life's early days mesh was impractical because of download speeds, and only a prim economy would work. Now, primsets are quite complex and download speeds have improved, making mesh possible-- and quite possibly, according to Francis7 Baker in the comments, the future of Second Life.
Philip talked about the Lab's plans to do away with initial entry of new avatars into welcome centers; instead, they can opt to go directly to content like concerts, museums, dance clubs, and, I'm sure, places to get gigantic freenises. Some NWN comments foresee chaos at events as newbies make gesture fart noises and ask questions , but others think it'll be fun, putting new citizens into contact with established Second Lifers. I quite frankly this this is brilliant. No one will be required to help new citizens, and event planners, if they wish, can use age detectors to eject avatars of less than a specified age. No one will be harmed in the making of the newbie.
Philip told his audience fixed last names will be done away with (no worries, established avatars will be allowed to keep their names). He talked about something called display names, which I find confusing. Maybe someone can 'splain it to me.
Philip's most controversial announcement was the impending closure of Teen Second Life. Teen Second Lifer's 16 and older will be brought to the main grid. This, surprisingly, seemed to go over pretty well with most of his audience. The lack of plans for those 15 and younger was the most controversial part of the controversial announcement. Peggy Sheehy, a teacher from Ramapo, New York (I happen to be flying there today for a visit with Sweetie) made a poignant case against dumping 14- and 15-year-olds, pointing out that teachers have fought bitter battles with school administrators and school boards for funding for programs for their kids, and now, in the middle of the school year, their programs will be going away. Sad. Very.
I have to say, I found Philip sincere. He may not meet all the goals he's set for Linden Lab, but I don't think it will be for lack of trying. I found him refreshing after the top-down M. years.
I'm hoping Philip will get people working to incorporate the new functionality and menu systems to Viewer 2 with the pie menus and many other good features of Viewer 1.9.3 and and get rid of, or at least, as Nat Merit hopes in the NWN comments, make it optional.
I can only say You Go, Philip. I know your heart's in the right place, and I wish you luck in a difficult job.