Town Hall Cliff Notes

by Pixeleen Mistral on 04/05/07 at 6:21 pm

Are 69% of the Lindens fixing bugs in the new voice chat most people don’t want?

by Onder Skall

If you the short version of the town hall, see below. If you want in-depth descriptions or everything nice and polite, see the transcript.

- Firefox integration? – Who knows when that’ll happen.
- What kind of superhero would Cory be? – Every kind.
- Voice chat? – It’s super great!
- Backing up inventory, restoring inventory? – No, we’re just going to make it so it doesn’t crash anymore.
- Can you fix Search? – We’re reworking it to make it spam-resistant. (No mention about stability, uptime guarantees, etc…)

- What do I do if I lose inventory? – We’re trying to keep it from happening, but if it does, we won’t help you. That’s in the Terms Of Service.

- How important is stability and performance to LL? – Oh, very. 69% of our staff is working on it. We’re putting even more effort into it now… after this meeting. Also, I’d like to drop a cryptic hint now about scalable architecture.

- What’s with the bugs in new releases? – You can only find them when you have lots of people using the system.
- Can we get rid of “traffic”? – Yes, consider it gone.
- Tell us about the Quality controls for new releases – You use the beta and you tell us if there’s a problem. Plus other stuff we’re coming up with just now.

- Out Of Date Map – yeah we know all about that…
- Can patches be tested on the beta grid first? – No.
- Are the high number of sims a drag on performance? – No.
- Tell us about traffic and search again. – Ok.
- Can you add more sound features? – We’re tracking too many bugs in the sound systems already. Here comes voice.
- Are you fixing the bugs surrounding buying land? – Those are probably related to other kinds of problems that we’re looking at. I hereby drop a cryptic hint about “more scalable architecture” for a second time.

- How are MySQL instances managed? – Residents are assigned to individual MySQL databases. Third mention of scalable architecture “coming soon”.

- So are you trying to improve how you’re testing things before they’re released? – Just the beta grid. If you don’t log onto it, consider it untested. We’re happy with that method.

- Where’s live help? – We blogged about that.
- What can my customers do if they lose inventory? – Go to the jira.
- Why are all notecard-related interactions buggy and laggy? – Go to the jira.
- How do Lindens feel about the Open Letter Project? – I don’t know about anybody else but I thought it was well written.

- Has LL thought about using a better, more scalable database? – No, the hint was “scalable architecture”, not “scalable databases”.

- Can you make exporters for things other than Maya? – Nice idea… we should maybe do that…
- Can you put the servers in Europe so that European residents can get better service? – Can’t right now, maybe in the future. Let me say the word “architectural” for good measure.

- Why do laptops have graphic problems? – That happens with all 3D apps, not just SL.
- Are you going to focus on fixing things before rolling out new features? – 69%. Hiring more.
- Will there ever be an IDE? – no answer.
- Group owners limit chat abilities of members? – Voice chat is on the way.
- Time limit on free accounts? – No. All sorts of reasons.
- Time estimate on when Groups will be fixed? – We’re working on it.
- Real time sim status map? – Something like that coming.
- Large groups able to send notices? – no answer.
- Are sending petitions the only way to get LL to answer? – jira.
- Why are 90% of open bug reports unassigned? – We just forget to update the jira when we’re working on something.
- Can we introduce a way to verify that inventory loss occurred? – Wow, good idea! Ok!
- Do crash dumps get analysed? – Use the jira.
- You should hold events on the beta grid. – We have, we will, good idea.
- Will there be better debug tools to fix my island soon? – Eventually.
- When can we expect big improvements in SL’s performance? – It’ll happen gradually. Voice is gonna rule. Also, “next gen architecture”.

- Friends list and online status? – It’s on the jira.
- Make sim crossings seamless? – Not any time soon.
- Teleport breakdowns? – Working on it.
- How are you going to pull off a higher concurrency? – Most of the development is on those issues. Plus next gen architecture.

- What can we do to help? – Patience… and build stuff. If you’re a programmer, come work for us. Contribute to the wiki. Help newbs.

16 Responses to “Town Hall Cliff Notes”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    May 4th, 2007

    Wow, incredibly helpful, Onder. I’ve read the original, read all the commentary out there, and I still don’t get it. I mean, this:

    “Let me say the word “architectural” for good measure.”

    I suspect it’s a buzz word that covers a multitude of sins. I suspect it is tekkie jargon that is making the people hear the word feel special that they’re in the in-ground that understands the jargon, but…I suspect it’s still bullshit and those script kiddies who were made to feel special haven’t gotten over their feel-special high long enough to realize it’s bullshit yet.


    Now, what is architecture?

    You know, I really put my foot into it once, I’m prone to do that. That first time I got to meet Philip Linden in RL, there was some kind of cocktail party, it was at that SOP I. I’d met him at the workshop that morning, and I was standing around then at night and chit-chatting and he was asking me about my job, and staring at me blankly, I guess because unwittingly, like any job, it had acronyms that nobody outside that field knew but the people in it thought everyone knew. So I decided to ask the big question about his job I’d heard everybody asking on forums, truly out of naive curiosity.

    I asked him if it was true that having a central asset server and an architecture that kinda worked like the Politburo and the Soviet republics was such a grand idea. People were always saying it was held together with duct tape and Coke cans. What did *he* say?

    Well, gosh, was he ever mad. I didn’t realize how I had probed a nerve. Seriously, I thought he’d laugh uproariously and say, oh, those kids, they are so silly, or, oh, yeah, well, I’m the Cat in the Hat, look at me now, plate, rake, skate. Something.

    And he began earnestly telling me something with lots of very important words and acronyms that I’m sure were very helpful to know about but of course didn’t “stick” for me. He was really hell-bent sincere. So as he was telling me about rack this and dbase that and scale this and do that and go-there-I-know-not-where-fetch-that-I-know-not-what like in the Russian fairy tale, suddenly he said something I *could* relate to. He said that Linden Lab had the best darn engineers in the business. That these were the top talented people out of the pool and just doing the gosh-darn best they could to work this thing which nobody had ever done before. And Phoenix was there I think, and I think he even pointed to him.

    And you know, having talked to those people inworld now and then, and had them do things like even contact me live to discuss a bug report at some obsessively insane late hour their time, I had to agree. I mean, it’s not easy making a 3-d streaming rezzable interactive world thingie, surely.

    So….I leave you with that thought, Onder. I personally, not being in this field, felt taken aback. I felt that the justification of one’s ideology about a concept like “Let’s have the Politburo and the Central Commitee and the Soviet Republics” shouldn’t be…”and we have the best gosh-darn regional party secretaries in the world, and they’ll make it work, by Lenin.”

  2. Tenshi Vielle

    May 4th, 2007

    I dunno about you guys, but JIRA sounds an awful lot like JIHAD. zomg, ITS A CONSPIRACY RUN!

  3. Onder Skall

    May 4th, 2007

    For the record, that subtitle was Pixeleen’s. Personally, I’m frustrated but … well … this was just meant as an information parsing attempt. I did my best to prevent myself from editorializing too badly.

    What does it all mean? My best guess, from a pseudo-almost-techie guy’s perspective?

    Of that 69%, about half of them are working on Second Life 2.0, and an end to almost all centralized processing. I hate to get optimistic when things suck so bad, and have sucked for so long, and are probably going to get even worse before they get better from the sound of it… f**king voice and the reinvention of the wheel with Search… wastes of time… but I honestly think they’re working on creating a decentralized version of SL that will resolve most of our issues. I just wish Corey hadn’t HINTED over and over at it and just SPILLED IT about what these secret “next gen architecture” plans are.

    I’ve been very bitter about this, but tonight I dare hope for a 2.0. My only concern at the moment is that maybe I’m just hoping because I have no other recourse.

  4. Confusion

    May 4th, 2007

    SL 2.0 ? Does this mean all our content and inventory items will be invalidated? Where can i get more information on this?

  5. Onder Skall

    May 4th, 2007

    No no, sorry, it’s just a term I’m using to describe what I think he’s getting at… I think they’re planning a major shift in the fundamentals of how SL works, so it’s a “2.0″ concept. A guess, only, based on all that dodgy hinting he did about architecture.

  6. FWord Utorid

    May 5th, 2007

    This sucks! Not one mention of how libsecondlife and bots are to blame for all of the problems!

  7. Alyx Stoklitsky

    May 5th, 2007

    Reading half way through one of the comments here, I noticed that SL was being compared to old Russian politics. Instantly, I thought “This post is by Prokofy Neva, isn’t it?”

    I scrolled down, and what do you know? I was right.

    Where does your obsession come from, Prok?

  8. Too yellow to use my real name

    May 5th, 2007

    I managed to get:
    ‘What we are asking for is that these problems are addressed immediately, ahead of new features, and that we are able to see tangible improvements. Are you going to do this – yes or no?’ submitted.

    The Reply – ’69′…

    That’s the CTO’s answer to the core point of the Open Letter. Not ‘yes’. Not ‘no’. Not even ‘maybe’.

    Just the new standard ’69′ ‘response.

    I mean, why even bother PRETENDING to answer? Why not simply ignore the question?
    I actually find it somewhat insulting. A large number of customers are clearly unhappy with the current situation and are sufficiently so to get together and make a public demonstration of their unhappiness and make a request.

    And LL’s response? ’69′ wrapped in some irrelevant nonsense.

    Frankly I’d have preferred ‘If you don’t like it, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out’. That would at least have been honest.

    Oh! Wait – that’s what Cory DID say, isn’t it?

  9. Angel

    May 5th, 2007

    WooHoo voice and sculpties soon to a client near you, plus extra code to ensure those big bad kids can’t get into an entire ESTATE if one 16M block is marked mature.

    Nice one lindens, thanks for listening.

  10. Anonymous

    May 5th, 2007

    yes, ‘architectural’ is a tekkie buzzword, but it actually refers to coming up with a whole new system to do something in a different way, instead of fixing or adjusting the old system. The connotation is that it will work much better once you change over to the new system.

    Personally, I think it means they aren’t fixing the current server code because those 69% are working on redesigning the server code so that other companies can run SL servers, not just LL.

  11. Prokofy Neva

    May 5th, 2007

    *69* percent, yes, that lets us know their attitude toward the world…

  12. marilyn murphy

    May 5th, 2007

    actually. this whole letter/town meeting thing has me in a sl depression. it has finally stamped indelibly the fact that sl is messed up, and it’s going to stay that way. i don’t think its due to mis management any more, i kept thinking they just had to grasp the problem. now i know it’s truly incompetence run amok. they know its got problems, and they can’t fix it cuz they don’t know how to fix it.

  13. Montana Corleone

    May 5th, 2007

    @ marilyn murphy: too right!

    Well that’s it really, end of Second Life, and with it the 3D internet. They didn’t address the core issues in the Open Letter, in fact they waited a whole day before announcing Voice AND sculpties are in the next release, a week after they get this bug fix hurriedly out the door, 16 whole days before a double whammy of new bugs hits us “because they work in Beta but fail under load on the main grid”…

    So in addition, you’re gonna have to give out your passport or other critical personal data leaving you open to identity theft to get validated? It’s already virtually impossible for a European like me to get validated without a credit card (not so ubiquitous in Europe, we don’t live on credit), but this 3rd Pary is bound to be US, only taking US cards, so now, instead of a few places, I’ll be banned out of a lot of mainland, and virtually every private estate. One gaming machine or SexGen bed will make the entire sim out of bounds.

    I work in an adult club (most are, they have escort panels and gaming machines), so I’ll lose my job which supports my establishing businesses. A horde of people will leave, making business more difficult than it already is. I’ll lose my rented house, and probably will have to find a cheap 32m to put a couple of servers on and just sell through slx and slb. That will hurt my landlords, and in turn other businesses. In fact there won’t be a lot of point coming into SL, and I might as well quit after 7 months’ hard work.

    SL will implode with this measure….

  14. Bart in SL

    May 6th, 2007

    About the last town hall meeting

    The Second Life Herald has a very interesting, but also opiniated, piece about the last town hall meetingearlier this week with Cory Linden. To put it simple: the writer was not impressed at all and thinks that the Lindens are working on the wrong prior

  15. The 9th Circuit

    May 7th, 2007

    Voice implementation will doom SL. It will predominantly establish SL as a long distance telephone provider and give businesses another option in which you can employ business conferencing. Which would be fine if there weren’t other mediums by which these can be currently employed to much better efficiency than in SL.

    Yes, SL can be much more than a game, but a game is intricately ingrained within its concept. In other words, you have to be in the mood to “play” in order to indulge in the service.

    If you are serious about communicating with a prospective client(s), or you have important presentations and meetings to attend with your company/organization, the last thing youre going to tell them is to download SL and log into your monkey avatar.

  16. Big Horkenheiser

    May 7th, 2007

    Marilyn, I am not even sure if the toe headed, starry eyed, wonder boy Philip actually realizes how fucked up SL is right now.

    In fact I am starting to wonder if they aren’t still so intoxicated by their “success” (after opening registration to every griefer and his uncle), that they (the upper Lindens) are just really are that out of touch.

    It’s just one bad decision after another, and it will catch up to them eventually, especially when big biz comes to the realization that Philly Dawg is running this operation like a hippie love-in.

    Then they will be left with Ghost Grid, bots, and their pets. Personally, after nearly 5 years in SL, loving it and now hating it, I hope it fails. They don’t deserve success any more, because they’ve shown that they are totally unwilling to listen to the very people who gave them that success by steadfastly supporting them.

    Like the poster above (Inigo I think?) I’m pissed at Rosedale too, and not for any one blunder. It’s the overall impression that this platform/game/widget isn’t for “us” anymore and that the Lindens now view it as a cash cow because beig media and big biz have noticed.

    Short version – they don’t think they need our input anymore, because instead of being humble about their success and giving credit where credit is due for that, they just keep steamrolling us with unwanted CRAP, while sticking their fingers in their ears.

    I get SO sick of formulaic responses from Phil, Robin, Cory, etc., that I could just puke. They treat us like ignorant children for chrissakes. This has me seriously considering walking away and never looking back.

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