As I write this, Selena has just had to cancel our Sunday night event because Second Life™ is broken. AGAIN.
Most In world services are at reduced functionality at the moment. Please avoid L$ transactions or handling valuable (no-copy) assets until we post an ALL-CLEAR. Regettably, our ability to broadcast a warning in world is also disabled. Please let your friends know if you’re logged in. [emphasis mine]
When the system is so broken that the Lindens can’t even broadcast a message to tell people in-world how broken it is…well, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And it sure as hell ain’t Danish blue cheese.
Friday night, we had to cancel our event because the sim on which Solar Moonlight sits (Tyros) suddenly crashed on us, logging us out, fifteen minutes before the event was due to begin…and, upon logging back in, we were unable to TP there. Thank God Lexxotica still seemed to be up and running, or who the hell knows what would have happened?
And this doesn’t just affect us; Prokofy Neva, one of the few people who tries to run a rental business in a reasonable manner, reports that he’s getting lots of people breaking leases:
I don’t know whether people refund because they can’t log on and get sick and suspicious of SL even when they *can* log on (or perhaps they get mad their friends can’t log on), or whether, more likely, they can log on, but they can’t get me to do something for them because *I* can’t log on.
Either way, bad for business.
Much as Prok’s critics might cheer his business troubles, anything that’s bad for his business is likely to be worse–perhaps fatally so–for other businesses.
Meanwhile, the Lindens issue self-congratulatory blog posts, promise “pie in the sky, by and by” with infrastructure improvements (that have yet to materialize), and continue to chase educators with a platform that can’t seem to even support its present level of use, let alone act as a mission-critical tool for education. Anyone else have the words “fiddling while Rome burns” coming to mind?
It’s time for the Lindens to start bringing what Jim McCarthy, in his book Dynamics of Software Development, called “radical focus” on the problem of stability of the SL platform. You can’t call for radical focus too many times over the course of a project, as McCarthy points out, but at this point the Lindens are overdue. Come on, M Linden, now’s the time to show leadership. If my own boss in RL can do it, you can do it. LL’s ability to ship bug-free code has fallen from “average” down to “marginal at best,” and is continuing the spiral towards “complete fiduciary misconduct” at this point. How much more do they think their paying customers can take?
“…I warned the distributor I’m a Hershey bar…The Hershey bar gets smaller and smaller to stay the same price. But it can only get so small. I can shrink myself only so small before I’m nothing, a man without quality or quantity.” – Mort Lesser, “Mouthpiece,” by Edward Wellen
UPDATE: FJ Linden has posted a big, semi-technical explanation of what’s been going on and how LL is moving to fix it. All well and good, FJ, but, as we say in America, “Talk is cheap.“ If you want to convince me, and other dissatisfied Residents, that you mean business, here’s the way to go about it:
- Your timeframe for the rollout of these fixes is WAY too long. Think “days,” not “months.”
- What about manpower to meet that timeframe? Easy: Every Linden who can code should be working on stability fixes right now. Every Linden who can’t code should be working on testing said stability fixes. It’s “crash priority” time. You guys’ future is at stake.
- Forget all those other side projects, like building more mainland sims, or replacing the browser engine in the client, or other such foolishness. All other considerations must be secondary to stabilizing the Second Life Grid and making it so people can actually USE it. I remind you: Your future is at stake here.
In other words, LL: It’s time to shit or get off the pot. Go big, or go home.