Linden Lab: This has gone FAR ENOUGH. Fix SL *NOW*.

As I write this, Selena has just had to cancel our Sunday night event because Second Life™ is brokenAGAIN.

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.

20 Comments

Filed under Bugs, Downtime

20 responses to “Linden Lab: This has gone FAR ENOUGH. Fix SL *NOW*.

  1. Kimber

    BS (for the Lindens). That’s all I have to say.

  2. Capt0Rick Adamski

    For the number of people and different sims, I think sl has worked fantasticaly! Give the lindens a break!

    • Capt0Rick: How much money, per month, do you put into SL? I throw hundreds of dollars per month at the Lindens, and I think that entitles me to an opinion about the quality of their service…While I agree that “the most amazing thing about a waltzing bear is not how gracefully it waltzes, but that it waltzes at all,” SL’s service quality has taken a big dip as of late.

  3. JimA

    I agree. I’ve only been on SL for about a year now but I can tell you that I have canceled ALL plans to open a business in the SL environment. I have invested money in my avatar and inventory, have a paid account, and own parcels of land. I put my land up for sale and will downgrade my account to free because i am not able to make use of the service I was lead to believe I would receive.
    Had I already been a business owner and had significant investments, (I already have 500+USD), in SL I would be looking into a class action suit for compensation. At least to have my tiering refunded for ALL times that the outages occur. Since disabling logins in effect locks potential customers out of my businesses.
    From what I’ve heard LL has promised year after year to resolve the issues and nothing has been done. Now they can’t even warn us that our valuables are in danger due to database instability… It’s time to draw the line…Deliver effective service with consistant, reliable results.. or face getting hit with compensating investors.
    Enough is enough. LL gets their payments regardless of their inability to deliver service where each Sim owner suffers and had to make up the difference for something that isn’t their fault. If LL fails to deliver, then Sim owners and businesses should not have to continue paying for full service. Get it right or stop charging for what you CANT deliver!

    Irate Resident,
    Jim A

  4. hey man heres an idea, why not think of this as an opportunity to go out to a real event with tangible human beings. SL is a pretty intense undertaking it’s a wonder and miracle of technology that it doesn’t crash every day, have some patience these guys are pro.

    • Got some news for you, Dave…there are “tangible human beings” involved here. “Selena,” my hostess, lives with me and we will marry eventually. Now, as a professional software engineer, I know that bugs are inevitable; however, when these kinds of problems just keep happening and when LL appears more focused on self-congratulation and self-promotion than on actually fixing the damned bugs, is one not permitted to express a certain degree of frustration?

  5. I agree with you here Ebro, I’ve been on sl since the end of ’06 and it seems that every time the number of logins increases, sl cannot cope with this. When I started out the average number of logins on a busy sunday were about 34K, and with every big increase I’ve seen sl’s stability take big hits. Before this ‘bad period’ it was bad when the number reached 60K and now 70K seems to be the next problem…
    It has been bad before, but I cannot remember logins being closed *every* day/night. Thing that bugs me most about this all is that there isn’t an official statement from LL explaining the problems.
    Posting blog-items on how well sl has been doing frustrates even more because it feels like they are ignoring the problems at hand or worse: they have no clue on how to fix it… But then again, communication has never been LL’s strongest point :)

  6. Trenton

    People like CaptoRick annoy me to no end..Another kiss up! you must be a free account and don’t really care what happens here. I have been in SL since early 06 and has watched it spiral out of control. We all understand this is something never really done before. This is not the issue really. Secondlife is also a business and we paying accounts, land owners,and content creators are customers. We pay for a product and expect it to work. We are not guinea pigs.Linden needs to focus on the core business model and fix it. But instead they want to branch out into they’re own ventures i.e. Nautilus sims. New people come to secondlife and are drawn in by the content we have created.The beautiful sims the event venues,shopping malls and so on. and we pay to do this..hundreds of dollars a month. These last two weeks has been the worse ever. My club is empty my vendors cant sell products and I have had to cancel events. I cant even build anything to try to pass the time till the problems are fix,Yet my fees and land tiers are still due every month. What other company can get away with kind of behavior? Would you buy a car that breaks down every week? or pay the same amount for a stale loaf of bread as a fresh loaf ? LL needs to put the arrogance and pride aside and listen to it’s customers. together we can make a wonderful world.

  7. selenalore

    Well bad news folks. It seems SL has yet again closed down logins today. I just tried to get on just a few minutes ago and guess what I got in response…..well won’t keep you in suspense since most of you probably figured it out. Logins are correctly disabled and blah blah blah.

    It seems their database is @ it again, and to me this sends out a signal that SLs database has become corrupted and if most know what happens when your database is corrupted, its really really bad news.

    Some go to the extreme of deleting and restarting over. Gee that would suck, but then some will try their damnedest to get it fixed without going to that extreme, but still that small corrupted bit that didn’t get fixed will cause others who are in that corrupted area to be screwed up.

    So there is not telling when they’ll get it back to running power, but they do need to get the damn thing fixed.

  8. Well you’ve got to expect some serious amount of growing pains with an exponential growth such as SL saw in 2008, it’s pretty much a new frontier. When a tornado destroys your quickie mart, you still have to pay your taxes. Oh and if your spending hundreds on this thing a month, I think it’s high time you get out of the house for awhile anyways.

  9. selenalore

    Dave I hate to tell you this, but Erbo and I both do get out of the house every day. We don’t get on SL every day unless we need to do something of ut most importance. We usually only get on SL from about Friday to Sunday to work on SL and to host and dj events.

    I wouldn’t have tried to login to SL today if I didn’t have to post something, but have to. Anyways….we DO have a LIFE, and we DO have the right to express what we are thinking and feeling at this moment.

  10. Trenton

    Dave.
    Why are you here if this does not concern you ?
    you have posted here several times. perhaps YOU need to get outside and not worry about what WE choose to do .(just a thought)>

  11. Ryker

    Gee Dave… the worst comments people leave on these blogs are those like yours… the suck up ones that continue to make excuses for bad business practices when it is so obvious that this is what we are witnessing at LL. We all know SL has seen dramatic growth in 2008… LL have the nerve to crow about it in their own blogs as if this is the greatest news. Well, I guess it is great news for them since their cash flow and profit margins increase dramatically but good business practice suggests that if you can not deliver the service that your current customers pay for then you look at ways of restricting the growth of the business until you can deliver the service to a high standard. Think about a balloon Dave, you keep blowing hot air into it when the rubber (infrastructure) is too thin and that balloon is gonna burst and do you understand what that leaves the millions of people with 1000s of USD in their inventories… NOTHING! Furthermore, if you check LL’s cleverly constructed TOS, you also see that you have no recourse for compensation of any kind: LL run a business with out responsibility or accountability to their customers. None of us what to see Second Life fail, particularly if we are invested business people and content creators who run paid accounts and hold Mainland land parcels, but LL needs to slow down, take stock, cease their endless expansion (as if that 19 million user accounts number actually meant something) and fix a currently dysfunctional service/product before they don’t have a product to sell. If that happens, I wonder if the suck-ups will still be making excuses?

  12. Absolutely you have the right to vent your frustrations, just as much right as I have to think it’s silly to be that frustrated over missing a virtual party, and even sillier to spend hundreds a month at SL. I spend approximately $4.00 a month and that makes me feel a little broken inside, so I cannot imagine how broken one must feel to spend the equivalent of a mid-grade car payment on this place

  13. Ryker

    Spending $4 a month in SL suggests that you don’t own land or create content but all the stuff you see and do and enjoy (that’s if u do derive enjoyment from SL) is created and sustained by people who do invest time and money. And our frustration is about the lack of service currently provided by LL that’s all. By investing time and money in SL enables a creative outlet, the same as any other creative outlet. You come across as a later day luddite objecting to the ‘virtual’ nature of this reality. I enjoy SL because it is a creative environment that enables me to interact with and enjoy people and cultures from all over the globe, extending my understanding and viewpoint of all people, I don’t have a problem with how anyone chooses to spend their time and money as you seem to. Perhaps you should spend more time in SL, maybe you’ll learn some tolerance (?) Oh and BTW it costs me nothing to run my businesses and pay LL tiers in Second Life because I run a positive monthly dollar flow by being creative.

  14. JimA

    I have to say that I love SL, and have had a lot of fun over the past year that I’ve been involved. The title of this article is ‘Linden Lab: This has gone far enough fix SL *NOW*”. I agree. Enough is enough and it’s time to get down to it and find long term solutions that work. I respect all of the efforts they have done on getting things to here, however they have to realize that they are accountable to ensuring system stability.
    I don’t think that anyone in SL has any illusions that there will be growing pains and other intermittent issues. Those are acceptable, just like when your power goes out at home every now and again it’s acceptable. However when significant service disruptions become routine that is a different situation.
    If there is one thing that I wish LL would realize is that for a lot of folks this is not a game it’s a business. They have serious investments at stake. My concern is for the Sim owners and business operators; knowing that the occasional and casual users will be able to tolerate these issues much differently.
    Dave, yes there was exponential growth in ’08 but quarterly projections and user load should have shown that rise and allowed plans to be put in place, instead of waiting and letting the system fail and then starting to deal with issues. I think most individuals are unhappy that there seems to be no clear plan about what to do. Assessment should have been done, back in Q2/Q3 of 08..Solutions should be in full effect by now; at the very least in the works. Instead we’ve got a system that has grown, and all those new users get to see it crash, and logins being locked out, while LL assess why…..I get frustrated with that because I know what SL is like when it runs properly.
    I guess what I’m saying is that if LL want’s to continue they will not only have to remodel their networking and database structures, but also their operational mandates as well. Assessments, projections, time-frames, and solutions must all be done more rapidly in order for more users to invest. They must understand that they ARE accountable to delivering service for dollars spent.
    It is nice to see that LL is being fairly transparent about the issues they are working through. It’s just sad this wasn’t done more proactively.

    JimA

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  16. The very reason that I went back to a basic account months ago. It’s not worth paying for a service that rarely works properly.

  17. Seifer Florio

    Just a FYI to those with paid accounts, you stand the possibility of losing your inventory if you should not be able to pay your account. I have but one credit card and had problems each month with the accounting department pulling the payments even though the card was good and funds were avalable. I lasted 2+yrs as a paid account sent help tickets till I was blue in the face. With all the past track record of 2+yrs of paying I still was deleted for non payment for the last 3month quarter payment. I lost all my inventory for trying to keep a paid account when I could have just had a free one without the stress of credit card payments. Just saying if you don’t need it keep a free account and protect your investment it seems LL thinks only their time and efforts are valuable. They don’t care, they don’t archive your inventory or even have a back up for paid accounts that may run into arrears. Customer service is not the best, so don’t waste your time.

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