Report From The Aftermath

1.13 Upgrade StatementFour days ago, on the 29th of November, Linden Labs released the new version of Second Life to the world, version 1.13.

That version has turned out to be every bit as much “bad luck” as its version number would suggest.

Now, before we go into the litany of woes the Grid has experienced since then, I do want to highlight some of the things this new version seems to have gotten right. The new Friends List functionality, for instance, is far more flexible than it used to be, and should hopefully reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the problem of friends TP’ing in on you at the wrong moment. (This happened to me once…a young newbie TP’d in on me as Danielle and I were sharing, ahem, a tender moment.) My old friend Vertex Zenith is no doubt pleased to see that his feature proposal, allowing emotes in IMs, has come to fruition at last; that and the “typing…” indicators do a lot to help bring SL IMs into the 21st century. And the “Web” tab in the profile is, of course, the shiznit; not many people seem to be making use of it yet, but you may now read a “stripped-down” version of Evans Avenue Exit straight from my profile in-world. I have not explored some of the more esoteric things, like the new parcel info functions in LSL, but more-experienced scripters than me are actively doing so.

Are these things enough to compensate for the living hell the Grid has gone through these past few days? I don’t know…especially when you consider what has happened since then…

Basically, most of the problems can be traced to the main database, which keeps track of pretty much everything about the world. Database failures cause all kinds of things to happen:

  • Teleports start failing
  • People’s avatars fail to appear on their screen, or their cash balances fail to show up
  • Search no longer works
  • Money and inventory transfers in-world fail
  • Profile and group information fails to come up
  • The new Friends List functionality fails to work, in that permissions cannot be changed
  • Things fail on the secondlife.com Web site itself, mainly the Friends Online indicator, but also things like the Partners page and even the LindeX, on occasion.

These problems were all amply documented in various posts to the Grand Unified Linden Blog between then and now; in particular, Torley seems to have been run ragged trying to cope. Other bizarre issues have cropped up, such as missing water in some sims. A couple of temporary workarounds have been posted, too.

As I write this, seated at my computer desk in the main house at the family compound, the Grid seems quiet right now…but Search Places is still nonfunctional, as are Classified and Event icons on the map. This hits the Gin Rummy and Don’t Panic! Designs right where it hurts, as we depend on Event listings for nightly traffic, and on Classifieds to attract new potential employees, which we sorely need right now. It gets worse, too; money transfer failures can inhibit our ability to conduct events at all. (We were literally about to call off an event two nights ago, until the money transfers mysteriously started working again.)

So are people packing it in? Bailing out of SL and going back to whatever else they did before they found this world? Not bloody likely, says Tateru:

Ultimately the litmus test of the issues that Second Life is having right now is in what we do, not what we say. We might say it stinks, and howl, scream or grumble about it, but what we’re doing seems to indicate no especial lack of enthusiasm.

[…]

You might be unhappy about glitches, performance or whatever, but you’re still logging in for about the same amount of time on the same days. Or, if you’re cutting back, more people are logging in in your place. That suggests you’ve either got confidence, or that you don’t, but something keeps you coming back anyway.

Well, glitches or not, I still have responsibilities, to the club, to our employees, especially to Danielle (still trapped in RL after her house fire)–and not least to my own sense of self-respect. But aside from that, I still believe in the potential of Second Life. We’ve seen upgrade-related glitches before, albeit not of this magnitude, and likely we will again. This is, as I have pointed out time and again, both on this blog and in-world (including to at least one Linden), the single most complex software system I have ever used or heard of. That it even works at all is something of a miracle in and of itself. Plus, I have friends here…friends I would miss if I decided to abandon the Grid, and that hopefully would miss me.

Does that keep me from feeling a little screwed, like lots of people? Oh, hell no. But I’m not giving up hope.

“Never give up, never surrender!” — Jason Nesmith as Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, GalaxyQuest

(Special offer: For a limited time, I’m giving away copies of the T-shirt you see me wearing in the picture above, “I Survived The 1.13 Upgrade.” Come find me in-world for your copy…)

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Filed under Bugs, Current Events, Downtime

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