Sunday, 16 December 2012

Second Life: Upgrade or leave, your call...

The title of this post is a quote from The Tigress's Second Den by Tonya Souther, Firestorm developer who, in a plain talking arrogant tone, tells us where to go if we don't upgrade to the new V3 based viewers when Linden Labs rolls out code for the upcoming server side baking changes which will leave V1 viewers seeing gray avatars or clouds. She dismisses any chance that the V1 viewers can be upgraded and confirms Phoenix definitely won't be upgraded anyway.

For some Second Life folks, the more fanatical and geekish perhaps, this is good news and Toyya has certainly fueled their reaction with her views. However, Siana Gearz, developer of Singularity viewer, is on record saying there is no problem, quote "For Singularity codebase, it just keeps getting simpler, not harder to keep up." and another TPV developer, Latif Khalifa adds, "All of the LL's plans she outlines are correct, but there is nothing stopping developers of Cool VL Viewer or Singularity to adopt those changes. At this point much of their code is V3 anyway so merging in those changes is no more difficult than merging then into Firestorm. V1 viewers will as long as there are people willing to keep them up to date, and not a minute sooner, no matter what protocol changes Linden Lab introduces.". He also said "Tonya comes with a prediction of doom for V1 viewers on regular basis. She's been wrong every single time including this." in comments here form last July.

Personally, I am not a great fan of Firestorm/Phoenix anyway. I have always found these viewers to be bloated and suffer memory problems the longer I have them open. I personally prefer Singularity and Imprudence or, of the V3 based viewers only Teapot is light enough for me. But, it's horses for courses really. What one person wants from a viewer is different from another. I would only say to this that Second Life will never pull in more users with complex viewers like this. I think the current decline of Second Life has as much to do with the increasing viewer complexity as with the excessive costs and the current direction Rod Humble is taking it in. It can't help when a viewer developers tells residents to upgrade or leave either.

Perhaps that's why so many have left and of the 10k+ daily signup's only a tiny fraction stay. Second Life has become a geek's paradise with a bewildering array of complicated viewers the new comers can't understand. Minecraft is far simpler and far more successful so there is something to be said for the lowest common denominator when it comes to getting the masses on board.
Teapot V3 viewer for Opensim worlds which are built on open source with more options and choices, less cost and no over baring corporate dictatorship.

Second Life has proved incapable of serving a mass audience. V1 viewers handled more people in the past than V2/3 viewers do now and there were a lot more happy people willing to pay Linden Lab's high charges. The grid is declining steadily (over 2600 regions so far this year) and the traffic is dropping too. Sadly, the excessive charges, the  geekish attitudes of the Lindens and a very vocal bunch of viewer fanatics is, IMHO, causing the decline of Second Life.

I think the vast majority of residents don't give a hoot for all the tinkering when in the past what they had worked well enough for their needs. It's been a roller coaster ride of upgrades and disruption these past few years for the loyal users to endure and all that is promised is more of the same. And all the stuff people bought in the past is likely to become obsolete into the bargain. However, it is unfortunate that a Tonya Souther takes such a blatant attitude and is so sketchy with the truth because it doesn't instill much confidence the Firestorm team have a strong commitment to Opensim in spite of a commitment they recently made. Other viewer developers, like the Singularity team appear far more committed and that's the good news.