Monday, 27 February 2012

Policy changes Q&A Phoenix Office Hour

Policy changes
As mentioned in the blog post below this one, and as many of you are now aware of, Linden Lab has made some new policy  additions  which govern third party viewers. There are a lot of questions, concerns and uncertainty floating around with very few solid answers. So...

Please join us on Tuesday, Feb 28th at 2pm SLT for a special Phoenix/Firestorm Office Hour where I will discuss and answer questions about these policy changes, how they affect you, third party viewer features, third party viewer and open source development in general.

We will be hosting the Office Hour at the Rockcliffe Universities connected 4 region area. Due to the volume of people we expect to show up, we'll ask you to use the following landmarks based on the first letter of your name.

First name starts with A - I: Rockcliffe I
First name starts with J - R: Rockcliffe Library
First name starts with S - Z: Agile 3D

It would be well advised to show up early. 

For those who cannot make it in world, a limited number of residents will be able to watch and participate from a live stream however I do not have the URL to that stream yet. .


Don't panic! and I hope to see you on Tuesday.


Jessica Lyon
Project Manager
The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc.


  1. It may just be me not reading the CML post as it was originally, but has para 2j been revised to clarify the position wrt RLV?

  2. One important question for us as designers, is will we still have access to the free temporary texture upload feature?


  3. I just finished listening to audio of the Big Meeting with Oz. I liked the "don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out" response to the idea of this team moving on from SL and going to Open Sim where you can not only innovate, but would be welcomed with open arms. I, for one, as an Open Sim resident, would love to see that happen. You can always keep your viewer(s) feature frozen if the user selects SL as their grid.

    Dirk Mathers (formerly Massiel in SL)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Dirk said…

    »I liked the "don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out" response…«

    Sorry, who said that to whom?

    (Apologies, but I have neither the time nor the patience to listen to a 135 minutes recording. And being a non-native speaker I find it hard to understand american accents anyway.)


    At about 46:30, I think Jessica, but anyway someone speaking on behalf of Phoenix/Firestorm said, "...we could go to inWorldz or some other grid who would welcome our work right away..." Unknown voice, "But those grids suck." ... "There's no content there." ... Oz: "You know, if you want to work with other grids, go ahead. No one's stopping you."

    If any of the other grids suck, they're based on SL, so I think we know the source of the suckage. As for there being no content, I can't speak for the other grids, but we're doing just fine here on OSGrid, thanks. Regardless what alternative grid you choose, at least you'd have freedom to innovate.

    I always shake my head in amazement at how Linden Labs abuses its userbase and third party developers and the Linden sycophants unfailingly come back for more. Maybe when there was no alternative...

  7. THAT ROCKCLIFFE I LM is in the middle of the grass... might want to change it to the sidewalk which is

    Rockcliffe I 2/51/25

  8. Thanks, Dirk!

    This Linden Lab stance is as conceited as it is unhealthy. Linden Lab provide the server-side infrastructure and a front-end which many don’t find attractive enough to use. They rather use TPVs of their liking. What Linden Lab seem to inconceivably underrate is that the front-end sells the product. They should thank the TPV devs for fostering their customers for them – for free! They apparently are not grateful. Instead Linden Lab disallow competition which they want to sell as a user benefit. They are pulling a cheap marketing gag here which may or may not work. I think it won’t. The way too easy to understand sub-text is a wholly different one: »We prohibit competition because we are afraid of it and think that we ourselves are not competitive.« In terms of the viewer they are certainly right. They have lost a good deal of their users in terms of viewers to the TPVs, and it’s always very difficult, if not next to impossible, to win a lost customer back.

    But this is only one point. Second Life depends on user-generated content at large. A superficial look at Avination and InWorldz showed me that there already are some well-reputed brands/vendors/creators I know from Second Life. It’s not difficult at all to shift goods over to any other compatible grid. Users may even ask and encourage their favourite Second Life vendors to migrate to other grids, too, so they can buy and legally use the stuff on another grid which they have already been using in Second Life. I think most people like to support their favourite vendors and actually gladly pay for their creations so that the makers will make more good stuff for them. And, last but not least, the only thing which is, in comparison to other grids, really horribly expensive on Second Life is the land.

    I don’t know who is making the marketing decisions at Linden Lab, but as a PR, marketing and advertising man with over 33 years of professional experience on my back I am very sure that they don’t have the slightest idea what they are doing at all. What they are actually doing presently is counter-productive: In fact Linden Lab are encouraging their customers to check if the alternatives to Second Life would stand up to scrutiny. And it just might be that users apply other criteria than what the server software has to offer and rate the Second Life advantages less highly than Linden Lab themselves. This is 2012, and the gap has been and will be shrinking anyway.

    If Linden Lab are not very, very careful they might become the Research In Motion (Blackberry smart phones) of the 3-D-worlds community. RIM set the standard for smart phones at least in the business market for quite a while. Then Apple came up with the iPhone and turned things upside down. Apple neither invented the mobile phone nor the smart phone, nonetheless it appeared to be so. Then Google introduced Android to compete with Apple – successfully. Errrm… Blackberry? Who wants a Blackberry these days?

    1. As a "PR, marketing and advertising man" I think you, and others, ought to be aware that a lot of people like myself, who have been on SL for 5+ years buying designer content, are now heavily invested in that platform. I personally love being able to put together a huge range of outfits and avatars from the items I now have in my inventory. Were I to leave LL and go to the other grids, I would lose all that besides my friends. It's just no option for me.

      Sure, there may be some awesome designers on the OS grids, but I have no interest (or financial ability!) in rebuilding my inventory from scratch, spending the amount I have done over the last 6 years buying new items -- and I highly doubt the new grids have the amount of choice available, nor ever will compare unless the LL grid loses a large percentage of its creative user-base.

      It's all very well for people to sneer at LL's grid just because of the things LL do wrong, but what you are all leaving out is the MASSIVE number of people who are using this grid for reasons which have nothing to do with LL or their policies, but simply because of what is already there. I don't like the way LL are treating the TPV developers, but I won't move to an OS grid, because I cannot bring my friends or my inventory with me. I will stay and endure whatever restrictions LL impose, because the alternative is to lose everything I have built up over my time there.

      As far as I see it, most everyone here is gearing up for a one-way trip to the moon because they don't like the current Earth authorities, and assuming that the masses will follow. (Kind of like the founding fathers heading off to America - the majority of Europe was, and still is, quite happy to stay put!) Don't forget, the vast majority of SL users do not read or comment in these forums, and like me, are too invested in the LL grid to want to jump ship. I think you're all in for a very rude shock if you think that anything like a majority user-base is in agreement with you. If we don't get to export our stuff, then we don't want to know. If SL completely collapses then maybe I'd try OS but honestly? After so much time, money and effort I'd be too disheartened to try again - I think I'd call it a day and go do something IRL instead.

      All that I can see happening at this rate is new versions of SL sprouting off on OS grids, which for a large number of people on the LL grid might as well just be a different world. That's fine, and I hope you all have a fantastic time and get to innovate and create and explore to your hearts' content, but it's not inclusive, and I think it's time someone pointed this out. If all the TPV developers head off there too, there's a lot of us will be sorry to lose their altruistic dedication -- though I won't blame them in the slightest!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. What I would like to see in the competitive grids is the ability to live cross grids and have friends on other grids. Not the ability to pass inventory, build, interact with scripts or some heavy bandwidth things like audio or video streaming, but text messaging and visiting, some protocol could be developed to allow people to jump from grid to grid.
    Many grids have less people online at the same time than people online on my friendlist in SL.
    With SL people staying in SL mostly because their friends are there, and spending most of their time in IMs anyway, with the ability to become a temporary immigrant to the grid of your choice could really strike SL where it hurts.

    Imagine being able to teleport from Inworldz to Avination, or, may the PriestKings allow it, even to Google Earth some day in the future.

  10. Virtualban Alex, this feature already exists:

    Question is if the grid(s) of your choice use it.

  11. Teleporting grid to grid already exists on some grids, but some of those are worried about the inventories following them and braking the legal aspects of importing.
    I'm already involved in SL, obviously and making a name InWorldz. I tried OSG but it wasn't what I was looking for in a grid experience. I'm happy it meets (and exceeds) the expectations of the users there. I've also tried most of the other grids to the same dissatisfaction. Right now I am checking out altera vita, but it's too early to put it on the grid list, as of last night there was a total of 3 people, myself included

  12. Kewl!
    I did not know TP to grids existed.
    That's why LL is trying to keep users closed in, so they never learn there is a better world out there.
    So this is what needs to be advertised, so people like me get to know it. I will do my part, I will put it on my SL profile about the other grids and ask that whoever reads it to put it somewhere in their profile as well, or blog, everything excluding unsolicited spam :P

  13. seems too many users with phoenix the sims crashing down anytime

  14. Excuse me, but for those who either do not have the patience to listen to people bitch for 135 minutes, who don't have the patience to read 135 blog responses of 'this sucks I'm outta here' every single time there's some kind of change, or for those of us who actually have to WORK in RL and could not be here, could someome from Phoenix kindly write a recap of exactly what was said and what this all means to those of us who simply want to use the Phoenix Viewer for nothing else than getting around in SL? Thank you.

  15. Well, I've kept having my viewer crash since LL changed the policy. I'm updating to the newer version, i hope it works.

    The only added feature that i used was the temp feature, to see what my designs would look like as clothing or as sculpts. I've gotten used to how pheonix works, especially since the main SL viewer always crashes on my low end laptop.

  16. @melissa

    While not on the Phoenix team, I can give a fairly short recap.

    Viewer id tags are gone unless you're using LL's viewer. There are a couple new non-chat groups to show viewer affiliation in the group tag. Those are also available for some of the other viewers. Viewer identification in the support group will become an opt-in rather than an opt-out option.

    True Online Status will be going away. It can't be part of any future released TPV and LL is considering how best to enforce on the server side. Expect this function to stop working at some point.

    The part about features affecting the shared world doesn't appear to have any immediate impact. LL is apparently interested in adding Parcel Windlight settings so hasn't requested the removal of that feature. RLV apparently doesn't fall under the rule and is ok to have in a viewer. It's biggest impact will likely be on future development by TPV devs as anything affecting the shared world experience will have to be picked up by LL before it can be used in a TPV.

    No viewers or currently useable viewer versions are in danger of being blocked or banned.

    Unrelated to the policies, but of interest was the news that LL is looking into a fix to the bakefail issue that would involve baking being done server side. If this is done it will break temp texture uploads. One would still be able to use the feature that lets you overlay a texture directly from one's computer though so aside from being unable to show anyone else the object with said texture, not much will really change.

    I think that pretty well covers the important points. Real impact to you? Probably almost none.

    1. Thank you Karl. You told me more in 5-6 paragraphs than everybody else has before OR AFTER your post. It just goes to show that in life you have people who are willing to work around changes, people who are willing to explain changes so that people don't freak out too badly, and then you have some who simply want to keep bitching about it even after they realize their SL experience hasn't been completely ruined.

  17. No recording? I suppose you guys haven't been up long...I watched until the sim cradhed and never got thr stream to run after that, so were there any further Pearls of Wisdom?

  18. Awww common, it's not that bad. As next step they should permaban all people who prefer custom sky settings over defaults.

  19. If it's not possible to post the video of yesterday's Office hour, could you at least make available in text form what changes will affect FS users regarding the LL new policy?
    Thank you.

  20. ...since they've changed the code I am crashing (FS)

  21. I listened to the meeting at
    what I got out of it is

    1. no current feature is affected
    2. RLV and RLVa is safe
    3. tags that indicate viewer version are going away
    4. methods that circumvent a person's privacy settings are not allowed
    5. all HUD's will continue to work
    6. new things is the only other thing affected but it only means things that are not compatable with all viewers if it is compatable then it okay
    7. It is a relatively new management team around a year old who claims to be better but still needs to conquer distrust and scepticism we all had or have

    Think both the Firestorm/Phoenix web pages and the Linden Labs webpages should clarify as best as possible because a lot of people are probably just overreacting.

    I wonder will all online indicators and escort signs and online status signs need to be tossed out?

    This might irritate a lot of businesses and clubs both management and employees, was wondering what the work around will be or if the online signs may still work.
    Sounds like the owner of a club for example would have to make or buy an object so he owned it and the owner and employees would have to add to it their own scripts.


    Second Life needs to draw new people, it is sad to see empty places.

    lastly, how do you advertise a viewer now, you can not put it over your head in the bubble, but you can put it in group chat or on the chat line it sounds like

    from Princess Alex (Sissyalex Starship)

    1. There's overreaction, and then there's bitching simply to bitch about something, to the point of being insufferable. Granted the way the TPV policy was written the average human being isn't going to understand what they meant. But I just get the impression, reading many of the responses in here, that if SL users were given absolutely everything they ever wanted by LL to appease them, they would still find a reason to whine and say, *whiny child voice* 'Oh, Linden Labs used to care about us so much, but they don't anymore. I'm going to OpenSim and I'll show them. Meanwhile I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue'. No wonder LL supposedly told people in the recording to not let the door hit their backsides on the way out.

  22. hehehe .. simple. Wear one of those titlers, "Proud Phoenix (or Firestorm) user"

  23. I'm fine with the "privacy" aspects like not showing true online status. But the other "restrictions" are petty and manipulative on LL's part.

    Can we organize a protest? In-World? Or online? Or both?

  24. Waiting for the the link to the office hour. I listened to the meeting after I read up on nalaas blog ..this ain't anything super critical...

  25. Hi, bit confused here, people are saying 'I don't have time to listen to a 135 minute recording' -- actually I would quite like to listen to it, but there doesn't seem to be a link? Where are people getting this stuff please? You said there would be an update by yesterday morning so I assume there is some hitch in uploading this to the web, or something. Am really keen to follow what is going on here so please put up a link if there is a recording upload, thank you so much :)



  27. Fledge, it might be helpful if you read my other posts as well.

    On Feb 25, 2012, 07:51 AM I wrote among other things:

    »The decisive question is whether people will make a deliberate decision to leave Second Life because the viewer of their choice or its core features they have learned to love are no longer available. I somewhat doubt it will be very many. Most people will be very grumpy but they will love playing Second Life too much to drop it and will choose one of the remaining available options. Even if the sole option were the official Linden viewer.«

    I must admit here that I actually referred to quitting entirely, not to switching to another grid which I now think might very well be an option. It only dawned on me after I had written this that some other grids have caught up a good deal and are worth considering.

    On Feb 27, 2012, 04:02 AM I wrote among other things:

    »Seriously, is my inventory an investment I have to protect? I think not. Since I’ve been on Second Life for over five years now and collected a lot of things over time, my inventory is full of pretty outdated stuff. So it’s a big and decisive difference between what I have and what I am actually using in my Second Life as of early 2012. Who will keep me from suggesting to my favourite clothiers and builders that they should please consider offering their stuff on another grid of my choice as well so I can buy it again? I’m quite an average user with average ideas, so others might do the same. I don’t think I would have to spend even 50 US$ to reacquire the stuff I’m using presently on Second Life. And when I compare these 50 US$ to the tiers I am to pay for a decent parcel on Second Life… Having land on Second Life is expensive, not the clothes or builds I buy.«

    You write:

    »As far as I see it, most everyone here is gearing up for a one-way trip to the moon because they don't like the current Earth authorities, and assuming that the masses will follow.«

    »Don't forget, the vast majority of SL users do not read or comment in these forums…«

    Quite so. But it doesn’t mean much. Following this argument would make it next to impossible to explain why about half of the Second Life residents are using Third Party Viewers, albeit it is so. The answer here is a pretty simple one: It’s a matter of good old word-of-mouth recommendation. I don’t think it’s a bold assumption if I expect something of the like to happen regarding the possible rising popularity of other grids.

    You write:

    »I think you're all in for a very rude shock if you think that anything like a majority user-base is in agreement with you.«

    This may or may not be so. I personally don’t greatly care. Views and perspectives are always subject to change as soon as you have new trustworthy information anyway – here comes the good old word-of-mouth recommendation in again.

    I also assume that Linden Lab are quite unintentionally speeding up the further development and refinement of other grids (and thus improving their competitiveness) with their new Third Party Viewer Policy.

  28. One thing that tickles me is that I hear "This grid sucks because.." remarks, but looking at the user base, the "other grid" for one, has 216 max users at a time and AVN has 86 to 100, online. Second life, the one that is taking it's users and, what seems to be, abusing them, has 50,000. But if you notice sl has been around for a very very long time. It is true, they have a beautiful environment, but is lacking in other areas. So stay here. Other grids don't need you. I don't want what sl has to offer going to other grids, if that is in the term of bad attitudes. I'm actually enjoying my time and taking pride in what the "other grid" has to offer. My point is, it takes users and the creativity they offer to make things beautiful.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. I keep wondering what Linden Lab are using for a business plan. At the moment it is still so, if I get it right, that they make money a) by the fees for premium accounts, b) by Linden Dollar sales and c) by land sales/server fees (also known as tiers).

    I’ve never understood what a premium account is good for, and I still don’t, after five years on Second Life. So I can hardly give any specific comment on that.

    When I started my Second Life in the evening of Friday, February 2, 2007, I was of course amazed by what I saw. I very quickly learned that you don’t need real money to be on Second Life. In those days you could still make quite good money by camping (that is getting paid by the parcel owner for loitering at their place to raise their traffic statistics). That’s what I did for over two years, starting in the morning of Monday, February 4, 2007. In April 2009 I had gotten to the point when I wanted to have some land and a house of my own. From this time onward I started to buy Linden Dollars to pay my tiers with. Mind you, I started to put real money into the Second Life economy only after more than two years of avid playing. I don’t know exactly how much real money I’ve fed into the system, but I think it was something between 800 and 1,000 US$ per year. That’s no small sum for a kinky hobby.

    At the moment I am on a nice sim which is beautifully set up by the proprietor – really no eyesores there. I have two nice buildings on it by a very good Japanese designer which have cost me 1500 L$ and 1200 L$. Plus some pieces of furniture, trees and plants which I added to what I already had. I think setting up my new property cost me less than 10,000 L$. But I’m paying 11,900 L$ for the land – month by month. And it's not really big at a size of about 8,000 square meters. But 11,900 L$, that makes it almost 50 US$ per month. I still find this is real dough.

    So I might reconsider all this, give up my land on Second Life and move to another grid where the land is very much cheaper. That’s almost 600 US$ per year which I won’t hand over to Linden Lab anymore. I think I’m an average guy with average ideas. So it is not unlikely that a small but not too small percentage of land-owners will do the same. I would of course still be on Second Life to meet friends and to be at some clubs where I like the music. But Second Life would no longer be what I’d call »home«.

    And you know what? I blame it totally on Linden Lab because they provide the infrastructure but are absolutely clueless what with how people are playing Second Life. That has been a widespread complaint for years now, so: no breaking news. How utterly clueless they are they showed by the introduction of Second Life Viewer 2: That’s no breaking news either. Lucky enough for them, people could opt out of using this ill-bred viewer and switch to a Third Party Viewer of their liking.

    So far, so good. Everybody should be happy. Linden Lab are not. They are busy forcing a new Third Party Viewer policy upon TPV devs – and in the end upon the users of Third Party Viewers. Linden Lab’s customers. As far as I know about half of the Second Life residents are using Third Party Viewers. Linden Lab are treating these customers as enemies now and seem to be thinking that they don’t notice. Uh-uh. They do. I do. That’s what makes me have the ideas I’ve described above. Damage done.

    So Rodvik, Scott: Go ahead, kid me and the rest of us. It will cost Linden Lab more than your salaries.

  32. Currently, before I log on, I often check this link to see who from my friends list is logged on...

    I wonder if this is going to stop working too?

  33. I'm sure the owners of the other grids are just thrilled to the bone by the prospect of receiving advice in their blogs from former SL residents. After all, most posts are well reasoned and polite (har har).