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Town Hall 3/16/06

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Town Hall with Philip Linden, 3/16/2006


Jeska Linden: Hello everyone!
Jeska Linden: welcome to the Town Hall with Philip Linden!
Jeska Linden: For anyone who hasn't been to a Town Hall before - this is how they work! Philip will start with questions which were posted in the forums before opening up for questions from the audience.
Jeska Linden: Please do not simply shout out questions, instead all questions can be sent to me (Jeska Linden) in the form of an IM. Questions will be answered, as time permits, in the order they appear on my screen.

Philip Linden: hang on while I figure out how to sit down ;)

Jeska Linden: Please don't submit your technical support questions, as they will be skipped over. Also, please try to keep your questions as concise as possible to allow the best flow of conversation. :)
Jeska Linden: And for those of you who have joined us here in Pooley, I'd like to please ask you all to hold your IMs and offers of friendship until the end and be sure to keep your comments to a dull roar so things don't get too confusing.
Jeska Linden: So shhh! :)
Jeska Linden: Take it away Philip :)

Philip Linden: OK... hi everyone
Philip Linden: I haven't been in world for a town hall in a while
Philip Linden: But I'll try to do these monthly or so.
Philip Linden: I want to be informal and just talk mostly....
Philip Linden: but I guess I can cover some topics that I read about in the questions submitted from email and forums
Philip Linden: thanks for coming, as well.
Philip Linden: it is a delight that a meeting with me isn't the biggest draw by a long shot.
Philip Linden: I think there is even an 'opposition town hall' going on
Philip Linden: hello to the folks that are listening there :)
Philip Linden: OK so one topic is the growth of the mainland,
Philip Linden: and whether we are shifting more to islands.
Philip Linden: Today, the islands are about 500 sims
Philip Linden: and the mainland about 1400 or so.
Philip Linden: So islands are about 1/3 of the land mass of SL
Philip Linden: Robin told me we estimate that the mainland will grow by 1000 sims or so by year end...
Philip Linden: almost doubling from the current size.
Philip Linden: I've got two computers up so I can give you more stats... hang on...
Philip Linden: Looking at the number of islands sold versus mainland...
Philip Linden: there is about the same number of sims in each, at least in terms of month to date.
Philip Linden: When we introduced islands,
Philip Linden: a big part of it was just that it was easier to implement some features, like security
Philip Linden: on an island than on the mainland,
Philip Linden: because you could do things pretty easily on a whole sim,
Philip Linden: versus just doing it on a parcel.
Philip Linden: But maybe in retrospect,
Philip Linden: we should have waited until we could do everything identically on the mainland.
Philip Linden: though it would have been more work.
Philip Linden: The spirit of SL is in part in the feeling of community...
Philip Linden: the experience of being part of a bucnh of people that are rebuilding reality.
Philip Linden: and that is something that is much more a feeling in the mainland,
Philip Linden: because of the sharing and contiguity.
Philip Linden: Yes Michi they are.
Philip Linden: I think the biggest thing that needs to happen on the mainland is better groups.
Philip Linden: because groups own and control the land that makes up communities
Philip Linden: so let me give an update on that

Jeska Linden: For those on repeater - Michi asked; "Philip, are mainland parcels going to get improved tools/access controls?"

Philip Linden: robin is the person most directly working on updates to land
Philip Linden: I mean groups.
Philip Linden: We are adding now
Philip Linden: the ability to belong to more groups
Philip Linden: the ability to have 2 person groups
Philip Linden: the ability to delegate controls within a group to any specific member
Philip Linden: inotherwards you can choose exactly which members can have which powers
Philip Linden: Robin... what were the other couple of main things?
Philip Linden: Thx R... yes those were the two I forgot.
Philip Linden: This code is working internally now.

Jeska Linden: Pacifien Massiel asked "But when should we be expecting these changes?"

Philip Linden: and should be here in the next few weeks.... on of the next few point upgrades on 1.9
Philip Linden: we do releases fast, as you all know,
Philip Linden: so I'm not sure exactly which... also these changes may go out in chunks.
Philip Linden: But clearly, groups are key to mainland growth.
Philip Linden: It is important to note, though, that there is always a tension between privacy and control and community
Philip Linden: For example, if we never allowed a banned person to fly over your parcel...
Philip Linden: that probably isn't consistent with the expereience of the mainland
Philip Linden: But I do think we need to make everything that works on the islands work on the mainland,
Philip Linden: up to that limit.
Philip Linden: I'd like to never chase people off the mainland who would like to be here but can't because of a feature.

Jeska Linden: Doreen asked : "Doreen Elytis: Philip, will it become possible to mute ppls sounds and attachments as well? They can be more offensive than speech sometimes."

Philip Linden: Doreen I think we've done some work on that... I will check.
Philip Linden: But I agree that really fine grained muting makes sense for parcels
Philip Linden: and doesn't adversely affect your neighbor

Philip Linden: Another topic was me being around... and does this mean the company is changing?
Philip Linden: For those who have been here a while and remember,
Philip Linden: I love being in SL and just hanging around or talking or making things
Philip Linden: and lately I haven't
Philip Linden: wooops I crashed!
Philip Linden: Nobody laugh.

Pathfinder Linden: whoa...did everyone crash?

Philip Linden: Well that is probably a good time for a dev update...
Philip Linden: On 1.9
Philip Linden: we have a couple of crashes.
Philip Linden: one is a crash in havok

Jeska Linden: shhhh.....

Philip Linden: and another is a crash with typing extended characters.
Philip Linden: I see the billboards :)
Philip Linden: We are testing a fix for the extended characters right now.
Philip Linden: So I think that will be up in just a bit.

Jeska Linden: Shhh.... please keep it down if you have questions send them over to me!

Philip Linden: There is a another bug where you have no money or inventory on login
Philip Linden: but if you relog you will be fine
Philip Linden: this will only happen once.

Philip Linden: OK...
Philip Linden: sorry getting another update.
Philip Linden: Relative to earlier releases, 1.9 has been really smooth.
Philip Linden: But it will take a day or so to check things like frame rates and crash rates.
Philip Linden: to see if we are doing OK statistically.
Philip Linden: work from customer support and live help, etc seems pretty good.

Philip Linden: OK so I was talking about me...
Philip Linden: how I haven't been around as much lately.
Philip Linden: There isn't anything different or changing at LL...
Philip Linden: I've just been swamped with a couple things....
Philip Linden: probably the biggest being media.
Philip Linden: we've gotten so much attention lately I've been doing a huge number of interviews and the like.
Philip Linden: Very flattering and happy that we are growing, but a real time sink.
Philip Linden: Also I've been travelling a bit more, doing interviews with candidates,
Philip Linden: and working on designing the way the company will work as we grow

Philip Linden: we have a really different and cool environment at LL...
Philip Linden: and keeping that the same as we grow is something I think is hard but achievable.
Philip Linden: A lot of what we've learned from the culture of SL is stuff we can and do apply to the culture of LL
Philip Linden: So for example we vote internally on things to set their priority,
Philip Linden: in the same way that we have the feature voting page,
Philip Linden: and we have a system where anyone who works here can send 'love' to anyone else,
Philip Linden: which means that they got help from that person or feel they did a great job.
Philip Linden: Of course, as Doc notes... it isn't a pure democracy,
Philip Linden: any more than SL is.
Philip Linden: More of a market economy for ideas.
Philip Linden: With voting as a way to make priority transparent.
Philip Linden: We've gotta bring a few of you disbelievers to the office to see for yourselves...
Philip Linden: Robin is going to work on that.
Philip Linden: :)

Philip Linden: A lot of people talk about competition...
Philip Linden: well I think we need some!
Philip Linden: It would help you guys all understand how fast we work!
Philip Linden: Seriously...
Philip Linden: when you don't have competition,
Philip Linden: it is very hard to measure us.
Philip Linden: You have no idea whether we are working fast or slow.
Philip Linden: But I can tell you this....
Philip Linden: there are still only about 25 programmers here.
Philip Linden: and the core dev/ops/web team numbers about 40.
Philip Linden: We have gotten, as a company, about 6000 distinct 'tasks' done in the last 9 months or so.
Philip Linden: Including thousands of bugfixes,
Philip Linden: and many things from the feature voting page.
Philip Linden: I think we are very fast and capable.
Philip Linden: But I appreciate, as I said,
Philip Linden: that without competition you can't really tell.
Philip Linden: So bring it on!
Philip Linden: :)
Philip Linden: With SL becoming so big, I'm sure someone will build a competitor soon.
Philip Linden: But we don't really see anyone on the horizon.
Philip Linden: The critical 'feature' that SL offers is total control for user to create anything...
Philip Linden: that is what sets us apart.
Philip Linden: So for example Project Entropia has an economy but not user-created content.
Philip Linden: And there has some user-created content but no real ability to create interactive content.
Philip Linden: these are incredibly difficult things to build.
Philip Linden: Yes croquet is very cool work!
Philip Linden: But earlier in the dev process.

Philip Linden: wow thats a lot of chat spam.
Philip Linden: Hang on we'll fix.
Philip Linden: OK that's better.
Philip Linden: OK... why don't we just talk.
Philip Linden: I'll take question from Jeska.. and also whatever you'd like to talk about.

Jeska Linden: Ok, here goes
Jeska Linden: Solar Shirakawa: Question for Phil: are we going to be stuck with a plain 2D grid for the world forever?
Jeska Linden: If you have questions please send them to me - I'll pu them in the queue!

Philip Linden: 2D versus 3D grid... good question.
Philip Linden: We built SL on a 2D grid because connecting the sims in 3D would be too much backbone bandwidth.
Philip Linden: I don't think we will change/upgrade that for a few years yet.
Philip Linden: But I agree that it should be doable in the future... stacked spaces where the sims run a 3D cube.
Philip Linden: long future though.
Philip Linden: next

Jeska Linden: n Oddfellow: regarding the eventual shape of the mainland, is there a plan, or are you just making it up as you go along?
Jeska Linden: err Clinton Oddfellow)

Philip Linden: The shape of the mainland will need to be controlled by you not us.
Philip Linden: For now we try and plan and help things look nice,
Philip Linden: but that is just training wheels.

Jeska Linden: Don't worry I've got 'em saved.

Philip Linden: Bummer!
Philip Linden: Yep we've got a fix on the way for that,
Philip Linden: but I guess we'll just have to hang in there.

Jeska Linden: Ok everyone - shhh!

Philip Linden: Sorry paul... we're working on that bug right now like I said.
Philip Linden: Nexxus I think we not increase incentives.

Jeska Linden: Nexxus Ambassador: Since LL killed both the Developer's Incentive and the Referrer Bonus programs, are these going to be replaced? Both these programs being terminated had a vastly negative effect on me and our sims.)

Philip Linden: SL is so big now that there is too much risk that these incentives are being gamed/cheated for them to be useful
Philip Linden: Qs to Jeska.

Jeska Linden: Please direct questions over here - we had a momentary sim crash :)
Philip Linden: Yes sorry for the rough process here.

Jeska Linden: Next question is..
Jeska Linden: Lacey Xavier: My question is will there every be passage from the islands on the water?

Philip Linden: Yes I'd like to be able to see/fly anywhere on the grid.
Philip Linden: Or even have void sims.
Philip Linden: But this is a long ways off... would require dynamically placing void sims, etc.
Philip Linden: I am much more concerned about FPS and crash rate.
Philip Linden: Jeska?

Jeska Linden: Goligo Pierterson: Are there any news on the new physics engine?

Philip Linden: On the new physics engine...
Philip Linden: Havok 2 and 3 have the same interface, which is different from Havok 1.
Philip Linden: Meaning that we'll be able to easily go from 2 to 3.
Philip Linden: It is important to understand why with limited resources.
Philip Linden: we are not working right now at top priority on the havok upgrade...
Philip Linden: right now crashes due to havok 1 are infrequent relative to other sim crashes.
Philip Linden: Our big goal with upgrading the physics core is to eliminate crashes to sims due to havok
Philip Linden: There won't be many visible benefits at first beyond that.
Philip Linden: Which is why we are less focused on it.
Philip Linden: We will need to do more work for better vehicles and joints and the like.
Philip Linden: Havok 2 may still make it soon,
Philip Linden: I just wanted to explain priorities... we have bigger crashes and frame rate improvements that are ahead of it.
Philip Linden: jeska?

Jeska Linden: Jon Rolland: Is there any plan to impliment real privacy in the mainland currently even owning a full sim doesn't give you a cubic meter outside of camera view from outsiders?

Philip Linden: We definitely want to improve privacy, and one issue you are referring to is moving camera into a parcel..
Philip Linden: we are working on how we can do that efficiently... so yes it is in the works.
Philip Linden: there is a challenge in that it is expensive computationally to know which parcel everyones camera is over.

Jeska Linden: Margot Abattoir: there is a rumor..that LL is not all that financially..solid?...is that one of the reasons for the less than stellar performance of SL at times...and..is LL about to be sold?

Philip Linden: Margot, are you kidding?
Philip Linden: LL is doing just fine financially.
Philip Linden: we are hiring new people for almost every role, Philip Linden: and are growing revenues at a rapid rate.

Jeska Linden: shh, i've got many questions in the queue :)

Philip Linden: OK jeska.

Jeska Linden: Doreen Elytis: Will it become possible for ISP's to join the SL network, so that the grid actually spreads to for example Europe and we can have better connections?

Philip Linden: sorry but I had to answer that one :)
Philip Linden: Yes we plan to have sims in local locations.
Philip Linden: I don't know if that means you will join as an ISP or we will get a colo space,
Philip Linden: but the architecture of SL let's us do just that.
Philip Linden: I don't know if that will happen this year in terms of first non-US deployments, but it might.
Philip Linden: Yes you can email me... philip@lindenlab.com

Jeska Linden: Trep Cosmo: When will SL get a proper updater? (Instead of forcing us to redownload the entire client every update.)

Philip Linden: I think a 'proper updater' is a great idea... but we aren't working on it right now.
Philip Linden: If you are a developer with that sort of background, send me a resume.
Philip Linden: We will keep moving toward open source... the ubrowser thing was very cool.
Philip Linden: we got some great help there.

Jeska Linden: Digital Fish: Can you give us any details on MONO?

Philip Linden: J?

Jeska Linden: You: Digital Fish: Can you give us any details on MONO?

Philip Linden: Ah... mono!

Jeska Linden: sorry :P

Philip Linden: Mono is working great internally...
Philip Linden: we have sims up with it running typical LSL content faster than before...
Philip Linden: I think we will be ready for launch within next couple months.
Philip Linden: And in preview sooner.
Philip Linden: mono, for those who don't know,
Philip Linden: is a scripting core we are switching too with much greater speed than LSL
Philip Linden: the language syntax will not change,
Philip Linden: but tight loops and the like will run much much faster.
Philip Linden: yes servers are debian
Philip Linden: existing LSL will work fine.
Philip Linden: J?

Jeska Linden: Doc Nielsen: Since 1.68 it appears that every 'update' has caused degradation of client performance to a greater or lesser extent. Are there concrete plans within a realistic and achievable timeframe to reverse this distressing trend?

Philip Linden: Doc please email me with specifics.... I need to understand stats you are seeing.
Philip Linden: we are tracking FPS and crash rates daily.
Philip Linden: and we are getting better (a lot) over last couple months on server crash rate.
Philip Linden: and are about the same on client FPS
Philip Linden: we have code in test that will speed FPS up quite a bit... so hopefully next cpl weeks.
Philip Linden: Doc please send me an email with your details.
Philip Linden: Gotta tell me specifically what problem to solve.

Jeska Linden: Ok, I've got several questions about water access rights - here's one that summarizes much of what they're asking
Jeska Linden: shhhh... :)
Jeska Linden: Myrrh Massiel: Access to open water for recreational purposes is problematic in several regards at the moment. What about making lower-load water sims available singly for private purchase, or adding navigable oceans around the mainland bottlenecks?

Philip Linden: So we are talking about water sims around the periphery of the mainland?
Philip Linden: I don't understand.... since the mainland is growing this is a private property problem.
Philip Linden: I think I don't understand, but maybe send me an email?

Jeska Linden: Gwyneth Llewelyn: . I wonder if he would care to comment on Reuben Linden's phrase "next month LL will allow "anyone to become their own Linden Lab" at Clickable Culture?

Philip Linden: Honestly I'm not sure what Reuben meant,
Philip Linden: and he isn't in the office today.
Philip Linden: I think he may have been referring to a couple of things...
Philip Linden: making it easier to bring people directly to your parcel when they are newbies...
Philip Linden: we are going to do some experiments allowing both mainland and island land owners to do that.
Philip Linden: That is probably the one he is talking about.
Philip Linden: we think that increasingly people will start SL and not go through the welcome area(s)

Jesse Linden: 555-6675

Philip Linden: if they don't want to.
Philip Linden: longer term there are going to be millions of people in here,
Philip Linden: so we will need to have many many entry points
Philip Linden: Qaz my email is philip@lindenlab.com Philip Linden: 415-243-9000 is our number.
Philip Linden: I've got 5 more minutes.

Jeska Linden: Here's the next one in the queue: Hiro Pendragon: What are the concrete things that will happen by June?

Philip Linden: By June?
Philip Linden: I'd say the biggest new thing is getting mozilla out.
Philip Linden: that will happen by june.
Philip Linden: I'd be surprised if it didn't.
Philip Linden: Yes... the ability to browse the web directly from within SL.
Philip Linden: We have embedded the gecko core in SL.
Philip Linden: first on a 2D panel, and then on a prim.
Philip Linden: Send me your resume Qaz ;)
Philip Linden: Both... on windows and on prims.
Philip Linden: Nope there is lots of stuff by june...
Philip Linden: but we try and just get the smaller stuff out as we can.
Philip Linden: J?
Philip Linden: One more question.

Jeska Linden: Qaz Paz: Will voice be Implemented into Second Life?

Philip Linden: I'm not sure, but I agree that voice would be great for those who want it.
Philip Linden: It may be that we just open up SL enough, like with better XML-RPC out, etc, that we get that for free.
Philip Linden: There are already some solutions like that in SL.
Philip Linden: But really voice chat should be done with 3D localization of the speaker...
Philip Linden: and that may be easier for us to do.
Philip Linden: But honestly I'm not sure which way we will go.
Philip Linden: It shouldn't be something everyone has to use I agree.
Philip Linden: OK one more!

Jeska Linden: :) Ice Brodie: Philip, when will various bugs, including many from beta be fixed?

Philip Linden: Ice that is way too general... which one?
Philip Linden: OK... that alpha ordering bug...
Philip Linden: I have an update on that.
Philip Linden: We have a change that should fix that alpha prob in 1.9.2 or 1.9.3

Jeska Linden: If you have more questions or if your question didn't make it into the discussion - please feel free to post it over in the Second Life Answers Forum: http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=139

Philip Linden: Avimator is really cool... I've used it.
Philip Linden: Haven't thought about how we might integrate it into SL...
Philip Linden: it seems like directly posing the avatar would be the coolest.
Philip Linden: We are doing some exploratory work on that.
Philip Linden: Max please send me an email about the texture previewer...
Philip Linden: and also if you guys want to tell me which machine ripple water got disabled on?
Philip Linden: I hadn't heard anything about that.
Philip Linden: Pacifien can you send me an email with a screenshot and which graphics card you have?
Philip Linden: Also please myrrh the same?
Philip Linden: Well there is always a tradeoff between FPS and look... how many people would accept less FPS right now ;)
Philip Linden: Tonks I'm happy to look into that as well if you want to send me an email.

Jeska Linden: Thanks for coming out everyone! :)

Philip Linden: We do our own billing here...
Philip Linden: but I can look into that specific case.
Philip Linden: Well you guys are a tough crowd,
Philip Linden: but I'll come back for more.
Philip Linden: thanks for having me.
Philip Linden: we'll schedule another in less than a month.
Philip Linden: OK?
Philip Linden: take care.

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