Town Hall with Philip Linden.
Johnny Ming: Alright, well, hi and welcome everybody to the Town Hall for May 18th, 2006, I'm Johnny Ming and joining me is Philip Rosedale, aka Philip Linden. 'Hi Philip'. And the format for this town hall is similar to the last one that we did with audio. What you need to do is direct - well first, join the group, and the group is called "Linden Town Hall Questions". Once you join that group, you can enter your question into there. If it's just a text question you can just type it into there, and Jeska will be monitoring that group and will be forwarding questions over for me to read and for Philip to answer. If you want to be part of the conference call and actually have your voice heard, you do the same thing, only, include your Skype name, and Jeska will forward that onto me, and when we're ready to have you brought into the conference, I'll actually call you. So, with that, Philip, go ahead and take it away.
Philip Linden: Yes, thank you Johnny and so, here we are in the second audio Town Hall, see how we do, we can improve our technology over time. Thanks again to Johnny for running this for us and rebroadcasting it as a stream. I think we even tried to use the new Skype broadcasting capability, but I think ran into some problems with it. I've got a couple of opening statements, and there are, well, obviously, a couple of things that folks will want to talk about, and we want to kind of give some news on that.
One thing we mentioned, the Second Life Views program, which is an attempt, an additional attempt to get thinking from people in Second Life into the walls of the company here. Obviously we spend a lot of time in world, but we're going to start flying out a randomly chosen set of people that have a variety of different skills for involvement in Second Life, so things like the amount of time people spend online, leadership capabilities like referrals, groups, chat, land ownership - just some random people chosen from the list of active users. I think we're going to try do eight people in the first program, where we'll have people here at the San Francisco offices on June 30th, I think that's the first week of that. That's one cool thing that's going on.
Philip Linden: Hello
Caller: This is John Carpenter, aka Thought Plasma. I wanted to ask you about the UBrowser, and what the status and progress was on that.
Philip Linden: Um, the UBrowser, let me take that question, but then we'll talk a little bit more before we connect everybody in, John. On the UBrowser, we did get back several bug fixes, we got back what we need. You're probably talking more about just the progress of getting Mozilla into Second Life in general. We have a working internal build of a multi-panel 2D Help and a couple of other screens that are rendered using Mozilla, rather than using the text rendering that we use today. We're going to start with a Help screen and a couple of other screens. We should probably have that in preview in the very next preview after the next release next week, so look for it then.
We definitely got a bunch of code back for the UBrowser process, and we now have something that we think works on both the Mac and the PC. We're doing 2D embedded Mozilla browsing. So, we'll do a release of that, makes that capability generalized, so that you can say, click on a prim or use a script to invoke a browser window and then we'll do. . .so I'll believe we'll go main release with that capability. Then we'll do another release with the additional capability to put the Mozilla surfaces onto prims themselves.
So, we're looking at that as two different stages because the 2D piece of it is obviously so valuable, even standing alone, that we'll do that as the first major release of the capability. But we're, it was definitely the right thing to put into UBrowser, open source context, because we definitely got several of the problems fixed from the open source community. To answer that question.
Caller: I appreciate the answer and think that it is going to make a huge difference in Second Life and I think the more open sourcing that can be done, the better the platform and everything can be. You can tap a huge pool.
Philip Linden: Great. Thank you.
Caller: Thank you.
Philip Linden: So, let me go back to the economy question. The Linden Dollar has gone up, recently. That is to say, it has gone down in value in relation to the US$. We made a change to the Terms of Service which was designed to impart a service notice that in the future we might sell Linden Dollars on the Linden Dollar exchange. I wanted to talk about that a little bit.
Part of this is repeating what I said in forum postings, and part of this is new information. The thing that I said prior to the forum postings is 'We are not currently selling Linden Dollars'. We're not, that is to say, we're not making any sales of Linden Dollars on the exchange that basically generate US Dollar revenue for Linden Lab. We did put that advice into the Terms of Service, but it is not something that we are currently doing.
Furthermore, as is pretty self evident, the management of an economy, whether it be the economy of a country, or the economy of Second Life, it's essential that anything that happens be completely documented, so that everybody has the same information as to what's happening to the money supply. If we're selling Linden Dollars, how many Linden Dollars are we selling, why are we doing it. What are the pools from which we are collecting those Linden Dollars, etc. So, in any event where we begin selling Linden Dollars, we will tell everybody what our strategy is and then we'll tell people when we sell Linden Dollars. Furthermore, and I did put this in the initial forum postings, the community should keep in mind that there are really two different ways that one could sell Linden Dollars, from the vantage point of Linden Lab.
One is the case where we charge you for something, like, let's say, we were charging for some new feature in Second Life. Consider, like we charge to create a group today - there's a Linden Dollar charge to create a group. And that therefore are Linden Dollars that we are collecting for providing some sort of capability or service. So, for example, uploading something has a Linden Dollar fee associated with it and it generates a cost to us because we have to buy servers to store the files that you upload. When that happens, in cases like that, there are these pools of Linden Dollars which are essentially just Linden Dollars that we collect from the community by charging for services and you could imagine us potentially selling those Linden Dollars on the exchange.
Now, that type of activity is just sort of using our own micro-currency as an effective way to charge people for things - it doesn't change the money supply. In other words, it doesn't make more Linden Dollars in the world, so it doesn't change the economy if we do something like that. So that's a category of a way to sell Linden Dollars that Linden Lab could do that doesn't have an effect on the - that doesn't change the amount of money in circulation. Wanted to clarify that.
The other thing that people have had, understandably, more concerns about would be the case in which we would create new money and then sell it to people. Obviously when that happens, you're increasing the money supply and you don't want to increase the money supply beyond the sort of natural economic growth of the environment. Now for those who follow the growth of the economy, and by the way, there's a new economic statistics page that is in the community section of the website where you can actually see these statistics. The month to month growth in transactions in world is very very substantial, so there are hundreds of millions of new Linden Dollars, each month - there's hundreds of millions of dollars in growth in the amount of overall transactions that go on in world. At present, the new money that we put into the economy which is primarily in the form of stipends is considerably less than the growth of the economic activity in the economy.
So, I just wanted to point out that although their has been some devaluation in the Linden Dollar, and we hate to see that - the amount of money that we're actually putting into the economy, is, from an economic theory standpoint, is probably less than you would expect if you want to put in - so for example the United States manufactures new money at a rate that is approximately equal to the growth of it's GDP, that is, the growth of sales of goods and services to maintain the economy. We're actually doing considerably less than that, so we actually expect our economy to go in the opposite direction - so we expect the Linden Dollars to become more valuable over time, rather than less.
The second thing is, I'd like to advise everybody, that there are a couple of changes that will hopefully have a positive effect on the value of the Linden Dollar. One is that we made the first cut that we announced a couple of weeks ago to the Dwell pool. We made a 50% cut to the Dwell Incentives this week - that translates to a change of several million Linden Dollars in total Dwell payments - that is, that money will not be added to the economy, anymore. The second step will be to remove the Dwell pool altogether, and that will happen on June the 13th.
The second thing that's happening that will happen at the beginning of next week is the introduction of a new way of purchasing Linden Dollars, particular for those people that are buying a lot of Linden Dollars, or speculating on the Linden Dollar currency, and that something called the Linden Buy Order - and that's the ability to set the price at which you would like to buy Linden Dollars if the price reaches the point that you set. It's a capability similar to the way we sell Linden Dollars today, where you set a price, and when the market reaches that point they sell at your price. Well, you're going to be able to do the same thing with buying. That will create more open buy orders and more open buy orders will generally drive the economy toward higher Linden Dollar value. So, that's something that is happening there.
And the third thing I wanted to just touch on, was one point with the next version of Second Life. We're going to release that version next week. We held off on releasing it last week, or this week because we had done some better, we're building up our QA process now, and one piece of that was we're doing a better, more thorough job with external testing of many many different graphics cards and the new lighting capabilities and more general graphics capabilities that we had put into the preview, we found out that they just weren't stable enough to release on the main grid. So we pushed that release off, but it is going to happen next week, and you will be able to get access to it. So that's all these flexible prims and this occlusion culling speed up, which should substantially improve the framerates. We'll be telling you what the framerates are statistically as that release goes out.
The next preview that you should see after that will include a couple of interesting things - one of them will be these very substantial improvements to the group tools. Those are an internal, we've had three developers working on those, they are in internal preview right now, and the added group capabilities are ones that everyone's been wanting - being able to be in more groups, to be in two person groups, those are two simple things, but much more substantially, there's better communication, messaging and sending of objects to everyone in a group. And then, the other really cool thing is that you can define a role inside a group. So a role would be like what we call a Title today, like an officer or a member. You can define a number of different roles within the group, and for each role, you can define the exact capabilities that you can assign to people. So, you can assign, say, the ability to return objects off of land or something to a single individual in the group. So, you can sort of deputize people to have different capabilities, and that's something that has been important, obviously, for a lot of different reasons. And that's going to be a big improvement when it gets out there, and it should be in the next preview after next week's release. So, let me stop with that Johnny. We've got somebody, somebody's here to talk to us already.
Johnny Ming: Yeah, uh, we have Prokofy. Prokofy are you there.
Philip Linden: Hello Prokofy
Caller: Hello Philip. I wanted to ask you about a change that's coming in the next patch which will enable the private islands to sell their deeded land parcels out of the client apparently in the For Sale list-
Philip Linden: Yes.
Caller: and, so my question is, have you thought about what kind of impact that will have on the economy, and how that will affect the mainland rentals business and land sales?
Philip Linden: Well, we're actually planning to add the same capability in a way that, I think the right way to do that on the mainland, or the most equivalent sort of capability is to allow, along with the group enhancements that we're doing, that I just talked a little bit about, the thing that makes sense to do is to create a capability that will allow the sort of controls that can be imposed by the members of the group to be applied to parcels of land without having those parcels of land having to be formally deeded into the groups ownership. I think that's something that we've been talking to people about and I know that Robin's got that on her plate. I don't, I don't think it's in the preview that's scheduled to go up after this, but the goal would be to provide the same set of capabilities on both sides, and the one that's obviously been missing on the mainland, right, is that you can't if you will, if you would like to as a group, you cannot establish the same kind of zoning controls on the mainland that you can easily establish on Estate land, on the islands. Does that make sense?
Caller: It does, but I think to level the advances, what would be important is to try to get the group tool reforms done faster so that the mainlanders can do things like have the deeding of televisions for example be something that the tenants can do with something that's like a junior officer status let's say, with the rights and privileges of officers and how they differ from the island
Philip Linden: Right, so that's definitely what's in that. And that's definitely in that next preview that role based permissions system, so that is going to come up immediately after, so it will probably be released in the next week, or the week after that. So you're right, there's a gap, I don't like that, I agree. I wish we could do those things at exactly the same time. It's just in the one case, the Estate side work was easier.
Caller: Okay great, so the gap sounds like a short one though.
Philip Linden: I think it should be just a couple of weeks, thanks. Good talking to you Prokofy.
Johnny Ming: Alright Philip, the next question is a text question from Bobby Dayton who asks: "Can I ask what the next big change is after the new things in 1.10?"
Philip Linden: 1.10, I tell you, we've been moving pretty quickly. I think that the big change that will really effect people beyond 1.10, beyond this current preview set will be the introduction of well, of these group tools that I just talked about are a big deal. Mozilla though, is obviously a huge deal. As we get that stabilized, as I said, there are two phases there. Doing it in world as 2D panels that you can instantiate on screen and then doing it on prims - fully editable Mozilla on prims. I think those capabilities are going to be pretty radical in terms of what- I can't really imagine what people are going to do with that. I think it will be a very big, what would you say, sort of a phenomenological change to what people are doing in Second Life. So, that's the one that I'm really interested in seeing.
But you know, we've got a lot of things going on. We've got some amazing avatar improvements coming down the pipe that I don't think anybody's seen yet, but we're doing some really interesting work there so, you know, stay tuned. I think the biggest thing we're going to try to do is get on a faster release schedule where you're going to see us, you're going to see us making smaller, safer, better tested releases every couple of weeks. Which is what we've been trying to do for a while now, and I think we're going to get there. We've also grown quite a bit. We've hired a bunch of great new developers and a few program managers, a bunch of people have been added to the Linden Lab team. Our getting up speed, that's just going to help us move faster.
Johnny Ming: Great. Calex Metropolitan asks, "Considering the rampant use of copyright or copy protected logos, ripped DVDs, etc. sold in world. Why hasn't this been stopped, especially in light of DCMA and IP rights, and isn't LL ultimately liable to any suit by the motion picture association?"
Philip Linden: Well, let me explain that, it's a great question. We abide by the DMCA and handle it in exactly the same way that websites do. So what that means is that if you are a copyright holder and you find that someone in Second Life has a piece of content that infringes your copyrights, you can file a request, there's a DMCA form, you'll find it on our website. What we do in that case is ask the user who has the content that you claim to be your property to take that content down. Or, if their not online or whatever, we'll sort of return it to their inventory, take it down. You have to, then there's an opportunity for a sort of counter complaint by the individual. Ultimately if the two individuals can't work out their issues regarding the ownership, there's ultimately a sort of legal escalation that they can go through, that involves them actually outside of Second Life getting into a dispute over it.
So, we provide exactly the same capability there that you see an ISP honoring with respect to websites, and because content in Second Life can always be tied to an owner and a creator there's a perfectly good line of, chain of accountability basically around that. So we respond immediately to complaints that we get about copywritten content. Haven't really had that many complaints, so I think we're doing all the right things. We're complying with the DMCA and doing everything we need to be doing.
Johnny Ming: I think it's pronounced (chuckle) China. . .chinarut? I'm not sure. Basically, I love Skype. I love the Second Life names, they're so interesting. They ask, "Are there events that are more focused on the vision for Linden Lab and Second Life much like a keynote?" They're asking, I guess uh, in light of attending the Town Hall right now.
Philip Linden: Right, oh my gosh. Well, I love to keynote, and I love to talk about the vision of Second Life, so maybe we can figure out though, I think it is probably inappropriate to just, you know, confer the excitement that I know I have, and that we all have about where Second Life is going in this kind of a context, because, the Town Hall meetings, should be a discussion, where, we're trying to, I'm trying to as quickly as possible answer as many questions as I can and get as much feedback as I can from other people. I don't want to clog up too much of that with excitement about Second Life, but, I think it's a great question. We'll look into, maybe we should do that, have a session where we can use this kind of a format to just talk about the growth.
I guess just, you know, as a couple of sentences, I am convinced more and more as I see Second Life grow, and as I see the types of content that people are creating inside Second Life that what we have here is something that is a very generalized collective dream. A very broad set of capabilities... and when I think about capacity and I think about planning now - I think about something that becomes a big piece of the internet. Something that has an economic model and a content model and an innovation model and a creativity model that is just like the internet.
And I think that we collectively as users, and as Linden Lab, the company - we've got to think about something here that is going to become as big as the Internet. That's going to become comparable in its size, complexity and deployment to the Internet. And that means a lot of things to us - it means that we'll have to change some of the things that we've done if we grow that quickly. It means that will have to get things happening, we'll have to have ways of deploying our simulators, land in Second Life at rates that are probably way beyond what we could possibly do as one company. So, that's just one thing, but let me, let's get back to talking everybody, and I'll take as a takeaway to think about, you know, maybe, a sort of keynote or a vision statement format that we could do.
Johnny Ming: This is a voice caller.
Philip Linden: Cool
Johnny Ming: It is Sandy Russells. Sandy are you there?
Johnny Ming: Hi Sandy
Philip Linden: Hey Sandy
[general connection confusion]
Caller: The question I have is I'm trying to look at putting in, quote unquote, more serious applications, and looking at buildings in more complicated kinds of worlds. Are you looking at any ability to import 3D objects from external 3D. Things like CAD sources, or mathematical surfaces, or chemical molecules and those kinds of things. As opposed to. . those are the kinds of things that would be really difficult using the tools that exist in world... and I'm gonna shut up because the audio's wacked out.
Philip Linden: You know, people have already done some scripted methods where, you can convert, you can bring content in-world by just essentially rezzing objects and then parsing a source file to figure out the objects to make - so I expect that a lot more of that's going to happen. We certainly think it makes a lot of sense to give everybody the ability to do that - there's no question, but the importing of different formats into Second Life is going to be a must. The challenge with Second Life, right, is that the primitive model that we use, the sort of modified, constructed solid geometry model is very very compact, so we're only spending forty bytes of data or so to describe a prim. Where if the prim is articulated as a vertex object that has all these moveable vertices on it, it takes up a lot more space. So part of why stuff can stream in so quickly as you fly around Second Life is because this representation is quite compact.
The, so the challenge in converting from different formats, sort of converting the vertices and objects in those formats into the prim format of Second Life. But what I think is going to happen is, as we open Second Life up more, and create more generalized import and export paths - people are definitely going to build more plug-ins and converters that will allow you to convert from different formats, but the challenge will be, if you take something like a car from a video game - from Maya or something - a completely different format, you've got to figure out how to convert it into prims for Second Life, and that's a hard problem.
By the way, there was a caller or I think a typer on the last Town Hall that had asked a question about CSG and our support for CSG - Constructive Solid Geometry. She sent me a follow-up piece of email that spoke to what the question really was, which was, 'When are we going to do subtraction and union and the other Boolean operations that you can do?' What this means is if you take, what it would be great to be able to do in Second Life would be to be able to take a primitive, intersect it with another primitive, then use that primitive as a subtractor, meaning it kind of carves out the other primitive where the second primitive was intersected with it. That is something that makes a lot of sense, and I think you'll see us looking into if we can do that in the future. We know we'd like to do it. Second Life's system is not at all inconsistent with being able to do that. So, I appreciate the follow-up I got there. It is something that we're taking a look at, and I apologize for not understanding the question better last time we all got together. So, let's keep goin'.
Johnny Ming: Great, the next question is TraderOne Whiplash. Are you there TraderOne?
Caller: Yes I am. And I'd like to thank you. I have a question regarding the recent disruptions, and what is Linden Labs beyond the obvious disciplinary fourteen day suspensions and that kind of thing? As a club owner and manager the disruptions have caused obviously caused to me a small amount of economic hardships, but to some of the vendors and creators, people who rely heavily on their linden income - to lose Second Life for even a couple of minutes can be a hardship and to have people locked out of the game for four or five, six hours.
I realize Linden Labs works very hard to get the game back up online, but it seems that right now TOS violations are treated through suspensions and the like, and it's almost a toothless tiger. Just create another role, come back in and crash the Grid or bomb a club. What other considerations are being given to this disruptive behavior, including, without revealing anything, are you considering criminal or civil action against these people?
Philip Linden: First of all, that's a great question. Let me say "Yes, we are considering civil and criminal actions and we are pursuing them." If you, if you shut down somebody's website in the real world, if you deny service to it, if you do something to break it- you are impairing their ability to do commerce, just as you said. So if you are a club owner in Second Life, that is exactly like being a website on the web, and in the United States, in particular, interrupting somebody's commerce on the web is a serious crime. It's a federal crime. There's a cyber crimes unit that actually looks into those types of crimes. I've mentioned this before: in cases where we're able to establish a reasonable equivalence between that kind of commercial service and sort of mapping things that people are doing abusively on to that. We have been, and will continue, and will get better at turning those people that are creating those disruptions over to, in general, the FBI here in the United States. We are serious about doing that, and we have done it. We have been providing that information to authorities when people have taken the Grid down or even taken down a piece of the Grid. So, we're going to get better at that.
But let me add a couple more things. Another thing I suspect will happen as Second Life grows, and I think it's sort of the right solution to many, sort of criminal acts that are below the threshold, where you would see authorities getting involved, real world authorities. That is, I suspect that people are going to create groups and general collections of people that add to their ban-list the names of these people that are generally shared amongst these coalitions or groups. I think that's sort of an emergent phenomena that we haven't seen yet because we're too small, but I think we're rapidly getting to the point where we are going to start seeing that, and my suspicion is that the kind of social pressure - the fear of being, you know, banned from potentially very large collective land masses, will be something that will also serve as a kind of civil redress that people will take. I don't think we get a choice as a company about whether that happens or not, I think it'll just happen. And if anything, I'm a little bit surprised that we haven't seen it already. If, of course, someone may call in or type in and tell me that I'm wrong and we actually are already seeing it. But I think that that's something that is also going to happen.
But, we are, we are taking, from our standpoint, if people are unquestionably interrupting commercial activities of other people, we are going to spend a bunch of time to make clear to the government here in the United States that those are cyber crimes and should be treated in exactly the same way, and the tracking down and everything can happen in the same way that it does on the internet. People have got IP addresses and logs and different things that you can use to find them. So, that's what we're doing.
Caller: Okay a follow-up to your comment now. I think part - I am aware of there are ban groups and there are sims and cooperative sim owners who will ban people who disrupt the individual groups, as we know it, but it's very difficult as a club manager to just ban someone because someone said yes they attacked my club or this is the name of the person who attacked the Grid for example. And from a deterrent standpoint, I would like to recommend that, when we have an attack on the Grid that totally disrupts our sales, even for a few minutes - that requires that Linden Labs has to take action, and bring down the Grid and go into the different maintenance statuses, that that be publicized, that the person's avatar name not be hidden. These are people who are, the anonymity that we allow them by not publishing their avatar name on the forums, it allows them, and encourages - maybe not encourages them, but it allows them to feel that they can do it again - and I would strongly recommend that Linden Labs consider taking that step that these people who create these massive disruptions be publicized so that everyone knows who it is.
Philip Linden: I'll take that into consideration - I think you make a good point, particularly for those cases where we're talking about a level of attack on the grid that would in any case result in a banning for the individual. Thanks, I think that's a fair point.
Johnny Ming: Okay, the next question is from Meno Rich. Meno, are you there?
Caller: Hi, yes, this is Meno. I had a question about policies concerning politics: First, domestic politics as the campaign season heats up in the US - what is considered acceptable campaigning, what isn't? Also, international politics, things like Tibet and China - are there any issues that you face yet in what is permissible and what isn't permissible, in that regard?
Philip Linden: So you're talking about campaigning? Help me understand here, you're talking about political campaigns in the real world that are going on as an adjunct in Second Life? That is happening a little bit.
Caller: Okay, I haven't come across it, I'm just wondering if you have any policies, about campaigning, what is acceptable in terms of Second Life behavior, and what isn't? And the international issues and whatnot-
Philip Linden: Right, right. Well, obviously, we try and be very tolerant and broad in our global restrictions on people's activities, meaning that people can talk about real world politics, or building with prims, or anything they like in Second Life. So, I think that we'll watch what happens, you're right, with Second Life growing so much - obviously, with it's capabilities, its an incredible place for, potentially, for real world politics and real world issues. There have been a number of charitable events for example that have been very successful in Second Life. Our policy at this point is not to have one. We're just trying to live by the basic Community Standards, and allow people to do as much as they would like in Second Life without violating, you know, harassing each other or violating each other's freedoms. I don't think we're going to get- I don't see us adding more detail to address a particular carve out around real world politics. Great question.
Caller: Okay, thanks.
Johnny Ming: The next caller is Mercury Metropolitan from the Teen Grid.
Philip Linden: Cool, right on. I can see him connecting. He's trying, he's trying, he's trying.
Caller: [recorded message] Hey this is Ryan, sorry I couldn't answer your call. Leave a message and I'll call you back.
Johnny Ming: Whoops
Philip Linden: [laughter]
Johnny Ming: I don't think it's supposed to work that way.
Philip Linden: Let's leave him a message, this is going to become like a morning show. [low, ominous voice] Ryan, this is Second Life calling.
Johnny Ming: Ah, I love it. We'll try that again.
Philip Linden: The Matrix have you, that's what we should say. The Matrix has you Ryan.
Caller: Hello Philip, I just have a question about recent posts in Robin's blog about the Second Life Views program.
Philip Linden: Yes
Caller: Can you give us a little bit [audio stops]
Philip Linden: You there Ryan?
Johnny Ming: I think the Matrix has him.
Philip Linden: Well, I'm going to have to, I'm gonna guess - I think the Matrix did get him. You know, the views program, well, now we all have to guess what Ryan had to ask there about it.
Johnny Ming: His question was, let me see here: "Can you give us a little more information about the program. Also, will the program be limited to Main Grid Residents, or will Teen Grid be included as well?"
Philip Linden: There's no reason, I'm sure will just include Teen Grid Residents in parallel on that. It's the type of program that doesn't have any - there's no reason why we would exclude Teen Grid Residents. The number of teens over all is quite a bit smaller than the Main Grid, so the number of teens to adults that we might get in that program will probably be appropriate to the general population size, but, yeah, absolutely. Matter of fact, I'll make a note about that, and ask Robin, pass that along to Robin regarding including the Teen Grid. But yeah, the program there is one where - it's just an additional thing that we're going to try to you know, maintain a different type of communication with Second Life users. We just, we thought we might find it effective to have a really intensive couple- a day, a couple of days of sit down meetings where we can take a group of Users that's pretty diverse and do thing like, you know, give them a demo here in the office of a new feature, and then get their feedback. Get their feedback where they've got a bunch of time to sit down and get up on the whiteboard if they'd like to talk about it. It's an additive program. It will be fascinating to see how it works. I hope it works great.
Johnny Ming: Lola is asking, "When is the new tree program going to be implement, and also, are there any plans for a new prim shape or features to prims like rounded corners, etc, and when will our prim limits be increase?"
Philip Linden: Well, let's see, I guess I'll go backwards from the end. Prim limits increase are based on a couple of things: physics engine and the way in which we send discreet objects down to you. I don't have a specific time. I think our performance needs to be a little bit better on the server side before we increase again. Having said that, we have been running better lately in terms of server speed. We'll keep looking at it. I wish I had an answer. I don't have a specific 'with the next release or in the second from now release we're going to increase the prim limits', but our plan is to keep doing that whenever we can in a way that doesn't deal too much with - that doesn't negatively impact framerate, or script performance, or sim performance for everybody- for everything else.
Rounded prims, we've had some interesting thoughts about how to do that, but we have not had - we don't have a specific, we don't have work in progress on that yet. We're still looking for a way to do that that would be, that would work really well when you, say, connect prims together and texture prims. So [pause] Rob actually- newsflash, Robin brings me the message that we will bring in a Teen for the first program, so thanks for that feedback. So, anyway, on the prims - we're not doing any current work on rounding prims. What was the first part of that question Johnny?
Johnny Ming: Let's see. The new tree program.
Philip Linden: Oh, the new trees. I think you're referring to the Speedtree work that we've done. I'm sorry I don't have a date on that either. I haven't, and I don't have an update on it. I haven't seen those trees demo'd here internally in a while. I don't have a target. We do, we're definitely going to put them in - it's a great enhancement to the tree capabilities, and we've - it's definitely something that we should do. We've done a bunch of the work on that. I'm going to take you to Speedback to go investigate that a little bit. If I find anything else, I'll try to get us to post about it.
Johnny Ming: Davinci asks, actually Davinci and NinjaFoo both ask about the future short and long-term of the Linux version.
Philip Linden: Well, the short answer is, I don't know, let's see, the Linux version is available now in - I mean, we're doing continuous work on it, we have a person who's continually working on improvements to it. I don't know when it's going to roll up to the main download page. I know it's getting more stable. Yeah, that's another 'no good answers from Philip Linden' question. But we're definitely happy with the performance. The Linux client generally runs as fast as the PC client. We, obviously we're also supporting Mac. We have no intention to change our, to reduce our platform support. If anything, we'd like to increase it. I just don't have a date on when that Linux client will roll from its current Alpha status, but it's right there on the download page today, so you can get right to it. I know we've got a couple of significant bugs on it, and off the top of my head I don't have timelines on fixing them.
Johnny Ming: Slaz is asking, "What new scripting features are going to be coming out in the new version?"
Philip Linden: Well, the biggest new feature that is just mind blowing is the HTTP request feature. That is coming out next week. For those of you who have used the Preview, it's pretty amazing. We've got an ability to issue an HTTP request. So, to talk to, if you're a prim with a script running - you can talk to a Web server, you can ask a question and you can get back data from the Web server. It's done in a very simple way - the scripting language, and the response can come back in, I think, a couple of hundred milliseconds. So, a fraction of a second compared to the substantial delay times that we have on the email and XML/RPC features today. So I think that is going to be radical. The first time I saw the feature I was walking by someone's desk, and I literally went back to my desk and started programming in Preview and playing around with it. So, that's going to be a really neat feature.
Johnny Ming: Shy Matthis, are you there?
Caller: I was wondering if there's been any looking into, or research in the possibility of translating Second Life to other forms of interfaces in the near or far future.
Philip Linden: So, what kind of interfaces are you talking- are you wanting to see?
Caller: Well, what I wanted to see isn't really publicly released/wide spread yet, so just any type, or any other alternatives.
Philip Linden: What we'd like to do - the basic answer is yes, everybody's interested in, and so are we. We've actually done some really interesting human interface work that hopefully we're going to a little bit of publishing on soon so folks will be able to see what work we did there. Our general vision is to expose the interface into Second Life so that you can connect anything to it. If you look at things like that new Nintendo Wii controller - those are the types of things that would just be unbelievable in Second Life. And there's not really a reason - it's extremely simple to patch those in if you have the right kind of, just open interface.
Johnny Ming: Next question is from Leon from the Teen Grid. He says, "I have a feeling that people from the teen grid in Second Life have a lot of stuff left out, content from the Main Grid - not including the mature stuff, so is Linden Lab going to put some new stuff that is exclusively for the Teen Grid?"
Philip Linden: Linden Lab's general policy is to not build very much, if any content, so, I think a better way to say that is, are we going to work harder to get there to be - the Teen Grid is going to have more content inherently as it grows, in the same way that the Main Grid did, but I think there's also an opportunity to bring more content from the Main Grid to the Teen Grid, and I believe that's something that we're working on right now. The concern there is that obviously that content be appropriate for the Teen Grid and that that's reasonably protected - but I believe we are working on a transfer mechanism, or a meeting place where content can be sort of brought over that way. And that's something that we're gonna do.
Johnny Ming: Okay. I think this is Michael Brown. It looks like it says T-Y-A-S at the end - I'm not sure what that is.
Philip Linden: That's the great thing about names in Second Life, you don't usually have to say them.
Johnny Ming: Yeah. I wish I had Dr. Sbaitso here, I could just type it, and have it try and mangle or interpret it, right.
Philip Linden: [chuckle]
Johnny Ming: For those of you who don't know what Dr. Sbaitso is -
Philip Linden: I don't.
Johnny Ming: -it's a speech synthesis program from the eighties that was fun to play pranks on people, but not very practical.
Philip: Let me just say thanks to - speaking of speech synthesis, let me say thanks to Prokofy who's valiantly synthesizing speech for us now as quickly as she can - let's see if she types that.
Johnny Ming: So, this is an interesting question: "Is Second Life a Kingdom, a Republic, a Democracy, Communist or Anarchy?"
Philip Linden: [laughter] Gosh. Well, as Second Life grows, and as the freedom of land owners and users and implementers to do anything they want grows and grows. Again, as I said, if it's going to be as big as it seems like it's going to be, it's going to be a very free and open place so, I think what's such an interesting answer is, 'All of the above', right. There's going to be, there's going to be an example of everything that you just said in there. I think at its highest level it is going to be - it is going to be a system that is fundamentally open. I don't think there's a simple word for that. Democracy doesn't really capture that. Definitely Democracy is a logical outcome of emergent decision making without central control, but I think calling Second Life inherently democratic is sort of missing the point.
Second Life is open and there will be a lot of different interpretations of that and restrictions that are regional in nature. So, our goal as the government, to the extent that we have to be called that, of Second Life, is simply to preserve a level playing field, and allow people to do anything they want there. Or, allow people to do anything they want, in the context of each other. So, I guess that's really not a very fun answer, but it's definitely going to be a lot like the Internet, and that means it's going to be open, and highly extensible, and very very broadly used. I don't think a single name's going to work.
Johnny Ming: Sure. John Galt is asking, it's a statement, then a question: "This town hall is great because of voice. What is the future integration of voice into Second Life?"
Philip Linden: Well, we're thinking lots right now, there've been lots of people using voice in Second Life, as everyone knows already. We're doing it right now. There are also some amazing possibilities with voice. There are ways to, even prototypically, extend Second Life to use voice pretty effectively - tie that to property, tie that to objects, etc. So, I think that we're definitely going to see a lot of voice use. Our concerns have been, and continue to be, great ways of bringing voice into Second Life that don't alienate those who don't want to use voice. You know the risk that you increase the communicative capability, or the sort of bandwidth, if you will, of communication, while at the same time reducing it in a different way by forcing people to lose some of the freedom that they have in defining who they are is tough - that's a hard tradeoff.
Having said that, I think that we need to think positively about voice in general - in other words, we need to as designers, look at what people are going to do anyway very rapidly, and then say, 'Is there a way we can accelerate that, or make that work better, maybe add features, capabilities, or implementation details that tend to make it easier to protect people's privacies where they want to have those privacies?' Again, that's not a specific direction, but I guess the answer I give is, I think we're closer now to feeling like voice is something that Second Life needs, but we're still troubled by exactly how to do that effectively, and we're thinking about it right now.
Johnny Ming: Sure. John asks, "What sort of support will you have for in game radio stations, and anything that might benefit them?" and a shout-out stating: "Second Life Public Radio loves you guys!"
Philip Linden: Correct me if I'm wrong, Johnny, but as a domain expert here maybe you can help me, I think that the existing capabilities that we have for radio in Second Life are probably pretty good. I don't know what we need to do at a level of system features to make it work better. I don't think there's anything global above the user driven, land driven model for radio broadcasts that makes sense. I don't imagine some sort of ubiquitous channel set for Second Life. I think that, as a radio station, the entirely user driven approach right now is working really well. I don't know if you have anything to add to that?
JMing: No, I mean, I'm perfectly content - although I'm not running a radio station at the moment, but I mean, for podcasting with Second Life, I wish there was a better way to maybe, to reach out to more of the Residents - we have about 3000 people tuning in regular right now, and you know, considering how many people are probably active on the forums, and would like our content, that's probably about right. It would be nice to maybe have other mediums for people that maybe aren't in the forums to market to, but I'm not looking for any support at this point - we have advertisers.
Philip Linden: [chuckle] Yep, cool.
Johnny Ming: Menubar Memorial, who has a great name by the way, asks, "Can you give us Macintosh users any good words about future plans? What about TCPIP?" I'm not sure what that means.
Philip Linden: Well, I'm going to guess that TCPIP means-
Johnny Ming: They're not still using AppleTalk are they?
Philip Linden: -no, god, no we're not. Yeah, Second Life is very much IP based technology. TCP might refer to the fact that on some system stacks, TCP, for different types of transmission will work better. We are looking at reengineering parts of Second Life to better use TCP. Today we use UDP streaming for most of the data transmission that we send, and there are some problems with that. We're, in some cases, generating more packet loss than we'd like to - there are other cases where we probably should use TCP, rather than sort of semi-reliable UDP - so that's technologically something we're looking at, and I don't know if the questioner there is referring to a stack level performance difference in something like induced packet loss on the Mac. You know, the really good news on the Mac is the universal binary, and the performance on the Intel based Macs. They're just remarkable.
You know, from my perspective, they're sort of the first Mac that is worth the money on a capabilities basis when you compare just the raw horsepower of the machine to the raw horsepower of an equivalent PC, it's better now. They're just amazingly- they run Second Life amazingly well. I think Mac still has a, if I could use the bully pulpit here, I think Mac still has a problem with the way they control driver releases on the graphics side. Mac/Apple will sometimes delay a bug fix in a driver release in a way that really hurts the 3D community, not just Second Life, but other products that are high end users, high complexity users of 3D cards and devices. I'd love to see them get better at that.
Johnny Ming: Yeah, and I guess Boot Camp is an interesting thing that they just came out with. It's in Beta right now, but you can dual boot onto Windows XP and there's rumor that they are going to actually make it an overlay so that you'll be able to launch a Windows app within Aqua, which will be pretty amazing when that actually comes out.
Philip Linden: Wow. I hadn't heard about that. I know I'm just at the point now, where, after all these years, as an old guy I guess, programming - I'm finally going to get myself a Mac. Give it a shot. As folks probably know, we're almost like half Mac - many of our developers have both Mac and PCs on their desks. I myself have never really gotten into a Mac, so if anyone wants to send me tips on how to-
Johnny Ming: or just send you one, right?
Philip Linden: - find happiness. Or, just send me a Mac or two. Please do.
Johnny Ming: I'll take one, too. I think I'm going to try one of the new MacBook Pros. I think they uh, I kind of have the same sentiment. I had a, I guess it was a PowerBook G4 and I went right back to my PC very quickly. Just wasn't quite fast enough. Okay, next question is Bob Carson. Which, by the way, I guess it's about four more questions. Bob Carson asks, "Will pay chairs be eliminated or curtailed, and is it appreciated how it effects commerce for those merchants in areas adjacent to these places?"
Philip Linden: Well, we're not, we didn't build camping chairs, which I think is what that question is about. Obviously, we didn't build those, people built camping chairs as a way of kind of sharing traffic revenues with the people who sit on their land and obviously that's just one of the things that's a use of that incentive that's illogical - it doesn't - it's not rewarding better content. Probably that will have a dynamic effect on the nearby merchants, but, again, our economy's getting so large and successful that the really successful businesses should certainly be able to, sponsor, and I wouldn't be surprised in some cases to see some people to keep the camping chairs running because maybe they're finding that paying someone to sit in a camping chair generates enough business for the store next door that it actually makes sense to do. They're not necessarily going to be eliminated as a result of our taking away the traffic program. The traffic program is just going to stop providing the compensation that was able to justify the existence of some of them at least.
Johnny Ming: Sure. Tyler is asking, "Is there ever going to be the possibility for several people to edit a script at the same time, possibly with some Undo capabilities and such in case they don't quite agree?" That would be pretty interesting.
Philip Linden: Give me that one again, I don't understand. . .
Johnny Ming: It almost sound like, you know, for those of you who know UNIX - CVS. I'm not sure. "Is there going to be the possibility for several people to edit a script at the same time?"
Philip Linden: I think that would be very cool, if you look at some of the Web 2.0 word processors you see the ability to do that. I'd love to see us do that. I certainly don't have any work planned on it, but that could be very cool - I like that feature. Perhaps I'll plug that into our task system here.
Johnny Ming: Tyler Stein asks, "Why is there a limit on linking objects, and not be able to use a script on 31 objects or less?"
Philip Linden: I think that what we're talking about there is the 31 linked object limit for physical objects. Doesn't have to do with scripting. I think, I may be saying that wrong, but. . . If we're talking about the physical object limit, it is because the current version of Havok that we're using has an unrestrictive - it is too difficult for us to reduce the complexity of a moving object sufficiently by say, simplify its - turning it into a simpler object so that it has less collision complexity. We can't do that with the current version of Havok. Now of course, everybody'll jump up and down and beat us up. When we get the new version of Havok in of course, we'll be able to get beyond that 31 object limit, so that limit exists as a physics restriction, not a script restriction. Again, unless I'm missing something and I'm not understanding.
Johnny Ming: I think that was the first part of it, and then not be able to use a script on an object with 31 objects or less.
Philip Linden: I think that, I bet what the questioner means is that, use a script that turns the object into a vehicle, physical, or something else that would require physical simulation of it as a moving object, and yeah, it will deny you the ability to do that if there is more than 31 linked objects.
Johnny Ming: Right, that's why all the boats and cars are simple, right?
Philip Linden: Yep, and we'd love to, we'll definitely get that fixed. I mean, there's no fundamental reason for that, other than what I just described, so as we get to the better physics engine version, we'll be able to do that.
Johnny Ming: Okay. SignpostMarv Martin asks, "How likely that the client will be able to run a single, multiple parcels, or islands on the Residents computer so Residents could work on terraforming either alone, or P2P collaboratively, then upload inventory and/or parcels/estates in one fell swoop?"
Philip Linden: I love that, I think it's a great idea - you know, it's the kind of thing that is a lot of work, so we don't have it on the agenda right now. I, but there's no, structurally I agree it would be great to have the ability to run a local simulator, edit objects on it, and then upload them. You know, we haven't made a release, we haven't packaged the simulator code for release, so there's substantial work even in doing that. It's definitely something that makes sense, and definitely something that we'll continue going toward in the future.
Johnny Ming: Loydon asks, "Why is Find treated as a pay system, instead of a true public Find, after all, there's a paid Classifieds?"
Philip Linden: I think you're referring to the pay the fixed fee to list a land parcel in the Find system. Well, first off, we're just not there yet with Find - we need to improve the search capabilities in Second Life. That's definitely one of the things that's keeping more people from using Second Life is the difficulty that we all have in finding things. The Find system is definitely a work in progress. When we initially imposed the small fee for listing a place location, we, kind of just wanted to reduce the number of meaningful - you know, there's a huge number of parcels in the world, and if every one of them can be listed, many of them will just be unimportant. So, if we just defaulted everything to listed, I don't think it would make sense. Maybe what we should be doing there is looking at criterion like lines of text or something like that. But it seems simpler as a filter function to just impose a small fee for listing a parcel, and then, only people who really did want that parcel to be Findable would pay that fee, and as it stands, it's a pretty low cost.
But, I think the point is well taken that the Find system needs to get enormously better - I mean, we should be charging for things that deliver more value in Find, and just in general, our search needs to become a lot more like Google, and you know, you need to be able to find objects, and not just parcels, and you need to be able to Find everything in one results list. So, that's all stuff that we're working on right now. You should look for progress on that pretty quickly.
Johnny Ming: Well, that's all the questions I have. I think it's 4:30.
Philip Linden: Great.
Johnny Ming: So, do you have anything to close?
Philip Linden: Well, this has been great. I thank you again for hosting this for us. Thanks to everybody for coming. I'll start typing as well [typing sounds], you know, if you have any feedback, if anyone has any feedback on what the format of this Town Hall meeting - ideas for the future - we got some great pieces of feedback last time that I believe we incorporated into the way that we're taking the questions now - send them to us, send them to me. I'm, as always, Philip, with one "L" - P-H-I-L-I-P @lindenlab.com, or secondlife. So thanks everyone for taking the time to come here, and to listen to this. Thanks to those that are listening as audio, but not sitting right here in the Pooley stage, and people that are at any of the listening parties around, so thanks very much, I hope this was useful, and we'll try to be back in a month or so.
Johnny Ming: Great. Thanks Philip, and thanks everybody for joining in. This is Johnny Ming, for the Town Hall meeting.