[sldev] Why Linden Labs needs to let the community extend the client without asking for their IP

Tim Shephard tshephard at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 17:54:58 PDT 2007

Is there a specific part you disagree with?

a) LL is suffering from scalability issues
b) LL is falling behind in the feature races as competitors gather
c) SL has a large developer community that could create the features LL is not
d) That developer community needs realistic incentive to extend the client
e) Owning IP rights would give that incentive
f) Give us IP rights to write plugins.

Would it help if I drew you a picture?

On 4/6/07, John Hurliman <jhurliman at wsu.edu> wrote:
> Tim Shephard wrote:
> > Clearly LL is suffering significantly from scalability issues.
> >
> > A day does not go by without real problems in terms of teleporting,
> > database, and other connectivity issues.  To top it off, inventory
> > issues are rampant.   I get more than 10 complaints per day about
> > missing items that people have purchased.  We never bother contacting
> > LL staff anymore, rather we just replace without question.
> >
> > The grid can not go past 40K concurrent users without falling over.
> > This is putting LL Inc at risk.
> >
> > To solve this I presume the entire staff has been dedicated to
> > scalability and stability issues alone, and for those who can't
> > directly program in that respect have been moved over to QA.
> >
> > To do otherwise would be a shocking act of mismanagement.  Features
> > are meaningless if people can not do the basic things, such as logging
> > on, teleporting, and maintaining / transferring / rezzing inventory.
> >
> > On top of this, competitors are circling.   New ideas and new
> > approaches are being developed everywhere and while SL is dedicating
> > precious resources to just staying afloat - they are falling quickly
> > behind in the feature race.
> >
> > What's the solution?  Simple - leverage your massive developer
> > community to extend the client and simulator for you.    This worked
> > brilliantly for building out the world itself and it will work
> > *brilliantly* for improving the client and simulators that we connect
> > to.
> >
> > However, we're not going to do this for free.   Well, some of us are I
> > suppose, but the vast majority of us make calculated judgements when
> > it comes to investing our time, and if one activity which is somewhat
> > similar and we enjoy it is going to reward us more financially, we are
> > going to pursue that activity.   This is a simple reality.
> >
> > What does that imply?   Support us in our desire to maintain control
> > over our own Intellectual Property for extending client and server in
> > the way we did inside SL.   If we want to open source, we can, if we
> > want to close source or do something in between - we can do that to.
> > However, leave the choice and flexibility in our hands.
> >
> > Will some of us get rich?  Maybe.   Maybe even make more than LL
> > itself, at least in the short term.
> >
> > However, I tell you this now, living in fear caused by a philosophy of
> > envy will get you no where.
> >
> > LL's corporate DNA is based on Web 2.0, on leveraging the power of the
> > community and to betray those instincts that got you here now when
> > things are so critical will be the mistake that makes your a minor
> > footnote in the beginning of the metaverse.
> >
> > So: open up that plugin API.    Talk clearly and consistently about
> > how we can extend the client and maintain our own closed source.
> > Stop giving into the fears of old economy lawyers and managers who are
> > still thinking with a non crowd sourcing, non Web 2.0, and most of all
> > - non Second Life mindset.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Tim.
> I think it's important to start this discussion with a very candid
> honesty. So truthfully, were you high when you wrote this?
> John Hurliman
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