Oz Linden Interview Summary

Wednesday Jessica Lyon, of Firestorm/Phoenix project Manager, conducted an interview with Oz Linden, the director of open source for Linden Lab. After a previous crash prone four region Phoenix Hour the week before, Jessica conducted the Interview on a private region with no audience.

The Interview Arrived

Treet.tv made the heroic effort to stream the interview. With something like 350 or so people connecting, there were problems. But, Treet.tv  was able to make a recording of the interview and it is now available on Treet.tv. See: Specials -> Episodes to find it. LINK

I’ve written a review of the audio tape. I paraphrase wording. Transcribing is tooooooooo tedious for me. May be I can find a masochist in the SL community that will do that… Whatever, be warned that I listen, decide what they said and then write what I heard. I try to be objective and accurate. But, I have my biases and prejudices. So, I include the time marks so you can listen to the parts important to you.


0:00 – 01:10 – Intros, purpose, and chitchat. Interestingly, Jessica mentions that Oz was at the Phoenix Hour the week before. So, at least one high powered Linden got to see the region crashes. I think of Oz has ‘high powered.’ I don’t know how much power and influence he does or does not have in the Lab. Jessica did not bring Oz into that meeting. Her reason as I hear it is she thought it would have been too inflammatory to the crowd. You’ll have to decide if her concerns are/were well founded and what that says about her and the SL community.

01:10 – Design Competition for Oz’s Open Source Meeting Place is announced. There is a L$5,000 prize for the winner of the competition. See the SL Wiki for competition details: Hippotropolis Theater Design Competition.

You’ll find that the competition is open to all, with the exception of Lindens and their family members and those participating in the judging.

The build needs to be primarily mesh. Prim parts are ok. The competition will be judged and complete in mid to late April… yes, this year. So, get on it if you’re entering.

Jessica points out: this is where the Third Party Viewer (TPV) dev’s meet.

There will be 5 judges. Two are lindens. Three are residents and the Lindens have decided to keep them anonymous, which again says something about the community and how the Lindens see it.

04:30 – Jessica explains where the questions in this part of the interview came from and what she hopes to accomplish. The question are a mix of what people have sent or asked her and what she sees as important from her take of community reaction. She hopes to get out factual information.

05:00 – Q: Jessica understands the Lab has been investigating why people use the viewer they use. She thinks part of the reason for the policy changes is from the research. Oz is asked to elaborate.

Oz explains that the Lab does ongoing usability testing of the SL Viewer. They bring in experienced residents and people new to Second Life, mostly they use new people. They provide a script of things to do. Then watch to see how they do.

They provide ‘instrumented’ machines for the test subjects to use. They film the subjects. They record keystrokes and user actions. All of which is analyzed and studied.

They don’t do testing with TPV’s simply because they are interested in the Lab’s viewer.

The Lab also looks at statistical data and follow up with SL users, those that register and come back often and those that only come in once or twice and do not return. They are asked about what liked and disliked and other questions to find out what is and is not working in SL.

08: 10 – The research did not lead to the policy changes. HOWEVER, in discussions with interviewees anecdotal information about bullying and tags came up. That did influence the policy change.

09:00 – Much of what the Lab is doing is in an effort to make Second Life more ‘understandable.’ SL is a complex system. Oz having only been here 2 years is still learning what it is and how it works and what people do with it.

09:45 – Policy Changes

2.a.iii : You must not provide any feature that circumvents any privacy protection option made available through a Linden Lab viewer or any Second Life service.

Jessica explains the Phoenix Viewer’s true Online Status breaks this rule and will be removed in the next release.

10:45 – 11:15 – Audio cuts out before the question is completed. It also clips off the first ot Oz’s answer.

Oz explains that some privacy security is enforced on the server and some only in the viewer. The Lab feels it is important to have TPV Dev’s understand how seriously the Lab takes the issues. If they place a security/privacy measure in the viewer, they want to be sure it is not circumvented.

12:00 – Oz talks about how they see the importance of allowing users to have separate identities from their real life selves. The Lab’s research, conversations with residents, and their observations tell them this is an important feature for Second Life users.

13:00 – Oz is talking about how the scripting function llRequestAgentData() was apparently created before the Lab created privacy permissions. The function circumvents the privacy policy both before and after the recent policy change. They would like for all privacy settings to be enforced server side. But, if they do implement a privacy feature viewer side, they want TPV Dev’s to respect the feature.

13:30 – Oz talk about the blow back they got about planning to changing llRequestAgentData(). He saw lots of distress and outrage. While that conveys some since of how important the feature is to the community, it doesn’t actually provide actionable information. The Lindens need to know WHY it is so important and it is being used that makes it so important. The Lindens have to filter through all the rame to find useful information to fix the problem. Some people did provide what Oz describes as ‘excellent explanations.’ (14:00 ±) The result is any change to the scripting function will be on hold until they figure a way to handle the legitimate use cases.

15:30 – Mostly the reason the function is used as it is, is because something else in Second Life is not working as it should. Use of the function is a work around for other problems. The Linden plan is to fix those problem things making use of the function necessary. Once those things are fixed, they will look at providing new features for the remaining uses.

6 thoughts on “Oz Linden Interview Summary

  1. Pingback: New TPV policy changes - Page 100 - SLUniverse Forums

  2. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS CRAP? » And imagine how far we could fall

  3. Excellent Nalate’s, thanks for posting this “reader’s digest edition” it’s nice to finally read the end result of this review.

    One point which kind of stuck out though, Parcel WindLight… Seriously ? google “LightShare OpenSim” then google “LightShare Aurora-Sim” and you’ll make some interesting discoveries which have nothing to do with PH/FS or LL but rather Parcel/Region LightShare has been in OpenSim / Aurora-Sim for almost 3 years, supported by Imprudence Astra, Singularity and a couple of others…. by the way, it works wonderfully. Why not be up front about it and take from what is already designed, tested, implemented, debugged & known good ??? OpenSim being the best free idea sandbox & test resource that LL has. (oh I forgot, all the folks that were there @ LL when IBM argued that point are all laid off, so the corporate memory is NULL_SPACE.)

    I guess the next new innovation that LL & PH/FS dream up will be “Flexi-Regions” or “Flexi-Sims” which will look just like Mega-Regions or Variable Regions (as used in Aurora-Sim)…

    Sorry but it does leave a bit of an unpleasant after taste .

    • I’ve met you in OSGrid and appreciate the help you gave me. Thanks for being in both places and helping others.

      OpenSim does have a nicer version of WindLight in their Lightshare. I suppose while the OpenSim people could give the viewer side of Lightshare to LL and the Lab could use it, the Lab’s server is not open source. For the Lab to take the OpenSim Lightshare they would have to comply with the open source license. I seriously doubt that will happen.

      If you listen to Oz at 31:50, he is talking about how there is a mixed opinion about open source within the Lab. I find that completely understandable considering how some open source people have abused the Lab in the past.

      Flexi or Mega regions in SL seem unlikely to me. One of the Lab’s goals is to increase the population a region can carry. I suspect that is going to require some significant change and I believe those changes would have a major impact on how Mega regions would work. While I may be wrong, I see Mega regions being way down the road, if ever.

      I’m not sure which ‘it’ leaves the bad taste. For me, I see our biggest problem being how poorly a vocal part of the community is handling the changes at the Lab.

      • “it” = LightShare / WindLight is opensource as is OpenSim and yes while the platforms differ they are not that different. The viewer patches exist and are out there and also not a massive nasty. Parcel WindLight is something we all started asking for & discussing as soon as WindLight became available, LL did not bother to consider a full environment solution until well after OpenSim went ahead and implemented it because it not only made sense, it is used extensively.

        Re mega regions…. refer to https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-7583

        Completely agree that the culture that has evolved @ LL in regards to the open source community and that benefits no one which is a genuine shame that so many lose out as a result. Unfortunately that also has a direct impact on the overall community by effectively removing unity from community. Henri Beauchamps of CV had an excellent & clear look at the impact of TPV, very rational & sane without all the “sky is falling” chicken little routine.

        /me admits his guilt in helping people on various platforms and trying to get discussion going in ways to be of benefit to all.

        • Thanks for JIRA ID. I don’t understand the high JIRA number and the 2009 creation date…

          For a 2009 dated item to not yet be touched in some way by a Linden suggests there is some internal decision process at work.

          I think the change will be complex and lots of work. That usually mean it goes to the bottom of the priority list.

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