2) SL service will continue to improve:
Last year ended after a long period of tinkering under the hood with SL. Major scaling problems had been hit repeatedly, and it had reached the point where The Lab were turning off basic SL services (such as inventory or teleports) to keep the grid under control. Though things were improving, the consensus was they were getting worse.
I’d put those issues down to solvable scaling problems, and many instabilities due to the infrastructure and code shifts of the Het-Grid project (designed itself to stabilize the grid once finished). I figured once that was further along things would start looking rosier. This turned out to be the case.
What I couldn’t have predicted however was a new CEO popping up on the scene, who would, as his first major action, wave his arms around and shout to the world about stability. This is a message we’ve been hearing from Phil since the go-get, but Phil’s an engineer, so his utterances about stability were always to the tune of: “We’re juggling these cats you see and we know you want the cats to stay in the air, which they mostly do, but hey, it’s cat juggling…. but we’re improving.”
Kingdon however comes from a marketing background, and in a battle for minds between marketers and engineers… well, it would be more humane to just put the engineers out of their misery quietly in their sleep beforehand. Kingdon’s stability message has been constant and unfailing. More importantly it’s been simple: “stability is our highest priority.” This has improved the incredulous public’s view of Linden commitment to stability, and probably the engineers working for LL as well (though we can’t know that for sure). Certainly the hire of Frank Ambrose who kept AOL straight shows some commitment.
So yep, stability has improved, and though slower than some would like, the SL network has grown. Just as importantly LL has been devoted to evangelizing this fact. This will come into focus next year as we see the next round of stability issues hit grids… particularly the opensim grids which some see as competition with SL.
2008 was also the “year of opensim” seeing a mass exodus from SL towards opensource alternative grids. If I had a lindy for every time I’ve heard folk say “a grid is just a database, it can’t be too hard to set one up” I’d be richer than Stroker now. Of course a grid is a database, but an SL like grid is a database which has difficult issues with exponential complexity. If it was easy, SL like grids based on other technologies would be all over the place by now.
So this year we’ll see the “stability problem” move from SL to opensim. Scaling issues will be the first indicator of the immaturity of the opensim platform, and so we’ll see scaling and stability as the main proving ground for opensim as a viable alternative platform to SL. Opensim hasn’t been built particularly defensively when it comes to scaling problems, so expect them to hit hard.
Opensim will also face stiff competition from, well SL itself, which if things go well will be packaged up into a turnkey solution you can install yourself wherever you want and run your own grid. Given a choice between running an immature and unproven platform, or buying an off the shelf system that’s had 5 years to mature, to solve problems the OSS server hasn’t even thought of yet. Well if you have no money you’ll go opensim, but if you do have money you’ll buy your way out of future headaches with the LL solution.
Interesting times ahead.
Ok I got this prediction pretty much right again. I’ll call it 2/2 so far. Looking good 🙂 Tune in for the next episode to see if I get a hat-trick 😛 *crosses fingers*