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Wednesday, June 09, 2010


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Kirk Ultra

"The restructured company will focus on integrating Second Life with social networks "

That's so lame!

Remember the old joke in the 80's about how if you want to invent something new, you just take something that already exists, like a toaster, and then stick a clock radio in it? Jamming social networking sites into every single thing people can is the modern version of the clock radio in a toaster.

I already have a clock radio, and I already have a Facebook and MySpace page. Why would anybody want to mix them together? And more importantly, why would Linden Lab want to make it the main thrust of their company?


On the plus side though, fewer Lindens means fewer people trying to tell people what to do in-game.

Maybe that's why the Woodbury hammer came down so suddenly. . . Maybe the Linden's knew they'd be loosing man-power soon, and wanted to take down one of their enemies while they still had the power.

So how many people think Linden Lab is trying to sell itself to another company? All these advances that only sound good to people who've never played the game, and now a giant staff lay-off. These are all things that make a company look better on paper. Could somebody at Linden Lab be hoping to sell?

Harper Ganesvoort

This disturbs me, and not only as in "I sense a great disturbance in the Force." I'm only being half-facetious here; the loss of so many staff, combined with a shift in focus, may actually injure the Second Life experience IMO. I leave room to admit that I may be wrong, and would welcome that fact; until that time, I remain doubtful.

Jack Abraham

I think they just lost me. That is not a direction I'm willing to sink $300/month into.

Marianne McCann

It's one thing to ay "30%" and "100 jobs." These are people, and I am sure I'm not alone when I say I've been holding my breath much of the day, hoping that this or that friend has not just been shown the door.


Well first off, my heart goes out to the 100 or so folks who were just laid off. I only interacted with a small portion of you, I'm sure. But everyone I've met at LL has been a person I was glad that I got to meet.

I agree that a web-based virtual experience is key to growth and market share for the company. These are difficult times in the metaverse market, with so many other virtual worlds shutting their doors in the past months.

Adric Antfarm

I think we can all question the motivation or reasoning, but let's not forget the people tossed into the worst job market in many years.

Maklin Deckard

Well, I am glad YOU like it, Hamlet. I've never seen a browser-based game that wasn't A) Filler or B) Make your eyes bleed sucktastic. And I really, really, REALLY do not want to see an influx of the shallow self-promoting folks from Facebook (most of which all seem to be something big and important RL, no one just flips burgers).

I flat out cannot see how many of the current SL functions can be translated to a browser, especially building...so I guess this means a lobotomized, downgrading of SL into an IMVU-style chatroom / Farmville flash game.

As much as I detest Open Source, looks like time to check out Inworldz and the other OpenSim clones.

Galatea Gynoid

I hear that, Jack. At the same time, I must note something I've noted many times over the years: what Linden Labs does is largely irrelevant to most people in-world. User-generated content goes in whatever direction the users decide to take it. LL-generated stuff can go in any direction it likes, it simply won't have any affect on any of the things in SL I actually care about. When everything I enjoy about SL comes from someone other than LL, why does it matter to me what LL does or wants, as long as they keep the servers running? They can do what they like with the viewer, the web, or Facebook -- if I don't like it, I just won't use it. As long as they don't go bankrupt in the process, I couldn't care less what direction they decide to go. It has no effect on me or what direction I decide to go in the future.

Nine Warrhol

Sucks, but things change. You change with it or you get left behind. Such is technology.

Lizzie Lexington

How is a browser based world a step forward? I don't get it.

Hamlet Au

Not a browser-based world, Lizzie, a browser-based Second Life viewer. Parsing out the press release, I think they mean to add an option for accessing SL on the web, much like this IBM-backed project made possible three freaking years ago:


Chance Abattoir

While potentially bad news for anyone wanting to tinker with the client (or snowglobe?), maybe it could spell the beginning of finally getting a decent SL solution for mobile platforms?


i hear that apple (in an effort to improve its dismally failing app store) is making a similar shift - doing away with it's custom downloaded apps in favor of a web-based api.

oh, wait.

Rob Knop

One of the biggest problems with Second Life, that has long been the biggest problem, and has long been recognzied by Linden as one of the biggest problems, is how hard it is to first get in. There are multiple barriers. One of them is just getting the software running in the first place.

I talk to people about interesting things I do in virtual worlds, and they express interest, but they can't be bothered to go through the various steps needed to get there. Many of those who try get hung up here or there.

If it were possible to just go to a web page and be "in" Second Life, that would make things a lot easier. This is the appeal of a "browser based" viewer.

Of course, it's a bit of a smokescreen. You're going to be downloading software, even if it is a background download of a plugin. All that "browser based thus no need to download" talk is a bit of a lie. But if it can be made more transparent, that would be a win.

It remains to be seen if that can happen without either reducing the functionality, or doing things that would make me in particular sad like slouging off Linux.

What really needs to happen, of course, is to have the protocol cleaned up (bigtime, so that firewalls aren't a problem any more) and documented. That would help the development of *true* third-party viewers, not just ones that are based off of the Linden GPL source tree. Then people would write more or less functional viewers that worked in different places as necessary. It would also help with compatability with OpenSim and cross-world connectivity. Long-term for virtual worlds, that's the best thing that could happen, although Linden may not be particularly interested in this.


It's sad so many people are being laid off. A change in direction or not, layoffs are never a good sign.

What kind of jobs are being eliminated, I wonder? Does anyone know? If LL is hoping to become browser-focused and they are letting go of 30% of their web team, that would be fishy--that would look to me like cost-cutting vs. taking a new strategic direction.

The only jobs that might make sense to lose would be strategic--for example 3D-heavy tool-building devs (skills not relevant to web focus), hand-holding community marketing staff (not scalable for mass adoption), and ops people for servers that will eliminated due to the strategic shift.


I've said before I'm interested in a simplified bare basics web based second life viewer for people to get into sl and see my work quickly. Not to replace the full featured unintuitive viewer 2.0. Wether ll will do one I doubt it, LL's historY is chock full of incomplete features.

I hope all those layed off find good places with open sim projects :-)

Ciaran Laval

This sounds like they're in last chance saloon, the press release and blog post are full of buzzwords and absolutely no substance whatsoever on how this can possibly be a step forward.

My sympathies are with those who have lost their jobs in such a difficult economic climate.

I don't think we'll have to worry too much about script limits in the future for some reason.


1. SL IM client
2. Sim side windlight settings
3. Ragdoll physics
4. Better search
5. More intuitive viewer
6. Better social/groups
7.... Ermm what have a missed?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Sorry to hear about these layoffs. That's not a good sign, and I hope they can land jobs.

As for LL's decision to develop a web-based client like IBM's: speaking as an educator, such a client could be a big win. I've been playing with Unity lately and I like what I'm seeing.

My colleagues are not luddites; they are using technology effectively in a number of fields. But they have no incentives to spend a semester mastering a difficult UI and client that often requires a mandatory download mid-term, leaving students scrambling.

Do we know if a stand-alone client will still be available for those needing it? I can see the advantages, just as I do now for using Imprudence or 1.23.5 instead of SL 2 for building.

When I'm not building, I could take fewer bells and whistles if this makes the first hour easier and learning curve gentler for non-gamers.


If LL do it right it's a great idea - a quick-access web-based client for socialising and exploring SL and a standalone client for content creation and land management etc. That would be just what SL needs, two ways to access SL that mirror the two main ways people actually use it - it's an approach I've been advocating for a long time.

BUT...when did LL ever do anything right?

Jack Abraham

Galatea, I don't think with this kind of leadership they *can* keep the servers running. They let Babbage go, for Pete's sake. My experience of SL is that all changes for the good flow from Babbage or Andrew's teams, and I would be surprised to find Andrew on the casualty list too. In immediate terms, that was the team that was fixing the bug where the sim stalls for 30 seconds when someone enters the sim; the bug was pernicious, and the fix required multiple steps. Those people are at best leaderless, at worst gone now. Transitioning that work to another team is bound to cause delays at best. Also, that was the team enabling script versioning, so that other bugs *could* be fixed; again, delay at best, the end of evolution for scripting at worst. No C# scripting, no ability to adjust memory limits to more efficiently use what the sim has... gone.

The targeting there, and M's rhetoric of buzzwords, says to me that there's no interest in enabling the virtual world to gain capabilities beyond what it has. All the effort will be on stripping it down so that it can run over a 3G connection on a 5" screen.

I had expected that summer 2010 would be a make or break time for SL. I'm now figuring on break. I'll be focusing my efforts on other platforms. If M turns out to be a secret genius, great. But I'm very, very worried.


I feel sorry for all those who will be laid off. They have worked for us, I have to thank them for that. I wish them to find quickly another job.

Bettina Tizzy


Maggie Darwin (@MaggieL)

So, M has yet another shiny new feature to chase, and 70% of the previous staff to do it with. Will they simply turn the existing viewer into a browser plugin without the complete rewrite in a modern language it so sorely needs?

How long will it take to fix Mono without Babbage?

How many Elbonian contractors can you hire with the salaries of 100 real employees?

I guess we'll find out.

Viggo Recreant

This is the list of Lindens missing from in world people's search, that were there yesterday



here's a list of Lindens who are not in the people search today but were in the search yesterday


Sad to see them go

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Just read the update about more layoffs: Day of the Long Knives, this. Mark Kingdon probably does not have a choice (I hope). I also hope Claudia, who has been really great to educators, is spared.

@Jovin, When did LL do something right? They did give us a pretty amazing world. Flawed, yes, but that's life in any world.

Okay--enough. I'll wait on the announcement from LL.

CyFishy Traveler

This is AWFUL to hear. I hope those laid off will be able to find new positions quickly.

It also sounds a little trouble in paradise to me, as I was under the impression that Linden Lab was doing well financially.

Marx Dudek

Rumors say that they're also working on clients that will be compatible with Gopher.

Not really, but why not? Since we're moving forward to ... oh ... 1995.

Jane2 McMahon

A shout out to my friend ex-Cogsworth Linden, who was always 100 percent behind the Lab, unfailingly patient with and helpful to residents, and a positive supporter of SL always.

Razz, you'll be an asset to any company.

Alizarin Goldflake

I hope everyone knows about InWorldz - lots of SL refugees there.

Alizarin Goldflake

I hope everyone knows about InWorldz - lots of SL refugees there.

Anon Linden

This is just the first layoff, ~30% were cut now, the next round of layoffs was announced and will happen in a few months.

Entire Brighton (UK) Office is being phased out, Singapore was actually cut last week (not news).

Linden Lab is dying fast.

Little Lost Linden

Holy Linden Moly!!

I wonder how this new development will affect the number of bots and campers inworld? With 30% less Lindens on staff, will the bots go rampant with no one left to enforce the ‘almost‘ bot\camper policy?

Only time will tell. It may be time to stock up on extra bot repellent. This is going to be one wild ride of a year for Second Life.

Hell has definately frozen over down at Linden Labs…


Robert Graf

IMHO, after integrating with facebook, the Lab should sell out to Zy$ga and change SL's name to something like.... LindenVille.. Linden Wars... Maybe go 2D... lol ;)_~~~


Every Linden outside of the US is being let go. This is regardless of their role in the up-until-now Second Life experience.



It's grown. Some are bot lindens that were removed. This list is consolidated. Edit as needed.


Sadness for me too. I'm glad I got to experience SL when it was still Phillip's mad idea that ran things and Cory's genius lifted that idea to a world.

I know things change or die, I know this is very hard for those folks who worked hard and in good faith,I know I would mourn the loss of SL in my life, it must be much worse for them and I know that this is either very good or very bad. Time will tell.


One year from today:

"Facebook becomes worlds largest user data-mining operation after acquiring now defunct Linden Lab's server farm."

"In other news, World of Warcraft announced today, the hiring of Mark Kingdon as CEO. Said a spokesman for WOW, "We've been looking for a long time to find a way to destroy our business as effectively as the Second Life platform. We're very happy to see an end to all this "gaming stuff" the customers have forced upon us for so long."


Second Life really started the nose dive, when Sidewinder Linden left. I think it's time I got back into my flower arranging hobby.

Wiz Nordberg

Apologies to Mark, but the silence from the lab right now, especially Kingdon, reminds me of George W. during 911. Now more than ever, Mark K. needs to articulate some vision that can be embraced by the critical thousands of core dedicated SL users, land owners, and content creators.

For example, it seems to me that a web-based viewer can actually increase significantly the value of in-world creation, turning the downloadable client into the de facto creation environment for the worlds most popular web-based virtual world. Sounds exciting!

It worries me that in 2 minutes, little ol' me can come up with a more exciting statement of commitment than the lab's management can do right now. If they're not careful, everybody is going to feel cut loose and start making irreversible judgments and decisions about the labs commitment to the community.

Moreover, now is not the time for platitudes like "we remain committed to the community". What is needed is vision. Something that let's us all breathe deep and say, "yes, this is good for us".

Leyla Firefly

It is indeed sad to see so many people lose their job in such a bad time. But i think that drastic changes were definitely needed at Linden Labs.
The whole team has proved being incompetent on many different levels.
The way Linden Lab has serviced their customers for the last 6/7 years has been extremely bad. Many issues have often ruined lots of effort, time and money and we have always been set back with the most ridiculous answers, yet always had to pay them good money.
Is this the right thing to do?
Like many changes Linden Lab has made them impulsive and unplanned. A few weeks ago we have all the noise about new search, new marketplace, meshes, script limits and so on and so on...
All gone now?
It's the never ending story of trying new things and not bring them to a good end, bugs that never get fixed, priorities that change with the blink of an eye.
We got all the polls/survey sent to us in email for a while now, all about ways to make more money on us.
The investment money is gone now and no more incoming, it's obvious they need to find other ways to make SL more profitable.
Hope it works out for them, it has been great to be part of the making of this world, but now just like many do i slowly back out.
I have 4 sims left, 2 need to go, anyone?

Kira Paderborn

The problem is that they are so concerned with getting the big companies in here that they are killing what we all came here for and that is to get away from RL and all the big companies. And all the changes they have made to get the big companies in here have hurt the little person like me...and me and the other little people are what makes this place.....and we are slowly leaving...and they are slowly dying.....and everyone from LL keeps saying that everything is same as always. It is all going well and all is dandy. While, in the mean time, my sim cannot be found in search any more and neither can the sims of a ton of other people. All of my designer friends are leaving and the in world stores are basically useless. Why do people need land when they can sell on XStreet? Especially with the cost of freaking land these days. I realized today that I am paying 5.3L per prim for my sims. And one of those sims, I paid $1675 for a month before LL decided to change the prices. I have lost so many land deals because of the way that LL changes their policies on a whim that I can't even start to count the number of sims I have bought and lost. So, why in the world would anyone come to a dying place to invest for any reason? They won't! I am sorry to see that SL is dying and I only hope that one of the other places that is similar but not so freaking stingy and ignorant soon becomes a reality cause I and pretty much every other person I know is sooooooo ready to go.


I too am sorry to hear of those layoffs. God knows LL needs all the help it can get instead of streamlining itself into oblivion.

On the upside, perhaps we'll finally get rid of some of the corrupt, power abuser Lindens who have long made the grid their own private griefing field and who have helped some real pond scum user do as they damned well please with impunity.

Now it we can just get rid of that ass-hat Prokofy Neva............

Ann Otoole



Ahab Schmo

I'm guessing they must have shut the Brighton office if Babbage has gone

Little Lost Linden

Hey everyone.

I was able to capture a photo with 3 Linden's who showed up at the memorial:



Dael Ra

Noooo. The last thing I want for SL is to become another Facebook.

Chasing after the 'general public' is the single biggest mistake LL makes.

Second Life will never appeal to everyone. Most people I know have such short attention spans and I think you need to have some sort of imaginative spark to really get Second Life.

They would do much better and forget about being ubiquitous and just concentrate on a smaller 'creative' demographic.

Second Life has done so much better than all the other virtual worlds because of it's creative potential and because (initially at least) of the overwhelming amount of imaginative and creative people populating it.

The more LL dumbs down the viewer, the more SL itself will become less interesting to create in and the end result will be exactly the same sort of environment that we all laughed a couple of years ago.

There, Lively, etc, all failed because they tried to appeal to everybody. They made the UI easy to use and run on just about any machine (via web viewers) but this was at expense of flexibility (and therefore creativity).

Using a web browser to view 3D content is always going to be a step backwards, not forwards (and emulating one (Viewer 2.0) is even more stupid).

Lastly, I enjoy my relative anonymity in SL. It's often a nice place to hideaway from real life for an hour or two. The last thing I want is my real life getting entwined in it via links to Facebook, etc.

Stop it Linden Labs. Just build on what you already know works, look after the dedicated people you still have and stop trying to please all the people all the time. It's just going to end up pleasing nobody.


It is a real shame.

As someone who has used induality that is really not a web viewer. How it works is that the entire sl package is downloaded and the browser is used to render. So you really do not achieve the benefits you are after for a browser. With what is available now you could do unity which several have proved with opensim or they go webgl which would be a year long dev task.


It is a real shame.

As someone who has used induality that is really not a web viewer. How it works is that the entire sl package is downloaded and the browser is used to render. So you really do not achieve the benefits you are after for a browser. With what is available now you could do unity which several have proved with opensim or they go webgl which would be a year long dev task.


It is a real shame.

As someone who has used induality that is really not a web viewer. How it works is that the entire sl package is downloaded and the browser is used to render. So you really do not achieve the benefits you are after for a browser. With what is available now you could do unity which several have proved with opensim or they go webgl which would be a year long dev task.

Robward Antwerp

The lead off comment said it all (Kirk Ultra):

I don't need a toaster with a clock radio.

My only add to this is... don't make the mistake MetaPlace made... assuming that a flattened, less immersive experience can be made up for with enhanced social networking. I already have social net working (as imagined by LL) and I also have an immersive community of creative friends in SL… all of whom are bright enough to head over to Reaction Grid and the like if need be.

In the end it distresses me that LL appears to aspire to be like FaceBook, Payfish or Zynga.

Rob Knop

If you're not profitable and you're losing money, phasing out overseas operations may make sense.

However, when I was at Linden Lab as the server release manager (more than a year ago now), Babbage and his crew in the UK were absolutely rock solid, one of the very best dev teams that were out there. I really liked working with them-- both because of their extreme competence, and also because they were just great people to work with.

There are lots of very bad losses on the list of people who are gone. Babbage and his crew is one of them.

I just wish that they didn't have a bunch of people running the place who loved corporate-speak, and who could say "we're on bad times, here's what we have to do, and here's how we plan to get out of it" rather than "yay! we're doing all this to refocus on our core goals, things are great!" Heavily spun corporate PR has always made me completely mistrust those who spread it.

Jimmy R. Aycart

Dear Mr. Hamlet Au:

I certainly appreciate your kind visit to the SL world of our dear FIU. For us was very emotional to listen to the author of the book that we are reading.

As Vietnam veteran and a Grad. Student at FIU, the SL experience has been great. I hope that the forum, classes in open environment, exchange results from research in the area of Adult Education and rehabilitation/advice/guidance for so many veterans will be fantastic.

I dream for a day that our Metaverse will make possible what the real world, as of today, has not achieved:equality and opportunity for grow for all.

Jimmy Audran

Arwyn Quandry

Notice how they're getting rid of all the Teen Grid-related Lindens? Even ones with loose ties are going. I smell something brewing.

Fuzzball Ortega

Sounds like their doing the layoffs in order to make their bottom line look even better than what it is now (that is, if indeed they're having a good year).

Probably some board members who aren't happy with the bottom line at present, feeling it should be better OR they're making themselves look good for any potential buyers. I've seen corporations make larger cuts, eliminating positions held by some of their best employees.

As for the browser based viewer. That's been mulled about for some time. I'm going to play the wait and see game, as I always do.

Mit Lederberg

This is indeed sad but has been expected for years. As a retired tech exec I must say that I have never seen a worse managed company that LL. Online growth has stagnated for two years. Despite their monetary hype, their actual revenues remain obscure and cannot be good. If their revenues were solid LL would not downsize by this amount. SL has been fun for an old geezer like myself, and i fear the worst for this experiment in creating a new market.

Stone Semyorka

That's a list of good people. I had a fine working relationship with several of them at various past times. In particular, it's a punch in the stomach to see, with Pathfinder already gone and now Claudia gone, the main education leaders are out. Blue was the champion of Teen Second Life. This sounds like killing off work on behalf of educators and young people.

Little Lost Linden

I just hope this whole predicament does not delay the release of Windlight 2.

I am also concerned that there will now be a horrendous resurgence of bots and campers.

Only time will tell.

Stefan Andersson

Sad tidings in deed. The list is the final confirmation that SL is now set for chasing markets rather than creating them. Both Diva and I have blogged about what this could mean for OpenSim: http://lbsa71.net/2010/06/10/in-light-of-recent-events/

Rachelle Munro

Thanks to the Lindens for all your help these past 3 years I've been in SL...you will be sadly missed!

Vaughan Vendetta

All these layoffs are strange and startling news.

I'd like to make a correction though, Blue Linden was not officially managing or directing anything TG-related at the time he was laid off. His position was dissolved some months ago.

I really do wonder how Teen Second Life fits into this strange new world.

Sandor Balczo

How can a company who has claimed to be in a very good shape for months continue to claim that and lay off people is beyond any possible logic.

Getting rid of the developers at a time when bugs were finally being repaired is suicidal.

Trying to compete with a volatile phenomenon like Facebook is not only suicidal, it is stupid.

Pretending to believe you can make a fully web-based version of SL you can run from Internet Explorer (which crashes as soon as you open pages it does not like) is like running Windows 7 on a 1986 IBM PC.

Perhaps LL's management could have avoided buying XLstreet or whatever that crap is called and also avoid paying a company a lot of money to make a failing and unnecessary (at the time) viewer 2 and possibly not buy avatar anonymous or whatever that other crap is called and focus on what really IS important for SL: CUSTOMERS! PAYING CUSTOMERS!

I am extemely disgusted at seeing the long string of stupid actions Mark Klingon and the powers that back him up are doing. This cannot be independent idiocy. I see a conspiracy here. Microsoft, anyone?

shockwave yareach

Most missing from everything M has said and done:

Why do you think a client in a webpage browser will be easier to use than the client we have now?

People have had no difficulty installing the current clients and running them. It is not the client installation that keeps SL from growing. You are barking up the wrong tree (again) instead of fixing the problems that need to be fixed.

Bastian Redstar

If this happens I am done with Second Life. Period.

Browser based games do not do well. Second Life is fine as is, why does LL insist on making all these changes!


Although there hasn't been another major layoff, Lindens are frequently getting the axe silently and in small numbers now. It's harder to tell because Linden has started leaving the email and SL accounts active, but there are significantly fewer Lindens now than there were after the layoffs last June. It's a sneaky way of getting the employee numbers down without having to say the word "layoff", which scares the market.

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