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Monday, December 19, 2011


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Rowan Derryth

£25,000 is $38,750, which, although a low salary for a developer, is a MASSIVE difference from $5400, the majority of which was donated by content creators who felt they NEEDED the fix to move their business forward (and only happened AFTER lobbying Linden Labs, who failed to provide the fix).

Instead of directing your frustration at users who failed to pony up a rather significant amount of money for a product that many may have liked, but no one really NEEDED (and I do like the viewer, no slam there), why don't you direct it at Linden Labs, who should be smart enough to hire people like Lee Quick to fix their own product.

I'm of the view that we should HAVE to pay outside developers to make things that the Lindens should be dealing with on their own. I realise it is an unrealistic view, but there you have it.

AND congrats to Lee on the new job! It will likely pay better than crowdsourcing could have, so that is wonderful news.

Rowan Derryth

Ugh, I am of course of the view that we should NOT have to pay outside developers. I really wish there was an edit comments feature on this blog.


I think when you feel you deserve a salary, crowdfunding via a third party site will fail you.

It isn't that Lee doesn't deserve pay for the value he provides, but its a business at that point when he needs a guaranteed salary.

Qarl's crowdfunding was for a 'project'. Qarl's crowdfunding probably would've failed if it was instead "Pay Qarl's old Linden Lab wages for 1 year in advance and he'll work on things".

I just think if Lee was more pliable in how he offered his value, the crowdfunding could've been a success. If he diced up what he planned to do for the year into smaller crowdfunding projects, more folks would've felt inclined to donate to a cause of more direct value to them.

Or, and I'm not sure what the terms are for charging for a TPV, he could've did a subscription service via his own site with the same things he offered in the crowdfunder. Everyone can download, but if you subscribe, you steer the direction of Kirsten and get premium access to newest builds.

Or..something. Just this wasn't the best way for him to get Kirsten users to prove they were willing to pay for the value he provided.

Laurent Bechir

I think Kirstens is right when he says that people make confusion between free as speech and free as beer (to quote a well known expression :)) when it comes to free software. A developer needs money for his living and programing takes a lot of time and efforts. The amount asked here was not so huge. If on the 6000-8000 people downloading the viewer, 2500 had given 10£ each, the crowfunder would have been a success. And don't tell me that 10 £ is a lot of money, here in France is not very much than the price of one movie ticket, for example. Anyway, it's sad. Thank you and good luck to Kirstens :) And Dawny, keep looking at him with "those eyes" as tell Kirstens. Perhaps the situation can change in the future :)

Jack Pitts

Oh well, not like we need another viewer anyhow. None of them work right anyhow. Firestorm nothing renders for me, and I mean nothing. All I see is water. Now the main viewer is starting to do the same.

SL is just plain broken, they need to stop adding things. Changing the viewer's design (just noticed they changed the snapshot window). Fix the damn thing first then add and change, thats development 101.

And wel uhmm Phoenix is old. So what does that leave us nothing.

Dartagan Shepherd

Agree with the above comment. SL isn't an open source project, it's a commercial product and company.

As such, especially paying $300/month as a customer, my expectations are to have a stable product, company provided viewer that works well for its customers and extensive documentation.

For a company that started in 2003, all of these should be in place.

That there's even a need to have alternate viewers (and there is) is a flaw in what should be a mature company. Which is one of the problems, SL is a mature company with a startup product.

When you're millions and profit and almost 10 years old, we shouldn't be having a discussion about what needs to be crowd funded at "all". That situation shouldn't even exist.

Instead I'm supposed to pay $300/month, spend hours filling out Jira's on a platform that's not stable, paying ex company employees money to fix things the company doesn't do, pay a volunteer developer to maintain a completely different build of a client that shouldn't need to exist and pay more fees lately for mesh and get undertones of "resource poverty" because regions packed like sardines on sub-par machines cost too much in server resources?

I drank the Kool-Aid and survived. On priciple I'd like my moneys worth on the core product the same as I would expect from any other 10 year old tech company with profits in double digit millions. There's simply no longer any excuses.

I'm not here to buy into any ideals of open source, crowd funding, crowd sourcing and friends really, I'm here to pay for a working product as a customer.

Disclaimer that I applaud the efforts of 3rd party client developers to make up for what the company lacks.

People are losing money and items on the SL Marketplace because of constant delivery problems. To be clear, if they report problems in the proper channels they will receive refunds if needed. The people who do lose money (real money, all L$ are bought with real money) or items and don't report it are the losers. Direct Delivery has been in the works for a year now, still not here. That's an entire year of lost sales, bad customer experiences, the occassional lost funds.

The above being for a 5% commission on sales for a product that doesn't work reliably. If this were a marketplace handling real currency, what would happen?

Although I think a year from now, when he's got a full time steady income back with health insurance and benefits and free time after work to work on projects that he enjoys, he will look back and say that he made the right choice.

Thank you for all your hard work, Kirsten and best of luck to you.

That may be a bit harsh, but that's my knee jerk response to being expected to throw money after money after money. Tens of thousands I've dumped into SL as it is.

Nalates Urriah

I think a large part of the disincentive is there are other free viewers.

Also,the people most likely paying for the Mesh Deformer are making money from SL. Plus there is no other way to get the deformer. So, it fits in the plan of pay to get it with no other choice. With KV people already had it.

It may also be the entitlement culture we (countries) are building.

Hamlet Au

"why don't you direct it at Linden Lab, who should be smart enough to hire people like Lee Quick to fix their own product"

Even if Linden Lab could have hired Lee -- not a huge likelihood, with the Dover branch closed, and the company generally cutting back on new hires -- it's pretty unlikely they would have let him continue developing KV as he and its users saw fit. This was a chance for SL users to have a direct say over the features and fixes put into their viewer, instead of throwing those requests and complaints into a huge JIRA queue and waiting for LL to respond (if they ever do.)

rawst berry

This article seems to be guilting people who didn't donate. The creator made the decision to offer this software for free. He chose to put his time and effort into making something that he wouldn't be paid for, and which his competitors also gave out for free. You can't really fault people for taking something which was offered to them.

No one can donate to every single cause they care about, either. It's sad that Lee's partner is sick, but he has other means of obtaining the money he needs, there are tons of other viewers SLers can pick from, and tons of other charities that help sick or impoverished people that DON'T have other alternatives to raise funds. There's a few certain charities I donate to when I have the extra money, but funding someones dream job isn't the top of my priorities.

Ann Otoole InSL

I think Kirsten is better off with a real job that is stable and long term. This will be security and eliminate a measure of stress he and his spouse probably don't need right now.

I will miss his magic ability to make LL's code better. Sadly I have no spare money. Maybe in a couple more years, assuming SL is still around and the economy is better, things will be different. In the meantime SLv3 has the visual features needed for advanced imaging and machinima. Just need a better graphics card in my PC to get better FPS.

Hope everything gets better for you and your spouse Kirsten. Family is number one.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

@Dartagan, you wrote,

"As such, especially paying $300/month as a customer, my expectations are to have a stable product, company provided viewer that works well for its customers and extensive documentation."

Oh stop being so mean spirited. First LL gives us premium bears, and now we have rock-monsters. I know I'll get my sparkle-pony if I just keep wishing hard enough. Keep your eyes on the prize, man!


I've donated as thanks for the effort. But I don't think it is justified to write the title as other people's fault if not make donation.

Aliasi Stonebender

Yeah, not a fan of the guilt-trip myself. I did not use Kirsten's viewer, and honestly didn't think the crowdsourcing attempt was going to succeed. Crowdsourcing is good for projects with concrete goals and results the donators can see: donating towards a book being published, a video being made, a specific software project being released.

This was - as noted above - "pay a developer's salary for a year, and maybe they'll do something interesting." The viewer and the source code already exist for someone else to build off of, after all.

I would point out that six thousand pounds is not exactly couch-change money, even if it's not a programmer's yearly salary. I don't think the Crowdfunder project was a failure; I think the goal was set so high that there was no way short of a sympathetic millionaire that it would do anything BUT fail.


The whole concept of crowdfunding in SL failed the moment Qarl delayed his fix. From then on nobody trusts this option 'to get things done' anymore. So its a trust issue, not a lack of willingness to donate.

Arcadia Codesmith

An artist seeking patronage is not an unusual or unviable method of making a living.

Neither is it unusual to confront people who are utterly indifferent or actively hostile to you as a person, even though they covet your work.

And in the past thirty years, global society, led by America, has slid further and further into the amoral morass of people taking as much as they can get from others while giving back as little as possible.

It's no surprise that any enterprise dependent on tips or donations is having difficulties, and that those "tons of charities" that some people imagine are picking up the slack don't have the resources to meet more than a fraction of the need.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as picking up the tab for someone who could use a meal. It's just what decent folk do.

Adeon Writer

The problem is alternatives. People were willing to pay Qarl because no can step up to do it for free.

But there are many TPV developers who are more than willing to develope free viewer forks at no pay. You can't compete with that. I understand why Lee set up the proposal: people wanted it to continue and he set up his conditions for that to happen. But I can't say I expected it to work.

That is just the nature of open-source software.

May the viewer be forked and the spirit of Kirsten's viewer live on under a new name.

Thank you for the work you've done for SL.

Cisop Sixpence

If I was a wealthy person, I would have plopped down the money on the table to fund the project entirely. Lee's work on the Kirsten Viewer was worthy of the years pay that the goal was set at, and in my opinion his work on the viewer was worth more than that.

Unfortunately, my income is just enough to support my self, so I was only able to donate a handful of times with just a fractional amount of the goal needed.

I'd really like to see the viewer kept up to date, even if it was just quarterly or semi annual updates. However, Lee announced the web site will close at the end of the month, and I just saw a notice that the group in SL will close as well. I really hate to see bridges burned and doors closed like this. Would really like to keep those options open for a come back eventually. It would have been nice if LL could have hired Lee, as he did great work with their source code and knew the product both from a programmer and user standpoint.

While I look for viable alternatives to this wonderful viewer, I still use it and will continue to do so until it will no longer function for me. At least I have the fond memories of the joys it brought me in Second Life.

foneco zuzu

To be honest, i donated for a viewer i never downloaded!
If instead of crowfunding the way of the request was to be paid via paypal direcly, much more would had donated as well!
Now i got a few pounds i will have to donate elsewhere, and sadly a great developer will leave:(
And the worst part is that never testing it, i don't know if it was the only mesh viewer that would accept overriding off graphic settings via external programs (ex; nvidea control panel).
Cause no other viewer that i know, mesh 1 i mean, will let me disable anitostroic filtering and not using Antiliasing, to be able to use the 32Hq 1 that My gtx 580 delivers!!!
And i can do that on old phoenix, so i stuck, and many as well, with it, as its the only way to enjoy Sl fully even without mesh (but who uses it really???)

Metacam Oh

the fact that the residents had to hire Qarl in the first place is a disgrace on Linden Labs part. They should pay Qarl and the people who chipped in on the project should get their money back.


shockwave yareach

Only Linden Labs -- purveyor of tele and virtual presence systems -- could not handle hiring Qarl or Lee to work via telepresence and fix the problems in SL.

And Dartagnan: AMEN brother! Approaching a decade and the prices haven't fallen and many basic problems have been unchanged since day one? Everyone in LL should hang their heads in shame -- I don't care what the excuses are.

Pussycat Catnap

We were essentially asked to be like Medieval nobles in Europe and fund an artist to be creative and do creativy stuffz.

But for what specific goals?

Where was the beginning and end goal of the project?

What needs were to be specifically addressed?

What day to day tasks?

What accountability to ensure work was being done on a timely basis to meet specific stage by stage goals?

Handing someone a blank check to hang out in their underwear and play SL is a lot to ask for. So the person needs to be able to articulate how they are doing more than that - in specific details. Not just "I'll be updating my pet project."

Maybe those details were there, and its just the outside 'media' covering this issue that didn't convey that to me. But I saw nothing that would motivate a rational person to fund this.

To be honest I was very skeptical about the Quarl deal too. Obviously that need was rather great - because the project being funded was way under detailed. And we had (do we even have yet) no assurance that the work completed would even be adopted...

Crowdsourcing doesn't get a "pass" on being responsible for meeting the same 'business plan' needs that other forms of investment and hiring would demand. Vagueness will leave you unfunded.

val kendal

Dartagnan said it all - amen. What sort of message would that have sent about LL if their users were willing to pony up that kind of money to fix *their* product. That seems unheard of, but I'm not in the tech field.


I don't understand why people are going off on tangents trying to explain how they feel or whatever.

He asked for crowdfunding to keep the project afloat or it would die. Funding fell through, project is dead. Call it a day, the end.

Best of luck to Kirsten Lee, in either case.

Oz Linden

I think that these two experiments in funding of open source projects have been interesting. I don't think that two data points define any kind of curve we can use to predict the outcome of any future attempts.

It's a shame that Lee will not be able to continue (even having set the goal far below what I suspect he could make elsewhere), but the viewer development community is still quite active and engaged; I don't think that users will lack for choices in the coming year.

Arcadia Codesmith

Oh, quite right, Oz. There's never a shortage of people willing to work for love of the medium... and never a shortage of people primed to exploit them for profit.

shockwave yareach

programmers program and engineers design because it is in our natures to do so, much as a painter MUST paint.

If we have the free time, money and energy, we can do free stuff for those around us. If we do not, we cannot -- RL has to come first. It's that simple. And as novel an idea as crowdsourcing may be, it's not something one should stake RL existence upon. And if one's partner is sick and you are broke, then putting your energy into the real job instead of SL is the proper thing to do.

And if LL put out a product worth the 300$ a month I USED to be paying, I would be paying them still and I wouldn't flinch everytime someone suggests passing the hat to do LL's job for them. I've paid quite enough already and it has gotten me bupkis. It's LL's screwup; let them and their 100s of millions in profits fix it.


It'll be wonderful if Kirsten can get a job in LL.


I already knew that the project Kirstens Viewer was going to disappear sooner or later, and the fault that this happened is because of KirstenLee (developer of Kirstens Viewer).

Why he is the culprit? It´s simple, because when the viewer was active, he didn´t need money, he has needed money when he abandoned the development of the viewer.

I agree with some people who have said that KirstensLee needs a stable job and not beg through the viewer website.

There are more viewers for Second Life in which the developers don´t ask money to the rest of the people, as for example, Phoenix Viewer, Dolphin Viewer, etc., and these viewers are still developed without problems.

Ask money by the viewer web page I thought that is the worst he could do KirstenLee due to global crisis that exists because the people haven´t money.

The only thing I can say here is I feel this disastrous final for the viewer Kirstens.


Giulio Prisco

These days we expect everything to be free on the internet, but we should realize that this will kill all small developers and leave only Google and Facebook standing. Small developers must put food on the table, and food is not free.



Small developers that charge money for their product have no issues. This whole incident isn't indicative of anything about anything except if you charge nothing you'll get nothing.

Crowdfunding for a year of salary isn't a good business model. Its not like now that Lee has a job, his employer is going to give him a year of salary upfront like he was asking of his viewer users.

Lee could've approached this whole situation in a way that made sense as a business model if infact what he needed was a guaranteed salary. Asking for a year of it upfront is the most unclever way to do that. Regardless of the value offered, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone getting paid a year in advance for services not yet rendered.

The humdrum about Second Life users not coming through or not appreciating Lee's work is undue. There's smarter ways to have a price.

Giulio Prisco

@Ezra - my point is that today small developers don't charge money, because they know that users will not pay, and users will not pay because they (we) expect everything to be free. This will leave only Google and Facebook standing in the long run, and I don't think this is what we want.

In the 90s Lee would have charged a reasonable price, and those who liked and used the viewer would have paid it. This is not the way things are done today. I can think of only very few counter examples (e.g. Minecraft, and some iPhone and Android apps).

Free is nice, but everyone must buy food, and food is not free.

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