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  ‘Second Life’ Tech Roadmap for Q1, Q2, 2007  
Posted 2006-12-20 by Tony Walsh
Cory Ondrejka, Chief Technnology Officer of Linden Lab appeared in Second Life today, dressed as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in order to draw out a rough technical roadmap of his company's virtual world heading into 2007. Note that such roadmaps have historically been quite unreliable. Following are highlights taken from today's virtual Town Hall meeting, which I attended along with about 120 other avatars:

Q1, 2007:
  • Testing a new pipeline for texture downloads to the SL Viewer that just uses HTTP rather than the current messaging system.
  • Search system improvements to be announced.
  • Next major rollout of Firefox integration ("more functionality in the existing pages that use it plus a floater that is a browser")
  • Testing Mono on the main grid.
  • Possible announcement about a new version of Havok physics engine implementation.

Q2, 2007:
  • New search system to be rolled out.
  • Start of "HTML on a prim" programming and parcel URLs (Firefox integration).
  • Testing Mono on the main grid.
  • Possible announcement about a new version of Havok physics engine implementation.

Going Open Source
Ondrejka said he hopes Second Life will go Open Source (client software included) in 2007. Earlier this year, he'd guesstimated 2007 or 2008.

Python Backbone
"[T]here is now a spiffy Python service running on the SL grid called Backbone. Backbone is our service infrastructure protocols (HTTP, XML), is scalable, can handle lots of queries per second, and can be changed without downing the grid (more on this in a bit). Presence queries for agents and simulators had been our high database nail, so we built Backbone around those problems."

A New SL Client
"We don’t currently have the development resources to split off a team to start building a new client – although if anyone has a 10 to 20 person development team with experience in high-performance OpenGL who would like to talk, please email me! – so we’re doing the hardest possible thing, which is to rebuild the viewer as we go."

Greater Efficiency in Bandwidth Usage
"[W]e’ve been doing a lot of UI testing, security testing, and bandwidth reduction...we’re not going to run on narrow band any time soon, but we do eventually want to send larger chunks of simulator state downstream. This would have the advantage of allowing the viewer to be smarter about occlusion and culling, to make fewer state changes, and allow much higher compression on the data. This isn’t even fully in the design stages, though, so this isn’t going to be worked on until H2 of 2007."

Firefox Integration
"We have an external contractor who has tons of experience working on [Firefox integration] right now. Basically we’ve been trying to make sure that we can get Flash working correctly because so many of the interesting parts of the Web are moving to Flash-based players/plugins/etc. Getting the control inputs and updates to work correctly is a bear but they do seem to be making progress, which is very exciting. The order of operations will be to roll a full internal browser first, then supplement the parcel media types with URLs, and then move to full HTML on a prim. Note that HTML on a prim has several pieces, from being able to interpret straight HTML in order to build text, do layout, etc, all the way to having a face of a prim point at a web page."

Variable Upload Fees
"I like the idea of differential upload costs for textures, I’m curious what other folks think about that. The thought is that it would cause people to be more careful about picking appropriate sized textures." Ondrejka is in favour of resource quotas based on account type.

"[W]e are continuing to roll improvements to the group, land, and estate tools plus we are continue to build in better system-wide responses to large scale griefing. Identity is clearly not a solved problem on the web, so community and local control seems the only scalable solution."
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Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
December 21, 2006 @ 12:25 am
Sigh. Well, I'm glad you all had a good time there fantasizing about the future. When will this bright future come?

And, remember, I was the one who asked Cory Linden some very pointed questions for his town hall, and was permabanned from the Linden blogs for doing so.

The thread I replied to -- all my comments -- still stand. Odd, that, given that the only rules for the blog are that they reserve the right to delete things that were "objectionable" -- and while these weren't "objectionable" enough to delete (maybe because so many people had the SAME questions???), *I* could be deleted. Nyet cheloveka, nyet problemy.

So my comments stand -- there a a dozen people who support the same line of query on the moral/social side of the CopyBot and libsecondlife expedition, but for my response to the libber supporters' trolling, *I'm* banned. I'm banned for asking questions that Cory said in the town hall were "excellent"!

So watch how Cory answers this thread in the town hall. Regarding reverse engineers, he says he can't stop them:

"We could drive them onto dark nets by aggressively shutting down public forums, club them with the DMCA by adding homeopathic quantities of encryption, and/or engage in an arms race by constantly changing our
[14:38] Cory Linden: protocols. Does anyone really want us to spend time doing those things?

"drive them into dark nets by aggressively shutting down public forums."


That's just frigging' amazing, Cory Linden.

So... you can't drive reverse engineers into dark nets (!) but you can...permaban me and drive ME into a dark net because I asked for some social responsibility and public accountability from these so-called open-sourcing reverse engineers???

AS already didn't shut down public forums in Second Life itself?!

Can he grasp that this is not about the technology and not about some silly notion you have of other people's "FUD"? It's about the arrogance and impunity in doing things like *selling* CopyBot; unleashing it on people maliciously to terrorize them; and paying a source to lie to journalists about this?!
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