Is that the sound of a shoe dropping…?

Jack’s back – and this time he comes (almost) clean…

Remember that back in October, OpenSpace sims were suddenly the cause of much controversy, because in Jack’s words they were being “abused” and were proving to be resource-heavy, and thus adversely affecting overall grid performance?

Well, the good news is, Jack has finally come clean and admitted (as we already knew), that the problem is not restricted to OpenSpace sims (although it could perhaps most keenly be felt on them at times), but is endemic to the entire grid – hence Babbage Linden and others in the Linden camp leading discussions on the manner in which such problems should best be handled, which have been on-going since before Jack created the OpenSpace debacle.

But while it is good that Jack has finally admitted the technical issues are more widespread than he has previously admitted (remember, in his words, this was an OpenSpace issue), and has admitted that LL still have a long way to go before they can address the resource use issue effectively (such as Q2 2009), his comments must be taken as a final, tacit admission that the change in sim status and accompanying tier hike for OS sims had next to nothing to do with these issues, and has always been a clawback manoeuvre.

Furthermore, his posting does little to meet his promise that the technical limits to be applied to Homesteads would be disclosed “well ahead” of January 5th 2009.

Sorry, Jack, a post that says, “we’ll let you know some time in Q1 or Q2 how the resource limits will be applied” isn’t any form of disclosure or discussion, however you try and dress it up.

Indeed, the timeline Jack has revealed in his posting is interesting. Could it be that LL’s strategy is – and always has been – to actually to elminate “Homestead” sims completely over time, while simultaneously milking them as much as possible for tier? Isn’t it rather curious that the new “scripting limits” are due to come into force percisely at the time Homesteads are due for a further $30 USD a month tier hike (to $125 USD a month – something one cannot ever see as being credible or sustainable)?

If we take this latest posting from Jack and put it with the others he has made on the OS situation, then his waffle can really be parred down to three simple paragraphs:

“OK. We have this technical issue affecting the whole grid, and we’ve really, really, drastically undersold the OpenSpace product. Therefore, we’re going to use the former as an excuse to claw back what we see as losses on the latter. However, to dress this up, we’re going to appear to give you a whole new product in the process, although in reality, it’ll be offering you a lot less at significantly more per month. And to cover the fact that we’re using a grid-wide issue as an excuse for doing this, we’ll introduce some basic restrictions on the use of these sim which might help a little with the overall issue.

“BUT, because it’s actually going to take us a lot longer to sort out the underlying issue than it is for us to hit you up with tier hikes, we’re going to take your extra $20 USD a month per sim and give absolutely no guarantees these sims will be sustainable after the end of Q2 2009. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that as of the end of Q2, you’ll find these sims are economically unviable, simply because the new script controls we’ve introduced means users on them can no longer rez their favourite scripted objects, and so are all buggering off to full sims.

“At that point, we’ll give you the option of shelling out an additional $30 USD a month on top of your current tier (which we know is completely ludicrous) – or of getting rid of your Homesteads completely – but thanks in the meantime for the extra $XXX income per Homestead you’ve given us.”

I mean, it is bad enough that LL are essentially asking estate owners to take them on trust for the next 6 months while the resource capping is sorted out and implemented; but do they really believe that come July 1st, 2009, people will actually and happily shell out $125 USD a month for something that in all likelihood they cannot use as an income generator, simply because it is so overwhelmingly limited in capabilities (resource use, avatar limits)?

Which brings me to the second part of Jack’s posting – the tacit admission that there is a much wider issue that is having to be addressed by LL – that of grid-wide resource usage.

To repeat: this is not limited to OS sims, but has been a matter of concern for some time.

Make no mistake, resource usage is a major issue within SL. So much so that the discussions on the subject actually pre-date Jack’s original OS sim announcement. And to be honest, something does need to be done – although whether LL’s preferred solution (essentially treating the underpinning resources available on each server in much the same way as prims are meted out) is the best solution is, I gather, arguable.

BUT…given action is required….why bury the annoucement in an OpenSpace sim “follow-up” posting?

Could it again be because LL are aware that such controls – necessary tho they may be – are going to be perceived negatively, and so are trying to gloss over the “bad news”. If so, they are again doing their users a further disservice. Surely the better way of dealing with this issue is to meet it head-on, with full and clear disclosure to all.

But then, as we know from the Tao of Linden – LL’s management insist that transparency in communications is something that is to be encouraged only between employees – it is not something to be extended to we lowly users.

Which is probably why, in amongst all the confusion surrounding the wider implications of Jack’s statements, one cannot help but hear the gun again being cocked as it is aimed towards another Linden foot…