Oskar confirms his departure

Happier times: Oskar’s profile picture (Tangent Eponym)

On Friday November 2nd, comment was passed (not from LL) on the apparent departure of Oskar Linden from the Lab. I commented on the matter in my last SL Projects Update for week 44, but at the time it was unclear as to what had happened and why.

A thread on the SL Universe forum started, some of which doesn’t make the most comfortable of reading given some of the attitudes expressed (not towards Oskar or the Lab, I hasten to add, but rather in comments passed by some SL users regarding other SL users). Yesterday – Monday November 5th – (and missed by me at the time as I was completely distracted with other things), Oskar himself popped-up on the thread to pass word himself on the matter, commenting:

To solidify all rumors, yes my employment was terminated by Linden Lab last Friday [November 2nd]. It was a surprise Skype call with the manager of my department and HR. At the same moment all my accounts were locked and I was told a courier was on the way to my house to take my laptop. This is standard operating procedure at the Lab. The reasons given were quite vague, but at the root of it was complaints from a griefer who I had banned from a private testing sandbox that I managed after he was harassing people and threatening to crash them and the region.

Oskar Linden at SLCC 2009 (image: Teagan Linden / Linden Lab)

I was also told that there were issues with my communications. I don’t understand that because I have operated in the role of public communicator for the lab for three years and have always had stellar reviews. It’s not like the reasons really matter anyway. When the Lab wants you gone it’s over.

To be quite honest this has all come as a surprise and a shock. I have known for a while that this would happen eventually though. All Lindens fear ‘the Skype call’. The old Linden culture is long gone. Many Lindens are disappeared in that way when the Lab no longer has use for them. It has been difficult working through the changes at the Lab the past few years. I could have left, perhaps I should have left on my own. I would have been better off. I did not choose to do so because I was dedicated to the wonderful residents I have met during my 4 years working on SL. I was committed to all of you and committed to making Second Life and Linden Lab a better place. I felt I was fighting the good fight and didn’t want to just run away. I felt that I was making a difference. I hope that I did.

I have no idea what is next for me. I have varied passions that I will follow until I feel the need to pursue further employment.

He goes on to add:

I greatly appreciate all of you who friended me and were so passionate about helping me make Second Life a better place. Your enthusiasm to help find bugs greatly helped the quality of the server code. You are all amazing. You are Second Life, not Linden Lab. Never forget that. I love you all and will miss working with you greatly!

I won’t pretend to have known Oskar well; we’d only spoken a few times, and I’ve only recently been attending his meetings – but I will say that I’ve also found him (and despite my one growl I unfairly gave him in these pages as a result of LL’s own communications policy), to be one of the most open and informative Lindens who faced the user community. His departure is going to take some adjusting to for those who did know him well.

To Oskar himself, I’d just like to pass on my personal thanks for all the effort he has put in over the years. I very much hope that all goes well for him and his family wherever his passions and career may lead. Hopefully, we’ll also see you in-world as well.


16 thoughts on “Oskar confirms his departure

  1. Can’t stop thinking in how Rod does nor want to understand that SL is a universe, alive and strugling, not a mere game that can be replaced!
    The old, the ones that sill know the passionate dedication of Sl users are being pushed apart!
    The new, don’t even know about Second Life!
    Sad company, Linden Lab must be now, its only font of income being slowly forgotten and also the employers that are most supportive (Can’t wonder about latest grids blockouts, wihout a single explanation! is the preparation for the definitive shutdown?)


  2. When people leave, there’s often a romaticism about them, Oskar was not everyone’s cup of tea and did do things like the electric fence whilst testing maturity ratings!

    However it’s a measure of the man’s general appeal that he appears to have been held in very high esteem, like you I didn’t have much direct contact with Oskar, but I did read his posts in the tehcnology forum, which is the best current example of communications with residents by a Linden, it’s the best by a country mile.

    Oskar would sometimes talk straight, he’d get annoyed with people who went off topic but he listened and answered where he felt he could and worked with the community and gave people decent information regarding how they could help test new features and provide feedback.

    He’s a big loss and I wish him all the best in the future.


    1. On the communication front, I think Oskar may have pushed the bounds – as in what LL were comfortable with. The reasons for his departure are odd; coming so close after Yoz’s “release”, it does seem as if there is a broom at LL busy sweeping out the “old”.

      The SLU thread left me uncomfortable as a lot of the finger-pointing in the early comments seemed to be the result of the news having come from a specific TPV development team, and thus subject to skepticism than if perhaps they’d come from elsewhere.

      I’ve not forgotten the electric fence episode. I think that was down to misplaced judgement on what was intended to be a humorous take on “you shall not pass”.


  3. Very sad news about Oskar’s departure and many shocked friends think the same in SL.

    I didn’t think much of the rumors over the weekend cause they won’t true until the official confirmation on SLUniverse Forums. I wonder who will take over his office hours in SL? or is it the end of the road for server office hours now which would be a shame.


    1. I went to press on Friday, simply because I did a little bit of digging, and had no reason to disbelieve the source; there was simply no reason for those involved to be putting out misinformation given that a) it could so easily be disproven; b) it would do considerable damage to their collective reputation should it turn out that they were putting out incorrect information.

      Maestro Linden will likely take over the Beta Group Office Hours. He’s taken over the forum posts as it is, and he was going to fill-in for Oskar during the latter’s vacation.


  4. Um… what did Rod say about griefers at SLCC 2011 again? I swear, it wasn’t “COME ON IN! YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE!”

    Because if he’s hellbent on turning his public-facing staff into a stable full of convenient scapegoats, he really ought to update the Terms Of Service 10.5 to “You are not our employee, and even if you are our employee, you probably won’t be for long.”

    I can’t wait to see what Rod The Clod does next.



  5. Like many, I had few dealings with Oskar but I have to say all were positive. If he was terse, I put that down to there being many calls on his time. But he listened and, more to the point, he helped make SL better and he always helped those of us who also tried to make it better.

    Good luck in your future endeavors, Oskar!


  6. I did have cause to communicate with Oskar a few times and once, Yes, he did chew me out…I deserved it on that occasion. But: the one thing that Oskar seemed capable of doing was the one thing that Linden Lab seem corporately unable and unwilling to do – he listened!
    I will miss Oskar’s sometimes irrascible comments; at least the man had a sense of humour. I won’t repeat Ciaran’s comments or those of Crap, they bear repeating but I will demur.
    Damn. Just how many feet does Linden Lab have?


  7. Damn shame on the Lab.

    I can’t say I had many chats with Linden Lab employees, but the one I talked the most to and enjoyed the way he did his job certainly is Oskar. In my opinion, He and Torley are the ones that does/did serve the Second Life community the best way we needed it and in respect of how Second Life started to exist. They are a reminder of the origins of Second Life, and it seems that the Lab is overdoing the house cleaning. They are not cleaning the bad, they are re-shaping Second Life in a way that makes it unrecognisable. my oldest/main account is about 3 years old and I barely log in anymore for various reasons. If the Lab keeps going by removing the communication between them and their users, I definitely don’t have any interest anymore in Second Life. They are getting rid of the transparency that made Second Life different, that kept it to be “just another game”. I personally hate the management model Linden Lab is shaping itself into, and I will hereby dedicate my Enthusiast computer’s processing power to something that doesn’t suck as much as SL will in a few months if they keep going that way.

    A damn shame, I say. They getting rid of the exact things that kept some of us interested.
    I hereby name you, Rodvik, the Destroyer of Hopes.

    We will miss you, Oskar.


    1. Were you the source of this article, Prok, you’d have been credited.

      However, you weren’t.

      I received word directly at the end of the Simulator UG meeting on the 2nd November when a member of the Firestorm team passed comment at the meeting, and I later contacted him for direct feedback & to ensure he wasn’t pulling people’s legs. As a result, I posted on the subject directly myself, see:

      SL project news: week 44/4: server and viewer news.

      I wasn’t even aware you’d posted when that piece was posted. As to not mentioning you in this piece, well I hate to say it, your post was irrelevant, as I’m referring directly to Oskar’s comment on the SLU thread (which had made me aware of your own post, but only after I’d posted my report).

      As to citing sources, you’ll see that I actually do. They appear in the body of my work when I’m corvering news I’ve learned from other log postings or they appear at the end of my articles when items have been pointed to me by others who either have not blogged themselves, or whose blog posts I’ve not read – but from whom I have seen Tweets or Plurks.

      ETA: clarifcation as to which meeting I heard the news.


  8. “the root of it was complaints from a griefer who I had banned”

    What is a person of this Lindens experience and position doing dealing with this issue(a single resident banning)?

    Well, the Lab is probably no longer tolerating Linden’s getting involved with personal disagreements between residents, of which they have inappropriate inworld/IRL relationships with.

    I am sure there is twp sides to this story, and this Linden wont be so “innocent”.


    1. There undoutedly is two sides to every story, which is why I avoided drawing any conclusions / passing comment myself as to the circumstances behind Oskar’s departure. As with any matter of this nature it remains unlikely that the root causes, unblemished through third-party commentary, will ever be known.


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