The big news has to be Cory Linden/Ondreijka leaving Linden Labs. Moo Money posted the news on Massively, and my attention was drawn to it by Moopf first thing yesterday morning.
It has shaken the people I have talked to today. Cory is one of the main architects of SL, and nobody knows what the consequences will be if he leaves the company. More than that, the Tao of Linden, for those who have romantic ideas about how it works or does not work, is tarnished by the news that two of the most important members of the company have been having substantial differences in the past few weeks... it seems to confirm what a lot of bloggers and commentators have been saying for a long time: there is no substitute for someone having the balls to take decisions and manage the company, in short.
If the saintly Linden machine can't resolve differences at this level in the company, it is difficult to see that it works lower down the pecking order. To those of us who spend as much time in world as most Lindens, but only get to observe the way things work - or don't work - from the outside, it is hard to know how it is, really. I am reminded of a comment my son once made about school, when he told me "the thing is, there are two schools really, the one the teachers think they go to, and the one I get to go to, and they are completely different places which happen to be in the same place...."
I often get the feeling that there are two SLs really... the one which I inhabit and the one that the Lindens work in. Sometimes the divergence between the two SLs is very frustrating, for example when you meet a Linden who is unaware of the currently prevailing building bug, or who seems to be completely ignorant of the constraints (prim limits, avatar limits) that govern the world for most users.
I have noticed in SL, that individuals tend to appear more generous, open and available in world than in real life, while groups appear to be more volatile and unstable in world than in real life. Sometimes it seems that groups are going through some sort of basic cell division, where people join together for a while, then split off and form their own groups, which in turn spawn their own groups.
Of course, the chief architect of Second Life may well be in demand for other ventures of a similar nature, and he has unique experience to be able to assist the many potential worlds currently in incubation around the world. People have speculated that a competitor world which was run more efficiently than SL might well have a positive effect upon SL.
For me, it will be interesting to see if the people who set up SL begin to reflect this subdividing effect which is already apparent in world, and whether this has a strengthening or weakening effect on the worlds they are co-creating.
Watching the Fire in Friedsee [Flickr]
4 weeks ago