Yesterday we had the chance to meet Zero Linden during his office hours and of course one of the topics was that Cory is leaving Linden Lab. This is especially important for what it means to the Open Source and the Open Grid efforts of Linden Lab.
Asked about these concerns Zero stated that development is indeed feeling the impact of the departure of CTO Cory Ondrejka. On the other hand the main project leaders spend the day before the office hour offsite to talk about goals and project planning and there seems not to be a big change in what’s happening. There was no decision on any major change of strategy or direction within that group.
He was also quite sure that it will not cause a big upset.
Zero further stated that it’s important to understand how Linden Lab works internally. They don’t have a traditional hierarchy which means that the direction they go is not decided solely by the CTO but by many people. This is also true for the Open Source efforts of Linden Lab. It is a big group of people inside Linden Lab who had that idea and are equally passionate about it and he further stressed that „[Linden Lab’s] commitment to open source is continuing„.
I continued to ask if it is really clear to the company as a whole what opening up the grid means, like that it enables people to just let Linden Lab be Linden Lab and just do their own grid without any means of interconnection. I asked this because I got the impression at some office hour that not everybody seems to be so aware of that and maybe questioning that idea a little.
He said though that „There is no question that we have to enable other people running parts of the grid“ and added that even right now nobody can stop anybody from doing your own grid already (if you think about it, it in fact is the only thing you can do right now, as efforts like deepgrid and others show).
So nothing really should change but with knowing this one might wonder what these differences between Philip and Cory might have been. It might be about the fact that Second Life was not always that stable in the past but I doubt that Cory would have thought that this is ok. In fact there are many projects like Havok 4 and Open Source just two of them trying to address these problems. It might also simply have been something personal. I guess we will never really know for sure and probably it’s also not that important. Interesting though might be who’s following Cory as CTO.
Zero Linden, in real life Mark Lentczner, is Engineering Director at Linden Lab and the head of Linden Lab’s effort to open up the grid and define it in an open and standardized protocol.