Mono and Havok4 are going to be big changes to the Grid and our interaction with second life. The improvement in speed that mono will bring will make scripting squeeze less of a problem, and Havok4 is both better and more stable. H4 also allows hollow huge prims, which are a major improvement.
The problem we face is that the asset server and other grid central pieces are not large enough and stable enough, and many of us, me included, are hoping that IBM's adoption of second life will create the possibility of a true het-grid, with more decentralized severs talking to an eventual root server which will sort out many of our issues.
Our big challenges are holding on until a more scaleable and reliable grid arrives making second life safe for the masses. However, the masses, when they get here, will need better staring content. There's no reason not to have better starting shapes, skins and clothes. None. There's no reason to hook better content into being powned by some community, none.
Right now we have been building castles in the air. Sex is a big part of what we do, and building is a big part of what we do. These are two things that are hard to do in rl. I wouldn't have an art palace and sculpture garden in real life, and I won't mention about the other things.
The other thing that really needs to change is that second life is "communication poor." It is hard to control second life from the outside, and it is even harder to control the outside from second life. The whole point of having a 6D space is to make it possible to easily solve problems that are hard to solve in two d text with links. We aren't anywhere close to that. Collaboration is hard.
Some of our social problems come from people profiting from doing nothing, or wanting to. "Second Life banks" are a good example. It's hard to combat this, because as far as I can see, a large fraction of the people whoa re very well off in first life, don't do much either, other than get an early mover advantage and fight to protect it.
Virtual worlds are different, but really, people are the same. We want desires of an erotic nature that are frowned upon by our neighbors, and we want something for not much of anything. Cliques form pushing each other's work, and subcultures crowd around some media property or other.
One ofmy big frustrations is how hard it is to write server things in sl that control, and get information in from the outside, precisely because only when the inside is as richly informed as the outside, can we really put this environment to work. I know the 25 group limit is a big nose, but really, I would love to have the ability to read a full size web page, an outside contents in SL. The limit I hate the most is the 2048 character limit on HTML calls. It makes it impossible to read the large databases from the outside. More over the bugginess of our talking in and out means that even data bases that are friendly to small answers to simple questions, often don't work. More than one project has died over makes.
And that's where "the fight for first mover" comes in. If second life were more genuinely open source, then many of these problems could get people to solve them. Companies could start, not to deal with the bugs of sl, but to provide the capabilities we need in sl: web on a prim, web to meta communication, a wider variety o asset server with better permissions. For example the simple ability to set what the next person can grant as permissions would be a major improvement. Embedded permissions would be even bigger, that way a texture person could sell a texture that could not be given away as a texture.
In the year I have been here I've seen only one thing that has really changed my life introduced. Sculpties, and specifically sculptie shoes.
Havok 4 will be the next life changer, and I look forward to it. But the speed of innovation in the platform is right now limited ot LL, and one big problem LL has is that many of us who are here don't want to work for them.
people want OpenSim so that we can run our own severs, even if just to develop without the idiosyncracies of grid availability, and we want a genuinely open source client development. We need open logins and we need full communication with the web.
Those are things that are going to take more programming ability than LL has available to it, and the day has to come when this world gets opened, at least enough, to allow that innovation.