Here's some points from my perspective.
(1) Linden Lab doesn't do things to benefit their users - they do things to benefit Linden Lab. There are a lot of creators who believe the TPV policy was a response to their fear of copybotting and their content being shipped to other grids without their knowledge or approval. I beg to differ, and a bit of common-sense thought will tell otherwise. Linden Lab did this to attempt to "garden gate" content and stem the flow of content creators going to other grids. It had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the content you create. If you create a finished product, in most cases it's no-transfer and it couldn't be ported, anyway, without being illegally copied. If you create building materials, there are still ways to export that content whether you like it or not, approve of it or not. There is also some legal and ethical question over whether you really have any say over what happens to a finished product which may contain elements you provided as building materials (matter for another discussion). The point is Linden Lab was trying to discourage people from leaving. Communist countries found out the Iron Curtain didn't work, so what made Linden Lab think a similar policy would do the same? If anything, it caused MORE people to get out while the getting was good.
If Linden Lab gave a flying shit about protecting your intellectual property rights, they would've worked on expanding and fine-tuning permissions.
(2) One thing that came to light in these discussions is that Linden Lab isn't done laying people off. They closed their UK office yesterday (Thursday). I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out there's been a steady trickle of the unemployed coming out of ALL their operations. If response to customer service tickets is any indicator, it's continuing but not making major news.
(3) I don't know about you, but I've seen grid and sim performance degrade over the last few months. I actually have more trouble navigating and using Second Life, a grid that is supposedly mainstream, than I do Inworldz, which is still in beta. This tells me that they are downgrading hardware as well as trying to squeeze a few more sims into already overloaded hardware. When I see Ruth Hair after setting RenderUnloadedAvatar to TRUE and it's on a sim that's supposedly running solo on a Class 5 server, I know there is something radically wrong.
Linden Lab's insensitivity to this obvious downgrade tells me they're running out of money, and fast - and it isn't that they're deliberately ignoring us, it's that they refuse to tell us the REAL reasons why things are going to hell in a handbasket.
(4) Did it ever occur to you that we're being treated like garbage on purpose? I know a lot of us have been thinking that, for a very long time, based solely and purely upon how the Lab treats us as customers. They are trying to thin the herd so their platform runs better and cleaner on hardware that is both less numerous and less in quality. This is also an indicator that they are quite possibly considering a divestiture of Second Life. Chase off the deadwood, keep the "favored ones", and present a cleaner, meaner, shiny product to whomever wants to purchase it.
(5) Mark Kingdon was a Wall Street hack with a past rooted in Price Waterhouse Cooper, who has been intensely investigated for fradulent dealings on Wall Street. What better way to squeeze the last few dimes out of a failing product than to bring in a Wall Streeter who counts beans, rather than how many truly satisfied customers he has? With Kingdon, all that mattered was the bottom line, and everything else could go to hell - but as we know from what we've seen happen in the RL corporate world, this business philosophy costs customers, which costs revenue. Wall Streeters haven't figured that out, and Kingdon was no exception. Inside of two years, his corporate tactics sent SL into a tailspin that I am doubting it could ever recover from. Inside of two years, the Second Life world went heavily corporate and consumer-driven and ceased, for the most part, to be a place of education, community, and fulfilled dreams. You cannot blame the merchants for that. What were they supposed to do? They had no choice BUT to enter the rat race, so they could afford to pay exhorbitant tier for the few prims they could scrounge. Talk about the virtual world emulating real life.
(6) Freebies have nothing whatsoever to do with the downfall of the SL economy. Linden Lab mismanagement and refusal to address serious grid bugs coupled with a real-life Depression is what has brought down the economy. Things were going downhill well before the real-life economy had any effect, however, and again, it had nothing whatsoever to do with freebies. Anyone who blames freebies for a decline in sales better wake up and look to home, first. If people think freebies are better than your product, then it's time to reevaluate your product and how it's priced, marketed, and sold.
Playing with viewers doesn't encourage extended shopping trips, either, and having difficulty teleporting unless you're practically naked doesn't help, either.
Search being permanently FUBARd is also bringing down the economy as people cannot find their way to the places they want to go the most. This is going to hurt the not-for-profit enterprises way more than it will the for-profit. What happened to all this support for The Arts that we heard about at the SL birthday party? Well people aren't going to FIND and APPRECIATE those art installations if Search isn't working properly.
For-profit enterprises still have ways to get the word out; for instance, paid Classifieds. If you have the moolah you have the ad toward the top. SL Marketplace may suck donkey balls but it also is yet another way that for-profit enterprises can get their name and products out there.
Who and what is going to help the charitable and not-for-profit? I guess Linden Lab's true face is showing. They don't care about that, either, regardless of the fact that there are well-known artists who have created content there - and are just as likely to spread the word that SL is no longer "friendly" to artists of renown.
Corporate kissbutts will never comprehend what Second Life started as, or how important it has been to literally millions of people. You're more likely to find a housewife, or a programmer, or a disabled person, or a socially shy person in SL than you are someone whose world revolves around Wall Street or corporate living. They HAVE no basis of understanding, because you really CANNOT understand virtual worlds till you've spent some time in one (and we're not talking a few days, or even weeks). Philip Rosedale dreamt up the concept and his programmers made it a reality, but that's where their major contribution ended. It was the USERS who made Second Life what it is, and it is the USERS who make ANY virtual world what it is.
Without happy, productive USERS, all you have is a bunch of code that can generate pea green land and faux water.