The Lab That Dare Not Speak Its Name (TM) has announced a new policy on Openspace sims. Hotspur O'Toole has the details, and I will not attempt to improve on his relating.
In some dimensions, this revised policy is clearly better than the original: it provides an option to retain Openspace sims at the old price, albeit at reduced functionality. It provides an option to retain the current number of prims on an Openspace sim, at the higher price, but phases it in in two stages and over an additional six months. (Big deal, I hear you say. But if a month in-world is equivalent to six months in That Other World, as I've heard some say, it's really a three-year delay. Well, think of it that way, if it makes you feel better.)
On the other hand, even the more expensive option will limit the number of avatars who can gather at once, to 20. As Mr. O'Toole notes, this will eliminate Caledon's balls, and charity events held at the various Duchies, as well as other well-attended gatherings, and will reduce the usefulness of those "Homestead" sims to other purposes, such as large-scale sailing events. Unless TLTDNSIN meant to impose the 20-avatar limit all along, and just forgot to mention it in the original announcement, this reduces the value of the sim, even at the full price increase originally announced. This no doubt puts a great many people in a difficult position: remove much of what made the Openspace sim worth having in the first place (much less functionality at the same price), keep the sim the same but limit its usefulness to the community (less functionality at a higher price), or give up the sim and do something else with the time and money.
As unappealing as those options may seem, I have to wonder whether people are here for the sense of community or some other purpose. People interested in war games, or large-scale regattas, or such, may have to rethink their commitment to Second Life. Fair enough. Others may find that being a Duke or Duchess is fun, but that there are other ways of being a community leader that are nearly as fun - and beat the heck out of a buggy, laggy, fairly unpopulated world with no economy.
I think I'll get off my soapbox now - at least for this topic.