Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Linden Lab announces a policy for "approved" third-party viewers

Linden Lab just announced the formation of a new policy regarding third-party viewers. Basically, the Lab will finally be putting their foot down on illegitimate viewers such as Cryolife, Thuglyfe and Neillife and work closely with approved third-party viewer developers via a "viewer registry".

I'm cautiously optimistic about this new development. I'm optimistic because it would mean that the Lab may finally get off their butts and perhaps incorporate some features of these other viewers, hence no longer relegating the official viewer as the "newbie" viewer in comparison. Plus working with third party devs the right way would help build trust with potential new users.

What I'm cautious about(and the Lab should be, too) is the possible negative effects it may have on third party viewer development if done with a heavy hand. Apple's condescending and abusive practices against third party iPhone/iPod Touch application developers come to mind here. And even worse, the possibility of the approval process being gamed by those with an agenda against third-party viewers(you guys know who you are) is present within the ongoing discussion with the Lindens.

I must admit here that before the policy announcement I was thinking about diving into the Snowglobe source code and try my hand at creating my own viewer(Not "the next Emerald", but rather a plain viewer with eventually one feature no other has: Ogg Vorbis/Theora streaming support). Now... I'll wait and see or go for it but develop the viewer for OpenSim exclusively.

This has the makings of a debacle, I'd say.

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