Monday, November 16, 2009

The Spectrum of Open Source Viewers

The other day, Dale Innis posted a piece about the leaked Viewer 2.0 testing comments and how it relates to third-party viewers. A good read for sure, but what got my brain neurons firing off was from a part of a comment in a humorous response post from Adric Antfarm, about third-party viewers and Prokofy Neva's views on them: "The truth is in the middle. They are neither the savior you claim or the devil she does."

I was going to put up a comment on Adric's blog responding to the statement, but it got too TL;DR-ish, so I'll put my thoughts down below(don't worry, I'll try to keep it concise and brief).

I think the answer isn't in the middle, but rather that the answer is all three due to the fact that there are viewers that fit in each category. A spectrum, if you will. For example, let's look at viewers like Hippo, Imprudence, Meerkat and Snowglobe. The first three have third-party grid login management far superior to the official viewer's clunky "--loginuri=" command-line method. Imprudence and Meerkat have legitimate object backup capability(creator or full-perm only). Snowglobe recently gained text chat translation, Open Grid Protocol login support, and LLMedia API support(my favorite feature). These viewers, as well as some special viewers like omviewer-light and ajaxife.net are clearly beneficial to the metaverse community as a whole and should be held up as excellent examples of open source community at work.


Then there's the undeniably malicious viewers. First it was Copybot, now we have an unholy trinity of Cryolife, Thuglyfe and Neillife. All three are at their core a continuation of CopyBot's malicious intent(copy objects with no regard for the Second Life permissions system). Thuglyfe goes a step further and includes features designed to avoid parcel and estate bans. These are the kinds of viewers, open source or not, that should be fought against vigilantly.

And currently straddling the middle of the spectrum is Emerald, the most popular but controversial third-party viewer(Disclaimer: I have used Emerald, but as of late I have been using Snowglobe and Imprudence instead). There are so many cool features of Emerald I can't list them without turning this paragraph into TL;DR, so I'll go straight to some of the controversial features. First there's de-friending notification. It's okay in SL to de-friend someone and letting it pass quietly. Getting a notification that you've been de-friended is a quick way to cause drama and grief. Showing real online status and avatar keys in profiles can also be griefing-enablers.

Also the past activities of some Emerald developers don't help their viewer. However, the Emerald developers seem to be willing to work with Linden Lab on viewer policy, and they are now keen on combating malicious Emerald derivatives such as Neillife, so the jury is still out on Emerald. It can go either way.

So to either wholly allow all viewers or condemn them as Prok does are completely irresponsible and one-sided views. It will lead to either rampant copyright infringement and crime or feature stagnation, greatly harming the value of SL. A balanced view of the spectrum, however, will ensure that Second Life and it's derivatives will continue to succeed for a very long time.

2 comments:

Adric Antfarm said...

Dear Antmis;

Eggy and I are quite concerned you found humor in Ms. Prok's predicament we chronicled. Loss is one thing, but loosing someone you had planned on capping is one of the most traumatic things in life you can ever experience apart from a parent insisting on using a rectal thermometer well until your teens.

As for the article itself, you state my line then proceed to say the same thing for several paragraphs. While this is much the way I write, I have the common courtesy to add obscenities and vulgar descriptions to their work so it's not something they feel bad about loosing.

You sir, are very lacking in the obscenity department. However, as a mentor sort of person, I'm going to pencil you in weekly for obscenity guidance. Please except vulgar communication shortly.

Hold the line, a further review of your work shows you not only dropped an f bomb, it was in your piece detailing how you confronted a grieving senior citizen over her just dead chickens wrapping it up with some F.

You are my kind of people and you told her. Until she notices you are in that New state next to her New state but a ax's throw away.

AntoniusMisfit said...

"Until she notices you are in that New state next to her New state but a ax's throw away."

I need a new "New" state now. Lemme see, New Hampshire: too quiet, Newfoundland: too cold, New Mexico: too hot, New Zealand: too... something, New Guinea: perfect! - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Guinea