Friday, March 26, 2010

Imprudence Developers take a stand against the Third-Party Viewer Policy

This past Tuesday I had the privilege of attending a "weekly ImpDev meetup", where Imprudence viewer developers and those(like me) interested in it's development would meet and discuss various issues, like bugs, feature ideas, and anything else related to Imprudence. The meeting, however, turned out to be the most important meeting not just for Imprudence, but for other third-party viewers as well.

The meeting was about how the Imprudence developers should respond to Linden Lab's final wording of their third-party viewer policy. Earlier today, Jacek Antonelli broke the news of their decided response. While it echoes the general response of the TPV developer community, it states it in a very professional and respectful manner towards users, developers and even Linden Lab. Jacek also announced that while Imprudence cannot agree to the TPV policy as a whole, they will honor the parts of the policy that are reasonable and do not legally endanger the project.

This response is already having a ripple effect, as it has seemed to inspire Luna Viewer developer, Fred Rookstown, to continue developing Luna but with similar changes as Imprudence. It would also seem other viewer developers will follow suit, with the possible exception of the Emerald developers as they may be secretly negotiating with the Lab to get some sort of exemption from the policy in exchange for some changes made to Emerald(most likely gutting import/export, grid manager functionalities and a few controversial features).

While this marks a very sad day for SL, conversely it's a red-letter day for OpenSim-based virtual worlds who will benefit from the increased viewer support and likely incoming users. The ball is now in Linden Lab's court, and how(or even if) they respond to this will set the status quo in SL open development possibly for years to come(if SL manages to last that long, though).

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