Sunday, April 18, 2010

Updates on the Third-Party Viewer Policy debacle

Joe Linden recently hosted a brown-bag meeting for third-party developers to discuss the TPV policy. Unfortunately the meeting accomplished very little in terms of reconciliation or possible policy revision. This was due to griefers at the meeting teleporting around and crashing the sim(those griefers sadly being some of the people attending the meeting), and expected major problems with voice.

What was interesting about this meeting is that as far as I can tell there were absolutely no third-party developers in attendance who were listed in the Lindens' third-party viewer directory. That left Joe with virtually no solid support on his side. Also there were a few people there who weren't developers at all: Wut Moorlord of Woodbury/w-hat(a known griefer) and Angela Talamasca, who basically represents anti-open source folks like Prok. Then there's the shady trio of "ex-griefer" Emerald developers Discrete Dreamscape, Fractured Crystal and Lonely Bluebird. So with that unique blend of folks there, it's no wonder it came out a disaster for both sides.

What I took away from the meeting transcripts, however, is that the Emerald devs are going to do exactly what I theorized to several friends: that the Emerald developers are going to secretly negotiate a deal with the Lindens to become the only allowed general use third-party viewer on the directory(KirstenLee's viewer doesn't count as it's meant as a specialist viewer for photographers and machinima creators), with a side deal that Onyx(the copybot/griefer client the Emerald devs use amongst themselves) will be exempt from the policy, making it a Linden-blessed copybot/griefer client under the veil of "penetration testing for the Lab". Meanwhile all of the honest devs of general use third-party viewers will get bullied out of SL to appease the Lindens and their Emerald buddies. I have very little hope that the next meeting will be anything different or produce anything positive.

So in a nutshell, for general SL use it's either the still-craptacular Viewer 2.0, Snowglobe or risk your data and privacy with the Emerald devs in exchange for jiggle boobs, fancy selection beams and lag-inducing extra attachment points. Ugh.

Update: Regarding Emerald, Prok has a new blog post up which connects almost all of the dots about these folks who, in all honesty, should have been perma-banned from the first TOS/CS violation they committed(feel free to skip her usual open source=evil BS, of course). What Prok misses, however, is the connection between Onyx and Gemini CDS. Yes, CDS will ban all copybot viewers detected, except Onyx since it's an Emerald "project". Combined with the TPV policy going into effect, the Emerald devs can run roughshod over SL with no one the wiser, with only the above choices left for SL residents.

Update 2: Surprisingly, the Lindens have quietly amended the TPV policy. From what I'm reading of it, the changes are precisely what the TPV developer community asked for. I guess that blows apart the piece of my theory of Emerald colluding with Lindens to run all the other legit TPVs out of town. However that doesn't change the likelihood of CDS and Onyx collusion.


Zauber Paracelsus said...

How are CDS users going to feel about CDS giving immunity to a griefer/copybot client? Not very happy, to say the least.

AntoniusMisfit said...

@Zauber: I suspect quite a of CDS users may choose to willfully ignore the dangers the Emerald devs and CDS poses to them. It's a lot like the protection rackets gangs and mafias do: they keep rival gangs and other trouble out, yet they themselves ravage who they're "protecting" at times.