Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I trained the core to stop my growth

Grace McDunnough writes on choices and controversy regarding the new Terms of (Linden) Service. I admit, I skimmed through things, seeing as how I had an open window with the Terms of Service there I told myself I'd get back to. I caught most of what she did, with one startling exception: I didn't see where it said new users of SL had to use viewer 2.0, and only viewer 2.0.

[Note from the Editrix: it actually says 2.0 is now the default viewer download on the official SL blog. It's not that new residents can't use alternate viewers--it's that every new avatar created is only provided viewer 2.0 to download.]

Suddenly I get why Oxbridge professors have been struggling with the new client so much--they can't recommend their students use another browser, because apparently, new accounts aren't given that option! That seems insanely restrictive, don't you think?

Ciaran Laval notes that Linden Labs went blog crazy today, and that's a good way to put it. And, considering the sheer numbing tonnage of info on the blog to sort through, even people who like to read dictionaries for fun (waves) are getting drowned under the deluge.

"Interesting times, now tomorrow hopefully LL will announce the Xstreet changes many of us are dreading and then announce it has all been a long planned April fool and we'll have a jolly good chuckle with them!"

Gods, don't I wish. And I'm not even going to touch all the places in the new ToS agreement--which everyone who logs in is going to have to agree to, or not log in--where the Lindens demand the abrogation of rights that individual people are guaranteed. That's a whole other ball of sticky wax and I'm leaving that alone for lawyer types to wrangle.

There's also the machinima and photograph policy that Ciaran mentioned: this one leads off with the mildly stunning:

"If you’ve had the experience of entering a film festival, you know that festival organizers ask about these permissions. "

and moves from there to the perverse:

"(a) Land Owner Consent for Snapshots and Machinima.

If you wish to take a snapshot or capture machinima of content on another Resident’s land, then:

  1. For Snapshots, check whether the covenant for the land prohibits snapshots. If it does, then you need special permission from the land owner to take the snapshot. If it allows snapshots or doesn’t address them, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant.
  2. For Machinima, check whether the covenant for the land allows machinima. If it does not or doesn’t address machinima, then you need special permission from the land owner to capture machinima. If it allows machinima, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant."
Buh. Just BUH. So now the covenants--everywhere--need to be rewritten to include whether or not people have permission in advance to take machinima or photos on that land? Oh, Des and Lady Serra are going to LOVE this one...

And there's a puff piece on "growing" use of Viewer 2.0 here; the comment that's most telling for me?

"According to a Linden rep, just while Viewer 2 has been in public beta, already 10% of Second Life users have already begun using the new client regularly."

OH, yeah. 10% now, baby, 17% later, WHOO!

The Alphaville Herald covers something they call the "epic fail" of in-world groups, and I'd have to agree. Also, there are some great raw truths in the AWGroupies chat that the article quotes--including the fact that the reason for chat lag is that the distribution lists for group chats are not scalable, they're static: the same system used to access and maintain calling cards, I believe.

So, just as having more than 1000 calling cards means your avatar can't log in (because login perpetually times out due to the calling card database being culled for every name on that list every time an avatar logs in), having a large group means chat lag, because every time a message is sent, the database is sent a query in return: Does X belong to this list? Does Y? Does Q? Does ML? Does V? Does C? And it does this every time.

So let's talk the Independent States of Caledon. I stopped counting when I went beyond five hundred members in the group, and I wasn't even a quarter down the list. I know we have more people, but let's just round up to 2000, okay?

Every time someone says something--the database is sent a verification query 2000 times.

Every time I respond to something someone says--the database is sent another verification query 2000 times.

Every time someone responds back to me--the database is sent another verification query 2000 times.

Rinse, repeat, burn. There needs to be a better system.

There's a comment that's priceless below that article, too: namely, an urging to go and vote for the group limits JIRA, to raise the amount of available groups, and the amount of roles within each group. (Personally, the second would be a godsend--at one point, I was dancing for a club that wanted me in five groups so I could effectively cover notices sent out, management duties, DJ wrangling, and group-permission allowances to dance upstairs, dance downstairs, and host. All of that could have been done out of one group if the group roles were lifted beyond ten.)

(Oh, and another deeply ironic note? That JIRA posting? Originated in September of 2008. That's a year and a half ago, that that JIRA has been active. And unsolved. And IGNORED.)

[16:37] Frurry Fluno: [16:37] Ronin McGinnis: Hello everyone, I know most of us are excited about the new Media on a Prim functionality that's in the Viewer 2 beta. Unfortunately, this functionality was introduced without fine-grained security controls, and as such may place your computer at risk.
Please look at and vote for the following JIRAs:

Really can't add to that. It's still a problem. Hasn't been fixed. Came out of beta with the same hazards associated with it. Thanks, Linden Labs, for not listening, AGAIN.

Really. Is it too much to ask for scalable options, that don't stunt the virtual world experience the Lindens say they want to grow? Especially when new films are mentioning Second Life, and gaining new users, far more frequently than ever before.

Oh, and do I even have to mention the incredibly snafu of epic proportions the Lindens rolled out when they posted their viewer directory? Of the three names on the list, I recognize one, and that's Kirsten's viewer, which I don't use, because I crash using it! I've never even heard of METAbolt or Mobile Grid, and I don't know anyone who's used them. EVER.

Do you notice who's not on the list, though?


Do you know what viewer at least half, if not more, of the total grid population has switched to using?


If Linden Labs continues to snub Emerald--or Emerald continues not to comply with the Labs (for I don't know, honestly, who's to blame here)--a lot of users are going to hit that 'last straw' point. And walk.

Honestly, the Lindens want their world to fail. It's becoming inescapable. What the hell does M Linden think he's doing? How far is he going to run this thing into the ground? Until we look up and see root systems?

This is insane. It needs to stop. The Labs screwed up group chat two years ago and never fixed it; screwed up the new viewer even after asking for resident input on the new options, and getting it; are insisting the new viewer is the only viewer new residents can use, which is going to cost them new residents; what's left?

At this point I'm waiting for an edict that says each estate owner can only own ten sims. For "consistency" or something. M Linden has a gun and he's shooting himself in the foot, repeatedly, but that's not the worst aspect of all this. In between shots at his own feet, he's shooting everyone else in the office.

Is he off his meds?

And--the first sign of the wave to come tomorrow--Dame Ordinal Malaprop announces she'll now be Ordinal Linden.

*coughs* Won't that be nice?

Of course, it's easily as likely as me becoming a Linden, all things considered.


Magdalena Kamenev said...

Of the *3* 3rd-party viewers listed -- not one runs on the MacOS. Perhaps this is why Pathfinder left ... he'd be stuck using Viewer 2.0 ... *sarcasm*

Grace McDunnough™ said...

Viewer 2.0 was rolled out as default today for new users. See the last bullet point here:

This is why the new ToS were released - to be consistent with the Viewer 2.0 release.

I'm sorry I didn't make that clear.

Sphynx Soleil said...

I didn't see where it said new users of SL had to use viewer 2.0, and only viewer 2.0.

I didn't see it either. :/ Maybe they revised it after an initial posting?

I did poke through the third-party policy and didn't see anything horribly show-stopping - some sections were listed for both users AND developers, many sections were developer ONLY. Someone must've had an attack of common sense, or a visit from a lawyer drone, one of the two...

Basically, it looks like the user portions break down to "thou shalt not get stupid with thine viewer"...which I think I can handle. :)

Grace McDunnough™ said...

"Viewer 2 is now the default viewer download for all new Second Life Residents." That is taken from the blog post I linked above, and reaffirmed by T Linden in his Metanomics address this afternoon.

Let me ask you a hypothetical about the TPV. How do you - as a user - know that a TPV is "compliant"?

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Kamenev,

I'm hoping that's just the beginning of the list; I've heard the actual date of implementation of all compliance issues in third-party viewers is Aprille 30th; but even so, I'm already hearing that premium members running Emerald are having support tickets turned away now--because they're running a "non-approved" viewer.

If that's true, that's very sad, and actually shocking. As well as damaging to the integrity of, and already compromised trust in, Second Life.

Emilly Orr said...


I understand better; it may have been a mis-reading on my part, originally. I'll make a note.

Emilly Orr said...


The third-party restrictions are, more or less, understandable. What's galling me, and the more legal-minded, right now is the abrogation of rights upon agreement of the ToS update note, that in some cases--and many countries--we cannot give up.

Wau, are the Labs setting themselves up for lawsuits.

Emilly Orr said...

And Grace, again--

That's an excellent question. How do we know? Right now, I currently run between Snowglobe (SL viewer compliant), Emerald (not on the SL compliance list), and Henri Beauchamp's build of the CoolSL viewer, that incorporates things like the tattoo layers and alpha mesh blocking from 2.0 (and also not on the SL compliance list). But I don't use the standard SL client (1.23 until yesterday, now 2.0).

How do I know what I use is following SL's standards lists? I'm hoping that, before the end of Aprille, there will be compliance policy notes on the viewers I use. If there's not, will I still use them? If SL stands firm on no support, at all, for viewers that aren't in compliance with their policies...or worse, blocking access outright to those viewers who don't's going to get grim out there.

Alexandra Rucker said...

I don't remember getting much of any kind of support anyway, as a premium user. I get told "do a ticket", which goes into the morass of the circular file and never gets touched again. Or closed one day without comment.

I don't see that being terribly different with the TPV in place than it is NOW, really.

(And damn, I miss the days of Live Help from within the viewer...)

Fogwoman Gray said...

Not a premium user any more, but had support ticket turned away nearly a year ago for using a third party viewer - for asset server issues.

Emilly Orr said...


I deeply miss Live Help; I realize SL is much larger these days, but still, it was invaluable then, and it's always seemed something that makes the world limp along, after.

Lady Fogwoman,

So this is perpetual, then. Wonderful. I was hoping it was just recently, but it seems not.

Anonymous said...

(1) You do know somebody who's used MetaBOLT. Me. Though it's been awhile. (Getting a new computer has pretty much obviated any need for me to use it.)

(2) Emerald (or any other third-party viewer) not being on the list isn't directly a matter of LL snubbing them. It's a matter of the new Third-Party Viewer Policy being so draconian that no sane developer will submit to it. (Sorry, Kirsten.)

For more on that, see Miss Nino's analysis of the policy, and reactions from Imprudence and Boy Lane (Rainbow/Cool Viewer).

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Poindexter,

For the past three hours I've been reading things, my jaw on the floor.

They've gone stark raving bonkers in the Labs. What are they thinking?

No, strike that. Are they even bothering to think?

This has already spawned one blog post. There will be others.

Rhianon Jameson said...

The chat lag issue is one reason I'm not hopeful about Mr. Sands' pan-Victorian group. (Although perhaps extreme chat lag will cut down on chat in the group, leaving it primarily if not exclusively for announcements, and we'll all win.)

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson, you present me with an angle I had not thought of. There could be a good reason for a multi-era group after all!