Thursday, April 1, 2010

a hundred cancellations, still no one wants to walk

Modular (the folks behind Emerald) made a list of the really harmful third-party viewers).

Imprudence chimes in on why they're no longer going to be an alternative viewer for SL.

The Luna Viewer follows suit, in a highly barbed and profane way.

And Boy Lane, the original developer of CoolSL Viewer and the Rainbow viewer, drops a fascinating bit of info I hadn't seen anywhere else--namely, that when Kirsten Cinquetti and the Mobile Grid fellow got permission to be 'official' third-party viewers, and were listed, so were their RL details.

Now, Boy is right, this is far from the first time RL details have been published by the Labs, and that doesn't even go into the two major hacks on the servers that resulted in RL info being distributed off the SL grid.

But this further tarnishes the process, in my opinion, and just determines for me that the new Linden Labs doesn't care about users; doesn't care about grid stability; doesn't care about builders; doesn't care about user-generated content; and really doesn't care about the stability of their economy.

At this point, there really ought to be laws to punish this level of stupidity. More pity all of us, that there aren't such provisions; we (and the remaining Lindens) get to watch M Lindonzilla stumble around, lighting things on fire. Joy.

Wayfinder's comment on the Imprudence announcement I found particularly telling, too. I'd recommend you read all of it, but this part struck me forcibly:

"The leak may be slow at this time, but is increasing. Documents such as the TPV Policies will NOT decrease IP abuse (there are many other ways to do so), but they will increase ill will against Linden Lab. No matter what stance TPV creators take, Linden Lab is unlikely to care. If the entire TPV community took a united and identical stance in regard to Second Life, Linden Lab would historically ignore such and just blow head long into the brick wall."

Indeed. And I've been saying this for over a year now.

So onward into part two of the third-party viewer policy.

2. Prohibited Features and Functionality
If you are a user or Developer of Third-Party Viewers, the following features and functionality are expressly prohibited in all Third-Party Viewers:
  • You must not circumvent our intended limitations on Second Life features. For example:\
  • You must not circumvent the Second Life permissions system or any features that limit copying, transfer, or use of content within Second Life.
  • You not alter content metadata like the Second Life creator name or the Second Life owner name.
And that is the provision that has some third-party viewer developers, and a small number of content creators on the grid (including me) screaming. Now, many of us understand what they're trying to do, here. But this is so poorly worded, it's going to be hazardous to a whole lot of honest users, while harming dishonest users not at all. Here's why:

* Content creators buy full-perm textures so they can export those textures off the grid, tweak them, and import them back in for use in their creations. Most people--most honest, ethical people, at least--do not use textures they buy for any other purpose. Even home-building crawls across that subset, because sometimes, you just want to age or tint or resurface an existing wall or floor, and being able to take it out, drop it into the graphics program of your choice, and bring it back in is part of the process!

Forget the rest of the policy; if Linden Labs doesn't see this and change this, then eventually we'll have:

* a world where all textures are blocked from being downloaded unless the user who uploaded them is the same as the user who's trying to download them.
* a world where texture houses go out of business, because who'll buy from them then, or, conversely, a world where every texture house on the grid immediately goes down to a 512 parcel, just large enough to host a huge catalog people can drop by and flip through, place their orders by notecard, pay people in Lindens, then log out and log in to one of the OpenSim grids for delivery of the product off the grid. So no one has to DEAL with these insanely restrictive rules!
  • You must not use or provide any functionality that Linden Lab’s viewers do not have for exporting content from Second Life unless the functionality verifies that the content to be exported was created by the Second Life user who is using the Third-Party Viewer. Specifically, before allowing the user to export the content, the Third-Party Viewer must verify that the Second Life creator name for each and every content component to be exported, including each and every primitive or other content type, is the same as the Second Life name of the Third-Party Viewer user. This must be done for all content in Second Life, including content that may be set to “full permissions.”
The hell. THE HELL. And this was the point I wanted to start throwing things at the screen. THE. FRIGGING. HELL...

So, basically, from the announcement of this policy, once the viewers can be implemented to "rate" on this backbirth addition to their ToS, they have to kill all export ability in their viewers?

Does this mean Linden Labs is going to kill exporting as well? How many content creators will just simply scream and walk at that point? Whole sims could be abandoned. Entire estate chains. DO THEY EVEN CARE?

Honestly, I think I'm skipping the rest of section two...because if I keep going, I'm going to start stabbing random things out of sheer unmitigated frustration.

Miss Gwyneth Llewelyn ties it all up for me, all the frustration, all the screaming, all the strong and as yet unproven to be false allegations of mine like "M Linden wants to get rid of all the residents who build" and "Linden Labs is now actively trying to destroy its own world"...she says very well might be true in pointing to the Better Business Bureau's current rating for Linden Labs.

I looked it up. I had to see this for myself. Miss Llewelyn is right. And what leads the Better Business Bureau to such an appalling conclusion?

Based on BBB files, Linden Lab has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F. Reasons for this rating include:
  • 72 complaints filed against business
  • Failure to respond to 2 complaints filed against business.
  • Length of time business has taken to resolve complaint(s).
This is....insane. Who else is in the "F" camp?

Open Grave Records, California City, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: Consumers of this Internet shopping company reported that they ordered cds, t-shirts and other merchandise and paid for it but never received what they order. They received seven complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Open Grave: 7

RMR Group, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Unknown
- Story: This loan modification company reportedly has taken customers money with a promise to save their homes and then cannot be reached for further information. The result has been seven complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
RMR Group: 7

Tower Pest Control, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: Consumers claim that they called this pest control company for a one-time service and signed what they thought was an offer for a free follow-up visit. Unfortunately, they had signed a one-year contract that the company wasn’t anxious to cancel, despite repeated requests. Owner William Davenport declined to comment when reached by Business Journal staff regarding the eight complaints received by the BBB.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Tower Pest Control: 8

Fresno Wedding Chapel, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: Planning issues, lack of paid-for-photographs and marriage licenses that weren’t filed in a timely fashion all combined to create less than happily-ever-after bridal experiences reported by consumers. Fresno Wedding Chapel and its owner, Rev. Karl Jordan, had 10 complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Fresno Wedding Chapel: 10

Vacation Marketing, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: Consumers alleged that this vacation time-share company in Fresno distributed coupon certificates in return for a processing fee and then did not deliver vacations that were paid for. Mike Brandon is the owner of Vacation Marketing, which had 11 complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Vacation Marketing: 11

Ashley Furniture, Bakersfield, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: Besides some advertising issues involving gifts with purchase, many consumers found that they didn’t have any complaints about the quality of the furniture because they reported that they couldn’t get it delivered. Waits of up to three months and more caused frustrated buyers to request refunds, which brought even more delays. Russ Carter is general manager of the store, which received 12 complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Ashley Furniture: 12

KickzandGear, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: This online store for logo sportswear and sneakers received complaints from disappointed consumers alleging problems with delivery, quality and attitude brought KickzandGear into the Hall of Shame. The company had 13 complaints in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
KickzandGear: 13, Bakersfield, CA:
- Status: Out of business
- Story: Customers of this magazine sales company discovered that their credit cards were charged in a timely manner for their subscriptions, but delivery didn’t follow despite repeated assurances that the company “would look into” the problems. had 17 unanswered complaints in 2009.
Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints 17

Master Internet Profits, Fresno, CA:
- Status: Active
- Story: This Internet marketing company capitalized on the slow economy by attracting consumers to work-at-home employment. Consumers reported to the BBB that they were promised the prospect of earning big bucks through the Internet but failed to deliver the training materials they claimed. The company’s operations manager, Ezequiel Carlos, could not be reached for comment by Business Journal staff regarding the 24 complaints received by the BBB in 2009.
- Rating: F

Linden Labs: 72 complaints
Master Internet Profits: 24

The only one even close on the list is a fly-by-night internet marketing service, pretty much the bottom-feeders in any pool of technological businesses in any given state. Maybe on any given planet. I think the job rating literally goes, chicken sexer; avian vomitologist; internet marketer; hexavalent chromium cleaning technician, in terms of worst jobs ever.


And really, is anyone surprised? Is anyone reading this blog surprised AT ALL by this? Seriously?





Fogwoman Gray said...

It's not HIS business, though, is it?
He is a corporate CEO. They have golden parachutes and all sorts of contingencies. LL goes belly up the employees and the investors take it in the arse - odds say M is well protected from the consequences.

Gwyneth Llewelyn said...

Oh gosh. I never took a look at what kind of companies got an F rating! This is... scary.

Now I'm really worried.

Emilly Orr said...

Lady Fogwoman,

You know what we need to do? Track down the investors. We need to find out who's investing, how much, and who's on the board of directors.

Screw the Lindens. Let's talk to the MONEY! See if THEY can't stop the lemmings on the cliff.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Llewelyn,

Yes, quite the grouping of rapscallions and deceivers, aren't they? And Linden Labs is, by the numbers, directly on the bottom.

That's highly unnerving indeed.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Llewelyn,

Yes, quite the grouping of rapscallions and deceivers, aren't they? And Linden Labs is, by the numbers, directly on the bottom.

That's highly unnerving indeed.

t said...

Hi Folks:

"M Linden wants to get rid of all the residents who build" and "Linden Labs is now actively trying to destroy its own world"

Builders are the value creators in SL. Our POV is that we are investing on the behalf of the content creators, merchants, and landowners. Viewer 2 is intended to make SL more welcoming for new users to enrich the economy and expand the opportunity for builders. A key goal of the TPV policy is to *protect* IP holders like content creators and builders from viewers which enable content theft.

the new Linden Labs doesn't care about users; doesn't care about grid stability; doesn't care about builders; doesn't care about user-generated content; and really doesn't care about the stability of their economy."

As I noted above, our goals are to expand the economy, welcome new users, create a grid that is stable to support them, enable users to create (and profit) from their content. All of our goals are in alignment with viewers. But one of the greatest threats to the entire ecosystem is the risk or fear of content theft.

But maybe we're wrong... are you *not* worried about content theft?

Emilly Orr said...


I think everyone's worried about content theft, yes. I think it's a very tangled issue, I think as long as the tools exist to enable theft (SL or RL), that there will be people who will see stealing as the easier option.

Maybe I'm wrong about Linden Labs' intentions, though: are you not laying out a blanket ban on any third-party viewer to disallow downloading of full-perm items? And that, if true, leads me inescapably to thinking that, sooner or later, the official clients will enable similar blocks on downloading.

Now, I have people telling me I'm wrong. There's at least one love who's actually used the word "moronic". And I'm willing to accept the wrong--if not the moronic--if I am wrong.

See it this way. There are residents of SL who see nothing wrong with taking a full-perm prim, retinting it, renaming it, and selling it again. Of course this is against your rules. It's always been against your rules.

But conversely, think of the builders. We need to be able to access textures and sculpt maps offline, a great deal of the time. I make a lot of my own textures now, for projects, but that doesn't mean I don't own a lot, legitimately purchased, from other texture makers. And say I want a house with distressed Victorian walls with windows--well, I have the windows files, I have the wall files, I need to take them out of world and fit them together and import them back in.

Yes, I know, there's no way to guarantee that the creator matches the owner, unless you're planning to lay out restrictions that we, the builders, must send our modified textures back to the creators so they can import them on our behalf--but that seems, at least to me, insanely burdensome on texture creators.

Alexandra Rucker said...

FYI - I doubt T Linden is going to stop back unless someone points him back here.

Emilly Orr said...

Likely not, but I felt I should respond anyway.

Fogwoman Gray said...

I greatly enjoy the fact that 'ol "T" chose not to address the BBB rating :D

Emilly Orr said...

Don't you love that?

That does seem rather a large omission on T's part, too...