Thursday, October 4, 2012

no sleep, nothing in between me and the rain

This one takes a bit of explaining.

It all started on Henri Beauchamp's viewer forum. He'd apparently been in discussions for some time with Oz Linden, and...well, Oz handed him an official Linden decision that he disagreed with, is the short version:
I finally decided to publish these emails since not only do they explain why I had to disable the experimental mesh deformer code in the stable release of the Cool VL Viewer, but also because it shows how badly Open Source contributors are treated by Linden Lab (note that it is nothing new either: the first talented Open Source contributor to give up because of LL's arrogant and inadequate behaviour was Nicholaz Beresford, back in 2008)...
Now, that's straight from the first message (though it is the first message on the second page). And he has a point: Beresford spent many, many months banging his head against the wall of Linden obstinacy, and eventually realized that his life, his energies, and most importantly, his main hobby shouldn't be tied up in maintaining an alternate viewer for a company who didn't care.

Beauchamp, though...well, he takes this as a stepping-off point for an epic email rant.

From Oz:
Henri... as you should well know, the deformer falls under rule 2.k of the Policy on Third Party Viewers. As such, since it has not yet been accepted by Linden Lab into the common code base, incorporating it into a regular release of your viewer is in violation of the Policy. To some extent, I'm normally willing to give you a little more leeway on these things than larger viewer - Cool VL has so few users that the potential for harm (in this case in the form of the proliferation of assets compatible with future viewers) is reduced, but the fact that you are so heavily advertizing it puts me in an awkward position.
Translation from the legalese: "Dude, look, you have dick for users right now, and if it weren't something very openly known--which you agreed to follow--we'd let it go. But you didn't put it in an experimental, download-at-your-own-risk viewer, you put it in your main release viewer. Can't have that. Take it out."

Seems pretty simple, right? Well...From Beauchamp:

So, are you saying LL is going to abandon the mesh deformer project, or are you just taking back your own words on the OK you gave in the past for viewers to include it as an experimental feature?
Err...no, actually. The Lindens still allow experimental features in experimental viewers, as you well know. You put this in the stable release.

But he goes on:
It is included only as an experimental feature, which I always advertized as such and that is off by default (and it's switchable from the Advanced menu only, not from the Preferences floater).
Which means he knows both that it's not supposed to be in the main release ("only as an experimental feature"), but also that he figured burying it in a sub-menu would make everything okay (because, what, only 'advanced users' would know how to access that menu??)
There is 0% risk of any harm in that particular case, and this independently from the number of users of my viewer: my backport of the mesh deformer is 100% compatible with Qarl's.
That's not the damned point, and you know it--it doesn't matter a whit if Qarl's deformer code is used. It's not official yet, you ditz.

There's a lot of back and forth wherein Oz comes across as pretty reasonable, and Henri gets increasingly shrill and self-serving...but ultimately, it's just a series of emails. Explains why he took the deformer code out of the main release, okay, fine, sorry things seem to have gotten so heated, but whatever.

Then you start reading Henri's responses to people who commented on that forum thread. Like this bit:
My feeling is that LL is pissed off because I produce better code than they do and, since their stupid stance prevents them from reusing it (nothing can prevent them from reusing LGPL code that I explicitly released as such and personally encouraged them to reuse: CA or not, they *CAN* reuse it since it's LGPL !!!), they wish I would never submit any code, in case they (or another developer) would come up with the same ideas as the ones I have (re-read Oz' first email: it's evident !).
Or this bit from the first page that starts everything off:
First of all, the method used to introduce the changes... You'll ask me, "what method ?", and indeed I should have said "the lack of any method", because throwing in new paragraphs in an existing policy without any official forewarning and announcement being done is quite a stupid thing to do and shows a total absence of any method!

You should remember also that when the TPV policy was first introduced, LL did provide forewarning and some time for users and TPV developers to react and contribute to its refining...

Indeed, proceeding as LL did with the latest policy changes was bound to trigger strong reactions (and much unneeded and exaggerated drama) from the community; makes me wonder if there's anybody left in charge for the communication at the Lab...
Yeah.

But it still gets weirder. In going through page eleven of SLUniverse's CoolVL coverage (because every alternative TPV has a sub-forum thread there), came a link to Misfit's Index of Viewers. This--because it's not affiliated with the Lab in any way--is a fairly impartial review of features over more emotional reasons to prefer one viewer over another. Save that Henri had a problem there, too.

Back in May of this year--back when Misfit listed most viewers by their shorthand descriptions for ease and readability--Henri wandered in and blew a gasket:
Please, correct the name of my viewer: it is not "CoolVL" but "Cool VL Viewer"

Thank you.
Why this is such a huge deal to Beauchamp still passeth any understanding I can throw at it, but apparently, it was--to the point of several increasingly irate demands that Misfit either call it by its proper name (which apparently, in Henri's view, includes "Viewer" as part of the official title, or something), or cease to list it at all, thankyouandgoodDAYsir...Honestly, you'd think Sarge Misfit was a girl, the way Henri yells at him.

In fact, it escalated for three days until Misfit caved enough to toss his own explanation up, and apparently, even afterwards, because now Misfit's listing all the viewers with "Viewer" after their name.

Perceive this clearly, because I think I have a small little pedestal in this terrain to call all my own: it's not a smart idea to argue with the companies who make your toys, unless you are very, very sure of your reception. I know this, and know that at any time, a Linden could wander across the blog, get seriously irritated, and bounce my cat-eared self off in record time. That would hurt, undeniably. But knowing who I am and what I've written about the Lindens, on this blog, publicly? I could not say they might not have a point.

And I will also say, in Henri's defense, he does make good points. The problem is that, along with those good points comes a hell of a lot of high-toned entitlement that is just mentally stunning to wade through. Anyone who's ever requested help from Beauchamp on his forums (at least, if you're female) already knows he's an ass, so this isn't news. What is, I think--at least, to me--is how he's somehow managed to ball up all that jack-hatted superiority, wad it up into a huge ball, armor the entire thing, and use it to convince himself that he's morally and ethically superior to the actual people in the right. This is a profoundly dangerous, and I might also add, stupid, position to hold.

(from the bizarre album; Sakide's former holiday offering, now on their lucky board.)

On to other things. Look! Pretty little femboy holiday elf! Only at Sakide on the lucky board.

A casual mention in another group led to a group member apologizing that the troll escaped confinement, with a link to the troll in question. This led me to the Troll Museum of Second Life. There only seems to be three entries there, but it would be wonderful if this caught on. Imagine, a visual repository of avatars to be wary of, based on spam activity alone. Technology is a beautiful thing.

Finally, I was pondering an entry on Arkhamville, but going there two nights ago left a bad taste in my mouth, and...then there was this, sent last night:
[01:20] Sxxxxx Bxxxxxx: hi guys, i have hear some people say they have had issues wit items on their hufs missing. if you experience thi just etach it and reattach and it should work. if not pls let me know and we will get it fixed. it should not hender your game progress tho
Yeah. I think I can safely ditch that group now.

Listen, people, if you care so little for your fellow players that you don't even feel like running something through a simple spellcheck? Don't be in charge of posting things. Flat out.

(from the bizarre album; I think I'd have been displeased, but okay, if there hadn't been active buzzing flies around the corpse.)

Also, if the whole reason you're getting extra folks on the sim is to enlist them in solving the killing of Mr. Whomever? Don't have a rotting female carny with an axe in her head not fifty feet from the site of the supposed crime. That tells me two things, right off the bat:
  1. "We don't care if it violates the story, it's cool lol!" or
  2. "Oh, them's CARNY folk, it's not like they're PEOPLE! This fellow, why, we KNEW the guy!"
One sounds unbearably stupid; the other sounds unbearably classist. I don't care for either.

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