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02/26/2010

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MitzyShino

Prokofy,

I have no disagreement about only good coming from the policy, but what I do question is your attitude towards open source software.

It is not the goal of open source software to allow people to steal, that is a decision made by the person writing the software.

There are many many good things that have come from Open Source software, so please don't lump all the good that has come from it with the bad.

No I'm not an open source developer, I can't write programs or anything like that.

I'm just a happy user of open source software, as are you. (Don't believe me, find out more about typepad, twitter, and yes even Second Life - You realise these things wouldn't exist without Open Source?)

AnnOtooleInSL

Don't get your hopes up Prok. I expect it to be nerfed back to air in the next week. I expect it was a dog and pony for the legal team to wave around in the courtroom anyway.

And then there is the fact LL could have detected these things all along and everyone technical knows it. It is just made all the worse by cryoban and CDS Gemini devices detecting shoplifters by the scads and we know LL could do better at it. Add to that even if they keep them outlawed then who is going to handle the ARs? A copy right respecting employee or a copy leftist employee that will simply delete it to protect the thieves?

I expect business as usual for the shoplifters and counterfeiters.

Ciaran Laval

The policy is non GPL compliant, this means it can't possibly fly. The intent is good and one I applaud but they need to go back to the drawing board and put out something that doesn't compromise the terms of GPL and their own viewer allows us to export full perms items, this isn't an edge case, they need to create a policy that is enforecable.

10 out of 10 for intent, 5 out of ten for delivery.

Prokofy Neva

I don't buy that it is "non-GPL compliant" just because the freaks on the SL Dev shriek that it is. I'm not buying it. I've read the policy and the GPL. I don't see it. You're just chiming in with what the cool kids are saying that, Ciaran, and you've been a horrid little fanboy about the viewer so you can't be taken seriously.

I'm also not certain that GPL isn't due for a change, if it turns out that somehow you can't devise a policy against theft an griefing without being told you are "non-GPL complaint". Sounds like bullshit to me, and exactly the sort that the ageplaying edge-casers always devise among the open source thugs.

And if the freaks are going to say that GPL doesn't allow DRM, then where have they been for the last six years?! Copy/mod/transfer permissions *are* DRM. Yet GPL has functioned with such a regime.

I'm not buying it.

Mitzy, do you realize how shopworn and threadbare the argument that "SL and Typepad use opensource". So what? So you can criticize opensource anyway. It's like saying "Do you realize that America has air in it that you breathe? So how can you criticize the United States government?" Same idiocy.

The typepad people have never come and griefed me on my blog. They don't call me at home and play the Soviet national anthem. They don't tell me to patch or GTFO if I write in a complaint. I'm not "banned from the JIRA" at Typepad. And so on. They may use opensource software, but they've rid themselve of that culture for the most part.

Prokofy Neva

Well, Ann, perhaps you are right. I live in hope. Of course, as long as people like Soft remain on staff, I can't believe they will seriously address this culture. However, I could see that even Soft in this discussion was forced to rein in his copyleftistism and say that Legal was merely going to clarify the use of the terms -- he didn't say "nerfing it to air".

dahlia

The only possible conflict I've found so far with the GPL is as follows. The TPV states:

"You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation." (Linden Lab Policy on Third-Party Viewers, section 8.c, http://secondlife.com/corporate/tpv.php retrieved Feb. 26, 2010)

and from the GPL:

"Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge." (GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3, 29 June 2007, section 6.b., http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html retrieved Feb 26, 2010)

So what I don't understand is if a developer distributes a viewer with a feature that is later determined by LL to be in violation of this policy, how they can stop distributing it (in source code form) while still complying with the GPL license under which LL makes the viewer source available?

Prokofy Neva

The FAQs are already out:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/w/index.php?title=Linden_Lab_Official:Third_Party_Policy_and_Viewer_Directory_FAQ&oldid=774342

AnnOtooleInSL

How many people employed by LL have been banned in SL before. Will LL fire them so they can't participate in SL's open source development?

Prokofy Neva

Did you read the fine print on the new FAQs? They are amnestying the criminals. The FAQs explain that "account in good standing" means "no bans after February 23, 2010".

Darien Caldwell

Dahlia, the section of the GPL you quoted just says you must make the source available if you distribute something based on GPL code.

It doesn't somehow backflip into some god given right that you can never be prohibited from distributing.

The truth is, LL can't make you stop distributing, but they will *ask* you. And if you don't comply, you'll find yourself banned from their service and your viewer blacklisted, hopefully. I really don't know if LL has the balls to do it yet. Waiting for the first test case.

AnnOtooleInSL

I'm sure ubuntu users with no quicktime are scared of this policy.

Not to mention LL isn't doing anything about the problem other than having posted a policy and faq.

Amazon Women On The Moon must be a fav at LL.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I5dVBezF9k

dahlia

Darian,

The way I read it is if they ask you to stop distributing a modified viewer, you can stop distributing the object code immediately but you must make the source available to anyone who asks for it for 3 years after you stop distributing object code.

Aminom Marvin

This is the best policy I've every seen LL put forth; it's almost exactly what I've been saying SL needs for years. SL has DRM: it limits what a user can do with other's content, such as export prims or change metadata. The content copying clients break this DRM, and by doing so violates the DMCA which prohibits creating tools to do so. Even allowing export of other's full perm prims breaks DRM, which is why I've been against "tools" such as second inventory since the beginning. It seems that legally LL is taking the same stance, and will have the legal muscle to pursue violators in court.

With the openspace->homestead drama, I had thought that LL had the wrong kind of corporatization, where short-term financial rewards are sought at the expense of long-term. I was wrong; LL seems to have the right kind of corporatization, and appears to be truly growing up. Time will tell if my current enthusiasm is justified.

My own experience with Emerald has been horrible. My business is in sculpties. The Emerald client does not have LOD (reduction in detail when an object is small or viewed from a distance) for oblong sculpties, which have proven to be the most useful (and easy to use) sculpties. This creates two problems: first, it creates client lag, because you are rendering on full detail nomatter how small the sculpt is, or how far away you are. This degrades user experience, and hurts businesses because Emerald users would only experience lag, and think the content creator is to blame.

The second problem is even worse. A customer may buy a sculpted product in Emerald, thinking it looks and functions great. Then they would find out otherwise when a friend on another client tells them, or they switch clients. They then would feel ripped off. This hurts customers and businesses, and encourages content creation that is less than functional. Because the no-LOD problem is on by default, not mentioned, and unremovable, there is no hope of the problem being known about beforehand.

with reluctance I brought this up with the Emerald devs, and explained the bug and the problems it causes. I was told it was not a bug, but instead put in purposefully. I was then told that I was elitist for wanting LOD (and expecting content creators to create non-laggy content), and then in the same conversation, told that the solution to the LOD problem was either to buy a more powerful computer, or for everyone to use emerald. I was also told that SL's users are simply too stupid to understand how to make products that function well with LOD.

It's a striking example of how opensource devs design selfishly only for their own needs, without caring for others, and gain power and control by doing so. Thankfully Emerald violates numerous parts of the new policy, and will be forced to be scrapped completely and redone. Good riddance.

AngelaTalamasca

@Aminom. That is a fairly common mindset when it comes to skiddies. Real programmers and software engineers tend to respect their customers and are well aware there is no such thing as perfect code. In fact, the customers are our best friends, bc they're the ones who generally find problems that we, more often, than not, miss. Simply bc we're too close to the code. It's a forest for the trees kind of things.

@Prok. Yeah, I'm disappointed they made the amnesty move. Imo, that is def in response to the fact that most of the emerald skiddies have been banned one (doubtful) or several (likely) times.

Btw, the slashdot responses are refreshing and a perfect example of why some of the sldev'ers oughta step out for a fresh breath of reality every now and then. I esp found this one humorous:

"This is like saying that Firefox is backpeddling on open source because Mozilla.org is free to block you if you spam their forums.

However, I hear that because of the new policy, Emerald is closing shop. Anything that gets rid of those "giving access to our change history would mean someone could release binaries of our changes before we do!!" assholes is a good thing."

http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1560912&cid=31257032utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Slashdot%2Fslashdot+%28Slashdot%29

Prokofy Neva

Wow. That's not just one comment, that's the tenor of the whole thread -- standing up to the "backpedaling on GPL thesis" totally, with many examples (Wordpress is opensourced, but you can't spam the forums with it, etc.).

Honestly, the last place I would have looked for refuge from the likes of Morgaine, Gigs and the other freaks on SLDEV would be slashdot. It shows you how low it's sunk.

Sherlock Holmes

Aminom, I never knew that about oblong sculpties and Emerald. I'm actually quite interested now.

I've always believed that long oblong sculpties should be spared from the aggressive LOD process. At the moment content creators are having to use several sculpties (instead of a single sculpty) when creating long objects. This is really inefficient and more costly in terms of rendering performance.

If it wasn't for the aggressive LOD management then people would be able to create objects with far fewer sculpties and therefore there would be an overall
improvement in visual quality and rendering speeds.

In fact I find it odd that you of all people are complaining about Emerald's relaxed LOD system when you of all people would probably benefit the most. You've always been quite notorious for making complex objects from single sculpties. Objects that have a tendency to collapse when viewed from a distance.

I can't help but wonder if there's an ulterior motive to your latest anti-emerald postings. Perhaps a falling out with fellow content creator who uses oblong sculpties to make better objects than yours? ;)

Darien Caldwell

"The way I read it is if they ask you to stop distributing a modified viewer, you can stop distributing the object code immediately but you must make the source available to anyone who asks for it for 3 years after you stop distributing object code."

That's probably true. However, I don't see anyone asking for source for a program that is no longer in distribution, and no longer works. (assuming LL would block any viewer they would demand you stop distributing)

Aminom Marvin

Sherlock: I have customers and other creators in mind, not only myself. I lobbied extensively for oblong sculpts in the first place, even though before them, I had a near-monopoly on very complex, efficient sculpts. Oblongs came about, and everyone benefited; I was able to do the things I did before better, quicker and more easily (and so could less experienced users), but could also explore new techniques as well.

Another feature I'm lobbying for currently is using the alpha channel for single-axis UV mapping, or V mapping. Right now, a lot of my work involves sculpting in precise ways to use SL's texture repeats to get some of the same capability as UV mapping. On complex sculpts this is very difficult to do. V mapping would make it so anyone could do it, it could be integrated into primstar and other applications, and give even more power and efficiency. It would be almost as good as full-blown UV mapping, but without increasing asset size. It's the texture equivalent of oblongs. Here's the JIRA: http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-16869

The reason why Emerald's LOD is toxic is because it doesn't allow a user to fully experience how the product will perform in the main client, and LOD is a huge consideration with a sculpt. At my store, I have nearly every product rezzed exactly for this reason: so the user knows fully what to expect before purchase.

Of course, LL already solved the problem with Viewer 2. It has smart LOD, unlike Emerald, which is a forced, inflexible hack that needlessly creates lag. Above a certain size, sculpts have no LOD; below that size, they function normally. On high object detail settings, it is around 2.5 meters, for medium 5 meters, and for lower, it is around 8. This accommodates users with various hardware capabilities. Because it is in what will become the main client, it will be a standard that can be designed for.

Sherlock Holmes

If LOD management was removed for oblong sculpties then there wouldn't be any need for you to display your sculpties so that customers can see how they performed. How sculpties perform shouldn't be an issue for a customer. Basically you're admitting that your sculpties are collapsing at a distance and therefore you're wanting to let your customers decide if it's acceptable.


Perhaps a good compromise would be for the SL viewer to allow content creators to specify whether a sculpty's LOD is managed or not. But I believe that indiscriminate LOD management is only suited for the most simplest of forms.

And as I said earlier - if it wasn't for the aggressive LOD management then creators would be able to make their objects with far fewer sculpties. And therefore in many cases it would actually lead to better performance, not worse. It would also speed up and simplify the content creation process.

As for viewer 2.0 being better - I personally use mid detail settings for objects because I suspect that the setting is the most commonly used. And at that setting I don't see any difference in how sculpties behave. The LOD management is as aggressive as ever.

So basically I think you're being a little unfair on the Emerald guys. Especially when you consider that *your* sculpties are going to look better in Emerald.

ps - I personally use the Snowglobe viewer because sculpties rez much faster. :)

Aminom Marvin

You completely missed the point: because Emerald displays oblong sculpts in a fundamentally different way than the normal viewer, it hurts customers who cannot make informed purchase decisions. It's exactly similar as if Emerald allowed textures greater than 1024 to be uploadable and viewable only in Emerald, only to have them bug out in the normal client. It isn't some optional feature of Emerald; it's on by default, and cannot be turned off. The average Emerald user has no idea that this bug (and yes, it is a bug) exists in the client, and so cannot make informed decisions. Furthermore, it hurts business owners in two ways: those who make content that distort from a distance (trading LOD retention for detail) have customers who feel _cheated._ Those who do make LOD-resiliant sculpts get a pass for the more detailed but less LOD-resiliant content. The user also suffers from additional lag from having every single oblong without LOD.

If you actually did some sleuthing like your name suggests (instead of cowardly using an alias instead of using your real SL name) you'd see that all my post-oblong products are designed for LOD retention. A good amount of my pre-oblong content is as well. The geometric detail, LOD, and texturability is all balanced. You're making baseless assumptions.

and yes, custom LOD would be a good compromise. The new LOD is even better. That's the point: functionality of how content is displayed should originate in the main client so that it is standard, otherwise SL would be a chaotic mess of content designed for different clients with different standards. That is why Emerald is toxic to sculpt design. Emerald deserves to be taken to task for this (not to mention all the other things in their client that circumvent land owner control and privacy.)

For the client, here's how to see the new behavior in Viewer 2: 1) Take a sculpt with visible LOD changes 2) Make it 10 meters per side 3) Zoom out and observe the lack of LOD shifting.

AnnOtooleInSL

I've had to refund because some video cards don't even rez oblongs at all. It is a bummer for them because they go around SL and so much is just jelly beans that will never rez. There should be a standard. Video cards that cannot meet this standard should carry a login warning that the resident will have a less than acceptable experience and no guarantees made that anything will work at all. On the other end all developers should have to abide by the standard so all clients function the same.

IMHO anyway. But it doesn't matter. Within one to 2 years there won't even be a 3D Second Life and it will just be a grand central for text feeds as people migrate to systems built by real game developers that comprehend what a user interface is and what human factors are. And most importantly understand why the rule must be anything important must be 1 click away and nothing more than 2 clicks away. LL is what will kill SL. Because the leader has no comprehension of the product space and is forcing it to be something nobody wants because they have it elsewhere already. The LL board needs to deal with this issue fast.

Hypatia Callisto

I gotta side with Prok on this one, access to an online service and access to the source code are two different things. You could well use that client to access another SL compliant grid, but LL can restrict you from accessing their service with a third party client and there's really nothing you can do about it.

Aminom Marvin

Ann: I haven't heard any information about some video cards being unable to show oblongs. Do you have any information about this? It may very well be the case, but it doesn't sound true at all because the process that turns a sculptmap into a mesh is the same for all sculpts.

AnnOtooleInSL

Old crappy intel video.

There are even more people bitching on LL's forums about crap SL because they have underpowered systems. LL really needs to cut off the incompatible systems and stop pretending to be pro education. You but a big FAT gaming rig boat anchor or stay out.

There is no way these old crap systems can handle this new garbage interface anyway.

Erbo Evans

I think people are misunderstanding what the GPL actually says when they claim that LL's policy "violates" it. The GPL only covers being able to modify the code and distribute modified versions, with source. LL's policy refers to what those viewers DO when they connect to the Grid that is run by LL. And LL is perfectly within their rights to impose such rules...it's THEIR server farm and THEIR service the code is connecting to. When it's the other kid's bat and ball and backyard, you play by his rules. When the other kid has let you use, copy, and modify his bat and ball, it doesn't change the fact that you're in HIS backyard.

If people want to make modifications that go against LL's policies, the resulting viewers will STILL be useful in connecting to grids other than LL's (the OpenSim stuff), if the policies of the people running THOSE grids permits such. And those modified viewers will still be distributable under the terms of the GPL, regardless of what LL thinks about them.

To some extent, this is kind of the case for other open-source projects as well, e.g., a Web browser that does not adhere to the standards of the HTTP protocol isn't going to be very useful, open-source or no. LL's "protocol" just encompasses social in addition to technical constraints.

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