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10/19/2008

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Desmond Shang

What is very telling is the overall desire by some for access to the main grid's content, traffic and brand association.

The only viable long term outside strategy is to make something more varied, compelling and visited than the main grid.

But that's very hard to do.

* * * * *

I don't think there would be much advantage for Linden Research to 'open up' in such a catastrophic way - for anyone.

Say they did. Financial model shot to pieces, they would contract. We'd see a lot more of the small host mini-networks, with worse uptime and more cut-throat survival tactics than exist today. Self-interested content creation would be utter foolishness at best. There are already opensource 3D standards; now there would be yet another unviable one out there. Yey.

Gareth Nelson

Long story short:
The bad guys would crack this scheme fast, and the crack would then be distributed, while at the same time the good guys would be slowed down pointlessly.

You know that I could trivially mirror your whole blog?
http://mrsun.garethnelson.com/prok/secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2008/10/gwyn-mugged-by.html
(Don't bother with a formal takedown notice for that, just a reply to this comment and i'll delete it)

You know how much copy protection I had to crack to get that mirrored?
None at all

You know how simple it is to implement HTTP on multiple platforms?
Trivial in most cases

One of the big reasons HTTP and HTML are so widely implemented (and thus why the web has taken off so much) is that there isn't a central authority approving implementations.

Gareth Nelson

By the way, that was mirrored with a single command:
wget --mirror -l 2 http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2008/10/gwyn-mugged-by.html

Prokofy Neva

What's hilarious is that the Sluniverse.com got all upset about this, thinking it's the Death of the Metaverse lol.

FlipperPAY even blamed the Lindens' opting to keep their walled garden on *me* and claimed that the Lindens were "listening to me". I am bug eyed that someone could be that hateful and paranoid.
http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/19024-linden-lab-no-open-grids.html

Parker McTeague hilariously says something like "well, it doesn't matter" and then "well, maybe we are doomed...a little" lol.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

"Violent pressure"? I'm sorry, but I don't think any reasonable person could characterize the comments on the blog entries or the JIRA issue thus, unless there's something that has since been deleted that one can't now see.

Such an extreme level of hyperbole seems counterproductive to me.

Kripken

You conflate 'open source' and 'anti-DRM' (/anticopyright/pro-copying/pro-piracy/whatever). Yes, there might be quite a lot of people that are both, but please don't refer to people that justify copying of all media as 'opensourceniks'.

In fact, open source licenses are *based* on copyright - that includes the GPL, BSD, pretty much all of them. So even while some of those people are anti-DRM, they are certainly not anti-copyright.

Now, there are complex issues regarding the extent of copyright, the technical capabilities to copy content in the digital age, etc., and it's good that you discuss them. But you muddle things when you join together terms like 'open source' and 'anti-DRM'.

Gareth Nelson

"But you muddle things when you join together terms like 'open source' and 'anti-DRM'."

What would be more accurate is to say that free software advocates are against DRM.

Of course, something that's highly annoying is the way prok likes to refer to copyleft as a form of copyright infringement, despite the fact that it is literally not possible to copyleft something by "stealing" it.

Prokofy Neva

I will do as I please, and go on exposing the essential thuggery at the heart of the OS movement, and the shill that is OS. Open-source and anti-DRM ALWAYS go together. Always, always, always. Open-source with their "licenses" of "GPL, BSD" engage in a vast shill. They essentially decouple all copyright *from commerce* and from *making money from one's content and intellectua property.* They say "copy, but give credit" or "copy but we insist that you keep it copyable" -- which is basically only the shell of copyright, stripping away much of its intent -- to enable not only to "get credit" or "recognition" but to make money. This is deliberate, of course.

Copyleftism is at heart theft and thuggery, demanding that everybody turn over their goods for free, making piracy "a right".

At the heart of all these versions of communism is coercion and even crime.

Gareth Nelson

"Copyleftism is at heart theft and thuggery, demanding that everybody turn over their goods for free, making piracy "a right"."

Where's the theft exactly? Nobody ever points a gun at my head while coding and demands that I GPL the results.

Nothing in either the GPL or BSD license prohibits selling the software either. In fact, both the FSF (Free Software Foundation) and OSI (Open Source Initiative) will not lend their approval to any license which states "no commercial use", being able to sell the software is one important freedom.

Of course, if you're arguing that other people might not be able to take my code and sell a modified version without it also being GPLed, then you're correct. I can't take windows source code and release a modified version of windows at all, were I to do so i'd be guilty of copyright infringement (i'm loathe to use the term theft when referring to Imaginary Property). If you dislike the terms of a copyleft license, then write your own code from scratch, but don't be a hypocrite by saying "copyleft licenses are theft" while you seek to leech off the free software community.

" stripping away much of its intent -- to enable not only to "get credit" or "recognition" but to make money"

From the US constitution:
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Free software licenses do a vastly better job of promoting the progress of computer science than traditional proprietary licenses do: programmers are able to stand on the shoulders of giants and learn by example when there's a large library of open source and free code around.

Gareth Nelson

Oh, and a court of law has ruled that the GPL actually benefits consumers:
http://blog.internetcases.com/2006/11/09/open-source-withstands-antitrust-scrutiny/

Kripken

Prokofy Neva, I hope that was a joke when you said "Open-source and anti-DRM ALWAYS go together. [...] Copyleftism is at heart theft and thuggery".

If it's not a joke, then it's baseless. There are open source people that are NOT anti-DRM (for example, Linus Torvalds himself opposed the anti-DRM clause in the GPL 3). In other words, that you happen to know a few open source people and they are mostly anti-DRM, does not mean the two are the same. These things are separate.

Your arguments that copyleft is 'communism' and 'thuggery' are likewise baseless. Regarding the 'communism' part, kudos for the retro reference (especially in these days of even the Republicans going socialist), but try telling that to Red Hat, Novell, Sun, MySQL, etc. Their *capitalist* businesses are based on copyleft.

ichabod Antfarm

Novell's business was based on Netware and Sun's was based on the Sparc CPU. If they now embrace open source that is a radical departure from their origins. It's simply disingenuous to suggest that their businesses are "based on" copyleft. IBM has a sizeable investment in open source, would you say their business is based on copyleft? No, that would be ridiculous.

I fail to see how open source promotes innovation. It seems to simply generate a plethora of Unix clones. I am hard pressed to name a technology with an open source implementation that isn't based on work originally done by a corporation with an eye on their bottom line.

"Free software licenses do a vastly better job of promoting the progress of computer science than traditional proprietary licenses do"

Now there is a truly contentious statement and I think it requires some kind of proof. When I want to do computer science I don't go to SourceForge.

"programmers are able to stand on the shoulders of giants and learn by example when there's a large library of open source and free code around."

There is a tremendous amount of crap in that large library. I'll stick to the likes of Knuth, Stroustrup, and the Gang of Four.

This is what Bjarne had to say when asked if the open source community "helped, hurt, or made no difference in software quality, design, and professionalism?"

"That's a really hard question. I have seen cases where it helped (increased the quality of code and the degree of professionalism of people involved), cases where it hurt (taught really bad habits and attitudes), and many cases where I couldn't tell.

I have no way of guessing what the effects on the community at large have been or what would have happened had the degree of open source work been greater or lesser. The community is simply too large for me to guess."

Ok, from my vantage point on the shoulders of the guy who designed C++, it appears that any overly strong thesis about the value of open source would be premature at best, at worst, patently unscientific.

p.s. Gareth, what was the point about cloning Second Thoughts using wget? It's a public blog, it's meant to be read so, duh, there is no copy protection in it. If it were a subscription based blog, it would not have been so easy and, moreover, it would have been theft.

Gareth Nelson

"I am hard pressed to name a technology with an open source implementation that isn't based on work originally done by a corporation with an eye on their bottom line."

Read any RFCs lately? A very large percentage of them were designed purely to advance the internet and reference implementations are traditionally BSD licensed.

"Now there is a truly contentious statement and I think it requires some kind of proof. When I want to do computer science I don't go to SourceForge."

Everytime you want to write a piece of software which advances the field in some manner you either write the whole thing yourself from scratch or you license proprietary code? You must be one of 3 things if that's the case:

1 - A genius
2 - Rich
3 - Not actually doing much to advance the field as a whole.

"I'll stick to the likes of Knuth, Stroustrup, and the Gang of Four."
Read their books, you'll see the code is right there. I know at least for Knuth he licenses his code for free.

"p.s. Gareth, what was the point about cloning Second Thoughts using wget? It's a public blog, it's meant to be read so, duh, there is no copy protection in it. If it were a subscription based blog, it would not have been so easy and, moreover, it would have been theft."

Actually, if it were a subscription-based blog i'd just click File > Save page as.

My point was the total lack of copy protection on today's web with very few exceptions and how the simplicity of HTTP and HTML has made the web grow.

Gareth Nelson

The other point about Knuth et al by the way: not as much domain-specific code in their work. I can go to sourceforge or even the ASPN Python Cookbook and find a huge library of domain-specific code at varying levels of quality.

Prokofy Neva

Kripken, in order to post here, you must post with a recognizable RL, SL or blogger's name. You get one chance, you are informed, and if you persist you are blocked. It's not about content; it's about accountability.

No, I'm not joking, and I'm deadly serious. If Sun or IBM or Novell use open source in their capitalist business, what of it? They wouldn't be the first capitalists to take advantage of communism. But are the communists making enough free rope not to sell, but to give away to the capitalists and hang them? Indeed they may be, given how much hackers reign supreme on the Internet, spreading bugs and viruses and havoc everywhere. And no, I absolutely refuse to use the "revisionist" meaning of the word "hacker" that they themselves favour to try to rehabilitate themselves without cause.

Copyleftism is socialist restraint. It enables copying, but only under terms -- and those terms do NOT including buying, having a license, and RESELLING that item, unless it's one of those special "dual use" licenses which can be quite controversial. So the norm is to frog-march everyone from taking your wares, giving you credit, but being hobbled -- you can't even be paid to use the item in order to modify and resell. That destroys commerce and in fact makes it impossible for people to make a living except for a tiny handful who use the obfuscation factor -- that opensource code is so tangled and obscure that it requires special gurus to explain it to you as paid consultants. Nice work if you can get it.

As Maklin often points out, many of the most famous opensource projects are mimicries of commercial code, i.e. Gimp copying Photoshop.

Communism isn't at all a "retro" reference, nor is socialism -- these are very, very live issues as we see right now with Obama's "spreading the wealth around," and the common-sense position many Americans take to this kind of socialist meme -- that it's wrong, and that it's not workable. Bush bailing out banks with socialism, just like the Europeans have done in the past and are doing now, certainly doesn't rehabilitate socialism or promise it as a solution. Communism is control -- grasping, greedy, clawing control -- over people's ideas, ingenuity, inventions, property.

And communism is EXACTLY what happens when you browbeat the entire Internet into forcibly having to take copies for free and give credit, but never resell -- never have even an OPTION to resell lawfully by making licensing for commercial use ALSO an option.

Prokofy Neva

Gareth's copying of the blog is a good example of the criminal mind of opensource. They believe that just because you can do something, and do it, then it is blessed and is now "ok". They think the inability to stop something makes it alright. Crime through and through.

Gareth Nelson

"that opensource code is so tangled and obscure that it requires special gurus to explain it to you as paid consultants. Nice work if you can get it."

All software requires people who are suitably qualified in order to understand the code. If you're talking about end-user use, then there's no shortage of windows consultants either. Of course this is generally on the server-side of things more than the client-side: on the client-side you rarely need a "guru" for simpler tasks (like opening a web browser etc).

"And no, I absolutely refuse to use the "revisionist" meaning of the word "hacker" that they themselves favour to try to rehabilitate themselves without cause."

The term "hacker" was used in a positive sense long before it came to mean "malicious individual breaking into other people's computers"

"Copyleftism is socialist restraint. It enables copying, but only under terms -- and those terms do NOT including buying, having a license, and RESELLING that item, unless it's one of those special "dual use" licenses which can be quite controversial. So the norm is to frog-march everyone from taking your wares, giving you credit, but being hobbled -- you can't even be paid to use the item in order to modify and resell. "

Point out the clause in the GPL or any other widely used copyleft license that prevents you from selling it (so long as you include source code) or being paid to modify it. Here's a nice essay from the man who started off the whole copyleft thing which you really need to read at some point:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

"Gareth's copying of the blog is a good example of the criminal mind of opensource. They believe that just because you can do something, and do it, then it is blessed and is now "ok". They think the inability to stop something makes it alright. Crime through and through."

Technically speaking this action may not actually be copyright infringement as a case could be made for fair use, however just say the words and i'll delete the mirror (i'm surprised you haven't asked yet).

Prokofy Neva

Gareth is a hectoring, obsessive, annoying *worm* and criminally-minded opensource freak, so his antics and provocations like copying my blog don't deserve an answer, one way or the other, he does these kinds of infantile tricks to try to get a rise, one way or the other -- it's ignored, as he is.

For others who don't suffer from Gareth's conditions and obsessions and can be reasoned with -- GNU copyleftism is just a shill. When it talks about "resale" it puts a clawback -- you must open up the code you develop on top of the code you took. So therefore the point of resale is lost, as is it not a proprietary and unique item. You could ask for donations, which is how most OS freaks do it, but it's lame.

If the copyleftists were truly altruistic, they wouldn't care if somebody did make a buck off modifying -- and closing -- the code. After all, THEY didn't think up the modification and sales plan -- somebody used their creativity to do that on top of their hack. So why shouldn't that creative person make a buck, and keep his code closed in order to go on making a buck? That seems eminently reasonable to me.

Instead, like true socialists and even communists, they clutch and claw and control the usage of code and demand that anything else produced also be opened -- constraining creativity and further use. They press everyone into the mafia-like circle, the conspiracy of "openness" which is really a forced march.

ichabod Antfarm

You wouldn't hit "save as" unless you had a subscription. Of course there is no copy protection on a blog intended to be read by anyone who wants to. Your point is not illustrative of anything at all.

I try to keep up with the crypto/PKI RFCs (thank you very much) but I don't see how that is relevant. I asked for an example of some tech that has an open source implementation that isn't based on original for-profit research (or, in the case of crypto, national defence research). Second Life itself might have been a better example than RFCs but, alas, it was closed source when it began life. Tor might have been a good example of innovative software too but its origins are in the Department of the Navy. I think Freenet might qualify as an ostensibly open source technology that started life outside of a corporate lab (but inside an academic one) but even in its case, the cryptographic techniques it employs were not hand-rolled (code maybe, but algorithms not.)

I don't have any problem with this. I don't think open source is a failure simply because it doesn't seem to generate a lot of new ideas. I counter post when open source advocates make messianic claims about a software license, when they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the simple fact that the vast majority of today's technology was developed in closed, corporate or goverment funded research labs.

Prokofy Neva

>the vast majority of today's technology was developed in closed, corporate or goverment funded research labs.

Bingo. Because that's how you preserve and protect IP and creativity. Opensource is criminality -- that doesn't protect property. Also, programmers need to eat, and get paid, and getting paid is what you can do with proprietary software.

To think all of this entire movement would have likely never gotten out of the starting gate if Stallman hadn't had his early trauma granting his code to a proprietary company, only to see them fail, and see his code locked up then in that company. That so enraged and frustrated him that he decided ever after, all code should be free. So typical of the geek's argumentation from the specific to the general.

Ann Otoole

Long story short: You are not licensed to take any content from Secondlife period. Linden Lab has a problem with this aspect of the entire effort to back out of the non ISP aspect of their business. But then they have fully engaged in direct competition with content creators so they may have voided their ISP status and become financially liable for all stolen content on the grid.

Lay down with infected whores and you will get venereal disease.

Ann Otoole

Hmm that didn't come across right. The guilt by association aspect is getting in bed with open source fans who are actually criminals.

Open source by itself is not bad. It is the disaffected mentally ill retards that think everyone owes them something free while they should be paid for their services that are the infected whores.

Persig Phaeton

Ok, I just commented this on Gwyn's original post but it bears repeating. Those of you who actually think her ideas should be implemented should pay special attention. Prok, I'm looking at you.

Two things:
One: While implementing encryption and certificate-based authentication will go a long way toward locking in approved clients and making it harder to intercept content on the wire, it will also drastically effect performance on a viewer that already overtaxes most systems. Ever wonder why every website doesn’t just default to HTTPS to protect the privacy and viewing habits of its users? It’s because there is a heavy computational overhead to encrypting and decrypting every bit of data. These days you need 128 bit at the very least and probably 1024 bit if you’re serious about protecting your content. Running that kind of cipher (server and client-side) on every texture and every prim that passes over the wire is actually a little ridiculous at the moment when you consider how resource-intensive the viewer already is. You think Windlight pissed off a lot of people? Windlight would be nothing compared to this.

Two: As you already mentioned in a follow-up comment, there is still no practical way to address interception at the local memory level with tools like OGLE. So you went to all the trouble to encrypt and verify people with proper clients (slowing down their performance tremendously in the process) and now they can still pluck all the decrypted shapes and textures right out of the memory on their own machine. If your proposed system is implemented then all piracy efforts would just shift towards make GL interception easier to use. The pirates still have a way to pirate and all the legitimate users are now burdened with a low-performance client with several more points of failure to boot.
I admire that you are trying to protect content creators and are proposing solutions instead of just whining, but really there is no winning this war. If you implement a scheme like this, everyone loses.
Personally, I think the key to creating a content creation market in the metaverse is not to base your business model on singular objects, gadgets and textures. The analog hole has existed for a long, long time now and a lot of smart people have failed to plug it. The key is to specialize in creating whole experiences. Websites, like metaverse content, are easy to copy and mirror and emulate. It’s the constant interaction and updating of content on a website that keeps a user community coming back and generating revenue. This is what people should be focusing on if they intend to make money in the future metaverse. Those who base their business on skins and objects are bound for extinction in my opinion. There will always be a way to pirate simple content (analog hole) and there will always be those who choose to make and offer similar content for free. Experiences and communities are a much harder thing to steal.

Persig Phaeton

Prokofy Neva

Persig,

I've heard all this. And I don't buy it. Opensource freaks who hate encryption or any kind of DRM look to amplify the performance issues. I am simply not buying it. Do it. Test it. See how it goes. *Try*. Open your goddamn mind. If enterprises can have firewalls, if it's ok for enterprises to have concerns about security and IP, *so can we, goddamn it*. Secure the whole damn world, not just the special corporations.

I've seen thinking just the opposite of what you claim on the SL DEV list, outlining how it is NOT the hit you claim. And of course if there are hits and loads, you can find other places to cinch in the load -- this sort of balancing is constantly being done. *Open your mind, and stop spouting banal formalities.*

There is nothing whatsoever to say that verification of ID will slow down connection. Gwyn is not stupid. She has handled SL and other systems for years. Let her try these things -- she does know what she is talking about. Stop mugging her, and shut up. Your points have been heard ad nauseum. They aren't good enough. They are not solutions. Go away and go in your sandbox. Let other people who want to try something different work.

We don't fucking CARE if pirates still have a way to pirate. BIG FUCKING DEAL. That is NOT the way we chose to approach the problem. You deter, you limit, you make it harder for the casual thug who isn't as determined and bright as the sophisticated thug like Gareth. That's all.

Get rid of Windlight and put this in. If that's what it takes.

Nobody loses if you implement this scheme. Windlight, which drastically reduced performance, was shoved down our throats so that people like Zha or Torley could have pretty pictures of their antics in SL. It could easily go tomorrow and not be missed, and people would put up with the same degree of lag -- which we have anyway -- if it meant better IP security and better anti-griefing measures that could also come with such verification. Is this a case of that famous saying "those who obsess about security achieve neither?" No. Because it's normal deterrence measures of the time ENTERPRISES and NORMAL CORPORATIONS who aren't part of the opensource thug world do all the time. So let them do it here, that's all.

Odd though it may seem, the analog hole IS plugged after a fashion in SL. There is a regime of copy/mod/transfer that actually implements the bulk of IP protection in SL, such that when it is circumvented, you have evidence of a crime.

Whole experiences? That is something corporations like Rezzable can fool around with but that just does not cut it as the sole approach to virtual worlds. The heart and sole of virtual worlds is user generated content, and unless you have some modicum of protection of people's IP in that area, you do not have a world, full stop.

Long before you began prattling about this, Persig, three years ago, I said that unfortunately, the wave of the future will likely be corporations keeping stables of content providers who won't care about copyright protection and will even give everything away to spread market share because they can afford to keep producing new content and "whole experiences".

But the problem with "whole experiences" is that they are managed, staged, manicured, dumbed down, sanitized. They are not democratic and free. People don't sit in them for long. The stables of artists paid in this fashion champ at the bit after a time. It just isn't a recipe to keep growing the metaverse. IP does matter, as it has for hundreds of years.

This utter BULLSHIT about "experiences and communities" is so much corporate shilling, frankly. Communities cannot survive unless small business and sole proprietors have a way to exist and make a living. You cannot persuade everybody to hang around and make everything for free even if you can keep turning on the foundation grant tap -- which increasingly, you cannot in these times. Web 2.0 is destined for the scrap heap because of the freetard mentality, having failed sufficiently generate wealth or even "spread the wealth around" through revenue sharing on ads.

The experiences and communities in SL work because they are made of people like me who can monetarize our time on line. Take that away, and you have a chat room that people flee because they can't get paid, or buy good content.

All smart and big virtual worlds like Habbo or IMVU realize that the revenue stream is in content, content, content -- and currency. And they make money, and they secure IP, and they don't listen to your elite coders' whining -- they pay their own coders to fix the analog hole problems.

Once again: it's not right that only corporate firewalls solve this problem; the wall must be for all of us.

Persig Phaeton

Prok,
I seem to have struck a nerve. Please, calm down. It is my measured opinion that you are allowing your wants and desires to influence your view of reality. You may think you have been saying this stuff longer than me but I've been telling you that you're wrong at least as long as you've been around this world. Go look it up- I've been in SL since 2003. I've been rebutting you in New World notes and the ancient forums for a long long time now. Also, I'm a systems administrator trained to understand server load and encryption. You can tell me I'm wrong until you're blue in the face but facts are facts. Encryption eats CPU cycles. It's not done by magical decryption gnomes and handed to the processor. Any VPN administrator will tell you that 1024 bit encryption does indeed have an impact on resources and connection speed. Full stop.
Even if you are right that this would have no impact and that it would be a "good thing" you're proposing to do the same thing you accuse me of. You want to shove this copyright protection system down everyone's throat whether they favor it or not. Sure, some content creators may favor it, but many others will not. Many users will not care for it either if it keeps them from using their favorite alternative viewer.
You seem to think this whole metaverse thing is somehow utterly different than the web but to me it's more of the same. Corporations AND individuals can flourish on today's web and tomorrow's metaverse will be no different in my opinion.
Ultimately, I would encourage you to continue pursuing your copyright protection schemes and build your walled garden. Meanwhile, other coders and open source advocates will continue to build their own open garden grid in parallel. You can choose to run your business on the future closed grid if you want. Others will choose to run their business on the open grid and we'll just let the market sort it out in the end. Who knows, it may happen that every user and every corporation may voluntarily choose to join your closed grid with it's closed-source, proprietary clients and copyright protections but I somehow doubt it. See also: Firefox, Ubuntu, OpenSim, Simbian, OpenOffice, Wikipedia, Apache
Simply put: Some people prefer a choice.

Persig

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