Monday, August 23, 2010

It wouldn't be Imprudence at this juncture....

Well over a year ago, I started hearing about a new viewer called Emerald. Up to that point I had always, with few exceptions, used the Release Client viewer that LL released. I had heard many good things about Emerald, including features that were very functional, and some aesthetically pleasing as well. I tried it and loved it, and I never went back to the LL viewer.

Well, a few weeks ago, I started reading about some issues that Modular Systems, the makers of Emerald, were having. Or I should say, they were creating issues. I read with interest as a number of people were making claims about a lot of Emeralds developers. Allegedly, some of these developers were banned from SL for copybotting, griefing and similar activities. It seems that LL knew that they were in charge of making this viewer and had considered them reformed and let them go. Part of this, obviously, has to do with the enormous popularity of Emerald, and the incredible revulsion many have for LL's own Viewer 2.0.

As I continued reading over the last weeks, I came to feel that many of these "whistle blowers" who made these claims about the Emerald devs had axes to grind with them. It also came to light that most of these people were themselves banned by LL as well, guessed it....copybotting and griefing. Oh, the irony. So, what to do in all this confusion of he said, she said, NO YOUUU!!?

I kept using Emerald for the time being. There were two people still working on Emerald who I, and most others, still trusted: Chalice and LordGregGreg. Until I had a definitive answer on what was going on I felt no need to make any changes. At this point, the issues being discussed were regarding a project called Onyx, which was a bot of some sort used to scan SL for who knows what purpose. CDS was another project that was used to identify alts based on IP addresses gathered from parcels using media settings, and this information was sold to creators as a tool to ban any avatar shown to be wearing stolen content, as well as banning any alts using the same IP. Many people were upset about this for various reasons, one of which was that the system itself was very flawed. Finally, there was an issue of a library installed in Emerald, and you'll have to forgive my lack of technical prowess on this, that was questioned by some of the devs and allegedly removed. While the library's intended use is benign, some had suspected that it was being used differently and was discovered again in Emerald. The dev was told it was removed again, but was again discovered in the viewer, and said developer was then prevented access to that portion of the viewer. That developer then left the team and posted on his blog that he could not in good conscience work at Emerald any more. Lordgreggreg's blog and that entry is here: LordGregGreg's Blog

At this point, I was starting to search for another viewer. The end for me came a few days ago, when it was discovered that the leader of Emerald, Fractured Crystal, had basically put code in to the viewer that directed everyone using Emerald to visit a web page upon logging in to SL. We didn't see it, but it happened. This is basically a Denial Of Service attack which is illegal and punishable by law, although due to the scale of the attack, will not happen. Shortly after this, Chalice Yao, probably the last grownup to work on Emerald, and someone very well liked and respected, left the team in disgust. The next day, I downloaded a few viewers and will test them out.

That being said, I doubt I will have to look much further. I have since started using Imprudence and, although it's not as good, in my opinion, as Emerald, it's very good and stable and I think my journeys on SL will be taken in this viewer.

I would encourage everyone to consider using a viewer other than Emerald. Although Fractured has since stepped down, I definitely do not trust them with my SL password, and I will not use Emerald any longer.