Of Cabbages and Kings, Spoton3d and Viewer Things
August 7, 2012

Cabbages are good for coleslaw, sauerkraut and borscht.

Kings are best seen and not heard.

I haven’t written anything in awhile, nor have I been commenting or tweeting. The reason is, I’ve been in a pretty bad headspace over the past month or so. This is a part of my life as a person with Depression and PTSD. It gets pretty bad sometimes and it takes everything I have to not step out of this Universe into the next one. But there’s usually something that comes along which lifts me out of that Abyss, so I do what I can to hold on until that thing to happens. This time, it was Her Poutineness, Ener Hax, and her post http://iliveisl.com/proof-that-canada-rocks-or-likes-beer/. Thanks Ener.

But despite where my head was at, I have kept up with things. Reading the blogs, the tweets, the various e-zines and forums, so I know there’s been a few things of note happening in the Metaverse lately. So, here I go with my own views on those.

I read Maria Korolov’s recent article in HyperGrid Business about Linda Kellie joining SpotOn3D and I have to agree with Maria, this is a PR coup for them. After all, Linda is well known as a content creator and generous contributor to the OpenSim community and has some stature in our community as a result. And they did take advantage of it, with a posting on their blog about it.

Let me pull a quote from their blog that I find a little troubling, though. “While she intends to continue making free items for her Website, Linda is impressed with the security for intellectual property offered by the SpotON3D platform… “. This seems at odds with her own past statements that she doesn’t care about copyright or patent licenses. After all, those licenses are what gives us protections for our intellectual properties as well as providing remedies when those licenses are violated. Its not the best system and its seriously flawed, but it is what we have and the fight goes on to change it.

Something dismayed me, though, are her comments regarding many people’s positions about SO3D. According to Linda, we’re all trolls and idiots for not supporting SO3D. Yes, I take that personally. I’m one of those people. But, just because I don’t support SO3D doesn’t make me a troll. A troll will never explain the reasons for their disagreement. I do. Nor am I an idiot. I made a decision based on the information I was able to gather and I have stuck by that decision. Furthermore, show me an error in my logic or a bit of information I have wrong and I will change my mind. That makes me principled, not idiotic.

To date, nobody has shown me to be wrong about SpotOn3D. That is because we’re all waiting to see if SO3D gets their five patent applications approved. And what they will do after that. From their own blog at http://spoton3d.blogspot.ca/2011/08/official-statement-from-spoton3ds-ceo.html - “If a patent is granted on the plugin, Spoton3D will enforce its IP rights“. Since the CEO and primary investor in SO3D is a patent lawyer, we can all be sure that they will carry out this threat. I also will put forth that, if SO3D does get the patents approved and does pursue any court actions, let us all be ready to help with contributions to a defense fund. Lack of money for the court costs is the biggest and most powerful weapon that can be used against our community.

Each and every one of us will make up our own minds when it comes to SO3D, but here’s a few things to keep in mind while you deliberate. SO3D has stated that their “goal from the very beginning has been to improve the metaverse” ( http://spoton3d.blogspot.de/2011_08_01_archive.html ). SpotOn3D’s server software is a fork of OpenSim. Any fixes that they have made to the code they have never contributed back to the development of OpenSim. Their viewer is based on one of the TPVs. Any fixes to any bugs in the viewer code they made they have never contributed back. Furthermore, they do not make the source code for their viewer public, which I think violates the GNU license of TPV viewers. How do these actions “improve the metaverse”?

And speaking of licenses, it looks like Linden Lab has been pwned by Havok. LL will be disabling the ability to use its viewer, and its approved Third Party Viewers, to connect to OpenSim grids so as to comply with the Havok license. This means that viewer developers will have three options. Go SecondLife only, go OpenSim/AuroraSim only or split in two and do both, which is what the Phoenix/Firestorm team are doing. For me, it means some major changes coming to the MIV over the next couple of months as developers make their choices. I have already decided that I will not list SL only viewers.

To be honest, I see this as a good thing for us. Many have said that we need viewers that can take advantage of OpenSim’s distinct features without having to remain compliant to Second Life. Yes, if you are present in both OpenSim and SL you will have to use two different viewers, but look on the bright side. You won’t get your grid caches messed up as often. And there’s an advantage for the viewer devs, too, though it means a lot of hard work. Build a new viewer from scratch, in C# and licensed to ditch that six month development delay that LL stuck you with. Think on that, viewers developed with the same coding language in synch with OpenSim and AuroraSim by both server and viewer developers working and communicating together.

The apron strings are being cut. The Metaverse will continue to grow. Second Life will continue to have a place in it, but it won’t be as big and profitable as Linden Lab would like. SL is suffering the death of a thousand cuts as people leave and regions disappear. Its only a trickle, but that only means that it will take a long time. I doubt that Second Life will ever shut down, but it will end up losing the distinction of being the biggest.

One final thought. This opens up a vast opportunity for some good-hearted fun. Let Linden Lab make “war” on us. There’s not much they can do, especially if we fight back with laughter and comedy. We can open refugee centres on OSGrid and drop care packages of quality freebies into SL. We can make over-the-top machinima vids giving instructions on how to slip across the borders to freedom. We can infiltrate and start a resistance movement of “freedom fighters”. We can PhotoShop recruitment posters and “warbonds” (Uncle Sarge wants YOU!!)

Let loose the Hounds of War!


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