Friday, August 27, 2010

More Developments on “Emeraldgate”

In the days following Linden Labs taking the Emerald Viewer down from its list of approved viewers, and the decision of Fractured Crystal to resign on Sunday August 22nd, the controversy has yet to die down.

Probably the most clear example of this was the “Tonight Live” talk show that evening. The show was plagued not only by technical difficulties, but there were also a number of likely griefers at the sim, judging by both Paisley’s observations of day-old avatars with replicating scripts, and my own when I got there of seeing what at times resembled a peanut gallery. Paisley ended up having to do the show in a secret location, with the studio audience facing a gray wall on the set labeled “REHEARSAL.” This was an action Paisley and her staff hated to, but as the hostess stated, “the show must go on.”

On Tuesday, Linden Lab finally ended its silence about Emerald since removing it from it's third-party viewer list without explanation. In it’s “Malicious Viewers and Our Third-Party Viewer Policy,“ It clearly labeled the action on Emerald’s rival a denial-of-service attack:

We have removed Emerald from the list of third-party viewers, and are now in touch with the Emerald team to discuss what can happen next. We did this to do our best to protect the safety and security of Second Life users. We will not tolerate a viewer that includes malicious code, nor will we tolerate development teams with a history of violating users’ trust or disrupting their lives.

We take privacy, safety, and security very seriously, and we will act to the best of our abilities to protect it. We have not yet disabled logins via the Emerald viewer, but will do so if we feel the software and the team behind it is not able to meet the standards we’ve set. ... The third-party viewer directory is designed to be largely self-policing, but we take our responsibility to act very seriously when problems come to our attention.

Contrary to some of the rumors flying around, Emerald users will still be permitted to use their viewers, at least for now. At worst, Linden Labs will block the use of Emerald viewers. Tales of users under threat of suspension for using Emerald are false.

Despite the problems, some residents continue to use Emerald. Others have switched to the new 2.0 viewer, but some of them doing so reluctantly and open to alternatives. One such alternative that keeps being mentioned is the “Imprudence” viewer, available in Windows, Mac OSX, and Windows. It’s been described as more useful to builders than the new LL Viewer, though not perfect. LordGregGreg, the ex-Emerald developer whose exit marked the beginning of the controversy, recently offered an alternative of his own, “produced in a way where all binaries are either provided from a well known trusted source (such as linden lab or openjpeg), or myself,” the “Emergence Viewer.”

Ex-Linden Qarl Fizz, who joined the Emerald team just before the denial-of-service attack, gave no response to a request to be interviewed by SL Newser. On New World Notes, he described himself as being “pleasantly surprised with how the Emerald people are handling the mess.”

Modular Systems, the creators of the Emerald Viewer, stated, they “received a large list of requirements and conditions from LL. ... At this point, I can safely say that we fully intend to address and fulfill ALL of them as soon as we possibly can. ... Although some of these conditions will be very difficult, we feel they are reasonable considering recent events. Due to that difficulty however, some will take more time than others to fulfill. It is a big list of things that we need to do and we will be providing LL with a time frame on each individual item ... Once we have completed these items to the full satisfaction of Linden Lab, we intend to re-apply.”

Sources: Linden Blog, Tonight Live, New World Notes,

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. o.o oy what dose this mean for emerald users.. i dont like 2.0 at all its too hard on my old system, and cant use it, its like using a very slow dialup and i have high speed.. i use the 2270 on emerald.. sighs..

    good story other then that Bix..

  2. This is Bixyl. I'm having to use another computer for the moment.

    For now, if you want to keep using Emerald you can. The Emerald team insists they'll take care of the security problems, so it's a question of each user trusting them or not.

    But if they get linked to another case of mischief, make plans to download another viewer.

    And I don't use 2.0 much either.