Sunday, September 5, 2010

From the Ashes of Emerald ...

Just a few weeks ago, Emerald’s development team, officially known as Modular Systems, was doing very well. With Linden Lab’s official new viewer disliked by many in Second Life, they were the first, and most popular, of the third-party viewers. Probably about a third, some say almost half, of the residents were using the Emerald viewer. Having the respect and admiration of many, the few stories going around about the past of a few of the team members and possible code vulnerabilities got little attention.

Today, Team Emerald has fallen apart, and word on the Grid is it’s just a matter of time before Linden Lab blocks its ability to access Second Life.

Jessica Lyon whom resigned from team after what was branded a “hostile takeover” by the remnants, quickly organized a new one to produce a new viewer for Emerald fans.

A few days ago, I assembled a team of developers to work on a new viewer. Some who were originally Emerald developers, some who were not. All are respected reputable residents in the Second Life Community. The goal was simple, to provide users with what they want and do it transparently.

I’m am very proud to announce the launch of the Phoenix Viewer. This project, has started off simple, with it’s initial release of a safe clone of the Emerald viewer. Users want Emerald features, you shall have them.

It’s interesting to note Jessica included among the developers LordGregGreg Back, the developer whose resignation from the Emerald team marked the beginning of the end. So far, there is no conformation on his blog about his involvement, though he did hint he would be making another entry soon concerning Jessica’s actions.

Second Life Newser has already ran into a few people who have tried Phoenix and liked it. A peek at the comments suggested some have had a little trouble loading it. And of course there is the matter that Linden Labs has yet to give it its official seal of approval.

Here’s one review of the Phoenix viewer by “Natales” - Click Here

So will Linden Lab ban use of Emerald? Possibly, though pulling the plug on a popular viewer is a risky move. A fraction of the Emerald viewership refuses to let it go. It may be that they plan to let the word spread about alternatives to Emerald for a while, give the remaining Emerald users time to accept what happened and find a replacement. Then make an announcement they will block the viewer after a given amount of time.

Hamlet Au has had a few things to say about the Emerald mess. Among them, that the actions of Fractured Crystal bring up the debate on how to treat youngsters. He was reportedly 18. When 17 and 16 year old residents are allowed onto the grid, will they be allowed on development teams, and when they screw up will they be pilloried in the court of public opinion like adults? Then there’s the issue of Internet anonymity and business. Hamlet Au considered Linden Lab the only ones to trust in the mess as they were “an actual company with actual names.” Others feel this anonymity is still “the great equalizer,” allowing those with talent to succeed online even if in real life they’re a “horse-apple” shoveler. The issue will continued to be debated for some time.

As for Qarl Fizz, the former Linden who joined Emerald before the proverbial slop hit the cooling fan, he has yet to answer our request on his point of view of the team’s downfall. He may have just decided to stay out of sight for a while.

“This ain’t the end of Emerald, but you can see it from here.”

Bixyl Shuftan

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