| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Mar 22nd 2010 6:39PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I'm sure the question has been asked already, but is there any particular reason why the TPV needs to/should exist in the first place ?

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 12:39AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Well, while it appears to have quite laudable goals in general, almost all of them seem to be a part of the terms-of-service already. Since this is actually a terms of service document (the terms by which one uses or connects to the service), it's not even clear why it is a separate instrument.

Those goals seem to be "not interfering with the operation of the service" and "respecting the intellectual property (and other) rights of others" -- both of which are already covered in the terms-of-service (most specifically section 4.2 of the TOS).
Reply

Posted: Mar 22nd 2010 8:12PM (Unverified) said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
I don't think Linden wants an "open" SL any more. They have changed so much in the past four years it doesn't even feel like the same company.

As far as violating the GPLv2, they in my mind do this already. They also are not allowing for true open communication between open source developers and the core client devs.

The point being here, Linden doesn't want import/export functions. They never once provided a backup system. And they most likely won't.

Not a single TPV is listed yet. And why should they be? There are thousands of people using various clients in SL. Emerald, Meerkat, Hippo, Imprudence. And all of them are better than their new beta viewer 2.0 in my view.

Instead of Linden doing the "wise" and "correct" thing, but working with the open source dev groups, and bringing the works into the official client, the opted to write out a policy against them and build a whole new client from scratch. This is not how to work with the community. Then again, since when have they made any progress at all on the viewer themselves.. that's right, they really haven't.



Posted: Mar 22nd 2010 9:31PM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
It's own-foot season, and this time LL brought the big guns.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2010 10:44PM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
It looks to me as if there were hardly *any* changes at all in the actual policy, with the exception of "This Policy does not place any restriction on modification or use of our viewer source code that we make available under the GPL. Rather, the Policy sets out requirements for connecting to our Second Life service using a Third-Party Viewer, regardless of the viewer source code used, and for participating in our Viewer Directory.", in the preamble.

Yet the first sentence in that paragraph still directly conflicts with Section 7(d), "You assume all risks, expenses, and defects of any Third-Party Viewers that you use, develop, or distribute."

The best response to LL I've heard from third-party devs on this section of the policy so far is simply this: "You first", as in "If you want us to take responsibility for our viewers by violating the wording of the GPL, then change your ToS to do the same for your own viewer in exchange".

@Ted: There are two viewers currently on the viewer directory, METAbolt(a text viewer) and Kirsten's. It should be noted, however, that METAbolt is by no means the only text-based client in town(Radegast and omv-viewer light come to mind), and Kirsten's Viewer has problems complying with the requirements of GPL(as in "where's the sources?"). Neither viewer can be considered "popular" compared to the ones you've listed, and there's a strong chance they may ditch SL for OpenSim altogether.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 12:35AM (Unverified) said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
> UPDATE: Linden Lab has let us know that it plans no further updates to the TPV policy agreement.

They might as well announce that they've ended the open-source program. No sane developer is going to go near the LL code due to the contagious-liability clause.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 2:20AM (Unverified) said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
I've never seen a more obdurate, blind, and extreme group in my life.

The language of the GPL license and the Linden TPV are all very clear, and make PN leaders like Fred liable *if they grief or copy content they have not created while connecting to the SL servers*. NOTHING in the GPL license text or jurisprudence implies that "cannot" be done. NOTHING in the opensource movement says that you *cannot be held liable for your bad behaviour under the law*.

There is NO obscurity about this, as the Linden lay out very clearly what you cannot use your code for -- griefing, harming the service, copying content not your own, invading privacy without notification. Are you people all having a problem with these norms? Apparently you are all unwilling to be accountable.

The language of the policy makes very clear that you undertake responsibility *for your code* and *with regard to these norms in the context of connecting to the server*. Not Linden Lab's, but your own. It does not say you are liable throughout the metaverse for any and all uses of your code; it says *WHEN* connecting to the LL servers, you must abide by their rules. Full stop. All normal, and all permissible, as the language of GPL even says "except when in writing".

Your wilful extreme and outrageous misreading of this is in pursuit of some agenda that isn't even in the spirit of your already-dubious opensource movement.

All of you have seem to forgotten what opensource code *is*. It's, um, open for anyone to work on and pass along for others to work on.

Is there anything in the TPV that prevents anyone from looking at and working on code and passing it along?

No.

There is only a set of social norms on top of this code -- which is what we like to call "law".

Good for the Lindens, standing tall in the face of this bullying.

http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/03/lindens-stand-firm-on-third-party-viewer-policy.html

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 10:43AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
"All of you have seem to forgotten what opensource code *is*. It's, um, open for anyone to work on and pass along for others to work on."

You seem to confuse open source with the MIT-style "do anything you want with this" license, which is *very specifically not* what LL is releasing their source code under. They require developers who work with the code to comply to a series of other restrictions and obligations. The question here is whether those other obligations end up being contradictory, and thus impossible to honor.
Reply

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 2:20AM (Unverified) said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
both of which are already covered in the terms-of-service.

No, they are not.

The TPV adds the additional important restriction that you cannot do this *when making a third-party viewer* because as we all know, these viewers can easily be made to grief, copy, and invade privacy, and you can "hide behind the code" and "hide behind the mechanics of just how it is".

That's why this policy is needed. Because you all tend to go off the rails that way.

There isn't any "contagious liability" or some vague or openended sort regarding the code. It says you are responsible in a community of other people not to use this code to copy, grief, invade privacy.

Again, are you all having a problem with that?

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 4:00AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Since you obviously missed it, it's TOS section 4.2, as I said.

Posted: Mar 24th 2010 12:04AM (Unverified) said

  • 1 heart
  • Report
Er, no, Tateru, literalism and Fisking doesn't cut it on obvious things like this especially. Any intelligent person can go read the TOS and see that it is necessary but not sufficient, and that it is not a blank check to make any viewer as long as it doesn't violate the TOS in some unspecified way.

First of all, the TOS is for Linden Lab's viewer. It governs the use of that viewer on those servers. Here's what 4.2 says, *about Linden Lab's software*:

4.2 You agree to use Second Life as provided, without unauthorized software or other means of access or use. You will not make unauthorized works from or conduct unauthorized distribution of the Linden Software.

It does not *specifically* in its intent and scope govern the creation, deployment and use of third-party viewers; it governs the use of LL's software. Hello! Can you tell that obvious fact?!

Indeed, it says this, "You agree not to create or provide any server emulators or other software or other means that provide access to or use of the Servers without the express written authorization of Linden Lab."

If anything, that gives the Lindens a hook to demand a registry of third-party developers that are cleared against a set of guidelines -- which is essentially what the TPV *is*.

Furthermore, 4.2 says this, creating a subset of the definitions of "software connecting to the Servers" as follows:

"Notwithstanding the foregoing, you may use and create software that provides access to the Servers for substantially similar function (or subset thereof) as the Viewer; provided that such software is not used for and does not enable any violation of these Terms of Service. Linden Lab is not obligated to allow access to the Servers by any software that is not provided by Linden Lab, and you agree to cease using, creating, distributing or providing any such software at the request of Linden Lab. You are prohibited from taking any action that imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on Linden Lab's infrastructure."

If this paragraph were sufficient, we wouldn't see the rampant griefing, stealing, invasion of privacy and general havoc of load on the servers by all kinds of rogue third party viewers.

It's also a matter of principle in civil law countries in particular to have sub-legislative acts, regulations, etc. that explicate general law.

And it's not good enough in international law merely to say "inter alia, by which they may be bound" regarding other treaties or existing treaties; you have to actually have the other treaties and spell out what those TOS violations would be. The TOS doesn't provide sufficient amount of detail and scope to govern the deployment of TPVs. So LL has done so with this policy.

Unfortunately for all of us on many fronts, starting with free speech and due process and fairness, private companies get to make these terms of service at will, and put in regulations "for any reason or no reason" and unconscionable as they may be (and were once declared in the Bragg proceedings), they are generally honoured, because in the practice of the U.S. Supreme Court and other judicial rulings, freedom of association (corporations and their internal rules) trumps freedom of expression (script kiddies raising havoc on public servers with their code).

This TOS *only* talks about "violations of the TOS" (without any specificity, which is very broad) and only talks *specifically* about "disproportionately large load".

But the TPV talks about *copyright*; it talks about *privacy*; it talks about other issues of accountability for one's behaviour and the behaviour of one's code.

A separate policy is needed on such third-party viewers, end of story.

Again, what part of "accountability" are you not getting here?

Reply

Posted: Mar 24th 2010 1:11AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
We've seen no evidence that the majority of TPV developers have any difficulty with any reasonable and feasible steps that support intellectual property rights protection, privacy, security and such. Those are already written into the terms-of-service, though - as you've demonstrated - the language is somewhat convoluted and not very easy to understand.

We've seen no objections on that front. The goals are generally held to be laudable. It's the implementation that seems to be in error, and could be easily fixed.

Of course, a broken implementation will be cheered by some as it will likely cause the majority of TPV developers to either shut development down, or to focus away from Second Life; either circumstance would make some people very happy, reduction of the rates of bugfixes in the official viewer notwithstanding.

Privacy issues, content-protection matters, and handling of all manner of bad behavior (whether enabled by a third-party viewer or not) is all stuff we'd like to see the Lab get tougher on. The TPV policy agreement - in its current form - appears to interfere with any efforts in those matters rather than supporting them - for no other reason than it is *badly written*, and not because of any problem of intent or of principle.
Reply

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 9:15AM (Unverified) said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
Prokofy, as usual, is full of shit.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 11:40PM (Unverified) said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
No, dear, I don't suffer from that confusion because I understand what the Lindens are simply and clearly asking for. There isn't anything "contradictory" in what they ask for unless indeed you are a Stallmanite and edge-casing and fisking to try to find a way out of accounting for your code.

What's particularly annoying about this false debate around this issue is that no actual lawyers or even GPL experts outside the hothouse of the SL fanbase JIRA regulars is surfacing on SL-related websites. However, the slashdotters have spoken -- it's not a violation. That more than anything should clinch it, if you are the tribal type and need the tribe to tell you. I'll stick with the rule of organic law over code, which is what this is about.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2010 11:48AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
It's obvious they are protecting the company for lawsuits stemming from the use of third party viewers in Second Life. I suspect you have Stroker and company to thank for that. Lawyers are not going to make a document that is clear and concise. They want it as broad as possible to cover the company from any possible problems.
If you create a viewer with features not included in the standard viewer that enable someone to break the TOS and/or steal IP then you do have some responsibility for their actions.

Posted: Mar 25th 2010 7:28AM (Unverified) said

  • Half a heart
  • Report
Furthermore, you're revealing your hand here as in fact being up to only an extremist and tendentious agenda -- if this TPV were really "only" a reiteration of the TOS and therefore "redundant," why, you'd have no reason not to sign it.

Again, let's keep a focus here. What on earth is your problem in registering code and agreeing not to violate copyright, grief people, and invade privacy?!

Posted: Mar 26th 2010 8:24AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Prokofy, I realise you're still pissed at me for griefing your sims a couple of years ago, so I'll let that rather vile comment about me being a PN leader/extremist/etc slide. My tenants would tell you I'm quite the changed man.

Our problem is that Linden Lab (in section 7) makes every viewer dev liable for bugs and the actions of users. If, for example, my viewer crashes while someone's in the middle of making a transaction of a buttload of money and they somehow lose that money, I can be held legally liable, even if the code it occurred in wasn't something I wrote.

Yes, I agree that something does need to be done about content theft, but the execution of this plan was exceptionally poor. Now that they've clammed up and will not change the policy, there's nothing the OSS viewer community can do but stop development or force their viewers to not log into SL.

And you're wrong about OSS in general. It's not an "extremist" front, as 1/3rd of all SL users use the 3rd party viewer Emerald (according to LL's own stats), and that's just for one viewer. There's hundreds of viewers out there, most are legitimate. I'd be willing to wager that almost half of all active SL residents use some form of OSS viewer.

Posted: Mar 26th 2010 11:34AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
I imagine this will end with the basement dwellers, psychos and Prokofy experiencing much less lag.

But seriously.

I don't grief, I don't copy, I'm not naughty in any way. I do use a viewer made by people who believe the third party viewer policy puts them at unacceptable risk. I think they have a point, but I am not a lawyer so I might be wrong. Still, I'm more inclined to believe the people who create the wanted changes (3rd party developers) than to believe the people who have a long history of introducing unwanted changes (LL).

I now have these options:

1) Use a viewer that is ****. (Sorry, LL, but it is.)

2) Continue using my current viewer (which does not contain griefing or unauthorized copying features) until LL decides to ban me just for that.

In the first case, I won't like SL as much anymore and will be spending less or none of my money on it.

In the second case, I'm not going to spend any money on SL anymore (cause I may lose it at any time), and I feel very tempted to learn how to copy the things _I paid for_ out of SL because otherwise my access to it might be removed for a stupid reason at any time. But I'll behave and only backup my own work. LL can have the rest, it will be out of fashion soon anyway.

I'm a well-behaved user and definitely not a cheapskate. And yet I get to choose between using poor quality software and being banned. Well bite me LL, there are other grids out there.

Posted: Mar 31st 2010 9:44PM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Gigs Taggart said on 9:15AM 3-23-2010

"Prokofy, as usual, is full of shit."

No doubt about it. And don't dare post anything on her irrational blog if you know what's good for you.

Natlia Beresford:
"And you're wrong about OSS in general. It's not an "extremist" front, as 1/3rd of all SL users use the 3rd party viewer Emerald (according to LL's own stats), and that's just for one viewer. There's hundreds of viewers out there, most are legitimate. I'd be willing to wager that almost half of all active SL residents use some form of OSS viewer."

---

I would bet to wager anyone besides someone logging in for the first time is using an oss viewer. Just the import/export function alone is what people have been wanting for over six years. As long as Linden takes the stance that they own user generated content produced on their servers, you most likely will never see any sort of content backup functions provided by Linden. Only a court ruling against Linden that proves otherwise, that the content created is property of the content creator, and that the content is not lawfully held captive to the Linden grid, would resolve the situations. The Linden TOS would most likely never stand up in court in it's entirety as written and there have been more than a few to suggest this.

As recommended elsewhere, follow the original gpl/gnu license and don't sign anything else with Linden or in any way agree to the additional terms they requested in the TPV. You are not held accountable if you, and more over the gpl/gnu cannot agree. The gnu/gpl takes precedence.

By not signing, not signing up for, not listing your viewers, and acknowledging that the "extra TPV" policies of Linden is not in the best interest of the original agreements (which to my view could not be signed anyhow due to various gnu/gpl restrictions), Linden cannot do a thing besides refuse connection by any certain client/server. Try pissing off a few thousand residents by not allowing, or outright denying the connection.

Posted: Apr 1st 2010 1:28AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Linden Lab has become astonishingly tone deaf to its users, supporters and developers. Sad, very sad. :(
| 1 | 2 |

Featured Stories

MMO Week in Review: Are you Elite or Dangerous?

Posted on Dec 21st 2014 8:00PM

EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

Posted on Dec 21st 2014 6:00PM

WoW Archivist: A Glyphmas story

Posted on Dec 21st 2014 12:00PM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW