Arabella Steadham

This post by Arabella Steadham is enough to convince me that she is trustworthy. However, Phox, whom she defends, has got up to things even worse than what she accuses Jessica Lyon of (creating and distributing a viewer that bypasses permissions). That is itself a serious charge, and one I’d like to see Jessica’s response to. Both Arabella and Jessica covered up the DDOS, which assuredly did happen, even if it did not bring the attacked site down. The comments about the Ascent developers are also disturbing, and they need to respond to these accusations in public. While I am convinced of Arabella’s honest intentions, I am less certain about her judgement. Another part of being a team is being able to be frank with team members who have stepped over the line and, while not throwing them to the wolves for their misdemeanours, making sure that they are seen to have been reformed. You do not cover for people’s offences, and defending your friends doesn’t mean that you should do that.

The lesson is that nobody is perfect. If you only trust paragons of virtue, you will have a difficult time. Perhaps it is time to forgive Phox and Fractured, and most certainly Arabella and Jessica. On the other hand, much more accountability needs to be delivered in future to make sure that they don’t re-offend. I hope that the Emerald crisis will have been instrumental in delivering that accountability. I’m sorry to see Arabella lose heart, and for ill will to be created between her and the others.

Nobody has mentioned that Emerald remains perfectly usable for OpenSim grids. The best of these are as reliable and have greater functionality than SL, while retaining all of the expected features. The drama, however, is missing.

One this is certain though, Linden Lab are certainly taking advantage of the Emerald crisis for their own benefit. It is the predicted death knell for the Emerald Viewer. It was engineered: they knew that the demand to drop Phox, the best developer on the team, was too much for the project to bear. But my faith in the Lab has hardly been shaken by that! It has never been more than partial and conditional, and I think this is wise: they are a corporation whose express interests are in marketing their own products. Their Viewer 2.0 was an embarrassing failure, and they are trying to cover it up by removing the major competitor (monopolistic trading). It will not work, because other viewers, better than their own, will take its place. In the process, yet more customers, yet more developers, have once again been alienated.

Another bad move, Linden Lab.

Leave a comment


  1. Will

     /  September 8, 2010

    Emerald … “So Long and Thanks For All The Fish”

  2. Note that the Ascent Viewer is only available for Windows at present.

    No news on Qarl Fizz (ex Linden) as regards his brief tenure at Emerald. Presumably none forthcoming now…?

    Time to draw a line under the “Emeraldgate” affair, I think.

  3. Amber

     /  September 8, 2010

    I see so many people complain about the 2.0 viewer, yet seemingly none attempt to make it useable. I use 2.0 every day now and it’s just as good as Emerald ever was since I changed a couple of the default settings to suit my taste. (Mainly that annoying sidebar resizing my view every time it opened, and the annoying flash chat, in addition to lighting and the like.) Anyone who questions how to make their SL viewer better can check out the blogs on the main SL site for one about each person’s viewer settings. The input there regarding the SL viewer is priceless. It IS possible to use and even enjoy the SL viewer. Good luck to all.

    PS) As an aside, I won’t switch to any other viewer until they support the multiple tattoo layers like the SL viewer does anyway – why should I spend upwards of $1000L for each makeup I like, when I can buy a base skin from an awesome creator and change my makeup cheaply for each outfit or need like I would in RL?? Why accept the status quo when it’s possible to not only save money, but to look great while doing so? SL viewer really should combine with another TPV viewer like Emerald or Phoenix – the benefits would be AMAZING and would make so many users undeniably happy!!

    • I’ve met others who do like Viewer 2.0. Personally I find it very badly designed and hard to find obvious functions that were easy to find in the 1.x codebase. The invasive side bar is frankly irritating in my opinion, even when drastically improved in Kirsten‘s S20 because it can be opened and closed. But I accept that others like you do like Viewer 2.0. That is not to say that I disagree with your main point, or that I think that the 1.x codebase is perfect: some things were hard to find there too, e.g. re-baking, for which the shortcut on Macbooks happens not to work, so you have to hunt for it each time.

      Emerald and Phoenix do support the tattoo layer and alpha layer, as does Imprudence. Kirsten’s has a neat feature where you can wear more than one of a single layer, for example a shirt, by using “Add” instead of “Wear”, so that the texture is baked over the previous one. That solves a lot of wardrobe problems! Kirsten is trying to make it useable.

      I do think that it is time that usability issues were properly addressed, and the base code of the viewer modernised. But it’s a bad sign that the majority of users refuse to use Viewer 2.0, even if inevitably some like you do prefer it. We ought to be able to find a solution that both sets of people like, and incorporate all of the improved features that both Linden Lab and the TPV viewers have developed, apart from certain minor questionable features of Emerald that aren’t in the spirit of privacy, like the fact that you can now see when a person has elected not to let you see when they are online, breaking much of the purpose of the original privacy function.

      I hope that Snowstorm will live up to its promise and do exactly what you have recommended. But LL have not always lived up to their promises, sadly.

      Thanks for your constructive reply 🙂

  4. Amber

     /  September 8, 2010

    The only way it’s even remotely usable to me is because I had to spend time dedicated to making it better – they shot themselves in the foot by making the initial viewer options so … horrible. It really makes it seem like anything is preferable to the SL Viewer when you see the initial install, but after finding that blog and following instructions, SL Viewer is one of the best I’ve seen …

    Since good things can be improved, I would love to see a TPV off of the list incorporate the multiple tattoo layer support – that’s another deal breaker for me. I know some support single layers, but don’t know of any that can do what this one does. If the viewer can save me money and I can still have multiple options on my avatar’s appearance, you’ve got me sold. I’d be willing to use it above all others IF that condition is met and I can make the UI usable. It really would be nice if LL would incorporate the UIs and ideas/coding from some of their TPVs. Win/Win situations are the best outcome but so rare lately. :-/

    Hope things are going well for you, Starflower. 🙂

    • Ideally, you wouldn’t have to go to all that trouble setting up the viewer how you want it, I agree. It ought to be easy to make a viewer user-friendly, in principle.

      Kirsten’s latest viewer (S20) is based on the Viewer 2.0 code, so I’d be surprised if the multiple tattoo layer didn’t work. If it doesn’t, which I rather doubt, this viewer is very frequently updated by porting the changes to the Viewer 2.0 codebase. On the other hand, Kirsten’s Viewer is officially experimental. I haven’t seen any obvious sign of that, though, and there are no reliability problems that I have seen. Anyway, I hope that this information is accurate and useful – please let me know if I’ve overlooked something important about Kirsten’s Viewer.

      Both Imprudence and Emerald/Phoenix have or had plans to migrate to the Viewer 2.0 codebase, which could potentially solve all these issues over the coming months if it happens. I read this on the Imprudence blog, for example, in the last couple of weeks or so.

      I don’t know what codebase the Ascent Viewer is built on, as I don’t use Windows, and Mac and Linux versions haven’t been released.

      Thanks very much for your input, it’s been lovely to hear your thoughts. There are feedback mechanisms by which users can make these sorts of suggestions direct to the developers, if you check out their sites and maybe ask someone how best to make suggestions. They encourage feedback.

      All the best 🙂

  5. It appears that Linden Lab have banned Arabella Steadham from SL. Whilst it’s clear that some others at Emerald have breached the TOS, one can only assume that they conclude that Arabella is tarnished in LL’s eyes by association with a third-party viewer that is deemed to be able to breach the TOS. This doesn’t make much sense, since Phoenix is basically the same viewer and its developers are not banned. Is the issue emdku, which was restored in the last version (2600) of Emerald? (It was removed in 2587.) While LL won’t comment on individual cases, no doubt, it would be nice to know that nobody else is going to be banned without knowing the reasons why, and without a functional means to appeal, if Arabella’s reported experience is anything to go by.

    Arabella and Emerald’s response, supporting VWW instead, seems equally bizarre. Why not switch over to OpenSim, which is directly compatible? There are currently 15 grids such as Avatar Hangout and WorldSimTerra that support VirWoX‘s currency, and are commercially viable market places (if that is the issue, as it seems). Why not explain the reasoning? The Emerald blog has always been a bit short on explanation for the actions that the developers take, and there is a perennial air of secrecy that I don’t much like.


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