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.

The end of Emerald

Apparently, the Emerald viewer project is now dead. However, the post claims that 50% of all logins to SL use Emerald, a figure that I suspect was much higher before the launch of Linden’s Viewer 2.o.

Either there will be yet another twist and turn to this story, or else the way ahead looks bleak for SL, as I fear that many residents will simply quit rather than face the reduced functionality of Viewer 2.0 and the interference of Linden Lab. Despite the many faults of the Emerald team, notably their constant in-fighting, it is clear that Linden Lab wielded the knife this time by imposing demands that they already knew would cripple the Emerald project development team and spell its end. It surprises me that they did not simply ban the viewer for the earlier abuses such as the DDOS attack, which would have been rather less cloak-and-dagger and, I’m afraid to say, rather more honest. Nonetheless, Linden Lab clearly needed to act to regain control in a situation that was spiralling out of control. It was a necessary evil but, I fear, the damage is already done.