Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
– Sir Walter Scott
Well, it seems that Emerald is now over and done with, and quite acrimoniously. It’s a shame that a project that – despite reservations in some areas – gave birth to an exceptionally flexible Viewer should be ruined by childish idiocy on the part of one or two of the players involved.
But then, as others have pointed out; it’s not as if the track record of certain individuals involved in the project was not unknown, and while everyone should be given the chance to turn over a new leaf, putting so much control in the hands of individuals who have previously demonstrated a desire and ability to abuse such control was a mistake.
In her blog post, Arabella Steadham points the finger in numerous directions – LL are being unreasonable; LL simply want the user numbers from Emerald; others in the group attempted a “hostile takeover”, etc. I’m sorry, but all this is hogwash.
The bottom line is, a single (apparently) individual opted to abuse Emerald – and the trust of every single Emerald user as well as violate the TPVP – and launch a Denial of Service attack on another individual. Frankly, it matters not as to whether the individual on the receiving end is/is not a hacker himself. Two wrongs do not make a right. And given the mentality of some of the Emerald devs (we’ve all seen the infamous You Tube vids), who is to say matters would stop at one DoS attack?
Beyond this, Emerald clearly violated several parts of the TPVP by:
- Gathering user information beyond what was required to enable users to access Second Life
- Failing to comply with the TPVP by revealing the user information being collected
- Obfuscating the data collection process through encryption in order to hide the information being gathered after those responsible for the data collection had given verbal assurances the practice would be stopped
In their demands, LL required that Emerald:
- Provide accountability for all the developers on the Team
- Remove those with a known history of transgressions and who played a part in the issues outlined above
- Omit the use of emkdu.dll (the offending file used to commit the breaches of the TPVP)
- And a number of other wholly reasonable requests.
Again, rather than admit to these, it is a shame that Arabella (or Phox, one of the culprits, and whose name is tagged to the Emerald blog post) sought to obfuscate and hide these core matters – possibly in the mistaken belief that the genuine set of demands from LL would not enter the public domain…
However, Jessica Lyon has issued a Notecard and opened a blog that both paint a far more revealing picture of the entire situation. In her Notecard, Jessica states:
As of some time this morning, all access to the servers have been severed to all but Arabella Steadham and Lonely Bluebird. Neither me, nor any of the other Emerald Developers have the ability to put out releases at this time. Beyond the recent beta 2587, we also cannot certify the safety or validity of any future releases.
Now, I made a promise to everyone to disclose the remaining requirements from LL. Those final two requirements that were given to us by LL, was to have a release out by Friday September the 3rd that would not support emkdu or llkdu even if one of the files was present, and that Lonely Bluebird, Skills Hak and Discrete Dreamscape be removed from the project. The alternative was that LL would block the viewer from access to the SecondLife Grid. While Discrete and Skills gracefully stepped down, Lonely refused. A long argument ensued in dev chat and, I created a new dev chat, where most of us discussed how we could remove Lonely from the project, however it failed. Ultimately Lonely has removed access to the servers and has also stated that he is applying for trademark on the Emerald Viewer name. Preventing us from continuing on the project without him.
Unless circumstances change, in my opinion, the Emerald Viewer Project is dead. We simply cannot achieve a release by the deadline given to us under the current circumstances.
Without access to the server and website, I am forced to make a very difficult decision as I will not allow myself to be held accountable to anything that happens from this day on in regards to Emerald.
Why should we believe Jessica over Arabella? Well, for one thing, Jessica echoes much of what has been said elsewhere, and her viewpoint matches other Emerald Devs forced to leave the project. She is also perhaps the only Emerald dev to provide RL information on herself, rather than hide behind the anonymity of an avatar. And the fact is, through this note and her blog, she has, like LordGregGreg, shown more courage and conviction than any of those within the Emerald team who have placed spin before honesty.
Jessica has never failed to be open in matters; that she and others are trying to salvage something from this mess that is both as flexible as Emerald and meets LL’s requirements is to be applauded. I genuinely hope they succeed and would, as a starting place, suggest they consider using LordGregGreg Back’s Emergence Viewer as a potential baseline, if an agreement can be reached.
It is a shame that a viewer like Emerald should be so crippled and ruined by the ego-driven hubris of one or two people. But as another saying goes: pride goes before a fall.