ToS changes: further ripples in the pond – Machinimatrix and Bryn Oh

There are further public ripples in the pond resulting from the August 15th changes to LL’s Terms of Service

Machinimatrix Refocus Terminology on OpenSim

Word is spreading that  the Machinimatrix team are responding to the recent changes to Linden Lab’s Terms of Service (ToS), having issued a blog post on the matter, which reads in part:

Dear customers;

Recently Linden Labs have changed their TOS. First and most important for you:

This has no direct impact on our support and we will continue our offers as before.

However we feel uncomfortable about the change of the TOS and we have made a few moves to support those who no longer have access to Second Life. And finally we have decided to reduce indirect advertisement for the Second Life platform.

The post goes on to state that:

  • Specific changes will see the team introduce a wider range of payment options for their products
  • All web documentation has had references to Second Life replaced by OpenSim, unless a reference is directly relevant to Second Life, in which case it has been replaced by “SL”
  • A top-to-bottom renaming within the Avastar user interface which sees all references to Second Life replaced with references to OpenSim,
  • A similar removal of references to Second Life in the Blender Collada exporter, with references to OpenSim replacing it. Other products within the Machinimatrix

The team also make it clear that in making these changes, no actual functionality has changed within their products.

Bryn Oh Resigns from LEA

Bryn Oh, perhaps once of the most high-profile members of the Linden Endowment for the Arts has publicly resigned from that body.

Having already commented on the revision to Section 2.3 of the ToS, Bryn has now written publicly on the subject from apersonal perspective, and does so quite damningly, highlighting one of the principal issues which has come about as a result of the wording of the section 2.3, noting:

One thing I do in both first life and Second Life is try to convince artists that they and their art are worth something.  You see, artists are quite often taken advantage of.  People will pay a plumber to fix a sink or a roofer to fix a roof because it is a skill they do not possess themselves, and they accept and recognize that.  However, most people also can not paint pictures, yet they will suggest that it would be great “exposure” to put things in their Law Office or Hotel.  When I was just out of art school I was convinced to do 25 pen and ink drawings for an expensive coffee table book.. for “exposure”.  They thanked me in the back of the book.  And somehow I felt like they did me a favour.  They probably paid everyone else but me.

She goes on:

As it stands now I don’t feel comfortable luring artists into creating content for Linden Labs who can pretty much do whatever they want with it.  I will take the risk with my own content but I wont encourage others to do so.  For example, if you developed a revolutionary method for treating people with Schizophrenia by using specific techniques combining art, original music and the virtual space then built or demonstrated it in SL, it would no longer be yours exclusively.  Linden Lab could scoop it up and put their money behind it, while you struggled to promote it from your basement … It is just another indignity artists and thinkers must suffer and I don’t want to be a part of it.

Bryn’s letter makes powerful reading, and underlines the fact that at the end of the day, it doesn’t actually matter why the Lab has seen fit to allow such sweeping statements as found in Section 2.3 of the ToS. It really doesn’t matter if it’s actually down to a short-sighted consequence of trying to combine the Desura Terms of Use with the ToS or whether there is some deeper, darker and hidden meaning people are exhausting time and effort trying to discern.

What actually matters is that the wording, as given in the ToS today, is untenable for many, and with very good reason, and is – as I’ve said before, and Bryn underlines – a further erosion of community / company trust which really should be more directly and clearly addressed by the Lab.

Sadly, and while continuing with efforts to encourage them do so elsewhere, I don’t actually believe they will.

Related Links

SL project updates week 40 (3): viewer, inventory service, group ban list functions

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday October 4th. A video, courtesy of Northspring, can be found at the end of this report. The numbers in braces after each head denote the time stamp at which the topic can be listened-to in the video.

A typical TPV dev meeting (stock)
A typical TPV dev meeting gathers (stock)

Release Pipeline Recap

Release viewer

Maintenance RC viewer 3.6.7.281793 was promoted to the de-facto release viewer overnight on the 3rd/4th October (release notes). This primarily comprises:

  • Viewer-side support for new LSL particle capabilities (blend, glow, ribbon)
  • The automatic avatar render limit and feedback system
  • Fixes for the Cocoa release regression issues (see below)
  • Fix to prevent orientation being lost on teleporting (if you’re facing west when you teleport, you’ll still be facing west on arrival)
  • Further bug fixes as listed in the release notes, including further CHUI and materials fixes

The remaining release candidates (Google Breakpad, SLShare and the Snowstorm contributions RC) continue to produce good numbers, and the Lab hasn’t seen any major issues with them.

Interest List Viewer Updates

[37:16 -38:40]

It is currently anticipated that the viewer-side code supporting the recent batch of work on the interest list will finally arrive in week 41 as a release candidate viewer. This will be discussed at the next TPV Developer meeting, scheduled for Friday October 11th.

Mac OS X 10.6

[41:00 – 45:40]

As reported here, recent updates with Cocoa on the Mac viewer led to users still running Mac OS X 10.6 to experience some “obnoxious problems“. As a result, the Lab initially implemented a mandatory roll-back of viewers for users on OS X 10.6 to viewer release 3.6.4.280048 (August 20th, 2013). However, some of the issues have been resolved fixes within the last maintenance RC viewer (3.6.7.281793), which as noted above has now been promoted to the de facto release viewer. As a result, the roll-back to version 3.6.4.280048 has now been made optional  and has been left available until such time as the remaining issues with Cocoa and OS X 10.6 can hopefully be addressed.

A broader advisory from the Lab is that as the viewer is a lot more stable on later version of the Mac operating system, those who are on OS X10.6 and in a position to upgrade should consider doing so.

Other Potential Viewer RCs

[40:12 – 41:00]

The next round(s) of viewer releases from the Lab are expected to include:

  • A further maintenance viewer RC
  • The SSA / AIS v3 viewer updates (anticipated in the next couple of weeks – see below)
  • Monty Linden’s viewer-side HTTP updates, which are currently on internal QA at the Lab.

Advanced Inventory Service (AIS v3)

[02:18 – 15:02]

The inventory service updates, initially being undertaken alongside Server-side Appearance (SSA), are now ready for deployment.

A core part of AIS v3 covers the inventory changes that the second round of SSA updates use to manage the Current Outfit Folder (COF) more reliably, including hopefully improving the response time for re-requests for an inventory item / update; however there is more to the updates than this.

Two wiki documents have been produced for the new API:

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