Lab blogs on parent/child script communication issues

© and ™ Linden Lab

On Friday, October 4th, 2019 Linden Lab blogged about the recent script related issues that caused widespread disruption (notably with rezzing systems) across Second Life following the SLS (Main) channel deployment made on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019, and which ultimately resulted in a complete rollback from the grid on the 27th/28th September.

As noted in my Simulator User Group Updates, the release that caused the problems  – simulator release 2019-09-06T22:03:53.530715, included a number of updates intended to improve overall script performance, including how scripts are scheduled and events are delivered. However, these changes resulted in an unintended impact which, due to the region sampling, was not revealed by the update initially being deployed to a release candidate (RC) channel on Wednesday, September 11th.

The October 4th blog post from Linden Lab indicates that improvements have been made to the code, and once deployed, these should help prevent a recurrence of the problem. As an aside, it has been hoped that these updates might have been deployed to an RC channel on Wednesday, October 2nd, but a last minute bug prevented this (see: Deploy Plan for the week of 2019-09-30), so the updates will likely be deployed during week #41 (commencing Monday, October 7th).

However, even with the fixes, there blog post goes on to note there are come best practices when using parent / child script communications between a parent object and a child it rezzes:

One common cause of problems is communication between objects immediately after one creates the other. When an object rezzes another object in-world using llRezObject or llRezAtRoot, the two objects frequently want to communicate, such as through calls to llRegionSayTo or llGiveInventory. The parent object receives an object_rez() event when the new object has been created, but it is never safe to assume that scripts in the new object have had a chance to run when the object_rez event is delivered. This means that the new object may not have initialised its listen() event or called llAllowInventoryDrop, so any attempt to send it messages or inventory could fail. The parent object should not begin sending messages or giving inventory from the object_rez() event, or even rely on waiting some time after that event. Instead, the parent(rezzer) and the child(rezzee) should perform a handshake to confirm that both sides are ready for any transfer. 

The blog post goes on to define the sequence of events between a parent and rezzed child object as they should occur, and provides sample code for such parent / child operations.

An important point to note with this is that when the fix from the Lab is re-deployed, any scripts that still exhibit these kinds of communication issues will likely need to be altered by their creator to match the recommendations provided by the blog post.

Those wishing to know more are invited to read the original blog post in full, and address and questions and / or feedback through the associated forum thread.

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Chouchou set to remain in Second Life – and there’s more

Chouchou – to be preserved

Back in May 2019, I was one of a number of SL bloggers who wrote about the possible closure of the Chouchou regions (see: A Farewell to Chouchou).

Designed by Japanese pianist Arabesque Choche and vocalist Juliet Heberle, who together form the successful musical duet of Chouchou and managed by 10223 Resident (aka Tofu), the regions are among some of the longest running, practically unchanged private island environments, to be found in Second Life, and are an absolute delight for all who encounter them.

Following the news breaking on the potential closure (apparently the result of idiots repeatedly being idiots within the regions), there were attempts to try to get the regions preserved via the Lab’s Second Life Region Preservation Society, run by Patch Linden’s land team (I will toot my own horn here, in that I played a very small role in this, helping to bring the potential closure of the regions to Patch Linden’s attention). Contact was also made with Juliet Heberle on the matter (regions can only be preserved through the SLRPS with the approval of the region holders), but at the time she indicated it was the Chouchou team’s preference that the regions close be allowed to close.

However, the regions remained open well past the originally indicated closure date – and as it turned out, talks did commence in the background between Chouchou and Linden Lab. Now, and, as reported by fellow arts blogger, Oema, an agreement in principle between Chouchou and Linden Lab has been reached, allowing the Chouchou regions to remain in Second Life under the remit of the SLRPS.

Oema obtained the news via a Facebook post from Chouchou, which reads in part:

Regarding the closure of the region Chouchou (Chouchou sim, Chouchou V sim) in Second Life, we’d like to report some progress. As a result of our discussion with Linden Lab, we made a decision to maintain our region by joining The Second Life Region Preservation Society provided by Linden Lab …

Right now, we’re in the middle of exchanging contracts with Linden Lab, and it’s taking time for the contract procedures. We’re very sorry for the late announcement.

Chouchou – Memento Mori

Within the post, Chouchou note that it was the outpouring of support for the regions to survive  – see this forum thread as an example – that caused the change of heart on closure and to seek the assistance of Patch and his team through the SLRPS in order for the regions to be maintained in SL.

According to the post, the regions will continue to operate with the support of Linden Lab, but with 10223 Resident managing them. Nor is that all: the arrangement with Linden Lab also means an additional Chouchou region has been returned to Second Life, as the Chouchou Facebook post also announces:

And it is also decided that one of our sims, Chouchou XVI – The Babel – which was closed in 2013 will be back in Second Life thanks to Linden Lab’s kind arrangements.

At the time of writing, Chouchou XVI has been returned to the grid, but was not open to the public.

The three Chouchou regions – including Chouchou XVI – The Babel, last seen in-world in 2013 – once again together on the grid

The decision to allow the regions to continue is exceptionally welcome. As noted, the Chouchou regions have long been a part of Second Life and the Memento Mori build over Chouchou V remains one of the most stunning prim builds to be found in-world. Hence why I again include a short film of it below.

If you have not previously visited Chouchou,  Islamey and Memento Mori – I strongly recommend you do, and take the time to savour them now they look set to remain in SL. Follow the links after the video.

SLurl Details and Links

 

Lab blogs on the SL Web Team’s work, including “last names”

(Copyright Linden Lab)

Early on October 1st, 2019, Linden Lab blogged a update on the work of the Second Life web team and to act as a reminder of the monthly Second Life Web User Group meeting.

The update – Web User Group And Updates! – provides insight into some of the major areas of work the Lab’s SL web team are involved in. The most visible element of this work – possibly the most visible of all of LL’s web services – is the Marketplace (MP). However, the team are involved in all aspects of Linden Lab’s Second Life web properties and services – and this includes the work to move them to AWS cloud services and preparing the ground from the re-implementation of Last Names.

To take the updates given in the official blog post in reverse order:

SL Marketplace

In terms of the Marketplace, the blog post offers a round-up of recent Marketplace changes – notably the introduction of MP Store Manager functionality (see: SL Marketplace: store managers introduced), that is currently being further refined based on feedback from store holders.

In addition, the post indicates a couple of capabilities referenced by Reed Linden, the Product Manager responsible for the Lab’s Second Life web infrastructure mentioned during his appearance on Lab Gab (see: Lab Gab episode 2 with Reed Linden – a summary). These are:

  • In-world purchase notifications: an opt-in system allowing store owners to receive a viewer notification of purchases made through their Marketplace stores.
  • The gifts received listing – allowing users to see the gifts they have received, who sold it, a link to their store, who purchased / sent it, and any accompanying message. Also included is an option to have the item to be redelivered.
Received Gifts (MP → Account Name → My Account Page → Received Gifts) allows users to review details of the gifts they have received, together with the ability (if applicable) to have a gift redelivered (arrowed). Click to enlarge, if required.

Cloud Migration

The work in migrating Second Life services to the cloud is continuing – but as I’ve noted in other reports on this, it is a long-term project; there are a lot of services that need to be translated from operations within the Lab’s dedicated co-location facilities to provisioning via the cloud well before LL reach the point of attempting to transition simulator servers.

Much of the work in moving these back-end services is being carried out by the web team, with the blog post noting multiple web services are now operated through the cloud while others are either being moved from third-party vendors to an in-house implementation or decoupled from their previous dependencies into stand-alone services ready to be migrated to the cloud.

Even so, as Oz and April Linden have indicated recently, there is still some way to go, and the Lab approaching this work from the perspective of not saying too much about which services have been moved, to avoid user reports of issues being swamped by subjective beliefs that problems “must” be the result of X or Y being transitioned or changed.

Names Changes (aka “Last Names”)

The term “last names” really is something of a misnomer for this project, given it offers users the freedom to choose (and change) any first name, and to select (and change) a last name using pre-defined (and routinely updated) lists of names.  Hence why the Lab’s blog post refers to thework as Name Changes

Within the Lab’s blog post, the following comment on the status of the project is offered:

We’re extremely pleased to say that in the last month we’ve made significant progress in laying the foundations for the long-awaited Name Changes feature.  All of our teams have been working hard on preparing the grid and all of our systems to accommodate account name changes, both first and last. We’re not quite ready to release all the details yet, but suffice to say that if you’ve ever wanted to change up your account name for whatever reason (and we know you have!) STAY TUNED.

This would appear to imply the project may be approaching the point where LL are ready to deploy it. In the meantime, those wishing to catch up on the Name Changes project can do so via these links:

Web User Group

The monthly Web User Group (WUG) meetings allow users to meet with members of the Second Life Web Team to discuss the various SL web properties and services, learn about projects related to them, ask questions, etc. The meetings are a combination of the Voice and text (you’ll generally need Voice to hear responses from the Web Team representatives – questions and comments can be made in local chat if preferred).

As noted in the official blog post, the next WUG meeting is on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 at 14:00 SLT. The meetings are held at Alexa Linden’s barn in SL, and the agenda, if set, is available on the WUG wiki page.

Note: you can also find out about all of the in-world user group meetings via the sidebar on the right of this blog and scrolling down to SL User Groups – hover the mouse over the links for quick information on each of them, or click the link to go to the relevant wiki page.

Second Life Blogger Network launches

Image courtesy of Linden Lab

There’s been much curiosity over the last few days about the Second Life Blogger Network (SLBN), and I can now help pass on more information about the initiative – which, alongside two other bloggers and Lab staff, I’ve been able to play a modest role in helping to shape.

Officially launched on Thursday, September 26th, SLBN is intended to be a referral service for bloggers producing high-quality, independent blog content to have their work promoted by Linden Lab through a new curated SLBN feed on the Second Life Community Pages and via Linden Lab’s high-visibility Second Life social media feeds and – in the future – on the Official Second Life Viewer log-in page.

How it works is simple and direct:

  • Interested bloggers review the SLBN Terms & Conditions and SLBN Content Guidelines.
  • If a blogger wishes to participate, they complete and submit the SLBN Submission Form to indicate their willingness to participate.
  • Linden Lab staff are then attentive to participating blogs, and when they see a post that is suitable for promotion, they will:
    • Produce a short summary of the post, generally based on the opening few lines of the article, and which includes the first image in the post (if the article does not have any images, a “blog image” supplied by the blogger via the submission form will be used).
    • The summary and image is  then promoted to the curated SLBN feed and to the various Second Life social media channels, etc., together with a link back to the original article and blog.
  • Those reading the various feeds / channels can then click the link through to the article and blog, read it in full and perhaps explore the blog in more detail.

Content that might be considered suitable for promotion through the programme includes technical reports, destination reviews, reports on events (including music and entertainment events) emerging fashion trends, tips and tutorials, reports on Second Life news, and so on.

Those joining the initiative should note that:

  • Not every post from a blog will be promoted by Linden Lab: SLBN is intended to promote several entries during the week from the pool of participating bloggers, with content selected – as noted above – by Linden Lab.
  • Participation in the initiative is on an opt-in basis, free and – importantly – non-exclusive: bloggers can continue to write their own posts in their own style, and continue to use wherever social media, networks and in-world groups of their own to continue to promote their work.
  • However, there are certain standards Linden Lab are applying to the content they will consider for promotion. These are outlined in the SLBN Content Guidelines linked-to above, which should be kept in mind by participating bloggers when producing content they might hope to see promoted by the Lab.
  • Should a logger decide they no longer wish to participate, they can do so at any time using the SLBN submission form. Linden Lab will cease monitoring their blog for potential SLBN content.

The SLBN Badge

Those participating in SLBN can optionally display the SLBN badge (seen at the top of this article and on the blog sidebar to the right) in order to help promote the Second Life Blogger Network through their blog / website. Copies of the badge can be obtained here. When using it, bloggers are asked to:

  • Hyperlink the badge to the Second Life community pages.
  • Include the following statement directly below the badge: Use of the SLBN logo does not constitute approval by or a representation or endorsement from Linden Lab.

Where bloggers place the badge in their blogs is at their own discretion. Those using WordPress can add it using that platform’s image widget tool.

Personal Commentary

As noted, I’ve been somewhat involved in the development of SLBN since Linden Lab first sought feedback on the idea roughly a year ago, and more recently with two other bloggers in providing more direct feedback to the Lab ahead of this launch. Given this, I have a certain positive bias towards SLBN, aided by the fact that it is a referral service designed to help drive traffic to blogger’s sites (while obviously giving LL access to the kind of content that will help them promote Second Life).

How well the initiative works and what additional adjustment may be be made to it in light of things like the response to it, etc.,  will only become clear over time. My own bias aside, I do hope that overall, bloggers will respond positively, and I look forward to seeing how SLBN develops and the content it generates.

Important Links

Linden Lab: “what’s in the future?” and Sansar “re-imagined”

© and ® Linden Lab

September 2019 marks Linden Lab’s 20th anniversary – something I’ve commented on previously in the pages. It’s a milestone event for any company in the technology sector, where things can be here today, gone tomorrow. Nevertheless, the Lab have played things fairly low-key thus far, up to and including a there most recent blog post, issues on Tuesday, September 24th entitled What’s Next for Linden Lab?

While the title might be suggestive of being a commentary on the company’s past and future, it actually takes a general look at Second Life and Sansar, offering a consideration of changes to both platforms which users may or may not be aware of – and for Second Life, gives a small glimpse of things to come.

For Second Life, the blog post offers a brief look at recent and coming core feature releases – Animesh, Bakes on Mesh and EEP (the Environment Enhancement Project) – together with the recent Linden Homes release of Trailers and Campers (see: First looks: Bellisseria trailer and camper homes and Bellisseria: of Trailers, Campers and trains in Second Life).

Perhaps of more interest to user,s it also provides a mini-update on the migration to the cloud:

We have been hard at work moving the services that bring you Second Life from our existing data center to cloud hosting. Our goal is to make almost all of it seem invisible to you; in general we won’t announce that a service has been moved until it’s been working in the cloud for a while. Some things already qualify, though: Your inventory data has been in the cloud for quite some time, and the maps website moved a little while ago. We have several more things that your viewer uses that are being tested internally now, so expect more updates in the next couple of months. We are very excited about the new product possibilities that cloud hosting will enable.

Note, again, that this does not mean any regions or their underlying simulators have been moved to the cloud: currently, these are still being operated from within the Lab’s own facilities.

Another element mentioned in passing is the upcoming Second Life Blogger Network. This is something I’ve played a small role in helping the Lab to formulate ideas, and I’m interested in seeing it launched and how members of the blogging community respond to it.

In its look at Sansar, the blog post coincides with a press release for that platform issued earlier on September 24th, and in which the title really says it all:  Your World is Waiting: The Makers of Second Life Reimagine Sansar as an Immersive Destination for Gaming, Commerce & Live Events.

For those with an interest or curiosity in Sansar, the press release perhaps offers meatier reading than the blog post, covering at it does the most recent updates to the platform:  Avatar 2.0, the Nexus, the introduction of the Experience Points (XP) system, and the initial development of the Sansar “backstory”. All of these I’ve looked at in Sansar: R36 – Avatar 2.0 the Nexus, the Codex and more, and will doubtless be looking at again.

In particular the press release provides information on the new partnerships Linden Lab has entered into with regards to Sansar. These encompass include Dutch record label Spinnin’ Records, and a venture with Japanese kawaii (cute) brand-leader Sanrio alongside clothing brand Levis®. Also included is an outline of various live events Sansar will be hosting a series of live events through until the end of September to mark its “re-imagining”.

To coincide with the Sansar announcement, the Lab also issued a new promotional video for the platform. I’m not entirely sure it works, but the tag line – Your World Is Waiting – has a faint echo of a certain other tag line people may recall.

Returning to the blog post in closing, it makes no direct reference to the Lab’s anniversary, as noted above. However, given it is September, I’d like to offer all at Linden Lab congratulations on company’s 20th birthday; I’ve enjoyed being around for 13 of them, and I look forward to a good many more!

IP infringement complaint directed at Linden Lab

© and ® Linden Lab

According to a piece published in Yahoo Finance on Monday, September 23rd, a complaint has been filed against Linden Research Inc., (Linden Lab) alleging patent infringement.

The report quotes a news wire release from Worlds Inc, claiming Linden Lab and its Second Life product have infringed on a Worlds Inc patient System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual SpaceUS 7,181,690.

The complaint is the latest in a series of actions relating a set of patents filed by Worlds Inc (also known as Worlds.com Inc and Worlds Online and which I’ll refer to simply as “Worlds” for the most part below), the others being US 8,082,501, US 7,493,558 and US 7,945,856, as cited on the company’s home page.

Together, the patents relate to  technologies and methods, Worlds state, to “provide a highly scalable architecture for three-dimensional graphical multi-user interactive virtual world systems”, as seen in Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) and virtual spaces. These technologies and methods particularly relate to the use of avatars, means of communication between “rooms” (disparate spaces) etc. They were filed and granted in 2007 – well after the Second Life was established – but they relate to an initial filing made by Worlds, in 1995, which they argue stands as the priority date when considering the patents.

Thom Kidrin, CEO of Worlds Inc.

The history relating to Worlds Inc and these patents dates all the way back to 2008. It was then that the company challenged against South Korean games an MMO developer NCSoft. At the time, World’s CEO, Thom Kidrin, stated the case would be the first of many such cases, asserting that his company would “absolutely” seek financial recompense from any companies they perceived as infringing on their patents – including Activision Blizzard and Linden Lab.

Ultimately, the NCSoft case reached a confidential out of court settlement in April 2010. However, in 2012, Worlds Inc. set their sights on Activision Blizzard in what has become a convoluted case.

Responding to the complaint by Worlds, Activision Blizzard initially argued that the claim of infringement was invalid, as the technologies to which their patents referred had appeared in public prior to any patient filing. However, Worlds claimed the priority dates for their patents had been incorrectly recorded by the US Trademark and Patents Office (USTPO).

Activision’s position appeared to be upheld in a March 13th, 2014 summary ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Casper, prompting some to repeat the view that Worlds Inc a patient troll, a view first raised at the start of the Activision case.

However, judge Casper also upheld a claim by Worlds that filing irregularities at the USTPO had resulted in their priority date being incorrect, and gave the company leave to seek a correction from the USTPO. This resulted in the priority dates for the patents being revised to an earlier time frame, and Activision opted not to challenge the revision by way of an inter partes review (IPR), allowing Worlds to re-file their claim of infringement in October 2014.

Around this time as well, Worlds also mounted a challenge against games developer Bungie. In response, Bungie filed three counter-IPRs with the patent office, claiming various parts of the Worlds patents were invalid.

Worlds sought to have the Bungie IPRs discounted on the technicality that they failed to state that Activision shares a publisher/developer relationship with Bungie. However, the USTPO didn’t agree with Worlds and in 2015, ruled in Bungie’s favour – and so Worlds took their complaint over Bungie’s IPR filing to the US Federal Circuit Appeals Court, seeking to overturn the USTPO’s ruling. In September 2018, the court heard the case and issued a ruling in favour of Worlds position, and ordered the USTPO to undertake a further IPR. Which, unless I’ve missed something in digging through assorted legal sites and papers, is where matters more-or-less stand today.

Quite where the complaint against Linden Lab will go is unclear. I’ve contacted them on the matter to ascertain if they are aware of the complaint, but have yet to receive a response – and frankly, I actually don’t expect them to do more than perhaps confirm their awareness; for obvious reasons, it can be unwise for a company to openly comment too much on legal matters. However, in the past, some observers have suggested it is Worlds Inc., who could face an uphill battle in their claims. Ben Duranske, author of Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, for example, has previously proposed that there is a wealth of “prior art” that could be brought to bear against them; others have also noted that there is also a wealth of documented history surrounding SL’s development that could be used to challenge claims of infringement.

But, as is often the way in these matters, it is likely things will only unfold slowly over time, so it may be a while before there is any sense of motion one way or with other. In the meantime, should I received a reply from Linden Lab, I will update this article, and I’ll also attempt to keep an eye on this issue in the future.

With thanks to Cube Republic for the pointer to the Yahoo piece.