Remembering Darrius Gothly

Darrius Gothly

I received word from Torric Rodas today of the sad news of the passing of long-term Second Life resident and creator, Darrius Gothly.

Founder of the DG4SL range of products, Darrius had a wide range of interests in Second Life, and always sought to improve people’s SL experience through many of his products, whilst also being a very vocal member of the platform’s merchant community, offering both positive critiques of the Lab’s approach to its Marketplace environment and suggestions for improving it.

I did not know Darrius well, but I believe we became long distance friends outside of Second Life for long enough for me to appreciate him for his insight and integrity.

We first really got to know one another when he stepped in to try to address an age-old problem in Second Life: what happens when you pass out a load a landmarks for your store, club, region, etc., – and then are forced by circumstance / opportunity / whatever to relocate, other than to start revising all your LMs, push new ones out to visitors / customers / friends, try to get the word out through forums etc.

To explain: back in 2012, artist and creator Toysoldier Thor put forward an idea and feature request for “virtual landmarks” to present a means by which LMs need never go “stale” (see also: Virtual Landmarks: solving an age-old problem?).  As per Toy’s comments in a forum thread on the idea, for a time it looked like LL might be interested in implementing something along the lines of his suggestion (subject to other commitments / priorities). Sadly, nothing ever really came of this (nor of subsequent suggestions along similar lines). So, Enter Darrius.

I first got to know Darrius as he developed his Virtual Landmarks products

Taking a dive into things, he formulated a means by which Toy’s idea could be realised via an external service. In typical Darrius style, he also added elements such as web support (“VMurl”), stats reporting and support for “favourite places” to provide a comprehensive product. He dropped me a line about the product in December 2012, which resulted in my articleVirtual Landmarks: offering a solution to the age-old problem, and in my playing a very small role in testing the system.

As a result of that initial contact, Darrius and I became what might best be referred to as “pen friends” over the next few years, exchanging ideas and comments and holding forth with each other on a wide range of subjects, from “technical” chats about SL through to more esoteric matters – identity, anonymity and personal expression in VWs, the new user experience, perceptions about SL in other platforms / the worlds at large, etc. -, through to chatting about physical world home and family, health, and our mutual enjoyment of assorted film franchises, and even touching on politics on occasion.

Sadly, our conversations waned to the point of becoming non-existent for the last couple of years. At the time this happened, I was aware that Darrius was dealing with illness and couldn’t always get in-world / on-line perhaps as often as he would have liked, and I feel a certain amount of regret that I didn’t do more to keep our exchanges going. He didn’t believe in putting up walls between his SL persona and himself; whom you encountered through his avatar was very much Darrius himself: honest, up-front, friendly, caring, supportive and with a wonderful – and at times quite wicked (in a good way!) – sense of humour. He is someone who will be missed.

My sincere condolences to his family and to his close friends on their loss.


Note:

I understand from Torric and the London City website that the DG4SL team are attempting to ensure the popular Rental Beam service add-on for CasperLet is transitioned to new management so that it can continue to run as customers expect. Anyone with enquires about that service are asked to contact Mysti Nowles directly, rather than raising a support ticket. At this point, I do not have information on what will happen to other DG4SL products utilising back-end services (such as the VLM product) or who to contact about them. Should I come into such information, I will give an update here.

Remembering Latif Khalifa

Latif's profile, March 4th, 2016, as updated by his SL partner Kr
Latif’s profile, March 4th, 2016, as updated by his SL partner Krintina Deschanel

I’ve received word through Thoys Pan and Dahlia Trimble that Latif Khalifa has passed away after losing his battle against a long illness.

A software engineer by profession and known in Second Life and OpenSimulator as an enthusiastic technologist, content creator, and viewer developer, he was responsible for the popular Radegast open metaverse lightweight client, as well as contributing to third-party viewer development, notably through Singularity, from which he forked his own viewer, Replex, in 2014.

I first got to know Latif as a result of my growing interest in the viewer ecosystem within Second Life. In fact, it was partially through his encouragement and the conversations we had, that I started blogging about viewers in greater and more informed detail. We became better acquainted in 2011 as he was enhancing Radegast and preparing for the release of Radegast 2.0, and I was privileged to be able to preview the work on several occasions. We also enjoyed many discussions on a range of subjects inside and outside of Second Life, something which led Latif into inviting me to join his Advanced Worlds Group in SL.

Occasionally irascible in the heat of impassioned discussion, Latif more than compensated for this with a generous heart and supporting nature, always willing to offer a helping hand, words of encouragement and friendship.

Commenting on Google+ after hearing the news, Dahlia Trimble said:

I’m very sad to hear that we lost Latif Kalifa

Latif was a good friend and collaborator. He was very helpful when I was implementing mesh physics, materials support, and particle system enhancements in OpenSimulator and also contributed many other fixes and enhancements He was the primary maintainer for libopenmetaverse for the last several years. He was the primary developer of the Radegast viewer which, among other features, had many features for the visually impaired. He was also a major contributor to PHP. His passing is a huge loss to me and I’m sure it is for the field of virtual worlds as well.

Doubtless, many within the metaverse community, including myself, will feel the same way on hearing the news. My condolences to his family, Kristina and all those closest to him at this time.