Posted in General, Opinion, Second Life

Is “take it or leave it” a choice?

Linden Lab published a revised Terms of Service today.

I started reading through it then stopped, because really the only choices open to me were to accept it or to not use Second Life any more. It occurs to me that the “I accept” checkbox should really have been labelled “I accept. Like I have a choice” and been checked by default.

I’m sure other commentators will be along to tell us just how bad it really is. 🙂

Posted in Phoenix / Firestorm, Programming, Second Life, Viewers

The pain of compiling your own Viewer

This post has been superseded. Click here for the updated post. 

I’m sadly well aware that very few people read my blog and that even fewer have the technical ability or desire to build their own Viewer from the source code, but I know there are a handful and this is for them.

Firstly there is a LOT of pain. Lots of getting all the right libraries, support tools, resources and the like before you even begin to struggle with compilation errors.

Mariana Latynina is blogging about compiling under Linux64, and has tried several code bases including Phoenix

And Forestaurora is blogging about Phoenix under Windows

You can see from there quite how much work is involved in getting a compile done. Surely it has to be easier than that?

(Oh, and a ‘hi’ to Tonya as she’s probably the only person who will read this post and even then only because I’ll point her at it. LOL)

Update: The guys at Radegast have the right idea. Ok, it’s not a full Viewer, but even so it’s the kind of thing we’d like to see:

Posted in Emerald, Imprudence, Second Life, Viewers

Emerald, Emergence, Phoenix – confused? You’re not alone!

I was talking to a friend in Second Life today who was really scratching her head over what viewer was what and what the hell was going on. So this is just a short post for her and anyone else who might benefit.

  • Emerald – well, I think everyone knows about Emerald. And those that are still running it are simply ignorant or don’t care.
  • Emergence – this is a sanitised Emerald (ie. Emerald with the bad stuff taken out) that was done by LordGregGreg. Don’t get too attached to it because he has said he is not going to develop it further. So there will be no updates. This is partly because he is now on the development team of…
  • Phoenix – this is another sanitised Emerald and is being actively developed by some of the ex-Emerald team. They are following good software practises as detailed in this post of mine, so I have very high hopes that this is going to be a goodie.
  • Imprudence – this has nothing to do with Emerald and is a completely different Viewer. It is also following good software practises. I wrote a short review on it here

There are other Viewers out there too – Cool Viewer and Kirsten’s Viewer, for example. However I don’t have enough experience of them to comment.

Posted in Imprudence, Second Life, Viewers

Imprudence – a review

[Originally posted 26-Aug-2010 here]

Well, I’ve been using Imprudence for a few days now.

I’m pretty impressed. It has a lot of Emerald’s features, and some are better resolved – I like the fact the client-side radar is much smaller and hung off the bottom of the mini-map. Although I’d like to be able to increase its size without increasing the size of the mini-map (ie. stretch it vertically)

It’s lacking Emerald’s hacky multiple attach points – the Imprudence developers are planning on back-porting proper multiple attach support from Viewer 2.0 and state that they are not interested in hacks and dodgy code. I rather like that attitude.

It’s also lacking Emerald’s spell checker and command-line mode (so you can’t type “dd 256” to set your draw distance to 256m). This means that the quick-rezz gesture that many of us use doesn’t work. However Imprudence appears to have a quick-rezz built in (I’m basing that on the fact there is a checkbox to turn it off in the Advanced settings).

Like Emerald, it is possible to hide your LookAt and PointAt beacons. However, unlike Emerald it is not presented in a nice friendly setup page. To, say, make LookAt private you need to go to
Advanced -> Character -> Private LookAt

Likewise it supports Emerald’s famous “Breast Physics” but the settings are all hidden away in the Debug menu rather than being in a nice friendly setup page.

Imprudence also support the new tattoo and alpha layers from Viewer 2.0 and I think that will interest a lot of people.
Emerald v1.23.5.1636 (the last version I used) didn’t have this, although I’m told the very latest Emerald does.

One feature I do like in Imprudence that I haven’t seen in other Viewers is the title bar of the Communicate window shows how many unread IMs you have. This is very, very useful when you get IM hell and the tabs go off the end of the window. No more missing an IM because the tab that is flashing is off the screen.

In summary:

Imprudence is a little rough round the edges, being only a Release Candidate rather than a full stable release, and did crash on me several times when changing settings. However, I think it has a lot of potential and I felt instantly at home with it. I would certainly recommend it to Emerald refugees like myself.

I wrote the following in response to an nice email from someone and thought I would share…

“It’s true that Imprudence isn’t as friendly as Emerald – there are less whizzy menus and stuff is hidden away in menus more. However the Imprudence team do seem to be better on documentation and they have a FAQ on their Wiki that tells Emerald users where stuff is. You’ll find Imprudence has more features than you think.”