There are lots or rumours flying around about Emerald right now. Some of them are even true. However, most aren’t. So I wanted to sum up what I had read from both sides of the argument. First, I have the official statement from Linden labs.
Late last week, we discovered a denial-of-service attack that was being served through the widely distributed Emerald third-party viewer. This is in direct violation of our third-party viewer policy (part 2, section d, paragraph iii).We have removed Emerald from the list of third-party viewers, and are now in touch with the Emerald team to discuss what can happen next. We did this to do our best to protect the safety and security of Second Life users. We will not tolerate a viewer that includes malicious code, nor will we tolerate development teams with a history of violating users’ trust or disrupting their lives.
We take privacy, safety, and security very seriously, and we will act to the best of our abilities to protect it. We have not yet disabled logins via the Emerald viewer, but will do so if we feel the software and the team behind it is not able to meet the standards we’ve set. While Emerald is currently the focus of our attention because of what happened recently, all third-party viewers are held to the same standard, and must comply with the third-party viewer policy.
The third-party viewer directory is designed to be largely self-policing, but we take our responsibility to act very seriously when problems come to our attention. Our goal is that you should feel comfortable using many different viewers in accessing Second Life. While there are always risks involved in using a third-party viewer, we are doing what we can to minimize those, and we encourage and deeply appreciate third-party development. Our new Snowstorm project is an example — allowing third-party developers to deliver more directly and rapidly to the Second Life viewer.
If you have been using the Emerald viewer, for now we would encourage you to consider either one of the Linden Lab viewers, or an alternative third-party viewer.
As you can see from that last line there is no talk of banning or even of not being allowed to access SL with Emerald. Now here is the Emerald team’s official statement.
Yesterday, the Emerald Development team received a large list of requirements and conditions from LL. Today we met with LL and reviewed all of those conditions for clarification. At this point, I can safely say that we fully intend to address and fulfill ALL of them as soon as we possibly can. We have been asked not to disclose the requirements at this time.Although some of these conditions will be very difficult, we feel they are reasonable considering recent events. Due to that difficulty however, some will take more time than others to fulfill. It is a big list of things that we need to do and we will be providing LL with a time frame on each individual item by Friday. Once we have completed these items to the full satisfaction of Linden Lab, we intend to re-apply for the TPVD.
We feel it is important during this time to inform everyone that although Linden Lab has encouraged the use of other viewers, the use of the Emerald viewer is still a decision that is yours to make. Emerald will not be blocked unless we fail to fulfill our requirements in the time allotted.
Linden Lab has told us that they want us to stop using the emkdu.dll or llkdu.dll files because they are not compliant with the GPL. For those wondering what KDU is, it’s a closed source image decoding library which provides a significant speed improvement over the open source alternative. However, since LL wishes us not to use it, I would like to take a step in that direction as a show of faith to the Lab right now. I will ask our users to go into your Emerald install directory while you are not logged into the viewer and delete the file named emkdu.dll. The viewer will continue to function correctly however it will be slower. This is only a request from us and not a requirement. Our next release will not include this file.
In the coming days, some of the older versions of Emerald Viewer may be blocked from logging in at our request, this however will not happen until updated versions are made available on our website.
I would also like to extend a sincere apology to our users for all the confusion over the last few days. It has been a very difficult week for us but we expect things should start too quiet down now.
So in closing, I will reiterate, Emerald Dev Team intends to fully comply with the conditions set out before us by Linden Lab, and we plan to do so within the shortest time frame possible. Use of the Emerald viewer is still your choice and Emerald is not a malicious viewer.
Sincerely, Jessica Lyon and Arabella Steadham, Emerald Manager, Communications
So there you have it. The choice is yours to make. So, if you want to continue using Emerald go ahead and do so. If you do not want to I would suggest trying Imprudence as a really close approximation of Emerald.
A while back I ran a poll on this blog asking whether people prefer Emerald or Viewer 2 and the results have been decidedly pro Emerald. We have had 175 votes so far. Emerald is preferred by 89%, Viewer 2 has 7% and other viewers got 4%. Linden Labs knows that Emerald is popular and would be wise to try not antagonising such a large user group.