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Second Life Tries To Backpedal On the GPL

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-hand-giveth dept.

GNU is Not Unix 207

GigsVT writes "The Second Life viewer has been available under the GPL for three years. Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, recently released a 'third party viewer' policy that all but erases the freedoms granted under the GPL. It includes such draconian measures as 'You agree to update or delete at our request any data that you have received from Second Life or our servers and systems using a Third-Party Viewer,' 'You must not mask IP or MAC addresses' (reported to the server), 'you must have a published privacy policy explaining your practices regarding user data,' and 'You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.'"

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Bullshit (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256422)

These restrictions only apply if you want to list the viewer on Linden Lab's third party viewer listing on secondlife.com. You can still connect to Secondlife with any client you wish.

Re:Bullshit (3, Informative)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256492)

"This Policy governs access to Second Life and our technical platform that supports Second Life by any Third-Party Viewer or any third-party software client that logs into our servers. This includes software for viewing Second Life, any chat clients, utilities, bots, and proxies as well as applications that may not be listed in our Viewer Directory."

Re:Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256520)

Are you sure? The linked policy says, "This Policy governs access to Second Life and our technical platform that supports Second Life by any Third-Party Viewer or any third-party software client that logs into our servers." It looks like it's only section 6 that applies to "a Developer with a Third-Party Viewer that you would like to list in our Viewer Directory"; the rest seems to be a condition on any client that accesses Linden's servers.

That being said, I'm not sure that this is as egregious as the summary makes it sound. It seems mostly to amount to, "if you use a client to connect to our servers, that client must abide by our policies." Which doesn't seem all that unreasonable (Linden have the right to place conditions of use on access to their servers, even if some of the conditions are kind of wack), and certainly doesn't "all but erases the freedoms granted under the GPL." First, there are plenty of modifications that could still be made without contravening Linden's terms of use; second, if you use their GPLed code to produce something that doesn't connect to their servers, you don't have to follow this policy at all. The only slightly dubious thing is that they do seem to want to restrict distribution of clients that could connect to their servers, even if they could also be used in other ways.

Re:Bullshit (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256698)

if you use their GPLed code to produce something that doesn't connect to their servers, you don't have to follow this policy at all. The only slightly dubious thing is that they do seem to want to restrict distribution of clients that could connect to their servers, even if they could also be used in other ways.

So it's a blah blah story.. I mean I think it's ok if they try to get after clients that state "no no you shouldn't use this to connect to Linden labs servers" which is always scriptkiddie bullshit..

Re:Bullshit (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256888)

The only slightly dubious thing is that they do seem to want to restrict distribution of clients that could connect to their servers, even if they could also be used in other ways.The only slightly dubious thing is that they do seem to want to restrict distribution of clients that could connect to their servers, even if they could also be used in other ways.

Well, that's the fun part. They released the code, so now they have absolutely no idea what builds connect to their servers. As long as it behaves like the original client from their POV, they have no way of telling, and should probably stop obsessing about it.

GP was right, it's Bullshit (4, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256988)

They aren't backpedaling on the GPL at all. The code is still GPLed, and you can use it however you want, according to that license.

They do limit your ability to access their servers, and to list you in their pages as a recognized 3rd-party viewer - they have certain requirements for both, and they have now clarified those requirements. But that has nothing to do with the GPL, it's an entirely separate issue.

tl;dr: It's like Wordpress (the software) is GPLed, but Wordpress.com (the website with hosted blogs) won't let you write a blog on their website that links to malware etc.

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (2, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257704)

is anyone shocked this is coming from the not quite all there department of kdawson?

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257756)

I'm shocked it wasn't submitted by theodp.

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (2, Informative)

xous (1009057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258100)

You are correct that prohibiting certain software from connecting to their service is not a violation of the GPL but if you read the summary:

"The Second Life viewer has been available under the GPL for three years. Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life, recently released a 'third party viewer' policy that all but erases the freedoms granted under the GPL. It includes such draconian measures as 'You agree to update or delete at our request any data that you have received from Second Life or our servers and systems using a Third-Party Viewer,' 'You must not mask IP or MAC addresses' (reported to the server), 'you must have a published privacy policy explaining your practices regarding user data,' and 'You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.'"

Imposing additional restrictions on distribution is a clear violation.

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258122)

Even the phrase you highlighted still says 'for accessing Second Life'.

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258242)

I realize that you can read the particular sentence in a nefarious way. But it seems a very awkward reading. And, the GPL clearly gives you rights to use the code - just not to connect to their servers.

If they removed the GPL, and retained only these legal terms, there might be room for concern. As it is, maybe the terms could be worded better, but I don't see them as 'backpedaling on the GPL' as the title says. Anyhow, they will probably issue a clarification given the current uproar. If they don't, then I guess I might start to worry.

Re:GP was right, it's Bullshit (1)

Balp (7960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258118)

Not really, there are more limiations, some wordings in the new licence is not good, the intetions is this but that have some strange wording that implises stuff they problem didn't mean to get there. Like all creators of thridparty viewers have to follow GPL even if some make a BSD licence viewer from a different source base like libomv.

It also may limit how I as user send the gpl:ed software to an orther person. I think in practice this may wortk as intended and be little harm. even if to my reading the policy is well written.

"# You are responsible for all uses you make of Third-Party Viewers, and if you are a Developer, you are also responsible for all Third-Party Viewers that you develop or distribute."

Does that mean I as developer are resopsible for all users. as I'm resposnsible for all "Third-Party Viewers", and if some onbe just distribures and not develop?

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257550)

Linden have the right to place conditions of use on access to their servers, even if some of the conditions are kind of wack

Exactly. What is it with some people's sense of entitlement these days? Back before I was chasing kids off my lawn, if a company offered a service we took a look at the conditions that service was offered under, evaluated whether or not it met our needs, and if we didn't like it we took our business elsewhere. Kids these days stamp their feet and start whining on websites that they don't get what they want.

Be assured, this is backpedaling, and here's why: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257702)

The only slightly dubious thing is that they do seem to want to restrict distribution of clients that could connect to their servers, even if they could also be used in other ways.

This part was "slightly dubious?"

You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.

This is exactly an attempt to erase the freedoms granted under the GPL.

I think the problem and the reason nobody seems to get the problem is that the story submitter, GigsVT, wanted to include more excerpts than just the worst one, and the worst one was the one that deserved the most scathing criticism, and the most scathing criticism is what got the headline. Imagine that.

So what do we have here? Let's see:

  • A bunch of policy changes that might irk some people (see below for serious issues with one of those.)
  • One egregious attempt to retroactively take back rights expressly provided to you by the distribution terms of the Second Life viewer.

It's confusing when there's more than one thing, and all of those things are not the exact same thing, isn't it?

Mod parent down.

Also...

You must not mask IP or MAC addresses (reported to the server)

This is like DRM: It only negatively affects those who want to conform to the rules, and does nothing to stifle those it calls attention to. The worst part is that "mask" is a completely informal term.

Changing your MAC address is routine networking for many people whose network admins tie their access credentials to their MAC addresses.

Someone might want to protect their privacy while cybersexing (snicker) or someone may even want to leak important information to the public using Second Life (I do have a fantasy to modify the open source Quake 3 engine to trickle out a stream of data out in the least significant bits of player movement. Can you imagine the Chinese trying to figure that one out?)

These aren't just obscure corner cases or open source zealotry, these are things I personally expect to have from open source software. I switched from AOL instant messenger to an open source IM client because I wanted an IM client I could retrofit with my own crude privacy software. Years later I am using sophisticated OTR [cypherpunks.ca] , and I have TOR [torproject.org] at my disposal if I feel the need to "mask" my IP. I realize this isn't a GPL violation, but distributing the client under the GPL and then telling me I can't protect my privacy (while not violating any other terms of service, mind you; remember this anti-"masking" restriction is only something that affects people who want to obey the rules, not those who wish to cheat them) is a bit like giving me an "open source cellular handset" and then telling me exactly what audio codec I'm allowed to use for voice conversations so spy software can analyze my calls for content, you know, unless I build my own cellular network.

DRM (1)

Dzonatas (984964) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258424)

> any third-party software client that logs into our servers

That is the same as DRM. This is what the GPL wanted to prevent with software that uses any 'media' that tries to enforce rights on the software being used. It doesn't matter if that media is the hardware or a server.

people still play that shit? (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256436)

things like second life make me afraid the movie idiocracy will come true...

Re:people still play that shit? (3, Insightful)

aggemam (641831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256472)

Second Life is a good research project (or playground if you will) for whenever we will be able to hook computers up to our brains and map all sensory inputs and outputs to a virtual 3D world (matrix-style). Then the actual world you'd live in will be ready. I just hope that things be quite different from SL by then :)

Re:people still play that shit? (3, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256540)

I just hope that things be quite different from SL by then :)

By that, do you mean, "with graphics that don't look like they're from the late '90s", or do you mean "with not so many flying penises"?

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256638)

I guess, with flying penises that don't look like they are from a video game made in 90's.

Down with particle floods! If you want to attack people with flying penises, have decency to make those flying penises out of prims.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256652)

I mean like Snow Crash along with every other true geek here!

I like to check in on Second Life every once in a while just to see how things are going there. Though crude in a lot of ways, it's a cool place and every time I check in (maybe once ever 6 months to a year), it gets better.

Hell, even if we can't "hook computers up to our brains and map all sensory inputs", I'd still like to attend a few virtual meetings through a full vision viewer. I've been to one or two futurist meetings in second life which I thought were rather cool gatherings.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256812)

Nonsense. True geeks would compare to True Names.

Re:people still play that shit? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256776)

graphics that don't look like they're from the late '90s"

Hurray! Let's base our opinion of software from more than 5 years ago! http://secondlife.com/beta-viewer/ [secondlife.com]

Re:people still play that shit? (2)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256946)

Yeah, that software that they just released *yesterday* catches them up to, what, 2003? Here's what games of five years ago [terminalgamer.com] (2005) looked like, and that beats the heck out of SL's latest client.

And yeah, cue SL's standard excuses in three, two, one... "Hey, that's not fair! Second life has to download its content!" Sorry, but that only applies to textures and poly counts. SL has never had problems with texture quality or poly count. It's always suffered from a pathetically low quality renderer to display them. Heck, they're *just now* adding support for displaying plausible normals shading in *2010*? No cast shadows (at least in the screenshots I've come across)? I mean, what is this, the dark ages?

Re:people still play that shit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257250)

Kirstens S19 viewer (a third party modification of their GPL'd SL client) has a full shadow system.

Keep in mind though that a majority of the world still has old crappy PCs that can't even handle Kirsten's viewer. If these sorts of changes were mainlined, SL would lose a lot of users. Heck, people complain about the performance of the current SL build. When WindLight (their new SL viewer that added realtime clouds, better lighting and realistic water) came online they lost people, it hit them pretty hard. There were a lot of complaints.

It is the same reason WoW looks like crap, if they were to modernize their engine they'd lose enough users to impact their bottomline and potentially sink their franchise.

I think what these MMO makers need to do, is to design their code to scale. If they determine a PC can't handle the new features, they should automatically disable them on the client for that PC.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257826)

I've been able to scale quality in games to suit my hardware since the 90's, there's no excuse for these games not to do the same - it doesn't even need to be automatic. If people then moan about the performance because they're playing the game on Crysis high quality mode and their PC is from 2002 then they're idiots.

Re:people still play that shit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258212)

Having helped out on a tech support forum for a MMO I can tell you that the average person has a 500$ PC with an Intel GMA series graphics processor that is only capable of 2004 era graphics.

Place all your blame at Intel pushing GMA on laptops for the sorry state WoW and all other MMO's are in.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257930)

I mean, what is this, the dark ages?

It kind of reminds me of playing Adventure, except instead of not being able to cross a path with the bridge because you grabbed it wrong, you can't go through a person-sized door period, and everything has to be scaled up in relation to the avatars because they can't intelligently manage collision detection. So the dark ages is a pretty good description...

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257096)

So let me get this straight, it is a research project to figure out the best configuration of sexual organs on human-like creatures with big heads and penis legs?

Totally worth every cent.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257264)

Second Life is a good research project (or playground if you will) for whenever we will be able to hook computers up to our brains and map all sensory inputs and outputs to a virtual 3D world (matrix-style).

I don't view the Web as a continuous 2D space as is, why would I want to view it as a continuous 3D space? The model of separate data items linked to each other works far better for almost all purposes; why would I want to cripple myself by insisting on having a physical avatar in a place that doesn't need one?

3D virtual worlds already exist, in the form of World of Warcraft and other games. What would I gain from using a virtual world outside of them, rather than the current Web? Would an online gallery be better or worse if you would have to walk amongst the images rather than see them neatly on a page? Would Slashdot gain anything from being 3D?

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257766)

Thank you for expressing exactly what I felt when I tried Second Life.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258084)

It's the same reason why I think GUIs should not borrow too much from "physical metaphors".

For example something like 10GUI might seem cool ( http://10gui.com/video/ [10gui.com] )

But it is SLOW. Sliding windows around takes a lot more time than say "alt-tab". Or even a click on the relevant button in the taskbar.

If I'm trying to get work done and I know exactly what I want, for example a particular application window, I want to be able to get to it ASAP. I don't want to have to slide lots of stuff around. I don't want to have to go through zillions of fancy animations and wobbly windows. And I certainly do not want to walk through multiple rooms and corridors till I finally reach the window. And no I do NOT want to battle monsters ( http://www.cs.unm.edu/~dlchao/flake/doom/chi/chi.html [unm.edu] ).

All that may be fine if I'm playing a game (subject to gameplay and "is it actually fun?" constraints).

Re:people still play that shit? (4, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256524)

SL is mainly a social network and chat platform, with audio support and translation. It's also a bit like YouTube, except that people listen and view together. And people who'd otherwise never go near 3D Studio or VisualStudio actually learn 3D modeling and scripting in it.

If you think it has anything to do with people becoming "idiots", you really don't quite understand it.

Re:people still play that shit? (1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256710)

my thats a clever way of saying it's about tenticle sex monsters and flying cocks.

Re:people still play that shit? (1, Insightful)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256754)

People always referencing the movie Idiocracy make me afraid it is already true. Denigrating other people because of the choices they make seems to be the modern equivalent of racism. The smartest person today could be proven an idiot tomorrow and vice versa....thats life.

Re:people still play that shit? (-1, Troll)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256816)

People always referencing the movie Idiocracy make me afraid it is already true. Denigrating other people because of the choices they make seems to be the modern equivalent of racism.

Yes, because that's exactly what Idiocracy was about. Stupidity isn't a point of view, despite what FOX News may have you believe.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257006)

Ummm, what does FOX news have to do with it? No one mentioned them in this thread.

Actually stupidity is a point of view as you so aptly demonstrate in your post. OED defines stupid as lacking intelligence or common sense both of which can be corrected/adjusted/modified via new experiences. Most of what people on /. refer to as stupidity is a function of ideologies that they disagree with and not any physiological/psychological deficiencies.

Your reference to FOX News is a perfect example of this. Your ideology is limiting your ability to see the world as it really is and and that FOX News is irrelevant. The existence of FOX News just allows you a lens through which you can focus your ideology. Don't worry though when you burn out that lens you will be given another from your ideological master.

Re:people still play that shit? (0, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257368)

Ummm, what does FOX news have to do with it?

If you don't understand the point behind that comment, you are one of the idiocrats. Fox News treats stupidity as a valid political viewpoint. Moronic statements are on par with factual statements in the Fox News world.

Most of what people on /. refer to as stupidity is a function of ideologies that they disagree with and not any physiological/psychological deficiencies. Your reference to FOX News is a perfect example of this. Your ideology is limiting your ability to see the world as it really is and and that FOX News is irrelevant. The existence of FOX News just allows you a lens through which you can focus your ideology. Don't worry though when you burn out that lens you will be given another from your ideological master.

QED.

Re:people still play that shit? (0, Troll)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257590)

Yet another example of my point....why do you insist on bringing politics into every discussion. I never mentioned politics but you assumed that is what I was talking about. Some might think that you are one of the very people you seem so worried about.

The ideological master I was referring to was not a political one but an internal one based (fear, pride, desire, etc.) Moronic statements are on par with factual statements because there are no facts....just probabilities.

How many subjects throughout history have been considered facts only to considered moronic statements later? A political viewpoint is just that...a political view from a single point of observation. Based on your argument the world should still be flat with a burning disc of holy fire above it.

The problem you have with FOX is that same problem with all major media outlets....it's not news it's entertainment. Political debate in major media is just gladiator games for the intellectual class. You just choose FOX because it is the current meme within your peer/social group so it's safe and you get to bond with your playmates.

You my friend are a child...you are reacting on an emotional level and not a logical one. The only difference between you and the idiots portrayed in Idiocracy is that they knew they where idiots whereas you think you are smart...you are doing yourself a disservice.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258384)

You have a furry avatar with mutliple sex organs on SL don't you? You are certainly not reacting logically. You are reacting defensively.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257776)

If you don't support my point of view behind that comment, you are one of the idiocrats.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:people still play that shit? (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257420)

yes, because we couldn't possibly benefit from pointing out someone is doing something stupid.

Re:people still play that shit? (4, Funny)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257848)

Do I get to do an obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] here?

Re:people still play that shit? (0, Flamebait)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257980)

You talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded.

Re:people still play that shit? (0, Troll)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258110)

Dad? Is that you?

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258176)

Denigrating other people because of the choices they make seems to be the modern equivalent of racism.

Uhm, yeah. That would be choicism, wouldn't it? And furthermore, you're completely misunderstanding discrimination. The problem with racism is that it judges people based on a static physical property (lineage). "Making choices" is hardly physical, and even less static, and I don't see what's wrong with judging people by their actions.

What is it exactly what you are proposing, that we forego all kinds of judgement? Because that would mean (in extremum) putting everyone on state welfare, regardless of their job, status or value.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258412)

It's funny. I thought the modern day equivalent of racism was racism.

Re:people still play that shit? (2, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256826)

things like second life make me afraid the movie idiocracy will come true...

Idiocracy came true the moment the studio that paid for the movie decided not to give the movie a normal release because it was too controversial (to the idiots). If the successive waves of Birthers, Deathers and TEA Partiers haven't since convinced you, you're the subject of the movie.

Re:people still play that shit? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256928)

things like second life make me afraid the movie idiocracy will come true...

Really? In terms of stupidity, second life is far, far better than some things people did with their time in the past. Burning women at the stake for being witches comes to mind. We're not doing that anymore, I have to think that's a strong sign we're improving over time.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257882)

things like second life make me afraid the movie idiocracy will come true...

Really? In terms of stupidity, second life is far, far better than some things people did with their time in the past. Burning women at the stake for being witches comes to mind. We're not doing that anymore, I have to think that's a strong sign we're improving over time.

Yeah, thank goodness we're no longer arbitrarily tormenting/killing people in the name of religion in today's world.

Re:people still play that shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258420)

No, not really. For some reason Slashdot makes posts about it all the time though (it seems most likely slashvertising; paid or otherwise, something fishy is there).

typical slashdot scare mongering (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256448)

The items mentioned in the policy have NOTHING to do with the freedoms granted under the GPL. Draconican EULAs are par for the course in the online gaming world.

Read the last line before the Table of Contents: "If you do not comply, you are not allowed to use Second Life through a Third-Party Viewer, and in severe cases Linden Lab may terminate your access to Second Life entirely."

Re:typical slashdot scare mongering (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256530)

I fully agree. Bad title.

Re:typical slashdot scare mongering (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257922)

It's a kdawson post. As soon as you see his name in the story, read the slashdot article the same way you would watch Fox News.

Not really affecting the code... (4, Insightful)

nhaines (622289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256452)

While I don't think what they're doing is good or smart, I suspect this would really only affect the GPLed clients accessing the Second Life servers run by Linden Labs and not client use on any private servers that are running. And Linden does have the right to manage the data they store on their servers as they see fit.

The beauty of the GPLed client is that users and developers can choose which servers to point their clients at--and pick the ones that have terms they agree wtih.

Re:Not really affecting the code... (1, Insightful)

kemenaran (1129201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256516)

Yes, I thought Linden Labs had the right to edict rules about how to connect to their servers and which data are sent.

The GPL frees the code, you are still free to hack and release it — but if you want to connect to Linden servers *and* mess around with their policy, they might not allow you to use this client.

Sounds like the Doom Engine : the code is free, but don't redistribute the copyrighted WAD. It didn't prevent the code of the engine to be hacked and used, right ?

Incorrect. New SL policy violates GPLv2 clause 6 (2, Informative)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258324)

The beauty of the GPLed client is that users and developers can choose which servers to point their clients at--and pick the ones that have terms they agree wtih.

Unfortunately, no. The sources can no longer be licensed under GPL, because Linden's new policy conflicts with GPLv2's clause 6:

"You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein."

This is literal wording taken from the GPLv2 license [gnu.org] , and is further reinforced in the GPLv2 FAQ [gnu.org] .

Linden Lab is imposing massive further restrictions on developer recipients of their code, making it completely impossible for them to distribute the code without accepting those restrictions. This restriction of the ability to distribute code is not permitted by the GPL (of any version).

GPL cannot be used to grant fewer freedoms than the GPL specifies. That's a core term of the license.

The freedom to develop and distribute cannot be impeded while you license under the GPL.

FoxyViewer and TigressViewer are incompatible??? (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256456)

The plain jane SL viewer is sooo bland.

This kitty's sharpening his claws!

Re:FoxyViewer and TigressViewer are incompatible?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256508)

You're a furry aren't you.

Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256462)

>'You must not mask IP or MAC addresses' (reported to the server),

Any bets that this has been driven by griefers more than anything else?

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (2, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256504)

From the new policy

You must not circumvent our intended limitations on Second Life features. For example:

      1. You must not circumvent the Second Life permissions system or any features that limit copying, transfer, or use of content within Second Life.
      2. You must not alter content metadata like the Second Life creator name or the Second Life owner name.

These hit right to the core of Linden's Business model and are something that SL content creators have been screaming about. If people make things in SL and sell them to each other, Linden makes money. If people stop bothering (at least professionally, leaving only the amateurs) because of copying, then this trade does not happen and Linden makes no money (and ultimately has to shut down).

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258142)

Makes less money. LL still makes money from user accounts and land use fees.

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256526)

OH COME ON!
I'm a black programmer and pizza delivery boy who owns a Japanese sword.

Don't take away the nuances and potential that makes the metaverse attractive!

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257834)

Is no one noticing my posts or is there an extremely frighting proportion of slashdotters that havent read Snowcrash?!

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256664)

But my MAC address IS fe:ed:fa:ce:be:ef , you insensitive clod!

(I am an FPGA developer).

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256976)

Really? Mine is fe:dm:ed:ed:ba:be :D

Re:Not spoofing the MAC and IP addy (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257534)

Really? Mine is fe:dm:ed:ed:ba:be :D

"dm" is not a hex number.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256464)

What do these restrictions have to do with the GPL?

How are they backpedalling?

Re:What? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257774)

What do these restrictions have to do with the GPL?

How are they backpedalling?

Nothing, and they aren't. The submitter and/or editor are idiots...

Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256486)

Linden Labs is protecting their side of things which may impair on some people's ability to do other things!

What horrors will they unleash next?

Seriously though, not all of the policies are inherently bad. Some even have reasonable logic behind them.

not true (4, Informative)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256494)

That's just not true. You have all the rights granted under the GPL. What you can't do is connect to their servers with a client that doesn't conform to their policies. That conforms to the GPL, and they don't have any choice in the matter anyway: people use modified SL viewers to grief and spam, and that's basically what they are trying to prohibit.

Even if you couldn't connect to their servers with a modified client at all, it would still be useful: Linden Labs also open sourced the server. So, if you like, you can connect with your client to your server, or anybody else's server who allows it.

Linden Labs didn't have to open source anything; they did the enlightened thing and open sourced both their client and their server code. One of the most popular viewer is now an open source viewer, with many more functions than their original viewer. And the grid of non-Linden Labs servers will probably grow to be bigger than their own, money-making grid some time this year or next year.

Re:not true (4, Insightful)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256568)

You have all the rights granted under the GPL. What you can't do is connect to their servers with a client that doesn't conform to their policies.

It's a little unclear. The intro to the policy does look a little more onerous: they write "we require users of Third-Party Viewers and those who develop or distribute them (“Developers”) to comply with this Policy," which looks like an attempt to limit any distribution of clients that don't conform to the policy. When it lists the consequences of failing to comply with the policy, it's mostly that they will revoke the client's right to access their servers, they may remove it from their viewer directory, and ban anyone who does use the client, none of which are particularly unreasonable. But they also write (section 8c):

You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.

I'm not entirely sure how to parse that, but one way of reading it suggests they think they can require developers of non-policy-compliant viewers to either disable the client's ability to connect to Linden's servers, or even perhaps to stop distributing the client altogether.

I think this is likely a case of some slightly overreaching language in the policy, rather than an evil attempt to get around the GPL; but it would be nice if their policy was clearly not attempting to take away people's GPL rights, rather than being, as it currently is, rather unclear.

Re:not true (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257612)

IANAL but the key phrase is the bit about for the purpose of.

I'd read that as saying you can't distribute your client as a second life client or do things like prefill the second life server details. To be honest that should be a legal requirement anyway a second life client that cannot connect to the second life servers is not fit for purpose and shouldn't be legal to distribute as such.

Distributing it as a client for opensim or whatever it is called is another story.

Re:not true (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257906)

You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation.

I'm not entirely sure how to parse that, but one way of reading it suggests they think they can require developers of non-policy-compliant viewers to either disable the client's ability to connect to Linden's servers, or even perhaps to stop distributing the client altogether.

It seems to me that you can satisfy this requirement by stating that the client is for use in connecting to OpenSim-compatible servers, and not coding in a default connection to SL.

but it would be nice if their policy was clearly not attempting to take away people's GPL rights, rather than being, as it currently is, rather unclear.

Agreed.

Re:not true (2, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257026)

Even if you couldn't connect to their servers with a modified client at all, it would still be useful: Linden Labs also open sourced the server. So, if you like, you can connect with your client to your server, or anybody else's server who allows it.

No, Linden Labs did no such thing. You are probably thinking of OpenSim, a separate open source project, which is a reverse-engineered SL server with a BSD license.

OpenSim is far less mature than the official closed-source SL server. It is also written in C#, with the issues that brings. So it isn't the same as if the official SL server were open sourced (which they considered doing at some point, but never did). To clarify how separate it is from the official SL codebase: OpenSim won't accept patches from people that hack on the SL client, for fear of 'contamination' by the GPL.

Re:not true (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257270)

One of the most popular viewer is now an open source viewer, with many more functions than their original viewer.

What's it called? I haven't tried SL for ages, but I could kill an hour or two to see if anything has changed. :)

GPL right to develop+distribute freely is lost (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258492)

I've detailed the issue in a prior post [slashdot.org] .

The GPL is no longer available to developers of Second Life clients, because Linden Lab has added new restrictions on a developer's freedom to develop and distribute, and those restrictions are not GPL-compliant.

Lindens have to choose one, either GPL licensing, or removing the developer restrictions on developers given in the document linked from the Slashdot summary. They can't have both simultaneously, the GPL doesn't allow it.

Don't confuse this with Linden's right to dictate the terms of their service, which they of course have. The conflict with the GPL is not in their restrictions on the USAGE of a modified client, but in their imposing restrictions on the freedom to develop and distribute it.

The GPL doesn't care about usage, it is only concerned with the freedom to develop and distribute.

Nothing to do with the GPL (4, Insightful)

PylonHead (61401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256506)

And everything to do with the terms of service for access to their game servers. Feel free to make any changes you want to the client. But if you break their terms of service they won't let you connect. Sounds fair to me.

Summary is sensationalist and wrong. (5, Insightful)

Parafilmus (107866) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256564)

Linden Labs has not "backpedaled" on the GPL in any sense at all.

Linden generously donated a lot of code to GPL developers. They never promised to grant unlimited access to their servers.

There is really no cause for whining here. The community should be grateful to these guys.

Re:Summary is sensationalist and wrong. (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256796)

Ever hear of TIO [tiolibre.com] principles?

Re:Summary is sensationalist and wrong. (3, Informative)

nashv (1479253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257182)

While those may be all good and sound principles, they have nothing to do with this specific case of a (non-)violation of the GPL - which is a license, not an ethical/freedom/rights guideline.

Re:Summary is sensationalist and wrong. (2, Funny)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257690)

> There is really no cause for whining here. The community should be grateful to these guys.

But...but...but.. the GPL community is so good at it.

Crying wolf? (1)

dasdrewid (653176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256628)

From the policy:

This Policy governs access to Second Life and our technical platform that supports Second Life by any Third-Party Viewer or any third-party software client that logs into our servers.

I don't know about "erases all the freedoms granted under the GPL". You can do whatever you want with the code. *Whatever* you want. You just gotta follow their rules if you actually interact with *their* servers.

Also, 'you must have a published privacy policy explaining your practices regarding user data' is draconian? Really?

Say what? (1, Funny)

consonant (896763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256672)

There are people still on Second Life? The intersection of AOL and MySpace users I would hazard to guess! :-)

Re:Say what? (2, Funny)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257286)

There are still people thanks to the ever growing community of furries with giant penises.

draconian? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256694)

i think it would be much much more draconian to not actively support and enable third party viewers at all...

Total nonsense... (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256734)

So they release the source to their client and server under the GPL, and you're trying to claim that they're "back pedaling" on it because they want there to be a standard on the clients that connect to the servers they own and operate?

Get real! This is the type of whiny bullshit that gives people a bad impression of the GPL. The alternative is LL just kept everything close sourced. What you advocate here is a Wild West scenario where LL would be subject to any type of client being able to access their servers.

Given the submitter of this dreck, I'm not surprised...

"draconian" LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256766)

Draconian?

You must not mask IP or MAC addresses

So they don't want you lying about who you are, seems reasonable enough, and hardly qualifies as draconian.

you must have a published privacy policy explaining your practices regarding user data,

They want to know what you're doing with user data, presumably to make sure there's no privacy invading bullshit going on, seems reasonable, and hjaving a privacy poly is both standard practice and expected, hardlt "draconian".

You acknowledge and agree that we may require you to stop using or distributing a Third-Party Viewer for accessing Second Life if we determine that there is a violation

You have to stop using and distributing viwers if you violate their terms. This is normal, don't all license agreements, GPL included essentially boil down to "abide by the terms or take a hike" Why is it "draconian" in this case?

Re:"draconian" LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257956)

So they don't want you lying about who you are, seems reasonable enough, and hardly qualifies as draconian.

They want to know what you're doing with user data, presumably to make sure there's no privacy invading bullshit going on [...]

Wait, I'm confused, is stripping away privacy reasonable or privacy invading bullshit, now? Or does it depend which viewpoint most supports your argument at the time?

kdawson FUD (0)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256788)

This is a Term of Service addendum for third party viewers which connect to Linden Labs Second Life grids, it has nothing to do with the code itself, you can still use it on someone elses services if it does not comply. Typical kdawson FUD.

Putting stuff on the client side (2, Informative)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256940)

They need to do this because so much happens on the client side.

With the SL viewer and the Linden Lab servers, the relationship is somewhat like HTML javascript form verification with some but not complete server input cleansing. They have been expanding input checking at the server side but it is lagging behind.

If I could use a simplified example: The server sends to the viewer all avatars in a scene. A scene is a viewable distance which is 64 meters to 512 meters governed by the slider in your graphics preferences. The avatar scanner distance is hard-coded to a max of 16 avatars in the viewer. The scanner distance default is 96m. But some minor fiddling in the .NET code, you can change avatar scan distances and avatars in a scene, so with an individuals viewing distance also increased we see gross increases in bandwidth at the server side.

Moving from that to the buzzwords of DRM and copyright laws(DMCA etc), the server sends the hash keys to the viewer of server assets(textures etc). It is somewhat trivial to match these keys to what it in RAM in form of a texture.

Simply put the Second Life viewer can be modified to be an indexer of Digital Works created by both Linden Labs and users.

This means LL has lost control of content, and it is content that gives Second Life a competitive advantage in 3D perpetual world games.

Stupid, Inaccurate, Just Plain Wrong summary (2, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257032)

This is like saying that Firefox is backpeddling on open source because Mozilla.org is free to block you if you spam their forums.

However, I hear that because of the new policy, Emerald is closing shop. Anything that gets rid of those "giving access to our change history would mean someone could release binaries of our changes before we do!!" assholes is a good thing.

Second life is more of a platform, than a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257044)

The reason LL is doing this, is because of all the content theft. Since they opensource the client, its not to hard for someone to take a really nice designed fully functioning castle, and copy it, and with the built in micro payment system sell it themselves. While, I have always had the philosophy, everything on the web is capable, and it has survived just fine, there is a lot of people up in arms over this, and LL is trying to stop that from happening, which sadly, they won't be able to do really.

Second Life has become more than a game. It is now a platform. With OpenSim several other grids have popped up. I even run one at home myself. Some of the more advanced clients even allow you to surf from one grid to another (IE my box at home to OSGrid). This opens the door to a future 3d based web. I know.. you laugh.. I would to.. if I didn't know all the details.. There is lots of things going on with the platform. Its being used for education & collaboration in grids like reactionGrid. Microsoft doesn't even host there sim with Linden Labs anymore, they host on a 3rd party grid.

I am the first to admit that the interface, scripting language, and Linden Labs, sucks! But those things are slowly changing. Within the next couple months you will be able to script in C#, and they are introducing client side scripting. Today they release a new client that allows you to bring the web into the 3d world (Even flash) and it works GREAT!

Re:Second life is more of a platform, than a game (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257340)

You can't take the entire castle and copy it, because the scripts are never sent to the client. For buildings, this isn't that big a deal, but it is for other objects.

I do wish there was a compatible scripting engine in OSGrid. If there was, I'd use it for script development and tuning instead of paying L$2000 a week (about US$8) for a parcel and estate manager privileges. (I actually pay L$6000 a week, but have a couple of renters that defray most of the cost.)

The last I'd heard, C# scripting was much farther off than "a couple of months". I wish it wasn't, for lots of reasons (I mean, come on, when the scripting language provides no persistent storage features whatsoever and the only generalized aggregate data structure is a list that cannot contain lists, the language needs to join the 1960s), and when C# scripting is available, I've got an open-source scripting suite that will get entirely rewritten in it, but for now, we're stuck with LSL and all of its warts.

Re:Second life is more of a platform, than a game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257526)

I have lots of lsl script in my grid. Very few things don't work. I use the Diva Distro.

Couple months might be pushing it, but from the office hours I have read, they are throwing a lot of resources at c#.

Opensim already has C# scripting. Might not be like what LL makes, but, maybe it won't be to hard to implement :)

and there is some persistent storage.. :).. llSetObjectDesc("lol");

mac address? (1)

boog3r (62427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257116)

i guess that eliminates all their directly connected ethernet customers...

Re:mac address? (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257208)

The Second Life client reports the hardware MAC address of the machine it is running on for the purposes of identifying and blocking miscreants/TOS violators. It has nothing to do with network traffic redirection. Agreed, it is not foolproof - but it is sufficiently above the effort threshold of anyone seeking to do childish griefing.

Nice post (0, Offtopic)

DaanCeelie (1751292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257300)

Very interesting

Viewer Directory Program Goals (2, Informative)

w3irdizum (1537733) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257388)

Having lived in SL for more than 3 years this comes as no surprise. There were team of people writing viewers specifically for griefing and IP theft. As a example there was a viewer that had a "crash server button" and as such I do believe that this policy is well over due. https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/community/blog/2010/02/23/introducing-a-new-third-party-viewer-directory-and-policy [secondlife.com]

Slashdot attempts to backpedal on bad summary (1)

kronosopher (1531873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257708)

nothing to see here, move along
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