For some time I have covered Henri Beauchamp’s Cool VL Viewer and KirstenLee Cinquetti’s Kirsten ‘S’ Series Viewers. So, I am bummed to find out something is not right and we appear to have another viewer scandal.
Henri’s viewer uses a V1 interface, which I gave up on some time ago. But the viewer is a solid viewer made mostly of V3 or, at least, V3 adapted code. Probably more accurate way to say this is to say Henri has adapted a V1 user interface to run on new V3 code. Henri has been contributing viewer code to the community for a long time, well before I came around.
KirstenLee provided a viewer that for some time was SL photographers’ viewer of choice. I loved it and it was my daily viewer until KirstenLee stopped updating it. See Kirsten Viewer Stops Development.
So far I have not seen a response from KirstenLee.
I’m not going to pull code and do comparisons to see if I find the same thing Henri has found. That leaves me in a place of basing a decision on what I know of the people involved. Because we can never really know people using that basis for making a decision is error prone and usually leads to drama and emotional reactions. At this point investing in either side can cloud one’s judgment.
I’ve dealt with Henri enough I’ll take his word and accept his findings as accurate. I’ll keep my skepticism in place. So, I won’t accept his word as absolute evidence. But, his findings are strong. So, while I’ll leave a door open for a change of mind, I pretty much believe Henri and will until I see evidence otherwise.
Henri’s anti-virus found a Trojan in the Kirsten 407 installer. My Microsoft Security Essentials on this machine does not find it. This morning I cannot remote into my work machine to check the file with ESET. (Something to look at tomorrow.)
Some virus scanners give false positives on Second Life viewers. If you use something other than MS Security Essentials or ClamWin and have time, download a copy of Kirsten S19 (407) and run a scan and post what you find in comments.
In the open source world attribution is a big thing. We see the same thing in other creative areas with the Creative Commons license. Creative and/or talented people give things freely to the world. This is not just a matter of ego… and there is often a bit of that involved, not necessarily a bad thing.
On the simplest level attribution provides a pathway for offering a simple ‘Thank you.’
On a much more serious RL level, attribution is required by law… there is no state or country law saying you must. But, all countries and states have some law regarding contracts. The SL Viewer code comes from Linden Lab under one of the Open Source GPL licenses, I forget and am not going to take time to look up which one. These licenses are the contract one agrees to when taking a copy of whatever so licensed code. Henri’s statement that attribution and inclusion of existing copyright and GPL license information be retained is accurate. Removal of those is prima facie evidence of violating the license. It is a civil violation not a criminal violation, which means one would have to file a law suite to have the justice system take any action.
I have no idea where things go from here. Whether the Lab does anything or is even interested is anyone’s guess.
Will we hear from KirstenLee? I have no clue. I hope so.
As KirstenLee’s viewer is out of date, from my viewpoint, and at the time of this writing has only been downloaded 100+ times… (I only downloaded 407 to check for the Trojan) I don’t see it as a significant issue for the general SL community. I do see it as significant to the third party viewer development community. As I wrote, attribution and licensing are significant matters in the open source communities. So, this is serious and has RL legal implications.
I doubt this issue will ever go to court. But, it will have an impact on KirstenLee’s rep, even if this remains solely Henri’s comments. The question of did KirstenLee remove the attribution, and there seems little room for doubt, it leaves the concern that if one agreement is disrespected how can the community trust that person from that point forward?