Monday, July 7, 2008

Concerning Open Content, DRM, and Second Inventory


This post is to address some concerns expressed by one of my colleagues with regard to my mention of Second Inventory in my last post.

Having come to grips with my reactionism in response to what felt a little bit like an attempt at censorship, I came also to a realization that to a degree he was right - I had made certain basic assumptions that not everyone is comfortable with.

As far as I am aware, Second Inventory does not allow it's users to copy content that doesn't belong to them; let me be perfectly clear for the record when I say I certainly hope it does not. I don't use it myself, being strictly a linux person.

I have every reason to believe that the tool was being used responsibly by the parties mentioned in this context in my prior post. As far as I know at the time of this writing, there are two viable ways for moving 3d content inter-grid - the copybot and Second Inventory. Both are tools; as such, they are meritorious only according to their usefulness. Like the hammer and the saw, they can be used in both constructive and destructive ways. The good or bad is in the hand that guides the tool.

I did not mean to either personally nor on behalf of anyone at,, or endorse content theft, content theft techniques, or any other sort of encroachment on anyone's rights to the legal use of their property. Nor do I anticipate changing my stance on that in the future.

That being said, however, I will continue to promote increased knowledge of tools and technologies useful for the ethical use and reuse of content in the most effective and efficient methods possible, and decline to take responsibility for the actions of the disaffected and despised who surely earn their infamy through their deeds.

With Kindest Regards,
James G. Stallings II
aka Lazarus Longstaff/Hiro Protagonist/daTwitch

Dateline 2008-06-07: The Week in Review

Qee Nishi Rocks the House at Shengri La

Greetings and Salutations Avies!

It's been a busy week, chock-full of fun and good times for all! so lets get the ball a-rollin' as we take a walk forward through time from this time last week...

Zaius Plaza Build
Zaius Plaza, currently under construction (of course, isnt everything?) is rapidly becoming freebie heaven for OSGrid. Contributions are coming in en-masse from Shenlei Winkler and Nebadon Izumi, both importing content via SecondInventory they have created over the years on the Linden Labs grid. Both have been content creators on the SL platform for three years or so. Shenlei's mall will contain her offerings, and Nebadon has set up the bottom three floors of OKC Tower as a freebie-zone and Art Gallery. Both creators are donating the body of their imported work to OSGrid users, if you seem 'em in world be sure to say thanks!

Additionally, OKC Tower is also a community freebie-zone, so if you have content you'd like to share, come on by Zaius Plaza and drop it off at OKC Tower.

Bade Plaza Build
Bade Plaza is a build I'm conducting pretty much solo, so it goes in fits and starts as I move around between evangelizing and supporting OpenSim and OSGrid, creating content, and otherwise taking care of business.

Having gotten a little tired of working on all these techie-looking projects in the midst of my more or less pastoral digs at Hoffman Sim, I decided to make use of a work plat I had established some time ago at 500m altitude; going to and from rapidly became a pain.

Bade Plaza Under Construction

So, on a whim, I decided to make a decent teleportation system (I know, this tale is supposed to be about Bade Plaza - bear with me a sec).

This actually came together quite nicely; I'd recently tested bulk upload with a ton of rich textures from Filter Forge, one of my favorite sources of free textures. Great software too from the look of it - but I dont do windows.

The scripting evolved quite naturally from a combination of a waterfall script, an alpha-adjusted tie-die texture, a posing stand script, and a couple of calls too llRezObject and llSetPos. Look for the system in a package (real soon now) over at OKC Tower in Zaius Plaza, or pop over to Bade Plaza and take a copy of one of the operating units.

Bade Plaza Teleportation Device

And with that feeble seguey I'll get back to Bade Plaza. Bade is an unusual build; it's a small city (tiny really) consisting of four approximately identical apartment buildings in each of the four corners; the region is layed out approximately symmetrically, and each of the buildings are joined to the others by walkways couched in gardens and aqueducts. The region is surrounded and bisected on north and south axis by waterways, with a central pool.

The apartment buildings provide ready dwelling spaces for region squatters/homesteaders. They also provide the-ground level support for a massive 200m+ skyscraper called Blade Tower that dominates the entire rest of the city. Tower space is available only by special arrangement (contact yours truly with your ideas if interested).

Oh, and you can see the teleporters in action there too.

AdamZaius comes to OSGrid and Brings His Regions With Him
Boy, Howdy!

Apparently, AdamZ doesn't believe in doing things small. So far, he's dropped a few tens of servers on the grid, practically doubling the number of regions attached. What's more, he isn't finished yet. By my reckoning, from the hints he's dropped on #osgrid at FreeNode IRC, he will own fully 4/5ths of OSGrid's regions by the time he's finished. What a freakin' load test for the UGMAI! Go AdamZ!

The InterOp Love Fest Continues
After week-before-last's Linden Lab powows, Which Linden's Office Hours were a little anticlimactic and highly technical. Only the AWG hardcores were in attendance; I think John Q. and Mrs. Public are growing weary of detail, as I note their attendance is beginning to slowly fall off. Probably such things go in bursts anyway.

Which's Office Hours were more a brainstorming session than not, though I think (s)he may have preferred it to be more of a presentation. I don't think (s)he got finished, and was perhaps a bit worn out from the difficulties of trying to communicate clearly and effectively one's ideas in cleartext. Of course, anyone who cares about the issue has their own ideas about how all this should work; not all of them are cluefull. 'Nuff Said. Here's a link to a transcript of Which's Office Hours.

And Finally....Party at Shenlei's Shengri La!
Ok, lets get a couple of things out of the way right off the bat, and then we'll get to the pix:
1. This was hands-down the best party I have ever attended in Second Life. No question about it. The Host (Rez Tone) and Hostess (Shenlei Winkler), were phenomenal, the people in attendance were notable and photogenic, as was the venue; and then there was ...
2. QEE NISHI. Qee spins the techno. Qee spins the rave. Qee spins the trance. Qee spins it all in a contiuous flowing stream of cosmic notification that she is rockin' the house. I just can't say enough about Qee. Her av is the picture of her sound. A total package - absolutely incredible.

And the last bit of party news before we get into the photojournalism:
Shenlei and Rez are planning to collaborate with Qee on OSGrid's first major event. Heavy iron is being donated to carry the load of 40+ highly decorated and animated avatars and scripts. It's gonna be a party to remember! Sometime in mid to late August. Keep your eyes glued to this blog for more details on this event as it unfolds.

So, here's the pics from Shenlei's Party this past weekend at Shengri La:

This is Shengri La on the night of the party:

Here's our beloved host and hostess in proper form. Rez veiled in particles on the left, and Shenlei on the right in the articulated wings.

Nebadon Izumi (one of my OSGrid Ops colleagues) and his good friend Coke Supply Get Down on the dancefloor:

The inimitable Qee Nishi!

Qee show's us what it is that's sexy about technology:

Qee against a backdrop of Rez's molecular construct. By any chance would that be a caffiene molecule Rez?

That's it for now, a fun and busy week!

Celebrate content! We sure did!

aka Laz/Hiro/daTwitch

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dateline 2008-Jul-01: A Day in the history of VR

Greetings from the interwebs and farflung VR spaces!

Tonight I'll be relating a set of VR history-making events (at least *I* think they are history-making) that occurred over the course of a very busy day in cyberspace.

First, was the Architecture Working Group meeting on Linden Lab's grid, led by Zha Ewry of IBM. This was one of the best meetings I have yet attended on the Linden grid - the participants were passionate, reasonably polite, very focused, and very well spoken. It was almost completely devoid of backchatter and heckling, and no one showed up to fling poo prims. +1!

Next was OpenSim Office Hours, held each Tuesday at 12:00 noon PST. Most all of the OpenSim Principals were in attendance, in addition to several linden labs folk who made their first appearance on OSGrid. And, we broke our previous record for concurrent logins to a single region server! Read on to find out just how many folk attended.

Finally, winding up the afternoon, was Zero Linden's Office Hours, where he made a brave attempt to present his outline for a permissions system that would provide the necesary mechanisms for implementing DRM obligations in an open grid services environment. More on this later though. Let's get into the thick of it!

AWG Meeting re: Domain Membership and Trust, with Zha Ewry of IBM

This was an awesome meeting! The best LL-sponsored meeting I've yet attended. I dont know how much design work was actually done, but a lot of understanding was passed around. Link to the transcript here. The thing that made this meeting great was there was no real heckling; everyone there was focused on the issue before us; no one was really ill informed, or at least, no one was unwilling to expand their understanding. It was a fantastic meeting with an equally fantastic group. Great Job Zha, Saijani and AWG!

Linden Labs vs. OpenSim Office Hours on OSGrid, with a broken record!

That introductory blurb doesn't do proper justice to what happened - it makes it sound like a musical experiment gone way south! Here's what *actually* happened:

We set up for office hours, as per usual - except perhaps there was more of us in attendance than usual. I dunno, maybe everyone was just free at that time for once. In any case, we piled on in and had just begun to discuss our agenda, when the first Linden Labs representative showed up. Unless I am mistaken, this was one Hamilton Linden. Next came Infinity Linden, followed at some interval by Whump Linden (he came in a bit late, and unfortunately we did not get to chat with him at much length). Zha Ewry also made it by, to round out the party.

With so many special guests at Office Hours, we were behooved to some flexibility with respect to our agenda, finishing up quickly with our more routine discussion, and turning the floor over to our guests. Hamilton did most of the talking, desiring to confirm that we had some marginal level of interest in assisting with their interop testing; I wonder if he wasn't a little overtaken by the strength of our response. All expressed interest in assisting with testing in whatever way possible, and several of us made one or more of our regions available for R&D. Here's a phat link to a transcript, and an even tastier link to Nebadon Izumi's video of the occasion. High point of the meeting: when Hamilton Linden looks around at Wright Plaza and asks "Did you build this build in OpenSim?" Serious Chucklehead, that Hamilton!

What? I forgot something? a broken record? Oh, that was just the soundtrack for Zero's presentation on Permissions...just kidding!

The record that was broken, for the number of consecutive logins on an OSGrid region - was at Wright Plaza - we hit 25 main agents (the prior record was 22), with no significant lag or other issues, and the region never did crash, though JustinCC did mention his inventory was flailsome - but I think he was probably the only one diggin' in inventory, so hard to say if it was anomolous or not.

Zero Linden's Office Hours Permissions Presentation

Big, heaving, tired sigh....Poor Zero - I feel for him. Seems the asshats *always* show up and disrupt his meetings. I often wonder why he even bothers. He's clearly got the patience of Job.

Today Zero attempted to deliver a presentation on the plans for a permissions system, one that would ideally complement the things Zha and AWG are doing with Region Domains and Trust Protocols. Unfortunately, most of the folk in attendance at this meeting had neither bothered to attend Zha's meeting nor read the transcript beforehand. It was a chaosfest, and that was before the first griefers showed up.

Hardly anyone there had sufficient understanding to ask intelligent questions, and when Zero was able to address their talking points directly, they often didnt understand one or more of answer and implications. Many slipped into "this is fundamentally broken" trains of thought, or "just open it up like the web" mode. Most seemed to think we were discussing user interactions with an interface when in fact, in most cases, we were discussing transparent communications exchanges between client and server components.

Then there were the griefers. I'm not sure what it was they were slinging around; but eventually, the prims were cleaned up, and the offending parties removed.

Then came the second wave.

And the third. I'm not certain whether or no it was a PN attack, but it was certainly crafted to look like one. Particle rezzer spewing 'srs nigras' e.g., a black man with a large afro in a grey dress suit - basically, the PN logo. Personally, I think it was likely a 'false flag' attack, the PN are -much- more repugnant than this.

Zero handled all this with not inconsiderable grace, and extreme patience to boot - as numerous god-mode Lindens were zipping about cleaning up and banishing identified offenders to the seventh level of hell.

Hang in there Zero, some of us actually do benefit from your presentations!

Oh, and here's a link to a transcript from Zero's meeting.

All in all, it was a great and momentous day in VR - new ground was broken, bridges were built and plans for the future were laid. Thats my kind of day - where we can all get in the pit together and show a little love.

Cheers from Hoffman on OSGrid!
Hiro Protagonist aka Lazarus Longstaff aka daTwitch aka James G. Stallings II