I think you all know the story.  A crew of malicious juvenile abusers added content theft, privacy violations, and malicious features to a Second Life viewer third-party viewer.  Originally vLife, rebranded as Onyx, then maintained as a parallel branch to the “legit” Emerald viewer managed by many of the same malicious juvenile abusers.

Yet many users on Second Life (as well as other grids) continue to run the Emerald viewer.

What exactly is it that people don’t get?  It’s true that I too forgave, and forgave, and believed “it won’t happen again” repeatedly… but the Emerald team has shown over and over that they have no respect for others, no regard for content ownership unless they have full-rights copies, and that they have no ability to make appropriate moral judgements.  The time to clue in has long passed.

I am not being harsh; I’m actually keeping it tame and civil, especially given the way this team of have played us and used us since the start.  Now once again they ask us to forgive, and claim once again that it won’t happen…again.  Folks… it will, if you keep giving them chances… geesh.

They claim Fractured Crystal, the original author of vLife/Onyx, may not be connected anymore.  Yeah the team is pissed at him, but the first time he brings some kool nu hax to the team, he’ll be back in, under a new name.  They will want it more than they will want to keep him out.  Even if it’s something only mildly kool.

But let’s accept that Fractured is out, and forget him; let’s look instead at who remains on the new “trusted” team… let’s look at Phox (Lonelybird) who is still a key part of the new “clean” Emerald team.  If you haven’t believed there was a problem, believe now.  Here are a few of the code commits by Phox (and two from the modest and spelling-challenged Cryogenic) on vLife/Onyx, clearly a non-compliant, possibly illegal, parallel development branch of Emerald (yes, they also claim now that those projects are dead, or severed from Emerald… but these projects had coders who overlapped significantly, tried to keep Emerald and vLife/Onyx in sync, and most importantly, it shows the mindset of these Emerald “contributors”):

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r260 | cryogenic | 2009-10-24 12:32:13 -0300 (Sat, 24 Oct 2009) | 2 lines
*Added missing files
*Added my own version of Mac Address spoofing. Should be flawless
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r226 | Phox | 2009-09-04 21:38:00 -0300 (Fri, 04 Sep 2009) | 1 line
Removed perm check.
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 r222 | Phox | 2009-09-04 20:27:49 -0300 (Fri, 04 Sep 2009) | 3 lines
Updated to Emerald rev 729. Backdoors disabled on god users because Thomas.
Please test, I haven’t…
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r221 | Phox | 2009-09-04 14:56:18 -0300 (Fri, 04 Sep 2009) | 1 line
Changed all saved settings back to Emerald to make merge easier.
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r220 | Phox | 2009-09-03 23:55:08 -0300 (Thu, 03 Sep 2009) | 1 line
Added ability to spoof the name on estate messages, thanks moy.

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r211 | Phox | 2009-08-16 16:07:19 -0300 (Sun, 16 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Magic animation list hax to steal people’s animaitons and all of the OTR fixes from Emerald so far.
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r210 | Phox | 2009-08-16 15:05:50 -0300 (Sun, 16 Aug 2009) | 1 line
New anim hax for stealing people’s animations using the list (xmls)

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r192 | cryogenic | 2009-08-10 01:04:48 -0300 (Mon, 10 Aug 2009) | 4 lines
*Added my project of automaticly export objects and importing the contents back fullperm using Notecard Magic.
*Silly permissions checks removed in importor
*Silly xml errors in menu_viewer.xml
*Added a Visible param to notecards so my project works invisibly o.o
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r188 | Phox | 2009-08-09 01:59:01 -0300 (Sun, 09 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Added vLife chatbar stuff
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r182 | Phox | 2009-08-07 20:48:40 -0300 (Fri, 07 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Fixed avatartextures/clothingripping (though there might be some stuff missing from ripclothing, I think cryo commented out a few lines…)
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This guy is on the “new” Emerald team.  He’s been there; he’s still there.  Now go download his latest code.

It’s good to note that the “new” Emerald team are going to use a public source code repository so that everyone can see the changes being checked in… They used shared source control in the past too… and here are some more excerpts from Phox’ commits:
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r161 | Phox | 2009-08-03 05:27:28 -0300 (Mon, 03 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Mmmm, more filez.
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r160 | Phox | 2009-08-03 05:20:41 -0300 (Mon, 03 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Moo.
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r159 | Phox | 2009-08-03 05:19:53 -0300 (Mon, 03 Aug 2009) | 1 line
… o-o
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r158 | Phox | 2009-08-03 05:19:21 -0300 (Mon, 03 Aug 2009) | 1 line
Blah blah, still adding stuff…
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r157 | Phox | 2009-08-03 05:18:47 -0300 (Mon, 03 Aug 2009) | 1 line

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I feel much better now that everyone will clearly know what is been changed.  NOT.

Now here’s the part I really don’t get — the argument “well there’s no concrete proof that we can’t trust them now”.  Okay, first there is overwhelming evidence all over the place, and they readily admit most of it anyway.  In fact much of it is admitted because they actually want to brag about it like it’s some kind of sick prize… more evidence of a lack of moral compass.  I have to admit, they are very good at fooling people.  And having Jessica speak instead of Arabella has improved their PR campaign significantly.  But it’s your computer, not theirs.  And they have abused your computer in the past.  We aren’t even talking about a potential future threat here.  Don’t let the PR act fool you.

You do have a choice.  The great thing about the whole Third Party Viewer program is that it gives you a choice.  You don’t have to use a specific viewer; there are many good ones out there.  So why do you want to run something from people who admit they have done this work?  Who admit that they seek revenge on critics and don’t care who gets used or hurt in the process?  Malicious morons with the moral compass of a pile of mud?

Here’s an analogy (that you won’t like): you need to find a babysitter for your children, and the friendliest babysitter just happens to also have a history of pedophilia and violence, but he claims he has changed, and he is recommended by others, do you trust him with your children?  Maybe he has changed… but it doesn’t really matter to you, because you have a choice.  There are others you can use instead.  Make that choice and realize that you don’t need to see concrete proof first-hand that he hasn’t changed, before you make that choice to hire a different babysitter.  You don’t need proof; they are your kids.  There are less-risky alternatives, and you’d have to be a fool to put your kids at risk, given the history.

Now you have a choice with viewers too.  Make that choice.  Choose between a crew of malicious juvenile abusers who added content theft, privacy violations, and malicious features to their viewer, who readily admit that your machines have been violated to attack the web site of a critic, but may have changed fundamentally over the years weeks since, or you can choose some other organization with a clean history.

Personally I would recommend either the Imprudence viewer (if you want a feature-rich viewer), or the Linden-hosted Snowglobe (if you want something from Linden Lab).  Or if you want one final, hopefully clean version of Emerald, you can grab the cleaned and polished version of it from the insider who exposed some of the Emerald scandals: Emergence viewer.

Just pick something… else.  Besides, walking around with an Emerald green tag over your head now is like painting a giant “L” on your forehead.