Tuesday, September 07, 2010

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The BBC Covers Emeraldgate

BBC on Emerald

The BBC's "Outriders" show has a long segment on Emeraldgate this week, featuring my friend the lovely and talented Jamillah Knowles interviewing me about Second Life third party viewers, how Emerald became so popular, and the limitations of trust in anonymous avatars using open source. Jamillah and I did the interview late last week, before Linden Lab officially blocked Emerald, but I like to think it's a good overview. Wisely and appropriately, no anonymous avatar names are mentioned. Somewhat disappointingly, my crack about Linus Torvalds' penchant for wearing socks and sandals (dude WTF) didn't make the final cut.

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Ann Otoole InSL

Why don't you go cover facebook and leave us alone.

Renmiri

Ann a disgruntled Emerald fan ?

Look you are very lucky no malicious hacker used the personal info about you that your Emerald viewer posted all over SL. If they had you would have been the first one wanted Emerald's coders head.

Bunjie

@Renmiri

If that's really her shes not an Emerald fan.

@Wagner

If this is "Live" why is it cut? do you mean the podcast is cut from a live chat? and did that live chat go out "live" unedited to an audience? or was it just a "live" recorded chat solely for a podcast?

Could you elaborate as this is kind of a hot topic and from what I heard you was sorta ok but I think you left some issues out, which I believe you did so because you don't want a Linden lawyer on your back.

Hamlet Au

You'll have to ask the Beeb about that, baby!

Mitch Wagner

Great interview, James!

Delinda Dyrssen

Ill go with Phoenix for now

Arcadia Codesmith

Is it really weird to kinda like the whole socks and sandals thing? It says to me, "I have a rebel streak, but I'm human and my feet get cold". I find that oddly endearing.

Renmiri

I was reflecting on the whole Emerald thing and the reason it did not happen before with Linux, Mozila or other opensource projects.

I think the anonymous/ named developer is a bit of a red herring. The way I see it, open source code is like a scientific paper that has been through extensive peer review. On Linux case, and on Mozilla/ Firefox case, hundreds of coders reviewed the work and consequently, the quality of the output was very high.

On Emerald's case this extensive peer review did not happen. As a matter of fact, when knowledgeable peers DID review the Emerald code into any detail, they were busted and tried to silence their critic.

But this unfortunate event did show that open source works, with it's peer review process. The problems were caught easily. The system worked, even if it took too long.

The Emerald development team was quite naturally very fond of their project and let that fact color their answers to criticism.

Alas, since coding is very new, we coders have not yet established good practices that can filter for author bias, like double blind studies do for medicine research.

But maybe one day we will. And Emeraldgate will be a cautionary tale to all of us Open Source enthusiasts.

Perhaps the Emerald team would have acted more maturely if their real life names and reputations were at stake. but to me the main problem here was the lack of peer review at the start and how late into the game it got finally looked at.

Winter Seale

@Renmiri, exactly, the whole pseudoanonymous thing is a red herring. Participants in open source projects are for all intents and purposes psuedoanonymous anyway, as their RL name has no special meaning to anyone else involved, and reputation doesn't travel from opensource microcommunity to opensource microcommunity.

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