UPDATE, 11:15am: To no one's surprise, the Lindens have just announced that Emerald will be officially blocked from Second Life as of 10am SLT, September 8 (i.e. tomorrow), saying "Residents who have been using any version of the Emerald Viewer will need to use a different Viewer to access Second Life." So if you're using Emerald, read on for the alternates most preferred by New World Notes readers.
Still wondering what Second Life viewer use, now that the popular Emerald third party viewer has imploded? Here's the results of last week's New World Notes survey, asking just that question: Of the 780 who registered an opinion (a very large sample, for an NWN survey), 31% chose Imprudence, the third party viewer lead developed by Jacek Antonelli and McCabe Maxsted. Here's the site for all your Imprudence needs, with downloadable clients here. The latest version of the viewer comes with nifty features, such as the ability to trade WindLight presets in-world (created by coding wunderkind Katherine Berry.) As promised, I'll be installing Imprudence myself in the very near future, and giving a blow-by-blow review here.
Significantly, Imprudence was the reader preference over any of Linden Lab's official viewers, and in aggregate, just 43% of readers opted for one of those (Viewer 2, Version 1.23, or Snowglobe.) So even with Emerald out of the picture, Linden's viewers are not the majority's choice (at least among NWN readers who registered an opinion.) Also significant: Nearly 20% registered support for a third party viewer not in Linden Lab's official TPV registry, with many in the Comment thread naming Emergence, an offshoot of the Emerald codebase. Interestingly, Emergence and Phoenix, another Emerald offshoot, were added to Linden's official TPV directory in the last few days, so I'll run this survey again in the next few months. For now, however, the plurality of New World Notes readers prefer Imprudence, and so do I.