Citing Havok License & Lack of SLer Usage, Linden Prohibits Viewer Log-in Option to Second Life's Open Source Spinoffs
Linden Lab has removed the ability to log into OpenSim grids from official, authorized versions of the Second Life viewer, Hypergrid Business reported last Friday, a move that will effectively fork SL from its open source spinoff. There's a lot of debate in the OpenSim community whether this move will benefit or harm its users, but according to Linden Lab, it's a win for Second Life's users. I just got this official statement on the subject from company spokesman Peter Gray:
The Second Life Viewer is still open source. The terms of our license to use Havok in the Viewer limit it to connecting to our services, so we removed the -loginURI option from the official Second Life Viewer in order to comply with that license requirement. Very few Second Life users ever have a need to login to anything but Agni or Aditi, so to reduce confusion, we've also simplified our Viewer to display only those grids that we expect our users to use.
Emphasis mine. As I understand that passage, he's saying few SLers have expressed any interest in using OpenSim, so to offer that option, as, for instance, the Imprudence third party viewer does (see image above), is not needed.
Last I checked earlier this year, OpenSim only had about 15,000 active users; most if not all of them are also SL users, so requiring them to only use a Linden Lab-compliant viewer to enter SL is not a lot to ask. For OpenSim developers, this will probably be a major inflection point: Now unable to market their grids to the SL user community, they will need to grow their own userbase organically. But without a widespread virtual currency system, marketing campaign, or other features needed to make it a commercial product, OpenSim may go from being a niche of a niche (which it was, when still linked to SL) to something even smaller. I'm open to other interpretations, however -- please share yours in Comments.
10:02PM: Tweaked title to remove original mention of "disable log-ins", which was poorly worded on my part.