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Friday, January 30, 2009


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Balp Allen

Sad Sad News...... Shame on you fanatics....

Ran Garrigus

I agree, this is very disturbing. From all I heard, KirstenLee made a good faith effort to comply with GPL enforcement requirements, and the intolerance and impatience of some has truly left all residents a bit poorer.

Would it have truly hurt anyone to back off and give this talented developer more breathing space to get all the ducks in a row, instead of hammering away like a pack of rabid Stallmanites?

The KIng

Well the GPL "Union Thugs" once again put a entrepreneur out of business, Im sorry to see this happen. This showed the promise of that Sl could have been and her viiewers are so much more stable too. Damn. Bad news all around.

-The King

Ann Otoole

Thus the problem in general with the open source nutcases. Better to never give the trolls any free code to eat. What would they do then? Have to actually learn how to engineer software? Fat chance.

Stephen Zenith

I'm sorry, but other people made the vast bulk of the code she was using, and attached certain conditions to the redistribution of binaries made from that code. If she wasn't prepared to accept those conditions, then fine - just don't use the code. Nobody forced her, she accepted those conditions over her own free-will.

If you use the code and don't comply with the conditions attached, you're in breach. I don't imagine Microsoft or Apple would be any more understanding if you redistributed their products in breach of the relevant copyright.

As for putting an entrepreneur out of business, being an entrepreneur (not that she is) does not give you carte blanche to ride roughshod over the work given out freely by others.

Stephen Zenith

Oh, and how is she "the creator of the revolutionary Shadowdraft client"? The Shadowdraft code was written by Linden Lab, and is available (under the GPL) in their SVN repository. It's now in a branch called maint-render, but it's the same codebase.

Todd Borst

Ug, this is such an unfortunate end for such an awesome viewer. My netbook will miss it dearly. For what its worth, thanks Kirsten.

GoSpeed Racer

With rare exception those who wave the rulebooks never produce a product or service others can use.

Instead of hounding her why didn't anyone offer to help her comply? What did anyone have to gain from her quitting and withdrawing her work. Last I looked the viewer has been and will always be free.

To hell with you slimey creeps.


And this is why a BSD license is so much better. I adore your client, Kirsten. Sorry the fanatics drove you out. :(

Fricker Fraker

This is truly a loss to the collective of SL residents. I have been following Kristen’s progress through many versions of her viewer and I am sorry that she has been forced to take these measures. Her viewer is an inspiration to many of us in SL. I personally saw this viewer as an expression of her technical creativity and not just some bits and bytes that the self-appointed GPL police kept hounding to get their hands on.

To Kristen – I hope you continue with your mastery of technical creativity in your Shadowdraft Viewer… even if it’s now going to be a personal endeavor for you alone. I will always be a supporter.

Nexii Malthus

Such a shame, was a big shock when I noticed the blog was down at first. I hope that she may return eventually with enough support from the community unlike before from the stress caused by these opensource fanatics.

Balp Allen

@GoSpeed, Some of us did offer to help, Or as She said on her blog, "I must Say some coders, Anders,Hyang were very gracious and patient with me."

This shows again the only way to change something is being nice. Everything else is will fail...


Arcadia Codesmith

I'm not up on the arcane minutia of the GPL license, but this is silly. The viewers were freely available, and I believe the source code was posted. What's the problem, exactly?

Sounds to me like this is someone who got hammered by griefers and crumpled like a wet napkin.

It's a pity, because she's quite good. But it's her choice.

Bobby Ritt

Well, this news makes me feel very sad, Kirsten was developping some of the most exciting things around SL and Opensim, and will be very missed I sure. But it's her life, and I understand her call. I just want to thank her for all the great work, and which her all the best for the future.

Bobby Ritt

Well, this news makes me feel very sad, Kirsten was developping some of the most exciting things around SL and Opensim, and will be very missed I sure. But it's her life, and I understand her call. I just want to thank her for all the great work, and which her all the best for the future.

Maximilian Morpork

I am not sure I really understood.... she is not distributing it anymore, but somehow we are going to "unofficially" get it somewhere else?

I really hope so, because it has really changed my SLife

there are NO other viewers that stable, fast and just perfect as S16

Emeline Magic

I discovered Kristen browser recently and I love it. It's bad news that she stop everthing but if she had no pleasure anymore I can understand.

Nexii Malthus

I am hosting the SD5-R1 viewer if anyone wants to download it.


It's a weak excuse, it's easy to be GPL compliant. Just host the source for download, in windows, you can do it in about 3 mouse clicks.


Also you've got it wrong hamlet, the shadow draft viewer is basically built from Linden shadow draft branch.

But then it seems the facts don't really matter to you.


thanks for ruining a great client jerks...

i know i bitched about the time thing but that viewer was perfect, and worked so well on my crappy laptop.. and having the media browser for textures was something i've wanted since i started aquiring textures! i hope someone can fill the void she's created here...

Mo Hax


Chaddington Boomhauer

This really sucks but it seems so silly at the same time, Whether you use All Rights Reserved, BSD or GPL shouldn't you read the terms before you start distributing it? Maybe even before working on it at all???

Barney Boomslang

Kids, get a grip on reality. You might not like the license options of the GPL, but it's a fact that the client is under that license and so you have to abide to the terms. Citing "stress" over the license because people actually expect you to keep to it is rather funny. Especially if all is required is to provide the sources you compiled to your binary, packed up nicely alongside your binary download. Really a no-brainer (the kdu stuff and fmod stuff is a different thing - but those problems don't derive from GPL but form commercial licenses - but I don't see you much complaining about _those_ license terms and the owners of said projects insisting on people adhering to that license).

And to Hamlet: in what way was that a "leading open source developer"? Sorry, but if you look at who cranks out patch after patch and who integraters patch after patch and runs the most visible patched client effort, I'd say Henri and gang (Boyd for Windows and Hyang for Mac) deserve much more acknowledgement of "leading".

Kirsten did a hacked client for her own use - all well with that. It's a nifty thing, too, agreed. Some things in it seem to work more smoothly than in most official releases - not much different from what Nicholaz did or what Henri is doing now, though.

Could we really stop hyping one or the other - both the "oh, how great" stuff and the "oh, how much this sucks" stuff? It's silly.

Torrid Luna

SL should hire KirstenLee, and/or simplify their patch policies and frequency(!). There are so many good improvements waiting out there, Kirstens almost Lite viewer, the Sound improvement by ditching fmod, the fully open source Meerkat viewer, and almost nothing of that will be available for the Common Resident soon.
While I think that one should obey the rules when messing around with GPL'ed (or any other sort of licensed) code, I can understand that it's not easy for individuals to keep up the needed infrastructure.
It will be a huge loss of good energy if KirstenLee really won't release her work anymore.

Dakotah Yue

Thank you very much you jealous hypocrites

Take care, Kirsten

Opensource Obscure

This is unfortunate, and I think Kirstenlee made a great job. This said - Stephen Zenith, Balp Allen and Barney Boomslang have good points in their comments.

Murphy Alderson

Well, I for one am very sad. I thought she had published her source code. I remember downloading it.

It is a shame. I've tried a TON of different viewers, and the S16 was by far the most elegant, quickest loading and had much fewer of those annoying 'pauses' that I get with the official viewer, or even the cool viewer.

We'll miss your work Kirsten, and know that it was not unappreciated by all, just a vocal few.


> KirstenLee Cinquetti, creator of the revolutionary Shadowdraft client...

Hamlet - not to disparage KirtenLee's fine work - calling her the creator of the shadowdraft is like calling the Nebraska Poster Company the creator of the Mona Lisa.

i've told you this repeatedly in email, and i've repeatedly offered to fact-check your technical articles. i do wish you'd take these things seriously - people listen to you.

Alexandra Rucker

Does anyone have the Mac version of the non-shadowdraft?

Ran Garrigus

KirstenLee offered to send a DVD with the source to whoever asked, which as far as I know satisfies GPL requirements. It seems to be that people still fired away at her over it, bringing up picayune objections, until they hasseled her into quitting.

I rarely use the word, but "ingrates" seems just about right. The GPL is a fine thing, but it's not there to stifle work, and it was clear that Kirsten was making efforts to comply. Just because she couldn't do it all in the span of two weeks (given that even hosting the binaries was difficult enough for her to sort out) doesn't seem like a reason for hounding her.

KillerMonkey Spire

It looks like the "ShadowDraft" is located at:


Amara Parmelee

So the developers are calling her a baby for citing stress as a reason to quit....

...and those of us who simply enjoy what she has created are calling the developers jerks for bullying her?

Exactly who wins here?!

From what I understand, she complied this from various sources into something stable and easy to use. Even better was the fact older machines could run it. The entire point of open source software is to take it, compile it into something better, and redistribute it. Yes, she should comply with the required GPL licenses, and all that, but geez, she did this for everyone to enjoy SL better....not to get hassled later.

It's not like every developer is paid to put in the time and effort that they do; For most it's just for fun (or they are tired of the crappy stuff, so they make one better.) Point is, it's made for enjoyment and easier use on their own time.

If it begins to feel like work or in any form, less enjoyable, why continue? If you want to be helpful, stop citing who deserves to be called "SL's Leading Open Source developer" (anyone taking time to work on this thing deserves that.)
Do what you've all been doing from the start- making SL and the SL viewer better.

People like me who only see the finished products of these new viewers do not often stop and say thank you to the many developers behind them, but most of us will feel the pain when we know we have an excellent viewer that may no longer be supported.

Hamlet Au

"'the creator of the revolutionary Shadowdraft client'? The Shadowdraft code was written by Linden Lab"

Most of the code was written by LL, yes, but the Shadowdraft build and the integration of the code into a running viewer is by her. See: http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2008/09/behold-shadowdr.html

What's a more accurate but equally succinct term? Compiler?

Lordfly Digeridoo

Those screaming about GPL violations probably doesn't want anyone opening their mp3 folders, their PirateBay history, or their drawer full of XP SP2 cds.

Way to go, wankers. Now we'll never have shadows in SL (because it's not like Linden Lab will ever release it)


... I can understand that it's not easy for individuals to keep up the needed infrastructure. ...

Nah... There are sites who do exactly that, if you want to! (eg gna.org)

I just think that she did not want to comply with the license, and thats why she quits. Another victory for freedom!


Politics aside, the pic above doesn't do any justice to the Shadowdraft viewer's approach at industry-standard render beauty - something that'd take LL about 3 decades to catch up to without help from the community. Sad.

Maggie Darwin

Easy to slam GPL as the source of the hassle. But there are several places you can archive such code for free; Kirsten ran her own host for some reason.

I suspect it may have actually been the requests for support that represented the real stress. Or maybe being annointed the source of the Only True Viewer for OpenSim?

HatHead Rickenbacker

The posts defending compliance harassment only prove the point that those who do not do, complain. Nothing wrong with as-is distribution and their posts smell horribly of jealousy.

I use Kristen's client all the time and have had no problems whatsoever. To the self-appointed police who harassed her to the point of retreat - feel free not to use her client and consume yourself with bitching about something else as you are the real problem here.

Morris Vig

S16 never worked for me, but some of the older versions were suh-weet.

Sorry to hear of KL's abandonment of her viewer efforts.

Mike Chen

When are people going to realize that the sensationalist headlines Au prints are just that and are mostly works of fiction.

As people have pointed out before, making your own clients from this freely available source code comes with conditions that have to be obeyed. Given that 99% of the work in her client was done by someone else, that doesn't seem unreasonable.

The thing that really concerns me though is her claiming that the new rendering work is her own. It's not. It's the same code from the Shadow Draft branch and I would have expected her to acknowledge such.

Maybe the real reason she vanished is that people were starting to figure it out. Shame on you.


I'm overwhelmed...I finally find a decent Mac client that runs rings around any other client I've used for SL, and petty coding issues kill it outright.

If anything, Kirsten's work clearly shows that the code that SL releases is flawed and they could care less what they dish out to the masses, especially the paying members of SL citizenry. This is a disturbing trend that I hope and pray doesn't continue. Get a clue, folks...a better product is better for business!

Boy Lane

I feel very sorry to hear that news. But that's obviously not all that is behind the curtain. KLee dropped support for anything else then Openlife before. Her viewer was made incompatible with SL and Opensim. But people kept asking and she made another by-product called S16 that could work with SL&Co.

Some days ago Openlife blocked all other viewers but their (KLee's) own, that is SL and all 3rd party viewers and doing so they locked the door for the majority of their residents. Plans for this were supposedly made back in November.

As much as I regard KLee's work, she became part of a development that I can not support. OLG tries to become closed source. They were removed from the list of Opensim's as they only sucked out know how but did not give anything back to the community. Fine, that's based on a BSD license and thats legal. However the viewer is GPLed and one has to comply with the licensing terms. OLG failed to do so since the beginning and still do not provide any source code for their (KLee's) viewer.

I had some conversation with her, I asked her to close that gap and avoid any legal implications for OLG by simply making the source available in one form or another. The whole source tree is not more than ~7MB. No biggie. Honestly I don't understand why this was not possible.

Overall I can understand how nasty people can get, there was an ugly discussion in SLDev before. And I can understand that KLee simply has enough. People should be grateful for things they get, such as KLee's viewer. But there's always someone who destroys it for all. Sadly.

TaraLi Jie

I'm sorry - but from what I was reading on Kristin's blog before this kerfluffle came up - the major thing she was doing was experimenting with optimization options in the compile process. She didn't add that much in the way of actual patches to the code - and if she did, she didn't publish those changes as she was supposed to. If she had, they'd have been picked up by Henri's CoolViewer (He's shown a *huge* willingness to add anything that works from any other source he can find it), the Imprudence Project (which may yet get what's worth-while out of it), and other projects.

Perhaps NWN might do a survey of the various available alternate viewers? Most of them are listed on the SL Wiki at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Alternate_viewers but I'm reasonably sure there's more out there. The SLDev mailing list has a *LOT* of people compiling their own.


Easy fix if enough people want her viewer. get the support of the SL community. Have people (members) ask LL to release the code to her under a different license. There lawyers could even do a custom license for her in about 10 minutes.

Tristin Mikazuki

This is why I never replay to the gpl nutjobs lol
Use the code if they dont like it they shouldnt post it on the net as open source.

Skate Foss

I'm so sorry that KirstenLee is stepping away, her viewers for Macs are so much more stable then Linen Labs. With her universal viewer, I'm finally able to enjoy SL on my G5 iMac with its older ATI card. Thank you Kirsten for all your hard work. I'm sure I speak for lots of Mac users when I say thank you, and how sorry we are that things have had to come to this.

Boy Lane

I'm very sorry to hear that. But certainly that it is not all that is behind the curtain.

KLee dropped support for SL and Opensim grids before with her v16 viewer, stating that new features developed for Openlife can not work with SL/OS anymore. Only as people kept asking she made a version that was again working with SL and Opensim.

Openlife made a decison a couple of days ago to not allow any SL and 3rd party viewers to connect to their grid anymore. Only their own (KLee's) viewer can connect. That was reported to be based on a decision made back in November. By doing so they locked the door for a majority of its residents, and they even used the resulting much lower load to justify it by telling that stability has improved. A no brainer. Lower load, better performance.

OLG wants to become closed source. They were thrown out of the Opensim community as they only sucked out know how of OS and RealXtend but did not give anything back. Still legally ok on the server side that is based on a BSD license.

However the viewer is GPLed. It has nothing to do with being a GPL nazi or any other insulting terms. It's a simple fact one has to take into account. I highly regard KLee's work. We had some conversation and I told her to close the gap by providing the source in one form or another. The full source tree is ~7MB, no biggie. OLG did not provide any source in the past and fails to do so till today, leaving it vulnerable to legal action.

I understand that people can become very nasty, and there was some ugly discussion in SLDev before. I am with KLee that she decided to let it go, it's simply not worth it if people can't appreciate what they get for free. But all of this could have been avoided. I'm still curious what will happen with OLG and KLee's viewer there.

Boy Lane

I've posted 2 long comments, but they do not show up here.


Perhaps Linden Lab has hired her....

Aliasi Stonebender

Yeah... I'm going to have to go with Barney, here.

If the GPL "nuts" are rabid, it's only because an awful lot of companies choose to treat it as an option, even putting GPL stuff in commercial products with no source or mention of the GPL.

It's not difficult to throw up sourcecode, since presumably you have access to it when you made the damn thing. If you wish to distribute your modifications to GPL'd software, then you accept the GPL. Do you complain about the horrible, horrible injustice when Microsoft asks you to give them money for a legit copy of Windows?

So, no, my lack of sympathy won't win many friends, certainly not with Kirsten... but on the other hand, I don't see what was so difficult. Every other SL viewer hack seems able to comply, after all.


Does this mean that she will no longer be making viewers for OpenLife? Or, is Sakai her partner?

Suzanna Vella

Sorry, it's just lame to blame the GPL for any stress caused at this point! The Second Life Viewer had been published under the GPL, and unlike many other in-world things, this is nothing which Linden Lab introduced surprisingly or without prior notice.

It's incredibly naive to publish software, which is based on other people's work, without reading the license in the first place. Complying to the license's terms & conditions is not optional and has never been. And it's certainly not difficult to comply: it's just one download more you have to make available to the public for every release. As you compile it from your source, there's also no hurdle whatsoever to just put it into an archive file.

You haven't understood the intentions of the Free Software Foundation, when they published the GPL v2 in 1991. Or you refuse to understand it.
(You being not Kirsten in particular, but all developers who give a shit on the GPL and blame others who kindly speak up on behalf of the original copyright owners -- or out of interest, because they have the right to receive the full source code.)

The only sad thing about S16 disappearing is that you (now namely Kirsten) obviously refuse to comply with the GPL for whatever reason you may have. If you were interested in keeping your huge community of happy S16 users, you would just provide the source as well. Obviously your community isn't important enough...

Nostrum Forder

This isn't "whinning." This is the same debate about the GPL that's been going on for decades. This is why GNU was forced to come up with the LGPL, and why a huge number of "free" software projects are released under BSD or other licenses rather than the GPL.

Kirsten's viewer was the only workable viewer for SL I've had on my macbookpro for over a year. Her decision to exit the stage effectively ends my ability to access SL once the next "mandatory upgrade" is forced.

Shirley Marquez

The GPL compliance question involves whether Kirsten (or any open source developer) is required to keep source code of old versions of software available. The "three years" that another reply mentioned applies to cases where the object code is distributed on a physical medium along with an offer to get the source code from a network server.

The language for the case where both object and source come from a network server is less clear. Here is the relevant section (6d) of GPL version 3:

Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.

This language, unfortunately, does not clarify whether the source code must continue to be available after the object code has been removed from the server. (It clearly DOES require that the source code be available as long as the object code is.) Big companies usually just leave all the old versions online but that is a major burden to a small developer, especially one who is renting download space from a hosting company; in that scenario additional space typically costs a significant amount of money even if it generates no additional download traffic, as the demand for obsolete software versions is likely to be negligible.

The GPL question about Kirsten came from her practice of removing most of the old versions of her software from her download site; at any given time only the current one and perhaps one earlier version was available. I think that Kirsten's practice was reasonable, especially for software that is under active development.

Marshall Stantz

I wonder if anyone already uploaded S16 to an alternate point...

Ross Daniels

This is why we can't have nice things.


Thank goodness I downloaded her viewer S16, before she quitted.
I wonder if this open source bashing have sth to do with Kirsten's viewer being better than any other SL viewer I've tried?

Peter Quirk

You do read those EULAs that come with your software, right? Well anyone modifying the Second Life viewer has to read all of these (http://secondlifegrid.net/technology-programs/license-virtual-world/viewerlicensing/flossexception). You'd need a team of lawyers to understand it all. Free software has imposed great responsibilities on developers to recognize all of the requirements imposed on them by other developers.

Something that needs to be clarified is how to deal with rapidly changing software in alpha or beta cycles. The source code for the viewer and all the FLOSS components is huge. If you are releasing a binary every week for the purpose of encouraging the community to test the code since it so damned difficult to build it from source, you shouldn't be held to the same source code redistribution requirements as someone shipping a supported release.

One last note - you might be free to look at the code and modify it, but at the same time, that removes your freedom to look at or modify the code of other open source projects like the opensim server component. The GPL is is slowly eating away at your freedom.

Dale Innis

@Dave: "It's a weak excuse, it's easy to be GPL compliant. Just host the source for download, in windows, you can do it in about 3 mouse clicks."

That's presumably what she thought, too, until someone pointed at section 6(b) of the GPL, and asked her for the source to a two-year-old version or something, that she didn't have around anymore. You might want to read it over and see if you want to alter your opinion at all. :)


This is a totally mess. Just an empty feeling. One of the best has gone. She were doing a good work on her viewer, smooth, fast and the best rendering.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

If I understand correctly, the major issue Kirsten had was lack of availability to host the files for 3 years to comply with GPL? Well, I'm more than fine to do that for her — I'll be contacting her. After installing her S16 viewer on basically every computer I have access to and spreading the word like wildfire — machinimists have shown a huge interest in the Shadow Draft client (not only because of the shadows, which are quirky, but because of the much better lighting model) and her viewer was really picking up speed among residents...

Oh sure, licensing issues are a pain in the a**... I totally understand that.

Amiryu Hosoi

Anyone out there that still hosts a copy of the S16 (SweetSixteen)?

Would love to give it a go



Totally mess, I am loving the Kirstens viewer, especially the s16, she did a great work and I do agree with torrid, LL should hire her. But I don't agree "huge loss of good energy". Because as she told she will continue "only for her and her partner". One thing I will never forget, is that she is great, as far she could share.

For that congrats.

Beowulf Aya

The bottom line is not the GPL, but the end result. Regardless of intent, one of the best developers, and best viewers is now gone because of fanatics who don't know how to work with talent because of their egos and pages of detail not willing to step back and see the end result....this. Fact is, the community is poorer today because of this..not better. Duh.


It's a mess, but I think some should read again the GPL http://secondlifegrid.net/technology-programs/license-virtual-world/viewerlicensing/flossexception

Nemesis Sciarri

Three cheers for the GPL Gestapo and their overinflated sense of self-importance! Don't strain your arms patting yourselves on the back too much.


KirstenLee is back - with SD17-1!



Its a real shame this has happened.

I use the Kirstens S17 viewer and its the only viewer that actually runs on my (fairly good) computer without an FPS of like -15.

Its understandable the monkeys over in GPL land decided to be over protective. But they should have HELPED her comply, not slap her in the face with legal bullshit because she didn't quote her sources properly.

From Australia to GPL, **insert 1 fingered wave here**


Anyone who is interested in running an open source variant of the SL viewer but is afraid of the 3 years source preservation regulations (or any other download requirement):
Host your project at googlecode or sourceforge. It's free and if you want, you can extend your team easily as well


wanna know somthing?

guess what, the LL client sucks ass unless you are on a mega pc with a 4 gig of ram and crap, THEY ARE RAM HOGS!

maybe not all of us can afford new pc's?, i do have a job, but, i have priorities before anything.

sad to see her go, and sad to see the fucking losers not wanting to help

so before you tell me "save up" yea, okay, LL forces you to upgrade in order to log in, so.....there is no going beyong that, with every upgrade it makes people with older xp's less and less wanting to log in

it crashes every time i try to build somthing now.

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