Posted in crime, day-to-day, Emerald viewer, rant

Emerald Viewer Debacle: More info, resignations

Let me say that I LOVE living in the age that I live in. Information flies free and fast, and it’s easier than ever to keep up with what’s going on. Take the Emerald Debacle, as I personally am calling it, or How To Blow The Best Thing You Had Going. For those of you who don’t follow the tweets and plurks and blogs and what not, I’ll do the best I can to clue you in as to what’s going on.

It started a few days ago when Modular Systems got caught with their pants down, launching what’s called a Denial of Service (DoS) attack: using the computers and bandwidth of us, the users, to flood the servers of a rival viewer’s site. Skepticism is natural, of course; I was myself very skeptical. After all it could be construed as a PR attack by LL insiders. But when I read on their very own blog what they admit to, my opinion swiftly changed. My information, my computer, my SL experience was used without my knowledge or consent; and so was yours, if you used Emerald at all recently.

At this point it had the sound of some rogue developer messing around. Many commenters stated their belief that mere “discipline” was not enough, that the dev should have been canned. Bear in mind that a DoS attack is illegal, and that the owner of a participating computer can themselves be implicated.

After the blog post, PIxleen Mistral from the Alphaville Herald set out to get some answers. Despite getting ejected repeatedly while trying to conduct her interview, Pixleen did post her findings. According to the folks at Modular Systems, it wasn’t a DoS attack because it wasn’t successful in crippling the website it was aimed at.

Jessica Lyon: There was no damage done. The website in question suffered no downtime or lag. Thus if someone wanted to do the same to our website providing it was done the same way, there would be no difference?

At this point, my own mind was made up. I uninstalled Emerald.

Then this morning, Prad Prathivi made a post at Metaversally Speaking, doing much of what I’m doing here, but with some new revelations. Especially telling was this leaked YouTube video, containing chatlog and voice, implicating Fractured Crystal (one of the chief developers at Modular Systems; not just some rogue dev left unchecked). (The time of the video appears to be shortly after Pixleen’s interview, and they’re discussing a response to Pathfinder’s comment to the “Shenanigans” blog post)

Emerald die-hard supporters, meanwhile, have been continuing to mock genuine concerns from disgruntled users by dismissing them as “drama”.

And then, Fractured himself comes clean, admitting to be behind the attack (or possibly falling on his own sword to protect the rest of the team). Surprisingly, several commenters claim total ignorance of what’s been going on at all. More surprisingly, many accept it was just a “mistake”, rather than a malicious attack in which users were made into unwitting pawns.

If you want my recommendation, I suggest you remove Emerald from your computer, and then go to SecondLife.com and change the passwords of any and all alts you’ve logged on with Emerald. For now I’m sticking with the pre-2.0 LL issue viewer.

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IT'S ME.

12 thoughts on “Emerald Viewer Debacle: More info, resignations

  1. Well, a big thanks to you and Prad for putting this information out.

    A lesser man would of asked where the hell you were back in May when he was getting ganged on several blogs for raising questions about Emerald and Fractured and ran post after post that were blown off.

    But not me and the fact is there are still people who won’t accept the facts who need my scorn more than you.

  2. I too am deeply shocked by all this.

    This comes straight after the Emerald developer LorgGreggGregg left, when Emerald refused to remove the ‘mistake’ in the EMKDU library he had discovered.

    The ‘EMKDU library’, is “compiled and encrypted so other developers cannot see what it is doing, allows the author to see exact directories of users clients, and can request other computer directory data.”
    I think this means it can read some of your hard drive.
    Emerald’s response to LordGreggGregg was give the file much stronger encryption.

    What with DDOS attacks and spyware, I would class Emerald as a Trojan.
    /me clicks ‘Add or Remove Programs”

    BTW
    LordGreggGregg (I had dealings with him once and I DO trust him) has put a ‘clean’ version of Emerald called ‘Emergence’ at
    http://code.google.com/p/emergence-viewer/
    He will NOT be developing it, though.

      1. I found that the emdku.dll file is also in a Windows temp file (the “emerald” subfolder) with a huge amount of other stuff, and the uninstaller doesn’t clean out that folder. Over the weekend, they put out an updated Beta which happened to reinstall that, and then blamed Windows.

        The location of the temp folder seems very dependent on the Windows version. Your Windows username is likely somewhere in the path,

        This temp/emerald contained a huge number of files, including a SecondLife.exe, and I can’t imagine why that need end up there. It all feels like an attempt to keep illicit code on the system, which maybe the current developers didn’t understand. But a lot of programs, and their installers, are pretty careless about setting up a folder, and not cleaning up. I wonder if there is something hidden in the Windows Registry.

  3. Ever occur to anyone that the so-called “ex” Lindens were placed on the team by LL as moles? Perhaps LL grew sick of the drama and thought it might be best to reign in the Emerald staff a bit so “made available” two Lindens who’s creds and experience would be a real feather in Emerald’s cap.

    Yeah, conspiracy paranoia but certainly possible. Especially since all this crap became public and the shakeup happened after Q. Linden joined them and progressed even faster after D. Linden came aboard.

    Today, Emerald totally knuckled under to LL and allowed them to call the shots on developement BUT said they couldn’t tell us what changes LL asked for. Transparent, huh? So much for honesty from Emerald and LL. 🙂 http://blog.modularsystems.sl/2010/08/25/ll-requirements-for-emerald/

    LordGregGreg Back took a lot of heat for calling Emerald down and quitting the team. But since every damned thing he talked about (and a few things he didn’t) came out in the wash as true, think it might be best if Emerald team invited him back. At least we’d know one of the team has integrity

    But what with Emerald crawling in bed with LL, I wouldn’t blame him if he point-blank refused.

    BTW if you have not tried LGG’s EMERGENCE viewer, you might give it a peek. Could be handy to have online as a alternative to Emerald and Imprudence..

    1. I’m *extremely* skeptical as to the likelihood of that conspiracy theory. That’s just so… overly full of unnecessary fluff and feature that… wait a minute…

      Hm… 😉

      1. I think it’s more likely that the Emerald Developers had a “friend” inside Linden Lab, who vanished in the Great Downsizing.

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