Second Life and Open Source
Posted Jan 4, 2007 10:19 UTC (Thu) by Kamilion
In reply to: Second Life and Open Source
Parent article: Second Life and Open Source
Okay, I'm a long time SL resident... (Kamilion Schnook)
There's a lot of stuff missing from this article.
First off, objects copied with CopyBot don't usually persist longer than 24 hours, because they're not copying at all -- but giving itself the property of an object already located in the simulator's local squid cache. When the cache is emptied, the 'copied' object goes with it. Now, it's BEEN possible to extract textures with GLIntercept for a long time now.
I'm a contributor to the libsecondlife project, and the funny thing is, the same code that people were so freaked out about is STILL available in testclient. Nobody seems to care now. Nevermind that it never actually worked for theivery since once the cache entry was gone, it's references are freed as well.
Basically, what happens in order to 'copy' an avatar...
A person's SL client connects to the grid, wearing their clothing and attached objects. In order for other people to SEE them, and their objects, their description has to be sent to every client in visual range of them on the server.
libsecondlife is a C# based library that provides an alternative client than the default graphical 3D Linden Labs client.
Since, to the server, a libsecondlife client is the same as a Linden Labs viewer client, the same data is sent. As of a few weeks ago, and after the whole stupid CopyBot incendent, the data can be exported now, as an XML file. An object's size, primitives, texture keys (Everything in SL is referenced by 128-bit UUIDs, commonly called keys inworld.), and other associated data like particle settings and 'hovertext' can be expressed out to a file containing an object or series of objects.
Later, this XML file can be imported, expressing the same values back to new objects on the server. This means the textures are still 'owned' by the original creator, since new assets were never uploaded, their unique key was just reused on another object.
So, just in the ability to see the avatar allows it's duplication.
Fortunately, the different layers of clothing in SL are all 'baked' into a single texture, so attempting to freely duplicate clothing is an arduous task. Duplicating someone's entire outfit, on the other hand, is easy. But it captures the whole, not the parts.
So, in the end, no amount of encryption is going to help -- it would be the same as encrypting lwn.net and not giving the keys out. Sure, they have plenty of content, but no one can see it!
However, since they're commited to open source at Linden Labs, they're moving over to open protocols -- textures will very soon be transferred under the new 'SIM-CAPS' system, dropping a propritary protocol for common SSL/TLS HTTP interactions.
We're currently working on the beginnings of an open client for SL.
Linden Labs' closed source SL client also runs on OSX and Linux already!
For people who havn't really looked into SL, it's kinda like IRC meets 3D First/Third-Person-Shooter-Realtime-Level-Editor. Sort of a 3D chatroom, with scriptable objects (soon to be using mono!) with over 2 million registered names and ~20,000 concurrent users. The entire world is resident created, by people purchasing virtual 'plots of land', much like a ~user directory on a website, where they place their collection of objects created by themselves or others.
Houses, malls, casinos, brothels, strip clubs, even virtual drugs.
Drop on by, and help out with the effort! Who knows, you might make a few new friends ;)
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