Past, Present, Future

  • Past:

I made a thorough post concerning lots of emerald related issues recently, however I feel i need to clue people in on the conclusions I have made based off it, and let you decide whether they are logical.
The recent discoveries have made it very clear to me that certain people find it ok to hide code behind both the developer’s, and the user’s back. Considering the circumstances and evidence that I have already provided, it is apparent that the binaries coming out of emerald can not be trusted regardless of the security methods used to check it. Packet sniffing would not have detected this, as it was encoded inside a normal clothing image already sent to the linden servers. Anti-virus software did not detect this because installed programs are allowed to access a wide range of files (including your saved password file) without any cause for alarm (as most programs use that ability legitimately, and restricting it would cripple nearly every program). Despite this, by some stoke of luck the hidden code in emkdu was discovered after months of it existing; however, considering how long this took to find, it is illogical to assume that other hidden code does not exist or should have been discovered by now. Which also means that simply removing emkdu is not an action that would give you a safe viewer (I apologize if my posts before appeared to be a solution). Code similar and far more malicious could and may be embedded in any binary with an even more cryptic way to hide it, and without going into crazy conspiracy nonsense, it is clear that having an untrusted binary running on your computer is absolutely unacceptable. A new tpv policy will be in place banning encrypted binaries in an attempt to help protect the users, however this is not adequate protection either considering how *hiding* the code had a far greater effect than *encrypting* it. (Hiding this code kept it from exposure for months, encrypting it kept it for weeks)
Also, concerning the latest modsys announcements, it appears to only be a PR stunt, the people involved still are.

  • Present:

Despite being sick of dealing with all of this, I have witnessed too many of my friends in a position where they are hurt. They either loose the features in emerald, or they have their computer placed at risk.
I have decided to do what I can to help, and have created my own private project, the “Emergence Viewer” which is simply a clone of the latest emerald source code I had, compiled and produced in a way where all binaries are either provided from a well known trusted source (such as linden lab or openjpeg), or myself. http://code.google.com/p/emergence-viewer/ Because of limited resources available, I will only be able to provide a windows binary. If you learn anything from this whole experience (I have learned numerous), do not ever trust binaries that you do not fully trust the source of! If you do not know me or have a good reason to trust me, do not use this binary! However, since I am the only developer on this project, I can fully promise that emergence will be entirely free of any malware or hidden code of any kind to the very best of my ability. I am happy to be fully responsible for everything in it directly, though I do not take the credit for it, as most of the code is from other generous developers who have given freely of themselves.
I do not plan on updating or making changes to this viewer unless absolutely necessary, this is a last minute salvage operation, nothing more.

  • Future:

I have had my trust broken by too many people who I honestly felt never would, it will take time for me to come to terms and process all of that in a way I can use it, and unfortunately some people who have always been there for me will have to wait for me to understand all of this. More importantly, I try to make it a rule to not make the same mistake twice, which is part of why I really have no plans on further developing emergence or any other third party viewer. I have however, had a great opportunity opened to me, and I plan to spend my time working with the people of Virtual Ability http://virtualability.org , as I really feel that this is a way I can do the greatest good for the greatest number. (It is actually really exciting, they have done some amazing things already (got a linden prize o.o), have been around and stable for a while, and get this. I asked a bunch of people to try and find as much crap/drama/dirt on these people as they could (everyone is evil at least a little bit right?), the contrast to what I was in before is staggering, I even ran into a second hand report (saying they actually do what they say!) It looks like I will be able to continue working on open-source viewer development for second life, just focused in a way make it more accessible to people who really need it. I hope it goes well, if anyone has any information (a first hand story would be epic) please IM me.)

Also, thank you so much to the people who have offered me any sort of support. I felt betrayed and abandoned and your help has really made a difference to me.

(edit: due to current events, I will be either updating emergence, or providing links via the login for a different viewer for people to switch to)

74 Comments

  1. I’m glad your efforts are once more being put to good use LGG.

    • Thank you so much for all of your efforts. I am so grateful, SL would not be the same without Emergence Viewer. I LOVE IT! Plus, I love all the little extra bonuses….easier to follow… easier to create… easier user friendly!

  2. Thanks Greg, I’m already using it and have also thoroughly cleaned my contact list…

  3. Thank you so much, LGG.

  4. Thanks greg for your information… will ad this page to our blogroll and will support you as I did before

  5. Thanks for this.

  6. I’m getting the “Application failed to initialize” error. Trying to fix it. Thanks anyhow, LGG. 🙂

    • check the “issues” area of that site for info on how to fix it

      • That helped. Thanks!

  7. Thank you so much LGG for offering this!

  8. i’d be glad to try your viewer, but don’t you think you must be registred in the viewer directory of Linden Lab ? http://viewerdirectory.secondlife.com/

    • you have to be compliant with their tpvp policies to be allowed to log into the main grid. I am (and you are welcome to verify this for yourself).
      I do not plan to put this viewer on the directory listing, as i dont plan on updating it (it will probably be obsolete by the time it gets aproved)

  9. Tried your viewer, it works fine.

    Sad to see you leave Emerald, LGG.

    I’ve seen the announcement on ModularSystems blog about about ’emkdu metadata’ – can someone explain to me what this is?

    Do I need to do anything to make myself safe (change password etc)?

    • if you feel like believing the same people who put that code in, and then lied about taking it out, … then all you have to do is reinstall emerald for it to be fixed like they say. If not, then you need to choose some other viewer that you can trust.

      • Just put this on Modular Systems blog http://blog.modularsystems.sl/2010/08/22/emerald-off-with-his-head/#comment-1852(
        It is awaiting moderation so may get removed)…
        ———————————————————————-
        I have Googled “Emerald emkdu” and found this:
        The EMKDU library allows them to see exact directories of users clients, and can request other computer directory data.”

        I Googled “Emerald iframes”: “Developers of the Emerald Second Life client appear to have used their viewer to launch a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on the website of Hazim Gazov – a prominent critic of Emerald…”

        So, when I use Emerald, it is able to spy what is on my hard drive, and mount a denial of service attack on the web site of an Emerald critic?

        Also it seems Fractured (Jcool410) apparently made the Vlife viewer, (which has CopyBot type features)…

        /me clicks ‘Add or Remove Programs”
        ———————————————————————-

  10. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

  11. Glad to see you’re moving on, LGG. I hope your work with Virtual Ability restores your morale, and we see some of your contributions make their way over into Snowstorm.

  12. Thanks for this, Greg! You are a very trusted person, every ounce of respect that everyone has for you is 100% earned in my honest opinion. It’s good to see that one person out of all the developers that went into MS is still honest and more concerned about people being able to have fun with a trusted binary than having power in a virtual world. The people who made Emerald with you being not only your co-workers, but friends of you, I hope that it hasn’t scarred you too much. Trust is a hard thing to have now adays, and a hard thing to give as well.

    I’m also happy you’ve decided to leave Modular Systems. You’re too smart and WAY too much of a real, good person to be in a group where you’re under appreciated and not given full credit for what should be credited. Hopefully now that they’re losing their good developer, Modular Systems can finally be put to rest.

    Good luck on all of your future work! I hope everyone who has been using Emerald either decides to switch to your client or at least the LL-released one.

  13. I’m using Emergence, no problems… Guess it would be wise to change my password too, in case they have been harvesting those too.

    Good luck in the future LGG, I wish you well…

  14. THANK YOU for this viewer LGG and I hope you will change your m ind and find that updating will be worth your time.

    If nothing else, the Emerald viewer proved that they had what people wanted. With so many of us no longer willing to use it, there is a need for an equal alternative.

    Emergence is it. We want some one we can trust. That’s you.

    Enjoy your time with VirtAb. They are a great group of folks & a very worthy cause.

  15. Kudos on yet more ossim work. I recently had a format and when I went to look for Emerald, (The only viewer that actually works on my hardware out of 8 I’ve tried.. :/) and then learned ofall the Hullaballoo. Always trusted and admired your coding and I will be definately going to follow your work in the future. 😀

  16. Mahalo Lordgreg!! You are a great guy and I support you.
    aloha

  17. Thanks so much for this LGG, it is way appreciated!!!!

  18. I’ve been using emerald almost since it began. It sucks that this happened.. i can imagine your sense of betrayal. Its tough to get over something like that, from ‘friends’ and workmates.
    I”m downloading emergence now

    hugs

  19. As soon as it was announced you were off the Emerald Team, I did my own research and uninstalled Emerald. I loved that viewer but I trusted your judgment having been a user of your products since before the Greenlife days.
    I’m using Imprudence now and would love to try Emergence but “The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect”
    That leads me to two conclusions; either I need to install the LL client (please say no!) and/or, you need to update this thing (please say yes!)
    In the words of Elmo; A little help please!
    Great news about finding a new start with Virtual Ability.
    As the mother of a disabled child who is already creating content on a standalone open sim, I wish you well and hope your journey will bring you the success and satisfaction you deserve.

  20. I keep my fingers crossed for you, LordGreg 🙂

  21. hi im having problems with voice on your viewr what can i do to fix it

    • ill put a issue up with a possible solution now on the google code page

      • ty

  22. Thank you for all you’re giving explanations for what happened … I just do not understand if you just delete the file you indicated … if you just uninstall Emerald … or if you have to reset the PC to completely eliminate the problem … I would appreciate an answer …

    • if you only consider the discovered issues shown so far, simply not running emerald would work, uninstall not necessary. If you want to assume the worst, probably best to uninstall.

  23. […] dei computer su cui emerald girava. E’ altrettanto vero però che lo stesso lordGregGreg sta distribuendo una versione chiamata Emergence con tutto software di natura […]

  24. So glad to hear you have found an outlet for your prodigious skills LGG. You are very kind to have made a viewer to help us retain the excellent functionality that Emerald provided.

    As the dolphins once said… “So long and thanks for all the fish!”

  25. […] you are at it, please read LordGregGreg Back’s latest post titled Past, Present, Future to learn more about the future of the Emergence Viewer. ch_client = "romelo"; ch_type = […]

  26. Thank you soooo much LGG!!!

  27. Tried the Viewer and i love it! and i feel safer in using this viewer more than emerald now (since it is like it) Thanks!

  28. Thanks for the update Mr No Updates 😛
    BTW, what’s with the bridge now?
    Is it safe?
    Does it even work with Emergence?

  29. Thanks for this LGG, If you do continue to update you will be followed by alot!

  30. Thanks for this viewer LGG! I love it! I really really hope you continue to update it, you have a follower here for sure!

  31. one thing i havnt seen pointed out … which is why i am chooseing to leave emerald… is this…. what makes everyone think that emerald is still safe? Yes the evil avi who put the code in has left and stepped down from emerald (or so we are told) BUT, what is to keep him/her from making an alt and working for them again? How do we know that emerald didnt plan this? really? I am not going to be the one to find out… lol Thanks Greg downloading new viewer now.

    • thats even assuming those who were responsible for hiding and encrypting that code left, and they havn’t.

      • Exactly my point. =) I hopped on your emergence tonight for a few mins… works awsome… easy to manouver. I truely hope you keep updateing it and working on it to supercede all those other ones =) I will be using it and if you dont mind I will refere it to the people I know using emerald (and I know a lot). so will be posting the link in my group notices. Thanks again.

  32. Thanks for creating a clean nice viewer LGG. In all honesty, I had never thought any of the bad would had happened at emerald, especially not what caused you to leave it. However, I am glad to see you at least are still around, and hope that you will continue on in this endeavor to make Emergence.

    I mean you could be like KirstenLee is with Kirsten’s viewer, I know I and others, especially the ones that had warned me about what was happening before I got wind of it on your blog and other sites they were searching on about the fiasco. We all would use and continue to use your client as it is one awesome client, and we do at least trust you. We don’t trust anyone on the new Emerald Team, but we do definitely trust you.

    I would hope that you reconsider and continue to work on the viewer you have now.

  33. Thanks for this explanations, and i would like to ask… how about the mac users?
    what we will use now? the temporary uploads are crucial to my work, there is an viewer for mac with that option?

    • 😡
      i don’t know enough to say, probably best to do your own research. I’ve tried to get a mac build working, is hard.

    • if it’s an Intel Mac imprudence has the temporary upload feature
      http://imprudenceviewer.org

  34. Greg could you comment for us please on LL’s instructions to the Emerald Team via ModSys blog Aug25th regarding the instruction for them not to use the llku.dll file in order to become compliant. Emergence has that dll and I am wondering whether LL will forbid its use by all TPV?

    • Emerald seems to have an entire list of specific requirements before they are allowed back on the tpvd, at this time however, no policy changes have been made to the tpv http://secondlife.com/corporate/tpv.php , and with LL’s request that Emerald keep these new changes private.. really looks like they are not meant for anyone else. I will try and get more information about this and update emergence if I learn of any change. Till then, llkdu is a dynamically linked library, which has special exception in the GPL. I do not have the rights to distribute llkdu, as LindenLabs are the only people that do therefore the solution currently is the option you see within the installer to download it (which is a automated process, go to secondlife.com, download snowglobe, extract llkdu from it, then copy it into emergence).
      Looks fine every way I see it, but im not a lawyer nor am I LL (who have the final ruling) , hopefully I can get some more information.

  35. Thanks so much for this!

  36. Hiya! I installed Emergence and i like it and i thank you LGG, there’s only one thing i don’t like: why do the Emergence users have the Viewer 2.0 tag?

    • i am unable to create new viewer tags. That is a system modularsystems deals with. So by default i just leave it at what is in lindens clothing protection.

  37. What’s 1.5.0.2, and do I need to install it if I have 1.5.0.1 running OK?

    • it contains a fix for a cosmetic only reference to modsystems, and a fix for the uninstaller. Not necessary to download.

  38. I’ve always been as vocal as I could on how important Virtual Ability is, so to see you make that commitment even minus all the rest makes you a hero in my book.

    While not an Emerald user all that much, I do have friends who have asked about a replacement and the one others mention the most didn’t seem like the easy move I bet they hoped . This? They might not even notice.

    A lot of people are talking about restoring a viewer to it’s position or trying to slip into the that spot with a new one, repaired their reputation, or milking this for hits or audience, but you really seem to less about about you which I so rare I can’t parse it out and I’m bad with words in any case.

    Just keep doing what you do.

  39. I have to say I absolutley LOVE this viewer… except for one thing…. is there anyway to incorporate the 2.0 viewers outfit setup with the link function to outfit items instead of the old version of having to move them to a new folder ? Cuz I really do like that feature LOL

  40. Downloaded, installed and ran it. It’s pretty quick in loading images/textures in-world.

  41. Even in the German community there are devils. I feel with you in these difficult times. Take all the time you need.Good luck in the future LGG, I wish you well…

  42. I hope you will keep us updated on when the Emerald People move to releasing new software under totally different name.

    Can’t trust them again

  43. I think what you have done and continue to do is amazing! The effort and heart you put into your projects is just that – amazing.

  44. You say “do not ever trust binaries that you do not fully trust the source of!” Very wise.
    There’s a video posted on YouTube showing Arabella (new ‘clean’ trustworthy Emerald boss), Phox (Emerald developer) and others discussing putting channel spoofing in a new version of Emerald. Sounds like they are expecting it to be banned soon, this is a way round it…

  45. Just after I posted that, this appeared
    http://emeraldscandal.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-and-i-feel-fine/

  46. I just don’t care anymore… except about the features. You come highly recommended, LGG. I no longer care about emerald’s history. I am using it because of what it can do; no camera constraints, handy text commands, force groundsit anywhere, doubleclick teleport. I really appreciate what you’ve done, LGG, and I hope you keep it up. You’ve preserved what we loved about emerald while cleaning away all that we hate. Good luck!

  47. I’m so glad I was recommended to try this viewer. I felt really unsafe using Emerald due to the latest happenings but I felt the other viewers lacked certain features that were important to me. This viewer is perfect! Thanks!

  48. I love this viewer but my avatar will not download and will not rebake so if anyone can help me I really would appreciate it thanks 🙂

    • Sadly, you will now be back on some other viewer.
      I had same problem and followed someone’s advice. Told to go to Lindens viewer 2, where all rezzed after a few mins. Then back to Emergence and all worked fine.

      We just hope the fantastic LGG will work long hours, burning the candles to make Emergence 2.0

      Fluff

  49. Nice work, THANK YOU!!!

  50. Dearest LGG,
    Thanks to you, Emergence has made SL spectacularly better playground. Sad about Phoenix and now sad about Linden forcing all 3rd world viewers.

    So hope you will bring Ermergence up to latest spc. again. Understand if don’t. But talk about quality and immediately Lord Greg Greg comes straight to mind. *smile*

    Thank you for the wonderful, albeit short time I had the sheer pleasure of using your viewer.
    RLV haven’t updated yet either and that was another great asset of yours, being built in.

    *Hugs* and thanks again.

    Fluff


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