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Why Libsecondlife is here to stay

After the Copybot-incident (another article from the Washington Post about it) there was one project many blamed actually for this: Libsecondlife. Many people would have liked that this project would be shut down, perhaps even forcefully, or at least that Linden Labs is not endorsing it anymore. But nothing like that has happened. Why?

Well first: because SL is here to stay. Second main reason: many big and not so big companies are entering SL to make their business in, too, or at least to market their RL business. And here starts the problem.

Many RL companies have experiences in standard industry 3d tools like Maya, Poser, AutoCAD and so on. But you cannot use any of them to build anything in SL, since the client or just SL itself lacks a defined interface for 3rd party applications.

Enter here: libsecondlife. The people there have made deep efforts to reverse engineer the protocol used in SL to create such an API. Even if companies want to extend their programs in a way to work with SL directly don't use libsecondlife they can use it as base for their own efforts. The protocol of SL is documented in the source code of libsecondlife, more or less.

And this is the main reason it is here to stay and why LL endorses it. Endorsing the project simply means that they don't have to invest manpower in such an API on their own. Why bother doing it yourself, when someone else is already doing it for free?

Such a project normally starts when a developer tries to scratch a need, not being able to satisfy it otherwise. And reverse engeneering the protocol does not mean reverse engeneering the client, btw. You can do this without it, using proxies (like this one) or using a network sniffer like Wireshark. This is not the first nor the last time something like that happened on the Internet, there is quite a history about protocols being reverse engineered (like Oscar from ICQ, CIFS for Samba and so on).

So, if something like that already happened, and you are the company defining the protocol, there is then the question what to do with it. Work with the guys, ignore them or try them to shut down? The wisest choice is of course to work with them, because when they are going to stumple upon inconsistencies or exploits then for sure they are going to tell it you first.

Also another aspect of this "incidence" is, that if not made by this project itself, sooner or later someone would have tried to reverse engineer the protocol and made such a tool by himself, but if this person/project would then have also a friendly relationship towards you would be another kind of matter.

So this is why Libsecondlife is here to stay: first to make it easier for the content supporting industry to build their own tools and second because it is a vital part for LL to attract even more business into the platform, which is of course good for them.

So it is a win-win situation for both sides.

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