Hypergrid permissions need viewer change

Last month, Linden Lab decided to cut OpenSim off  from its viewer, and, last spring, to force third-party developers to choose between OpenSim and getting the new proprietary Havok pathfinding code.

Viewer developers had three choices — turn down the new proprietary code, stop supporting OpenSim, or fork their viewers.

The Firestorm team decided to fork, and quickly became one of the most popular viewers for OpenSim users. Firestorm is a V3-based viewer, meaning that it supports mesh and media-on-a-prim.

(Image courtesy Firestorm Viewer.)

Now Firestorm has the opportunity to get even closer to OpenSim, by working with developers like Crista Lopes to add ‘Export’ permissions to OpenSim content.

Lopes is the inventor of the hypergrid, an OpenSim core developer, and also a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine.

Currently, a viewer only allows creators to set “Copy,” “Transfer” and “Modify” permissions. Adding an “Export” permission will require changes to the user interface.

An “Export” permission setting for in-world content would allow content creators to decide whether their content can leave a grid.

An “Export” permission can come into play when a region owner decides to save a copy of the entire region as an OAR file, for example. Any items that aren’t owned by the region owner, or don’t have the “Export” permission, would not be saved.

More importantly, the “Export” permission would come into play when a user makes a hypergrid teleport to other grids. They would only be able to access the content that they themselves created, or content with the “Export” permission set.

This level of control would allow commercial grids to turn on hypergrid connectivity without worrying about proprietary content leaving the grid.

It would not protect against “copybot”-type hacking attacks of the type currently used on many closed, commercial grids to steal content. The vast majority of stolen content today originates on and is distributed inside Second Life, simply because of the larger amount of content and larger mass of users on that grid.

There is currently no way to protect against those kinds of attacks.

However, the availability of easy-to-find, reasonably priced legal content may reduce the commercial impact of content piracy, just as iTunes proved that customers would be willing to pay for music that is otherwise available for free on the Web.

An “Export” permission might inspire more creators to move to OpenSim grids, helping build in-world economies.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

6 Responses

  1. A truly elegant idea: brilliantly simple.

  2. whitestarm@gmail.com' WhiteStar Magic says:

    Armin Weatherhax did experiments & test what would be required to change in a viewer and 2 yrs ago indicated that it would not be a major modification/patch. He also indicated then it would piggy back along with the exsiting Copy/Mod/Trans flags and the various floaters within the viewer. While it is more a more complicated affair within OpenSimulator code, the same piggy backing onto the existing perms control could be done. This is not brand new & untried code as the permissions code is well established and throughout the code base.

  3. danny74webster@gmail.com' Dan says:

    Hmm… my viewer takes no notice of any content permissions and can
    import and export anything, I think I prefer my viewer… By the way
    many sim owners in Second Life have actually turned off pathfinding
    because of it’s bugs and increased lag. As a side note, in tests I found Firestorm to be the laggiest viewer out there and prone to crashing.

  4. thirza.in.sl@gmail.com' Thirza says:

    Firestorm is nice, but dear old Imprudence continues to be my fave, for importing and exporting, … plus, nothing cheers me up more than viewing Mesh clothes in Imprudence.

    • danny74webster@gmail.com' Dan says:

      Yes but people like firestorm mainly because of Mesh and you can hide your look at and for avatar physics, personally I find it unstable and bloatware, but sure Mesh can be very nice to see, although not all care about their looks 🙂

  5. Gaga says:

    I use Teapot, Imprudence and Firestorm. I use Teapot in Opensim because it has features built in for Opensim – especially the grid list popup which I have been pushing for and I will be adding my Grid search script to eventually. I use Imprudence as a work hose in Opensim and even SL still because it is less cluttered and enables import and export. I like Firestorm for Mesh of course but I hate all the SL “in your face stuff it promotes and it really dose have a lot in it I don’t need or even understand. I notice too it needs more memory and the demand goes up the longer it runs.

    However, I welcome the development of a Firestorm viewer aimed at Opensim because it should finally mean Opensim is not held back or limited to developments in Second Life. Opensim had Mesh long before SL but it had to wait for SL to catch up before the viewer developers put in the code to run it. Now I think Firestorm could bring out the full potential of Opensim.