Friday, February 26, 2010

The new name of the RLV (yes, really !)

Hi there,

Ok so it is done, settled, taped, fastened, tightened, locked, double-locked, welded, and I even added a drop of glue just to be sure it wouldn't budge anymore.

The new name for the fomer Restrained Life Viewer is... Tadaa !

Restrained Love Viewer !

I actually like this name better than any other one, and many people have suggested it yesterday. It delivers a very positive message, even, and despite still having a fetish flavor, it can be used in mainstream without much afterthought. And it's cute ! And more importantly, I know first-hand that the Legal department of Linden Lab is 100% okay with it. Finally !

Now we can start working at updating everything that needs updating, but before let me just explain a few things.

Firstly, "Living" was too "confusingly similar" to "Life", according to LL's words, so keeping it was bound to raise issues. This was not a legal one though. I would not have been sued for making a viewer that used a forbidden word or a similar one. It was barely a trademark issue actually. No, it was much simpler than this : LL does not want to give the possibility to any viewer to pretend to be official in any way, direct or implied, and that requires to forbid all the names that could lead the new users into believing a viewer has been made by LL. I can understand that. I don't approve, nobody in their right mind would have confused "Restrained Living" or even "Restrained Life" with "Second Life", but I understand. The policy is heavy handed and poorly worded, but it is their platform, and they reserve themselves the right to accept who they want on their grid according to their own terms.

Secondly, mark my words here, Linden Lab does not dislike me or the RLV at all, nor the BDSM crowd in general. They know we are responsible people, and that we share their interest in making this virtual world a better place. The RLV is one example of this interest, there are many others, and they know it. Their Legal department is not populated with top executives who have life-or-death power upon us Residents, but with people who try to edict rules to protect themselves when it comes to providing us powerful tools to work along with them. This is very much like handing a gun to someone hoping you will have your back covered. The last thing you want is to have the weapon pointed at you ! Granted, this was not done in the best way, nor at the right time (it should have been done the day the viewer went open-source, rather), and it seems the policy will be reworded in the next few days anyway. This double name change only made me waste a few hours and bounce up and down a little, but that's as far as the damage went. No weasel has been hurt during the take.

Thirdly, I would like to publicly thank Soft Linden for his patience and help through this. Without his help, I would have released a "Restrained Living Viewer" and it would have been banned from the grid. Thanks to him, I am sure it is not going to happen. Better yet, Soft offers to rename the groups that have "Restrained Life" in their name to "Restrained Love", rather than letting the group owners create new groups and do all the work that implies themselves ! For the trouble, y'know. That's Soft. Thank you Soft.

Fourthly, the amount of support I got from everyone was simply amazing. I cannot count the number of kind messages I received during the last few days, and this is very humbling... Thank you all !

It's ironic, when you think about it. This is "just" a name change, and in this case "just" two letters. That's all. On a project that everybody refers to by its acronym anyway. That's a lot of noise for not much, and I apologize for that.

Have fun and thank you again !


Thursday, February 25, 2010

New name ? Not so fast.

Argh. Now I'm going to really blow a gasket. I've been told that "Restrained Living Viewer" INFRINGES Linden Lab's policy about third party viewers. No more info for now. Just that it is not going to be named that way for the moment. I know I have been blogging that it was settled a few hours ago, and now I am forced back to square one. Just please hold on before changing your scripts or whatever, the new name of the RLV is NOT chosen yet. Again.

Sorry about that.

RestrainedLife changes name (final)

Hello again,

After much discussion with many people, I have found out that most of the suggestions for the new name of the RLV tended to converge independently towards "Restrained Living Viewer". I kinda like this name, even though I originally wanted to take make it less fetishy... But one killer argument is that the viewer should be as easy to find (on Google or elsewhere) with its new name than with its original one. "Red Light" would not lead you anywhere near the RLV unfortunately. Another killer argument is that "Red Light" is actually the name of an adult-oriented 3D platform that is somewhat a competitor to Second Life. No less ! Proves that the name was not so bad, but someone had the same idea first.

So it is settled now, after much thought, decision and indecision... to Restrained Living Viewer. Not "Red Light Viewer" as I initially planned, but that name did not have much meaning, it was like a placeholder. "Restrained Living Viewer" has much more substance to it, is very close to the original name, and keeps the two most important words of the three : "Restrained" and "Viewer". Apologies to those who hoped the new name would be less fetishy, I really tried as hard as I could, but hey, after all it is not that adult-oriented, is it ?

In a nutshell, here is a recap of the most important reasons why I'm choosing this name among the others :
- It abbreviates to "RLV"
- It is very close to the original name, so it won't be a huge change in the mind of the users
- Losing "Restrained" would lose many search results in Google or other search engines (including within SL), and that is one of the best argument to keeping it
- It is more positive than "Restrained Life", which has a sense of coercion that "Restrained Living" does not have (the latter sounds more like a choice of life rather than an imposition). Yes I know this is subtle, but it counts

Ok so now that this is settled, I can start working at changing the name everywhere I can. Code, manuals, API, scripts... it will take a while before everything is clean again, but you won't notice most of the changes anyway. And I will not rush, Linden Lab is giving us 3 months to make the move. So scripters do not need to rush either. Let's all do this smoothly and nobody will get hurt.

What you will notice is a new command called @versionnew that will return "RestrainedLiving viewer v1.23.0 (SL 1.23.5)", exactly like @version which will remain unchanged. Note that "RestrainedLiving" will be one word, without a space. @versionnum will remain unchanged as well, of course.

I want to thank all of you who have helped me with the choice of the new name, and for your support through your kind messages, notecards, blog posts... I really, really appreciate your concern.

Love you all,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RestrainedLife changes name

Hello all,

Today Linden Lab has decided to publish their new Third Party Viewer policy that you can read here

To begin with, this policy is unacceptable. A Third Party Viewer Developer (with a big "D" !) must NOT be held responsible for whatever use their users do with their work. It makes no sense, is not viable in court, and nobody in their right mind would even think of imposing this. As soon as you download an application, as a user you are entirely responsible for what you do with it. You are responsible for what transits through your wifi router, too. And you are responsible for your driving style when you buy a car. I could go on and on. I am NOT responsible for what you do with the RLV, guys, and never will.

Let me emphasize the one point that makes this change necessary :

# Your Third-Party Viewer name must not be confusingly similar to or use any part of a Linden Lab trademark, including “Second,” “Life,” “SL,” or “Linden.” For example:

1. You must not have a Third-Party Viewer name that is “________ Life” where “________” is a term or series of terms.

That's right, Linden Lab forbids us from using "Life" in the name of any Third Party Viewer from now on. Therefore "RestrainedLife" must be renamed or die. And it won't die.

First of all, let me just say that I am personally offended. No, disgusted. No, mortified. Well I feel anything you can think about except satisfied with it. I'm appalled that they dare stabbing their most faithful supporters (the Developers) in the back like this, to protect themselves from a handful of griefers. They are openly admitting that they have no weapon to counteract them, or worse, that we (their supporters) are in their way in this stupid arms race and must get ridden of. This viewer has been around for 2 years and a half now, and this policy is only one day old, but who am I to believe they'd have respect for what is already in place when making a change to their platform. This new policy is hurting every legit third party viewer, while not doing harm to any of the custom and privately modified griefer ones.

On SLU and other forums, some developers are even saying they are going to quit, being so disgusted by that new policy. Let me just rephrase what Desmond Shang said to one of them : "Give it a night's sleep, don't give up now, don't take any rash decision before waiting a day or two, since this policy is likely to change again soon anyway". Best advice that could be given to someone whose 2 years and a half work has been thrown down the toilet in a day. Because I am not the only one in this case, and I am not quitting. But it sure will be a hell of a task to rename the RLV, considering how broadly that name has spread now. The damage would have been nil had this policy been released the day the SL viewer became open-source, in January 2007 ! We are February 2010 now ! Think of how implanted the older viewers are now !

Let me just remind one thing to Linden Lab (and I know some of their employees are reading this blog) : We, as the Third Party Viewer Developers, with all the capitals at the right places, are adding value to your platform. We are working our asses off to make your own project better ! Most of us are not paid for this, and do this as a hobby, albeit in a very dedicated and consistent way. In my own case, yes I do know that the RLV does increase sales in-world, and not only mine. Simply because it makes your platform more attractive ! I have been told countless times that the RLV was the reason why some users signed up in the first place ! And other viewers are having the same effect ! And this is how you thank us ?

Having said this, yes RestrainedLife was bound to change its name eventually, this was in the plans. Having grown from a marginal enhancement to scripts in-world to a full-fledged LSL<->Viewer API, and having moved from being used by a handful of hardcore BDSM practitioners to a significant amount of the SL population, many of which having nothing to do with us fetish players, "Restrained" is a word that was bound to be replaced with something more vanilla. Yes, I wanted to keep "Life" in the name, now I can't anymore, but that doesn't matter.

Which brings me to the real relevant part of this post, after venting a little. The new name. The consequences of changing the name are tremendous, considering the number of scripts in-world that use the name "RestrainedLife" to refer to this viewer. Fortunately, "RestrainedLife" is a bit long to write, so many people prefer using the acronym "RLV", since it is a buzzword everybody knows. Which is why, in an attempt to control some of the damage at least, the new name must still abbreviate to "RLV". Ok I've kept you hanging on long enough, here is the new name...

"Restrained Life Viewer" hereby becomes "Red Light Viewer"

Why this name ? This is not a knee-jerk reaction, I have given it a lot of thought, and actually "Red Light" makes sense for many reasons.

It is usually associated with shady life, where prostitutes put on the red light at their windows to indicate their are available to new clients. There is even a song, sang by Police, which is a group I used to listen to a lot when I was a child. "Rox-ane... You don't have to put on the red light...". But I digress.

A red light is also something you can visualize easily, as opposed to a "restrained life" which is an abstract concept. And red is somewhat associated with forbidden, temptation, and punishment. And this is also my favorite color, so there.

It also has its downsides, unfortunately.

For starters it still sticks to the area of adult play. But how to get rid of that adult aftertaste when most of the features of the RLV are about restricting the user from doing this or that ? It is quite singular in that respect, as it is meant to be used by a quite singular kind of people. And if any viewer connecting to SecondLife must be associated with adult activities, this is this one.

Secondly it is, well, red. And one of its implementations is now part of the Emerald Viewer, which is, well, green. Uh-huh. Right. They will forgive me this I think.

Thirdly this new name has less ties to what the viewer actually does than the original one. This is a direct consequence of me wanting to dissociate it from BDSM play (while still staying adult), rather than because of the new policy.

So let's keep calling it "the RLV". No matter what "RLV" actually stands for, be it "RestrainedLife Viewer", or "Red Light Viewer", or "Really Lame Viewer"... all that matter is what it does, and this does not change one bit.

I'm only asking the scripters who use it to look into their scripts and documentation, and to either replace "RestrainedLife" with "Red Light", or just to mention that the viewer has changed name and that all reference to "RestrainedLife" now means "Red Light", or whatever you want to do as long as it is clear what viewer you are talking about. This may be a lot of work for some. It certainly will be a lot of work for me, and will take place in the weeks to come.

Oh of course, this is still subject to change. I have not started anything yet, but as of today, "Red Light Viewer" really grows in me, it is a name that sticks, and I cannot think of anything better yet.