At 2pm PST yesterday (friday 2/24) Linden Labs announced that they will change the policy for third party viewers. This change brings a lot of discussion material to the table, as they seem to want to eliminate all third party viewers without actually ban them.
The most discussed change is section 2.k, that states that third party viewers will not be allowed to have any features that the latest version of the Linden Labs viewer doesn’t have. This affects things like Firestorms built in video recorder and avatar radar and the Phoenix object radar.
It also means that V1 and V2-based viewers are at risk, since some of those features have been removed in the LL V3.
Another big change is 2.i and 2.j that states that no system information is allowed to be transmitted to other viewers, and both Firestorm and Phoenix tag system is based on the fact that they can show what viewer others are on. This will affect those viewers ability to show other peoples viewers and also, due to some system specific coding, the ability to change color of the tags.
The complete change, and the LL response is shown bellow.
2.i : You must not display any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of any other Second Life user.
2.j : You must not include any information regarding the computer system, software, or network connection of the user in any messages sent to other viewers, except when explicitly elected by the user of your viewer.
2.k : You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer
We encourage Third Party Developers to continue innovating with unique user interfaces, niche features, and ways of interacting with the virtual world, and we look forward to working in partnership with developers on ideas they have for new or improved shared experiences for all of Second Life. We want to incorporate more innovative new features into Second Life to improve the experience for all users, and we encourage TPV developers to submit proposals through our standard process.
Will this mark the end of SL, or is it something that the third party developers will work around? Who knows, but my bet is that LL will someday realize that the users wants more than they are willing to deliver.