Bob Johnson commented to our blog saying...
'So let me get this straight.
-You are using OpenSim, which is reverse engineered from the Second Life client. (Linden I believe allowed Opensim to happen, they could of stopped it)
-You are using Hippo client which is Open Source Second Life therefore all the graphics in your environment are from the viewer which is built by Linden
Yet Linden is the bad one? What do you do if Linden stop allowing you to use their tech? (e.g. viewer) they have a lot of people working on that. You can price lower than Linden because you do not have to pay for viewer developers. What that math says to me is that you are stealing from the company that is feeding you.'
Some might call this gentleman's commments as 'pot stirring', but we feel strongly that if we are a viable company we should be capable of responding to most anyone's concern's and opinions in a professional manner to at least try once to educate and clarify. So here goes, and please forgive the long winded response. We felt it important to point to facts to substantiate our reply, seeing very strong words were used to describe our business, as is evident above.
BOB JOHNSON REPLY:
Hello Bob and thank you for your comments and questions. Many people express similar opinions that simply aren't founded on fact. We like to think its not out of spit of fear of us as competition, but rather out of their devotion to Second Life(r). We can understand the sentiment. After all we're a team of SL veterans, (2005) and Virtual Worlds (Active Worlds 1995).
First, the client was open sources by Phillip Rosedale in January 2007 in hopes that the community WOULD INDEED do exactly as they have, and reinvent it in their own vision.
"We think that if we open source Second Life its product quality will move forward at a pace nobody's ever seen," says Rosedale.
We'd wager the open source community played no small role in achieving the stability we enjoy today in Second Life(r).
Secondly, lets look at the most widely accepted definitions of Reverse Engineering and Re-Engineering and see what side OpenSim falls into. We're quoting this recognized leader in the programmer community:
http://wiki.ercim.eu/wg/SoftwareEvolution/index.php/Terminology, according to Chikofsky Cross 1990.
Reverse engineering is the process of analyzing a subject system to identify the system's components and their interrelationships and create representations of the system in another form or at a higher level of abstraction. Reverse engineering generally involves extracting design artefacts and building or synthesizing abstractions that are less implementation-dependent.
Re-engineering, on the other hand, is the examination and alteration of a subject system to reconstitute it in a new form and the subsequent implementation of the new form. Re-engineering generally includes some form of reverse engineering (to achieve a more abstract description) followed by some form of forward engineering or restructuring. This may include modifications with respect to new requirements not met by the original system.
To say OpenSim is a reverse engineered platform is really not accurate. The history of the OpenSim project started in the fall of 2006, months before the SL client was open sourced on January 2007.
But, if you want real proof that the OpenSim is an animal of a different breed, simply come on in and work in one for a few days. How different is it? Well, if Second Life(r) were to swap out their platform with the OpenSim platform an estimated 50% of the Second Life(r) grid assets to become completely unusable, if not outright crash the server. Why? Because its simply not the same code. That doesn't mean LSL and SL Scritps won't run on OpenSim - they do, but some need a bit of tweaking to perform best.
Also, it should be noted that SpotON3D is NOT a rehash of Second Life(r) OR OpenSim. Many make assumptions in this regard, but we all know what is said about assuming. :P Never was that more true than in this case, as SpotON3D has completely reorganized how a grid is organized, adding in tiered membership systems, security in a technical, social and legal manner and a working economy the permeates the grid experience through its web based selling portal, http://spotonsynergy.com.
All these differences add up to three major improvements many experts have called for as necessary to making the 3D Web a reality - The Universal Registration, Universal Avatar, and the Universal Inventory. There is a fourth - 3D in a web page, which is right around the corner - 3 to 5 years using server side rendering technology that other game industry experts are working to make a reality. Just check out this company's promos: http://onlive.com and you'll get the big picture.
Thirdly, YES, Linden Labs could elect to resend their open source client status and make the 2.0 viewer closed source, but they could not ‘stop’ anyone from using what was out there already - only be able to legally prohibit the use of what new client code they put out. Anything up to that point would still be considered open source code and available for anyone to use as long as they make their changes public and contribute changed back to the source code community as we have.
And lastly, SpotON3D is a six figure and counting commercial project, which in fact does include client and platform programmers. Thanks to their hard work it simply runs better, allowing us to host 120 regions on just two servers. Being able to host so many islands on so few servers is one of many reasons we can price our product so affordably. To call that 'stealing' or saying LL is 'feeding' SpotON3D is just grossly inaccurate, something I hope you can recognize as an unfair statement.
I’d like to think that SLers can look beyond their attachment to Second Life® and see SpotON3D™ for what it is – simply an alternative grid primarily for business, education and social nets and communities, yet, with room for responsible players too. IN OTHER WORDS AN EXPANSION OF THE METAVERSE. We are here to show there is a real industry for people to grow with – not just one company with one vision. Thank you again for your comments and we hope you can find a way to be a tad more open minded, welcome this evolution and become a part of the solution.