Updated Timeline

This timeline will always be up-to-date with what’s happened so far. If you have no clue what’s going on, read through this first.

What the hell is going on? If you don’t want to read through all of this stuff, here’s the summarized version: the Emerald devs all have extensive histories of illegal activities, have numerous banned alts, and purposely shun good-intentioned devs. Most recently, they knowingly and intentionally turned all stable and beta releases of Emerald into a massive botnet that performed a DDoS attack on a critic’s webserver, wasting 2.1 TB of bandwidth, which is a federal crime. They then lied continuously about the act, releasing several news statements, the comments of which were continuously moderated to prevent dissenting opinions from showing up on the Emerald website, which is generally trusted by Emerald fans over legitimate whistleblowing sites (such as this one). Linden Lab has responded by confirming the DDoS and previous illegal activity, removing Emerald from the compliant third-party viewer directory, and threatening to block it entirely from accessing the grid if undisclosed changes aren’t made within a non-specified period of time. They then removed it as planned and banned several Emerald developer accounts, the owners of which have started a crusade against the Lab, even though nobody’s listening anymore.

This timeline is organized chronologically; if any new info warrants a new point, it will be placed approximately at the time when the act occurred.

  • Fractured collected IP addresses linked to avatars in the Emerald Point sim and the RegAPI. This allowed Emerald devs (most of which used the system regularly) to geolocate specific SL users, among other things one can do with an IP address.
  • Hazim Gazov discovered this system. Phox and Fractured then hacked his voice account so he couldn’t use SL voice. They then stalked him from sim to sim (without map rights).
  • Phox threatened to burglarize Hazim’s house and steal his actual computer.
  • Fractured illegally distributed Hazim’s chat logs, laughing at how he trolled him.
  • Phox called a phone number that was listed in Hazim’s Linden Lab user account. It turned out to be fake, and he only called the parent of a student. Unfortunately, harassment charges weren’t filed. Presumably, he hacked his way into the Lab’s records.
  • Hazim confronted Fractured and threatened to release the entire contents of the datamine to the public. They reached a compromise: Fractured would release the names of the accounts listed in the datamine and the people who had access to it, but no other information (such as IP addresses), in addition to removing it entirely from his servers. However, the contents were eventually released in full, and the names of those listed in the datamine were posted to the Alphaville Herald a few months back. Some screenshots and instructions on how it was used were also posted. An LSL script was released as well. (lawlinter.net has been used for a variety of other illegitimate uses as well.)
  • Phox and Fractured both conspire to get Hazim’s ISP to cancel their service because of the leak, which they also did numerous times to the creator of the NeilLife viewer, but were ultimately unsuccessful. However, Phox still claims he was successful, and brags regularly about it.
  • Fractured and several other Emerald devs (which are still on the team) begin work on the Onyx project, an entirely malicious viewer designed to find security holes in SL. It was also designed to harass and stalk users; however, this functionality was not discovered until its source code was leaked. The devs quickly claimed that it was an old copy and that the newer builds didn’t have those features, until the newest source code was revealed, causing the entire Onyx project to stop and the site to be taken offline. The Onyx viewer is still used, but only by spoofing the Emerald tag and channel name, despite claims from the Emerald dev team to the contrary, as alternate methods of IDing viewers (for example, the emkdu.dll exploit explained below) have proven it is still being used from time to time. Also, there were bots being used to test various viewers and whatnot, most of which has been hidden from the cover-up that it was all just to track various copybot viewers’ exploits.
  • Skills Hak begins selling the Gemini CDS Ban Relay, a system similar to BanLink, but instead it is fully automatic. It uses a QuickTime exploit to determine a user’s identifying information (which is technically illegal per SL policies) and hosts the data on the Gemini server, not unlike the incident with Fractured and Phox way back in the beginning. It’s still being sold, and false positives are being reported, despite Skills’s claims. The system has been cloned repeatedly, proving that it’s not a hard exploit, and that Skills is mostly just conning people by exploiting their fear of copybot. It’s also easily bypassable, rendering it generally useless against skilled copybotters. Also, the LSL code was leaked, showing that it’s nowhere near worth the L$700/month that it’s being sold for. Warning: it’s not recommended to copy this script in-world unless you’re 100% sure you’ve changed every single link to the actual Gemini database; otherwise Skills may notice you’re using it without a subscription.
  • The emkdu.dll file, a driver that speeds up texture loading times similar to the llkdu.dll file, was discovered to leak information regarding any Emerald user’s window title and installation directory. (This was not original functionality in the licensed copy.) This allowed anyone that knew how to decrypt the simple encryption to view one’s installation directory, which (depending on the user’s Windows username) revealed one’s real life name. It also allowed users to determine which version of Emerald one was using, and, if it was another client based off of Emerald, what client it was (for example, Onyx).
  • The Emerald devs claimed to have removed this functionality. However, they only strengthened the encryption, which was also eventually cracked to reveal that nothing had changed. The encryption was changed one more time, and has not yet been decrypted.
  • Because of the entire emkdu.dll fiasco, LordGregGreg, a core Emerald dev, decided to voluntarily leave the project. He has since compiled his own viewer, Emergence, based off of the latest Emerald source code, evading any shady additions they may have put into the Emerald binaries as well. The Emerald team disparaged his position within the devs when he left and went on to defame his character, both officially and unofficially. LordGregGreg also wrote a fucking metric shit-ton of posts regarding the whole situation. LordGregGreg also experienced resistance to his good ideas a few times as well.
  • Fractured decided to add 32 hidden iframes in a single pixel that loaded a little over 4.3 MB of data from Hazim Gazov’s website every time someone opened the Emerald viewer. In total, an estimate based on the number of hits Hazim received placed the bandwidth stolen at 2.1 TB, not including the bandwidth stolen from the users (which would also total up to 2.1 TB). This code was inserted into the actual page on their website that all Emerald clients load on startup, so all stable and beta versions of Emerald were affected. This turned the entire Emerald userbase into an unknowing botnet to carry out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Hazim’s server. It ultimately failed, which prompted Arabella to claim it was not a DDoS (because apparently, an attempted DDoS is not a DDoS in her eyes, even though Wikipedia defines it as “an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users” – note the lack of the word “successful”) and she released news articles stating such. Due to the nature of the DDoS, the server could have sent malware to the Emerald viewer if the webmaster desired, which was very possible since the Emerald devs claimed the website hosted malicious software. The Emerald devs, particularly Arabella, denounced the third party as malicious and a criminal, and refused to issue an apology for their attack. They still haven’t.
  • Philip and Soft Linden (among other Lab employees) begin discussing banning Emerald entirely from accessing the grid.
  • Two more core Emerald devs left the team. Arabella claims to leave the team as well, however, she never officially does.
  • Arabella continues posting to the Modular Systems blog, claiming it was done only by Fractured, and he was disciplined. She also starts up the story that it was only done to boast about Emerald traffic to Hazim. Some Emerald users begin circulating the rumor that it was actually done to increase Hazim’s website’s traffic, which is an even worse explanation. She also continues deleting comments on the Modular Systems blog that she deems as “negative”, i.e. they tell the truth.
  • A few YouTube videos surface, revealing that the entire Emerald dev team knew Fractured had been planning on adding the DDoS code, but did nothing to stop him until it was discovered. Arabella herself didn’t want to “scare the users”, so she made up the story about traffic. She is also quoted as considering removing Pathfinder ex-Linden‘s comment because she deems it as “negative” (the same test she gives all comments, which only the Emerald-supporting ones pass), but eventually allows it and continues to make up a story as a response.
  • Emerald is removed from the Third Party Viewer Directory. The Directory is a voluntary list of third-party viewers that conform to the TPV Policy. Emerald users (or perhaps the Emerald devs) began circulating the rumor that it was only removed to faciliate the change in ownership to Arabella, even though it was removed before that occured.
  • Arabella is given ownership of the Emerald Viewer project from Fractured, who resigned from the project with a blog post explaining how he was sorry for what had happened. Arabella continues to censor comments on this blog post as well.
  • Arabella and Jessica (the project leader and support director, respectively) appear on treet.tv’s live streaming show, Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe. Nothing important is really discussed, except for how Emerald will now be in Arabella’s pseudo-control and that it is being totally restructured for transparency between devs (supposedly) and a more democratic system for code changes. The interviewer, Paisley, asks no critical questions, instead opting for “what is going on?” and “how do you feel about this?”. Jessica read from a script most of the time that seems eerily similar to the accompanying Emerald blog post and started to cry near the end of the program, and Arabella seemed angry and vengeful. She continued to beg for mindless faith from her customers. The IRC server was attacked three times by an Emerald supporter, who disconnected everyone not using a standalone IRC client 3 times during the program.
  • Linden Lab issues their ultimatum through Philip, who writes a blog post that is sent out to every single Second Life user’s email. Basically, it sets the Lab’s stance on the subject, validates the attack as a DDoS (despite the fact that some fans continue to argue that it wasn’t), and confirms that “shit is being done to fix this mess Mark left me with”. Emerald is left with a considerable drop in users. While the number of third-party viewer users remains fairly steady, Emerald begins to lose many users to Imprudence and other similar viewers. Some users begin accepting the Viewer 2 interface, albeit mainly through third-party viewers such as Kirstens S20.
  • Qarl and Data ex-Lindens (Qarl Fizz and Vortex Saito, respectively) are rumored to have left the Emerald project, emailing Philip to announce that they want to have nothing to do with the Emerald team, nor anyone in it. The Emerald team has yet to confirm this, and did not respond to requests for comment.
  • Emerald finally retorts by revealing some of the Lab’s requirements for maintaining access to the grid. However, only the requirement to completely remove emkdu.dll is revealed; the rest of the post is generally fluff and ass-covering on Jessica and Arabella’s behalf. Also, there’s a bit more “please Emerald is not evil trust us” junk, which seems to sway all of the commenters – some actually go so far as to claiming Linden Lab is purposely crippling Emerald by forcing removal of emkdu.dll, making textures render slower. However, one commenter seems humorously torn on the subject, still going ahead to bash the Lab but claiming that removal of emkdu.dll actually speeds up the rendering process: “Swell, so LL wants all future iterations of this viewer crippled so far as rendering is concerned… I found the viewer actually runs faster for me without [emkdu.dll].” The same commenter goes on to conjure up a wild conspiracy theory thinking the ex-Lindens are actually moles checking out the devs. More complications arise, despite the heavy comment moderation. For example, an Emerald dev responds to a critical question about CDS and Onyx, claiming that neither are related to Emerald in any way, even though a response points out that the developer of CDS is involved in Emerald development, according to a recent blog post. Of course, no response has been made to that comment.
  • Phox instructs a user to re-download emkdu.dll, violating Linden Lab’s request to stop using it. He claims that it doesn’t violate the GPL if it’s distributed separately, but that’s not what Linden Lab complained about – instead, they required emkdu.dll not to be used at all.
  • The Emerald source code goes public (except, originally, emkdu.dll was still included in the Windows repository, so it was temporarily removed, then replaced claiming that it was just corrupted). Users continue to believe that the binary installer and binary executables still only contain the source code.
  • Fractured is revealed to still be a part of Emerald, along with Phox, Skills, and Discrete, of course, despite his claim that he had left.
  • Emerald officially ends. Phox releases one final Emerald build that includes channel spoofing to circumnavigate any Lab-imposed bans on Emerald.
  • Jessica reveals the original Linden Lab correspondence, including the Lab’s requirements that Arabella refused to reveal.
  • Jessica announces the Phoenix Viewer, a fork of Emerald.
  • Linden Lab announces that the Emerald Viewer will be blocked on Wednesday, August 8th, 2010 at 10:00 AM PST.
  • Arabella spews a bunch of shit on the MS blog that nobody particularly cares about. Most of it is a lie in an attempt to bring down everyone with her.
  • On Wednesday, August 8th, 2010 at 10:00 AM PST, Emerald is banned, along with Arabella, Phox, and Fractured.
  • Arabella made another blog post full of lies in a further attempt to defame Linden Lab, as she did with LordGregGreg, Jessica, and other people that tried to go against Emerald’s malicious intentions.
  • Emerald returns, but connects to Utherverse’s Virtual World Web, a bad Second Life knockoff.

If you’ve got something to add that I missed, drop me a line in-world (Nelson Jenkins).

Still using Emerald? Now would be a good time to check out your other options.