A Shameful Disgrace

August 15, 2010 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

I’ve been a professional programmer for nearly four decades now. I’ve worked on all manner of projects and systems from mainframe megalithic code piles to ultra-tiny microprocessor controlled doo-dads. But one thing I have always retained across every job has been a sense of honesty, fair play and integrity.

If you’re a programmer, you know this question all too well. “Hey, can you hack into …?” People ask it for various reasons, usually petty personal ones, sometimes not so petty and sometimes not so clearly answered. But my answer has always been the same … no thank you.

Recently I have posted in the Second Life Commerce forums about the disgraceful website the Linden Lab Commerce team has put out there under the banner of the Marketplace. Their total lack of respect for both customers and merchants, the shoddy manner in which they released a barely functional pre-alpha abomination, and then their spotty, on and off communication with the people that most need it has had me fuming a time or twenty.

But today all of those fell to nothing in one simple blog post that sucked the life and pleasure out of me. It was a blog post made by LordGregGreg Back, late of the Emerald Development team.

In his post, he is both apologist and outraged developer. He blows the covers off something that was added into the Emerald Viewer code by others on the team. And not just added in, but purposely and willfully kept secret, encrypted to prevent detection, obfuscated from other team members, and then lied about when confronted head on.

As I mentioned at the top, the one thing that has typified my career (and netted me some choice jobs in high-security projects) has been my personal integrity. Well the idiots that saw fit to besmirch Emerald’s squeaky clean reputation just destroyed not only their reputations for all time to come, but they robbed every single Emerald user of the TRUST that was key to its success.

I don’t know what malfunction made them decide to play stupid hacker games with the Emerald Viewer, and frankly I don’t give a damn. All I know is they did … and now 70% of the people using Second Life that also used, depended on and praised the Emerald Viewer just took a head shot from which there is no graceful recovery.

Shame on you guys. SHAME SHAME and MORE SHAME!! You have shown you are below contempt and certainly below forgiveness. You have taken the most precious quality of any highly personal software system … and trashed it needlessly.

LordGregGreg .. you may not ever read my words, but I want you to know that I understand your personal turmoil in the decision you’ve just made. I can tell you that where I am today is due in large part to having faced and made those same decisions in my career too. You are not alone, but you ARE worthy of a large thank you. And an apology for the criticism that will surely come your way now.

To everyone else, I will say with every ounce of earnest emotion in me, the actions of these few cretins that saw fit to hide, lie and steal from their loyal customers … that is NOT what typifies a true professional. Any doubts you may have should be weighed in the scale of truth that almost all of us that sling code (and your personal details) around through today’s computer systems, do so with the UTMOST respect for your rights of privacy and security. And we are ashamed for what a tiny few have done to shatter than tender bond.


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Comments

2 Comments on A Shameful Disgrace

  1. mode on Wed, 25th Aug 2010 8:34 PM
  2. So, a dynamic link library that is only meant to encode what viewer was used into uploaded images that had a bug where it may reveal in certain circumstances the user of the system is equal to stealing from loyal customers.

    This has got to be some of the most loose logic I have heard in ages. I can’t see “stealing”, I can’t even see Emerald customers involved (someone who pays for goods or services).

  3. Darrius Gothly on Wed, 25th Aug 2010 9:27 PM
  4. @mode – First off there was no reason to encode anything in an image comment. That measure was overstepping the line between good service and skullduggery. They wanted to hide something in the data and they blew it. Even if they hadn’t been discovered, the act of hiding data, building in back doors and otherwise using the guise of user-friendly software to carry out some personal gain agenda is wrong. What they stole wasn’t money or property. What they stole was far more valuable and less tangible. They stole trust. They stole the feeling of superiority we Emerald users had amassed. What they stole was the feeling of confidence that they built by making a damn good program. And then they compounded it with that dumb trick of “poking” some detractor’s website. Yeah .. kids playing thomps on the playground .. that’s all it was. And kids don’t need to be in charge of software as important to so many people as Emerald was to us all. Was … and now .. may not ever be again.