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I’m into viewers and new viewer features. I’m interested in photography, a little machinima, building, and the ability to important and export things I build between OSGrid and Second Life. Most of you know I’m impressed with the Kirsten and the Emerald viewer people. I also like Hippo and Imprudence viewers. All while being underwhelmed by Linden Lab’s SL 2.0 Viewer.

When I started getting comments about the Emerald viewer being crap and I should get a real viewer called ‘Second Life Popular Viewer’ I expected they were another ego-centric narcissistic web persona with little if any social skills. But, that doesn’t make the viewer bad and I was still curious about it.

Of course the comments included links to the viewer and inflife.net. A quick look revealed the main feature is the viewer’s copybot feature. Now that should be a warning as there are a number of viewers claiming to be able to copy anything and export it out of SL or wherever. Many of those viewers are known to be Trojans in that they will steal the user’s ID and Password. That means one needs to see the source code for the viewer, which I don’t find on the site. Even then one needs to compile their copy of the viewer to be safe.

A check shows the Popular Viewer is not to be found in LL’s TPV list. So, it is not an approved Third Party Viewer. If you have not heard about LL’s new policies on which viewers can connect to the SL grid, you need to do some catching up. Use of a problem viewer is part of behavior that can get one’s account suspended. It hasn’t been that long ago that LL cleaned out a bunch of people they caught stealing content.

Another oddity about this viewer is it sells for US$50 or it’s free if you are willing to promote the viewer. This could explain why I’m seeing a new round of comments about the viewer.

So… no source code… no viewer reviews anywhere… no TPV listing… is this a ‘real viewer’ or a ripoff? I turned to the Emerald people over at Modular. They were running the Onyx project and attempting to alert people to copybot problems and scam viewers, that is my description of the project, so I figured they would know. So, I posted on the Emerald forum SL Pop Viewer () a Pirate? asking about the Popular Viewer and immediately got reprimanded. We discussed that and I got more information about the viewer. The thinking at Modular/Emerald is that it is a Trojan viewer. They also seem to have agreed with my idea that discussions like the thread I started should be allowed to use the viewer name. Phox was gracious enough to restore the viewer name that had been removed from the thread title, I appreciate that and think the name use will help the community more than harm it. I least I hope so.

Since there are no hard facts, like source code or testimonials (someone stepping up saying they were ripped off), one has to take the word of those they trust or make a judgment call.

I won’t be recommending the viewer or attempting to use it. I think it has all the markings of a scam viewer.

I also do not trust its sister viewer Second Life Black Edition and related HXO viewers. There is so much spin around all these viewers I don’t see any way to establish the level of trusted needed to use them.

Be extremely careful which viewers you decide to try. There are far more Trojan viewers around than there are trustworthy ones.

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