The new viewer brings three things with it: The new Adults-only continent (formerly Ursula and now Zindra), user-verification by documents or payment-status, and a new Adults-only content rating that opens up Second Life to more extreme sexual and violent content.
At least so long as it is confined to the adult continent and no child avatars are involved, of course. That this was all done as a adult-continent rather than an adult-grid suggests that Linden Lab's intergrid interoperability isn't ready for prime-time yet.
There have certainly been plenty of objections to the system:
- Verification/ID is as easy to fake as it is in the physical world.
- Some object to the increased range of adult content.
- Some object to the segregation of adult content.
- Some object to the new content rating definitions (and some to the rewording of them)
Realistically however, it's now pretty much obvious that this was what Mitch Kapor was presaging in his rather contentious speech one year ago this month. So, it seems pretty clear that the plan has probably been in the works for as much as 18 months. With that much momentum, very little was really likely to be changed or tweaked in the final quarter of the plan.
Kapor cautioned at the time: "It is always an uneasy transition for the pioneers, and I think we're going to go through that again. It has to be opened up it has to be made easier to use. There are some things which have to happen. There are some things that Linden Lab has to do ... to allow the potential of the platform to unfold ... to improve ease of use, ease of learning."
It's not hard to see these changes in that particular warning. True, the Lab's allowed more content to go under the Adults-only banner – content that was hitherto expressly forbidden – but it isn't really clear whether that sweetens the deal, or simply raises more objections.
Whichever it might be, there's nothing to be done but to make the best of what we all have.
The new 1.23 viewer is available for Windows, Linux and Mac (universal binary), and can be downloaded from the usual places. You can use a third-party viewer, of course, but until they move up to the necessary minimums, access to search with third-party viewers may be somewhat limited.
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