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"Script Certificates"?


Liz Venenbaum
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I've been wrapping my mind around a concept I call, in lack of a better name, "script certificates", lately and want to put my ideas for discussion here. As I've seen a few game-type sims employing mesh popping up lately, it becomes apparent that script performance is a major concern for content that relies on high sim-performance. The problem here is, that most users are not aware of the number of scripts they're wearing and how it affects the experience for every user around. The only option available currently to address this is to disable scripts in general, which affects one of the greatest appeal of SL, though: The abilitiy to use your own content and personalize your appearance to your liking.

My proposol is to add another possibility for parcel owners to allow more granular control about which scripts can be used: Restrict to certain, certified scripts.

-any scripter can obtain a certficate for a script. This certificate is linked to the script, rather the object it is in and will persist with every modification to the same script, and stays the same in every copy.

-on every save of the script, an incrementing build number is generated and assigned to the script

-if a copy of the original script is edited, a branch identifier is generated, so modifications by different users can be identifed

-every parcel owner can blacklist or whitelist certified scripts, as whole or by specific versions and/or branches (imagine someone taking a full-perm weapon script which is allowed on a combat sim and modifies it in a way it breaks the rules of that sim)

-if someone enters a sim, all non-certified scripts are stopped and the remaining ones are checked against the parcel restricitions to decide if to load them or not. This could greatly improve the slowdown of sims if someone entering it with a lot of scripted attachments worn.

-Since all functionality is kept server-sided, there's no way to exploit the system, and it wouldn't break compatibility with non-maintained viewers, but the UI enhancements to certify scripts and control the certificates allowed on the land.

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about forcing every scripter to buy certificates for their scripts, but I think that such a system could be a powerful possibilty for sim owners for who sim-performance matters, like combat, flying or racing games...

 

Thanks for reading, I'm curious to hear your thoughts and complaints, maybe it's just a silly idea :matte-motes-bashful:

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Edit: Maybe I was a little unclear about that: The certificate isn't any guarantee about the performance of the script, since that can hardly be judged upon out of context of the sim it should run in. It's just an extended identifier for a certain script, that allows managing script restrictions with minimum efforts for the respective sim's administration.... Trust in SL is usually generated through a creator's/scripter's reputation...

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"Certificate" has a precise meaning in secure networking and leaving details aside is a long long field of zeros and ones (could be up to 16K long, though usually 4K) which simply means that a receiving machine can trust a sending machine. This concept is meaningless in SL environment because all scripts run on the same server.

You prolly mean a unique identifier. I don't really know if the assets server asigns a UUID to a script. Theoretically it is not really needed because when running, a script would have a task id number (or a thread id number in mono) which is unique and is dynamically assigned by the server. To see it one just need to type something like "ps -a" in the server admin window but of course only Lindens can do it.

Most prolly the scripts have static UUID's as all other assets but user access to them would introduce another level of complexity. Actually it is not scripts  but scripters who need to be certified. My long-standing suggestion was and remains that The Lab would restrict access to LSL compiler to only those who are able to pass an LSL and basic programming test. However in promoting this idea I wasn't very successful so far... to say the least :)

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To achieve the objective of controlling the performance impact of scripts on a sim, scripts already have the ability to measure the total memory and script time of each agent, and to remove agents that exceed some threshold.

I can imagine specialized applications in which a sim would want to permit only certain specific scripts, and/or to require them. For all I know, combat systems may already do something like this.  An "enforcer" script could issue an identity challenge to all scripts worn by an agent, and the authentication responses would have to match whatever the enforcer expects, proving that all required scripts were present.  To be sure no additional, unauthorized scripts were present, the agent's memory total would have to match that of the known sizes of the authenticated scripts responding. 

There might be a business opportunity here, enabling third-party scripts to be registered in an authentication database, where "enforcer" owners could pick and choose which of those scripts to authorize for their sims.

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This certificate is linked to the script, rather the object it is in and will persist with every modification to the same script, and stays the same in every copy.

if a certificate was ever created having it apply to the script even if the script is changed could lead to all sorts of issues

like people hiding wastefull scripts inside other scripts with a clean certificate. its just much easyer to disable scripts for everyone, and then whitelist via groups who can run scripts on the land.

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  • 10 months later...

i was reading this with intrest, but i need to say i see the risk of abuse, too. Also someone could edit a certificated script and add something bad


But, how about a priority system? A Combat region might set their meter and weapons (how to recognize them automatically?) to a high priority, their sim devices to middle, and other attachments of guests to low. guests weapons must be high, too


In that way, the most important items will work, even the sim is close to full capacity (may be respect a free rest for unexpected issues), the combat system will work , and there is still the ability to use whatever script your guests think they might need.


Imho, this seems a good compromise to me. No blocking of any script as long the sim has ressources free and still everyone is able to use the tools they desire.

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