Imprudence/Kokua Update Week 6

Viewer Depression

Depression - Image by Sacks08 @ Flickr

Jacek Antonelli has posted another update about the Imprudence/Kokua viewers. Not much is happening. Nor is there likely much going to happen in February.  Seems current technical viewer problems have drained motivation. Additional administrative problems have further degraded motivation. So, in all… not much is happening.

In mid January I wrote what I think will happen with viewers during 2011. See: Predictions 2011. In that post I pointed out the fast paced viewer development of Linden Lab would load Third Party Viewer (TPV) Developers with quite a bit of work. The viewer development environment has changed significantly since Phillip decided to change the game and refocus the staff (Sept 2010).

The environment change includes some serious complications. Linden Lab is using some third party modules that TPV Devs have to purchase from the third party or replace the modules with some open source alternative. One of the big modules being the image compression/decompression module by KDU, which is usually replaced in TPV’s with OpenJPEG. The problem is KDU is modified and newer features added by KDU are being implemented by the Lab. This means that OpenJPEG has to be modified to work with the images compressed with KDU. That makes quite a work load for a small team like Imprudence’s.

Also, new viewer features are difficult to port back to series 1 viewers like Imprudence. It takes a lot of work to make series 2 code work in series 1 viewers. Then bug patches make it even more complex. I predicted that TPV Dev’s would be stopping development on series 1 viewers during 2011 because of these complexities and shear workload. That may actually happen in Q1 of  2011. I didn’t consider the psychological impact on the developers. I suppose that is what we are seeing in the Imprudence team.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out because Imprudence is the viewer for OpenSim worlds. It is hoped the Kokua viewer will replace it in OpenSim regions and be the Alpha-Omega of viewers there.

Phoenix-Firestorm is concentrating on Second Life and has made a deal with SpotOn3D to provide them a viewer. Phoenix is already a less desirable choice for OpenSim grids. With the focus changing that certainly will dampen enthusiasm for OpenSim.

The OSGrid programmers are having their challenges and workload issues too. Combined with the viewer issues things are looking gloomy for OpenSim. I think as weather improves the depression will decrease and hopefully we will come out of the doldrums.

We may see some viewers discontinued by their developers. I don’t know whether the Imprudence viewer will be one of those. We may see some viewers or their developers consolidate with other teams. Whatever happens, it seems the pace of development at Linden Lab is having an effect.

I wish the Imprudence/Kokua team the best. I use Imprudence on OSGrid, so I have an invested interest. I’ve used the Mesh Project Viewer and Kirsten’s to play with mesh on OSGrid. They have significant problems when used on OSGrid/OpenSim. So, I hope someone targets viewers for OpenSim.

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