“Big announcement” on Second Life open source over – Snowstorm starts – I’m going back to sleep now, hoping for a better dream

Oh, yawn, Bay has listened to the Lab’s “big announcement” about open source this morning and is going back to sleep now . . . hoping for a better dream of what real open source could be. (See my earlier open source daydream this morning here.)

Before I nod off again, here are my notes on what Oz Linden said about an hour ago in Boston at the 2010 Second Life community convention  (SLCC) about changes/goals in open sourcing the SL viewer code (Q Linden and Esbee Linden were also on the announcement panel).

Sadly, it’s about what I expected — not because it’s awful, but because it needs to be so much more! See my earlier prediction about a “collaborative Viewer 2 fix” here. (I’m not gloating, just crying myself to sleep.)

Oz Linden talks about open source viewer code, inworld live feed

Here’s my summary of what I heard from Oz (desperately hoping I missed something):

  • New team at the Lab will develop the Second Life Viewer in the open.
  • Viewer to be named Snowstorm” [Let the snarky jokes begin!]
  • Share code and process publicly — this includes backlog and discussion about it.
  • Will engage with the open source community and accept work the community does into SL viewer version by implementing community work directly into SL mainline Viewer, rather than routing it through Snowglobe first.
  • Will release new ‘Development’ Viewers frequently — initial target is bi-weekly.
  • Will make continuous improvements to design/implementation of the Viewer’s user interface.
  • Will import desirable patches and features from Snowglobe and other Third Party Viewers.
  • Will add small features and fixes frequently.
  • Promises rapid response to feedback and patches from community.
  • Will engage continuously with community to develop new project proposals
  • Will provide resources to developers.
  • Viewer development has moved to a single open source model.
  • No more internal private and external public versions of viewer. Viewer integration will happen in Development repository at ‘http://hg.secondlife.com/viewer-development’ to give community developers greater freedom to use the viewer code (including incorporating it into products that also include closed source).
  • “Accepted contributions” will go directly into the official Second Life Viewer
  • No more a two-step process of contributing to Snowglobe and then hoping that the contribution is imported to the Linden viewer (some changes may be left behind or modified in order to fit into Viewer 2)
  • Lab will publish both (1) what it’s working on (in public Jira issues and on Sprint Backlog) and (2) the projects they’d like to see.


I dream of new worlds, new galaxies, new shopping!

I am sitting here inworld at the Hatch Amphitheater waiting for Sunday’s  big announcement about open source from a trio of Lindens at SLCC, set to start in about 25 minutes! (The Linden trio is a panel including  Q. Linden, Oz Linden, and Esbee Linden. The notice on the SLCC website doesn’t give much away, so I am sitting here dreaming of what might be.

Although my reasonable mind says they’re probably just going announce something like a collaborative Viewer 2 fix, I can still dream — for another 45 minutes at least! LOL.

So here is Bay’s dream announcement [cue dreamy music and rippling virtual water]:

“Ahem, welcome everyone. Today we are very happy to announce that we are opening up the source code to our own servers so that anybody can create their own virtual worlds! Just think of it! You will now be able to build your own world that is compatible with SL,  just as real world colonists share the same language and cultural heritage as the home that they left behind. SL and the new lands will share a common codebase, a shared implementation of avatars, a shared transactional framework for shopping. We are also proud to announce a secure transaction platform that will enable trading among all the “New Worlds”, similar to global trading IRL.

Poof! I suddenly wake up! Just a dream!

But wow, would I love to hear that! [only 3 minutes to go now]

With an announcement like that, the Lab would transform itself from the owners of a walled garden to the founder of a multi-world financial institution to rival Bank of XXX. Imho, this would be a revolutionary announcement, rather than — what I sadly suspect is coming — further steps in the lab’s evolution to oblivion.