Imprudence Begins

I’m pleased to say that, after nearly a month of serious thought, planning, and preparation, the Imprudence project is ready to begin.

This is probably the first you’ve heard about Imprudence, so I’ll take a moment to explain it. Imprudence is (or rather, will be) a major fork of the open source Second Life Viewer. Our aim is to greatly improve the usability of the Viewer through community involvement, thoughtful design, modern development methods, and a pro-change atmosphere.

Why are we doing this? Because we, the Second Life Residents, need a better Viewer, and Linden Lab isn’t getting it done — not fast enough, anyway.

I’m sure they’re trying. They have made some modest improvement. But they are faced with intractable obstacles that block them from making real progress: a lack of resources, an overloaded QA process, and a large established user base who are, on the whole, sullenly content with the way things are — and tend to resist any change.

Those are tough problems, and I don’t foresee Linden Lab being able to get past them any time soon. Rather than continue to push against these obstacles with little to show for it, I’ve decided to carve another path. A community project has its own obstacles, but they are obstacles that we can overcome. They are obstacles we can act against for ourselves, instead of sitting on our hands waiting for someone else to act for us.

The Imprudence Manifesto lays out the rationale, goals, and methods of the project, and explains why we, the Residents, must take an active part in shaping our own experience. With the involvement of a wide range of community members — programmers, designers, and users of all types — we will be able to renovate the Viewer to meet the wants and needs of today’s Residents.

If you want to get involved with the project and make a difference, please see How You Can Contribute. You don’t have to dedicate all of your time to it; like any volunteer effort, you need only give as much time as you are able. And you don’t have to be a programmer; if we’re going to do this right, we need a wide range of people with many different skills, interests, and ideas.

If you have questions or comments, contact me via email (jacek.antonelli on gmail) or in-world IM (Jacek Antonelli).

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