It was one year ago today that McCabe and I launched the Imprudence Viewer project with the goal of greatly improving the usability of the viewer through a more open, pro-change, community-driven development process.
A great deal has happened since then; some good, some bad. There have been unexpected developments, and surprising changes in the viewer landscape. We’ve made a good deal of progress, but perhaps not as much as we wanted to.
The first few months of Imprudence went fairly smoothly. We established the project online, started discussion, generated interest, and pushed out the first release candidate version by mid-November, and the first full release version, Imprudence 1.0, just a month later. It worked fairly well, but it was missing some major features: sound, streaming music and video, and voice chat.
Linden Lab uses properietary software for those features, which meant that we would have to replace them with open source software. Unfortunately, the struggle to do that — and to get it to work across all platforms — took over 4 long, grueling, frustrating months, and thoroughly burnt us both out. Then to make matters worst, when we were nearly recovered and ready to start again, I was loaded down with a stressful and never-ending project at work, which very nearly burnt me out all over again!
So, although Imprudence has been around for a year, only the first four were spent at a healthy pace of development. The past eight months have, rather unfortunately, resulted in very little visible progress on Imprudence.
In the meantime, new viewers have come to the foreground. Emerald appeared on the scene this past spring, and has introduced a great many useful new features. Meerkat, although founded around the same time as Imprudence, finally established itself this summer with new releases boasting an object backup tool and enhanced inter-grid support. And of course, Linden Lab launched its Snowglobe project, attempting to alleviate many of the same development problems that prompted us to start Imprudence in the first place.
Naturally, with Imprudence’s lack of visible progress, the attention of most third-party viewer users and developers shifted to these other viewers. Speaking candidly, Imprudence has become mostly irrelevant.
This sobering thought raises the question: “So, what are you going to do about it?”
Our answer is simple: We’re gonna kick it up a fuckin’ notch, that’s what!
The first order of business is to “catch up” and become active again. We’re aiming to release Imprudence 1.2 by the end of September. The key features of that release will be:
- Object import/export support, borrowed from Meerkat.
- Account/grid manager. Also borrowed from Meerkat, but we’ll be giving it a major usability overhaul.
- RestrainedLife API support via Kitty Barnett’s RLVa.
- Many smaller features from Emerald (avatar scanner, phantom mode, sit anywhere, double-click to teleport, and perhaps others).
- Rebased to SL 1.22 source. In the interest of getting Imprudence 1.2 released ASAP, we’re putting off updating to SL 1.23 until Imprudence 1.3.
Also, we’re welcoming Armin Weatherwax as a full-fledged Imprudence team member, joining McCabe and myself. Armin has been a great help over the past year, contributing many patches and porting over features from other viewers and from JIRA patches. Indeed, Armin has already ported several of the main features that will be in 1.2, as well as many smaller enhancements. So, it’s about time that we officially recognized his efforts! Thank you, Armin, and welcome aboard!
Imprudence’s future after 1.2 is still being charted, but it’s safe to assume that we’ll soon be contributing new features, fixes, and usability enhancements to the third party viewer ecosystem again. We’re meeting every week to discuss and plan Imprudence’s development, and we’ll continue to post regular updates here on the blog, as well as transcripts on the wiki.
So, happy birthday Imprudence, and cheers for the year to come!