Looking to the Future

Last month, we announced our decision to drop support for Second Life as a result of Linden Lab’s new Third-Party Viewer (TPV) policy. It was a difficult and unpleasant decision to make, and we expressed out hope that Linden Lab might revise the policy to address the serious concerns that we and other viewer developers had about the policy.

In the weeks since that announcement, we and many other developers and concerned individuals have engaged in discussion with Joe Linden. The end result is that that Linden Lab has changed several phrases in the policy, to make it clear that they are not attempting to pin extra liability on developers (which was one of our three main concerns). Furthermore, Joe Linden explained that as long as the viewer complies with the policy while connected to Second Life, its behavior while connected to other grids is beyond the scope of the policy.

The Imprudence team met this week and discussed the policy changes. We all agreed that the liability clarifications are a substantial improvement. And although only one of our three main concerns has been addressed, we believe that it would no longer put the project at risk for us to connect to Second Life after April 30. Therefore, we have decide to resume support for Second Life.

What that means is this:

  • We will attempt to comply with the TPV policy, so that users who wish to connect to Second Life may safely do so. This will involve modifying the viewer’s behavior while connected to Second Life. In particular, that means that while the viewer is connected to Second Life, the content export tools will be somewhat more restrictive than they are now.
  • We will make some effort to ensure that the viewer continues to operate with Second Life.
  • We will give consideration to issues that affect the viewer when connected to Second Life.
  • We will try to offer assistance to users who have difficulty using Imprudence with Second Life.

What that does not mean is that we are shifting our focus back to Second Life. On the contrary, OpenSim is, and will remain, our primary target. OpenSim-related features and issues will take a much higher priority than before, while issues specific to Second Life take a back seat.

In addition to focusing on OpenSim as a platform, we are becoming more involved with the OpenSim community. The response and enthusiasm from OpenSim users and developers has been incredible, and we’re looking forward to a long and fruitful future with OpenSim. I’ll be attending the weekly OpenSim developer meetings whenever I can, and we hope to collaborate with the OpenSim development community to improve the OpenSim user experience, and to implement great new features that are only possible when viewer developers and server developers work together.

All in all, this is a very exciting time for the Imprudence Project, and we’re absolutely thrilled with our new direction. OpenSim is the cutting edge of innovation in virtual worlds these days, and it’s great to be involved in building its future.

17 Responses to “Looking to the Future”

  1. Peter Stindberg

    I recommend this decision highly, and thank you and the team! Well done!

  2. Tali

    This is about as perfect an outcome as I could have hoped for.
    I am still in SL because it is, after all, the most mature and content-rich grid. But many of LL’s policies, decisions and projected attitude lately have made me finally take the leap into OpenSim, which I believe now better expresses the original vision which drew me to SL.
    So seeing Imprudence backing and focusing on OpenSim while still supporting SL is a win-win.

  3. Morgaine

    A very level headed and forward-looking decision, well done Jacek and the team!

    With LL being so constrained in what they can do by a multiplicity of factors, while Opensim enjoys an unimpeded path into the future, there is no doubt where the most interesting innovation and evolution is going to occur in the forthcoming years. I believe it was the right choice to make Opensim your primary target, and I agree that it does seem relatively safe now to continue support for SL as a secondary one.

    Your closing paragraph sets exactly the right tone of optimism:

    “All in all, this is a very exciting time for the Imprudence Project, and we’re absolutely thrilled with our new direction. OpenSim is the cutting edge of innovation in virtual worlds these days, and it’s great to be involved in building its future.”

    Well said, and congratulations to you all!

  4. LaeMing

    Sounds like good news all round. Kudos.

  5. Lalo Telling

    This is excellent news. I am not -yet- a user of Imprudence, but I have read many encouraging things about it, especially by those who use it across multiple grids.

    My preference up to now has been Emerald, but all of their revisions after 1101 have broken texture loading in OGrid, so I’ve been using Hippo there. I discovered today (new that I am to this) that linksets exported with one viewer cannot necessarily be imported with another… and Hippo, as far as I know, has not addressed the SL TPV issue at all.

    I’ll be evaluating Imprudence soon.

  6. Baloo Uriza

    Woot. I’m looking forward to seeing imprudence packages on Robin’s Debian repository again.

  7. Justin Clark-Casey

    Great decision, Jacek. I’m glad Linden Lab (or their lawyers) saw sense on the TPV – I’m sure they’re going to remain a tremendously important company in the development of virtual environments and it would have been a loss all round for them to cut out a part of their community.

    At the same time, though, I very much look forward to seeing you at OpenSim development meetings! It’s a bumpy ride out here on the Wild West but the wide open spaces come with a lot of potential.

  8. Garn Conover


  9. Balp Allen

    Great the Imprudence team been one of the few consistent and clear voiced teams. Saying what we all think.

  10. Lalo Telling

    With three days to go, the important question remains unanswered:

    Will Imprudence be self-certifying on SL’s TPV list?

  11. Ron Overdrive

    Lalo Telling: That is what this week’s ImpDev meeting will cover. It was briefly discussed last week near the end and was decided we’ll discuss it at the following meeting.

  12. Morgaine

    Lalo, it’s not an “important question” at all. Self-certifying on the Linden site has very damaging and regressive implications. It implies accepting LL’s unspecified future restrictions, and that would be a very bad move for a viewer whose primary target is Opensim.

    As Jacek wrote, the improved TPV policy only satisfies one out of the three major TPV stumbling blocks, barely enough to ensure that its developers have the GPL’s “NO WARRANTY” freedom from liability. Personally I would steer well clear of the TPV Directory, as it places completely inappropriate additional demands on developers.

    Imprudence is a GPL client. The only “certification” it needs is the GPL, plus anything that its developers decide to list on their site with respect to its features and compatibility.

  13. Alidar

    You just made my day.

  14. Lalo Telling

    I understand the trepidation about self-certifying on the TPV list — I’ve followed the discussion closely in SLUniverse, and have read the arguments against many times. I can put myself in the hypothetical role of a developer and easily agree with those arguments… but I’m not one. I’m a consumer.

    It’s really quite simple for me: I’m looking for a viewer that is fully functional in both SL and OSG, and which does not force me into a GUI from hell (a.k.a. LL’s Viewer 2.0). Hippo is adequate but not optimal, mostly due to the separated Local and IM chat history windows, and its maximum draw distance is 512 meters. Emerald, as I have said above, is not functional at all in OSG.

    The Lab blogged today: “The steps we will take -may- include blocking viewers that do not comply with the new conditions for access to Second Life. We know that there are many compliant viewers in use — beyond the seven that are currently listed on the Third-Party Viewer Directory — and we will not interrupt their access to Second Life.”

    I’m looking for a reasonable assurance that, if I find Imprudence to have the cross-grid functionality and ease of use I’m looking for, it will remain permitted to access SL past April 30, whether or not it appears on the “approved” list.

    Then again, I appreciate that you’re looking for that same reasonable assurance from the Lab.

  15. Jacek Antonelli

    @Lalo: We haven’t decided yet whether to apply to the Viewer Directory. As Ron said, we’ll be discussing that this week.

    But, being listed in the Directory is not a requirement of the policy, so it should be safe to use SL with our future releases even if Imprudence is not in the directory.

    We are working on a TPV compliant update of the 1.2 series viewer, plus a new beta release of the 1.3 series, which will also be TPV compliant. We hope to have them both released before April 30.

  16. Nebadon Izumi

    This all sounds like really great progress from both LL and Imprudence team, I am really glad things are moving forward as they are, I felt it was a big set back to not support SL anymore, thanks for the hard work guys.

  17. Odious Otter

    I’m happy to see Imprudence will continue to operate within SL itself as much as is possible. Losing this capability would greatly impact the very large group of SL-only users as well as those of us content creators transitioning out of SL to other OpenSim based grids who need a cross-grid tool while we “move-out”.

    As an SL refugee on OSGrid, I am happy Imprudence is putting much greater focus on OpenSim based platforms. I hope to see increased collaboration and integration of third party viewer features and OpenSim based capabilities converging in the near future. I believe it is a very exciting time to be on OpenSim and I am less worried about the future of my Second-Life. I am looking forward to the upcoming ImpDev meeting in OSGrid.