Imprudence’s Second Anniversary

This past Wednesday, September 1, was the second anniversary of the launch of the Imprudence Project!

Party Time!

We are having a multi-grid party this Sunday at noon PDT (19:00 UTC) to celebrate the occasion! The event will be held simultaneously in 3rd Rock Grid at the Hoagie region, and in Second Life at the Rouge region. Many thanks to CodeBastard Redgrave for taking care of the preparations!

A Welcome to New Users

We’ve seen many new users trying out Imprudence over the past few weeks. Welcome! You’ll find that Imprudence has many of the features you’re used to, though not always in the same place as in other viewers. We’re also adding new features all the time; as McCabe mentioned in his recent post, we will have spellcheck, translations, right-click copy and paste, and many other highly-requested features in our upcoming weekly experimental builds.

We are aware that some users have been experiencing problems with performance, stability, connecting, or media playback (among others). Unfortunately, there are a huge number of factors that affect the viewer (operating system, hardware, drivers, etc.), so it may run perfectly for one person, yet not at all for another. Please be assured that we’re watching the forums closely, and are working to fix the problems you report. We know these issues can be frustrating, but we ask for your patience, as our resources and manpower are limited. If you experience a crash or other problem, you can help us fix it by emailing us your log files along with a detailed description of the problem.

I’d also like to give a big thank-you to everyone who has been helping out in the forums by welcoming new users and answering questions. We really, really appreciate it!

New Team Members

I’m very excited to introduce two new additions to our team: CodeBastard Redgrave (aka Codie) and Elektra Hesse!

Codie is our new community liaison. It’s her job to assist users, answer questions, gather feedback, and make sure we never lose touch with our users. She’s also the voice behind @imprudence on Plurk, and @ImpViewer on Twitter — follow them for announcements and tips in your timeline!

Elektra is our new Mac developer. She has extensive experience developing software for Macs, and already has several excellent ideas for making the viewer experience even faster and nicer for Mac users. We’re very excited to have her, and look forward to working with her to improve Mac support!

A Brief Look Back

A lot has happened in the past year, but one particularly tumultous (yet ultimately fortuitous) event stands out as being the most significant in Imprudence’s history. This past March, Linden Lab announced a new policy governing third-party viewers like Imprudence. For a time, it seemed we would be unable to support Second Life any more.

Fortunately, Linden Lab revised the policy, so that we were able to resume supporting Second Life — but by then, we were already immersed in OpenSim. We toured a variety of OpenSim-based grids, and settled in to a new home on 3rd Rock Grid, where we meet each week to discuss development progress.

Although we still support Second Life, and many of our users connect to it, our primary focus is on OpenSim. We’ve added several features that are only available on OpenSim, such as LightShare (server-side, scriptable Windlight settings) and the ability to create and edit megaprims (prims larger than 10m) and microprims (smaller than 0.01m). If you haven’t ventured outside of Second Life yet, we encourage you to visit one of the OpenSim-based grids available in our built-in Grid Manager, or any of the many other grids waiting to be explored.

Plans for the Future

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about what we’ll be doing in the future. Some people wonder about specific features or changes that they are interested in. Others are curious about our broader plans.

Our immediate goal is to finish Imprudence 1.3. This version has been in development for over 9 months, far longer than we ever anticipated. This long development cycle is due to several major events causing us to adjust our plans and priorities, and also due to our eagerness to create a viewer that is stable, usable, and useful for as many people as possible. Thankfully, we’re getting very close to a final release now: RC2 came out last week, RC3 is coming soon, and the final release should follow soon after. Because we are so near to the release, we are no longer adding new features to 1.3, with a few exceptions (most notably, the ability to choose from several available fonts). This means that there are many features that will not appear in the 1.3 final release, but they will continue to be available in the weekly experimental builds, and eventually incorporated into 1.4.

Imprudence 1.4 will be a much shorter development cycle than 1.3. One of our focuses for that cycle will be to adjust our project organization to allow us to keep working smoothly as the project grows. We’ll also be cleaning up the compile system, to make it easier for more people to contribute to Imprudence. We are also considering a donations system, but we want to be certain that it is done transparently, with all donations going towards specific project-related goals. We welcome your feedback and suggestions about the best way to do this.

The viewer itself will also see plenty of changes in 1.4. We’re hoping to completely replace the current media system, which has been a major headache both for us and for many of our users. Naturally, there will also be plenty of other improvements and feature additions, such as support for multiple wearables, multiple attachments, inventory links, and shared media. Plus, of course, all the things that didn’t quite make it into 1.3, like spellchecking and translation.

Looking towards Imprudence 1.5, our plans are still quite loose and tentative. One solid proposal is to investigate migrating to the Viewer 2 code base. This task would involve a lot of effort in revamping the UI to address the many complaints that have been raised about the Viewer 2 UI, as well as forward-porting the improvements and features that Imprudence has accumulated over the past two years. It would not be an easy job, but we believe migrating to the Viewer 2 code base will give us a more solid foundation for improvement and innovation in the future.

Beyond that, we can only dream and speculate about the future. One thing’s certain, though: it will be quite a ride. Here’s to another year of Imprudence!

9 Responses to “Imprudence’s Second Anniversary”

  1. Ruben Haan

    I made an acount on 3rd Rock Grid to take a look at the partysim and to say how much i love the imprudence viewer. Was nice to be there.
    Thanx :)

  2. nimil

    did something happen to stop the weekly from being released today :s?

  3. TechyeFox

    True, Viewer 2 UI might would need to be revamped, but then the best version of that around right now would be Kirsten’s S20 which is constantly improving. The others are even RLV by M something… Her viewer is viewer 2 with the bells and whisles of RLV, but none of the special features like Kirstens. So right now Imprudence and if Phoenix makes it to TPV are the only ones for those that will not learn to accept the new viewer style. But when these two viewers go, what will happen?

    Hay Imprudence team, I’m surprise you didn’t mention one of your future plans are to support the SnowStorm Viewer development project. This would probably help you go to Viewer 2 code base quicker as that is the code base being used by the project.

  4. Armin Weatherwax

    @nimil: still working hard on it … we want it to be special for the second anniversary It’ll be up in a few hours.


  5. nimil

    btw, a 2.0 style ui would send me running for the hills… that ui system angers me to no end… i pray that there is a way to backport the new into the old ui, i don’t want to spend another 4 years learning the sl client all over again.

  6. Armin Weatherwax

    also no worries there – the current viewer2 UI is a no-no for all of us. Anyway some time until we start the 1.5 version – we have still not finished 1.3 (even though pretty close).

  7. Gwyneth Llewelyn

    Wow, now this is a staggering pile of new features and an incredible plan for the feature!

    (and nice to see you as part of the team, Codie :) What took you so long, girl? lol )

    As a user, I’m glad that you’re considering to move to the 2.X codebase. It’s really very sad that almost everybody, when they hear “2.X”, immediately say “what a horrid UI”. As if the UI is all there is in the viewer. It isn’t; it’s merely the visible part of the viewer and the one the user interacts with. I really feel very encouraged to hear that you’re considering moving to the 2.X codebase, even if it’s still on the far future — perhaps a year away. By then, LL will already have had a lot of experience with Snowstrom, added meshes, and be well ahead in implementing the client-side plugin architecture — it would be a pity that Imprudence couldn’t take advantage of all these things because of prejudice against the current UI.

    Let me quote something for you about the UI:

    A cluttered interface that frustrates and confuses both new and long-time users. It is difficult to learn, frustrating to use, and obscures the thing that users actually care about: the world.
    Crude tools that force users into awkward and inefficient workflows. The tools bear little relation to the way today’s users want to use them. Whether because these tools are outdated relics of the past, or just half-baked non-solutions, very few rise above even the “somewhat usable” mark.

    Sounds familiar? No wonder – it’s straight from the Imprudence Manifesto. And it was written about the SL 1.X user interface, although anyone reading it today might think it describes SL 2.X. It doesn’t. SL’s 1.X interface is all of that and above; 2.X is actually better in many issues, but worse on others — people only notice the bad things.

    So, well, it’s time to “get it right”. Forget the 1.X UI and the 2.X UI. It’s time to look again at Jacek’s own proposal on Dusan Writer’s UI challenge from 2 years ago (just a couple of weeks before Imprudence was launched!) and really start implementing it — on top of the 2.X codebase, of course :)

  8. Ener Hax

    spellchecking!!!! holy crap, i hope that doesn’t happen on the client side or i am in big trouble! =D

    awesome work as always, your viewer is our official recommendation to educators and students =)

  9. codie

    Gwyn: I know, right? Well, I did help in the past, but I decided that it was time for Imprudence to get the attention it deserved ;) <3