Howdy, gang! In the past few days, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about Kokua, and we’ve noticed a lot of confusion and misconceptions about it. So, I’d like to take some time to answer some common questions, and help clear up a few things:
- Will the Kokua Viewer UI be the same as Viewer 2?
- Does that mean the UI will be like the current Imprudence UI?
- What do you mean when you say Kokua Viewer will “use Viewer 2 as the starting point”?
- When will Kokua Viewer be available?
- Will we have to switch from Imprudence to Kokua when it is released?
- Will Kokua Viewer work with non-Kokua versions of OpenSim? Will Kokua Sim work with non-Kokua viewers?
- Will Kokua Sim be open source? Are you making a Kokua grid?
- What is “Aurora”, and how is it related to Kokua Sim? (Updated)
- Won’t developing the sim software distract you guys from viewer development?
- How is Kokua pronounced, anyway?
Read on for all the answers, or click any of the questions above to jump directly to it.
Will the Kokua Viewer UI be the same as Viewer 2?
No. Some people assume that because we will use Viewer 2 as the starting point for Kokua Viewer, that it will therefore be very similar to Viewer 2. That’s just not the case. Our goal is to make you go, “Wow! This is what Viewer 2 should have been like in the first place!”
You might be familiar with the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. In each episode, they send a team of construction workers, designers, and decorators to completely renovate a crummy old house that no one wants to live in. Usually they will keep some aspects of the original house that worked well, but they rethink and remodel the bad parts to transform the house into an amazing place to live. And they aren’t afraid to knock down a wall or two if need be!
So let’s just say that we have our sledgehammers polished, and we’re ready to play “Extreme Makeover: Viewer Edition.”
Does that mean the UI will be like the current Imprudence UI?
In many ways, yes, but not totally. Believe it or not, the current 1.x-style UI has many flaws, and the Viewer 2 UI actually has some good aspects. It would be silly to recreate those old flaws, and to throw out the parts that Viewer 2 got right, just for the sake of keeping the UI exactly the same.
Instead, our focus will be on transforming the Viewer 2 UI into something that is usable and comfortable for people who are used to the old 1.x-style viewers like Imprudence. So, Kokua Viewer will have many of the good parts from Viewer 2, but a significant amount of the UI will be changed to be more familiar, and to support a smoother workflow.
For example, you will be able to have more than one avatar profile open at a time, and the sidebar will be totally optional. We’re hoping to offer a choice between old-style pie menus and the new-style rectangular menus (but the timeline for that depends on how much effort it will be to recreate the pie menus).
And of course, we’ll be adding our own improvements, both ported from Imprudence and new ones created from scratch.
What do you mean when you say Kokua Viewer will “use Viewer 2 as the starting point”?
Allow me to explain by returning to the house metaphor. These days, the SL 1.x viewer is a dusty, rickety old shack. Granted, it’s a shack that we all know and are familiar with. We know which boards creak when you step on them, and we know not to flush the toilet while someone is in the shower. We can get along fine with it, for now. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are cracks in all the walls, and its plumbing and electrical wiring are a few decades out of date.
Imprudence is based on that rickety old shack. Sure, we can sweep the floor, pick out some new curtains, maybe throw a new coat of paint on the walls. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make any significant additions without the whole house collapsing on our heads. Whenever we want to add a new room or remodel an existing one, we end up having to fix all the plumbing, and re-wire the electricity, and replace all the wooden beams that termites have eaten through.
Viewer 2, on the other hand, has a more solid foundation, modern wiring and plumbing, a sturdier structure, and a hot tub. The only trouble is, the interior designers were told to make it into a nursery, then had to go through a bunch of revisions, and then the owners put the house up for sale when they were only half finished.
Fortunately, the problems are mostly on the surface, and the underlying structure of the building is intact and useful. Sure, it will take some hard work to remodel it into something most people will want to use, but the end result will be sturdier and easier to expand than Imprudence could realistically ever be.
When will Kokua Viewer be available?
Kokua Viewer is still a long way off. We announced it now to let you guys know in advance what will be happening in the months to come. We will be starting on initial development sometime this week or next. We are hoping to begin weekly preview releases in mid-December, and have a full release sometime in February.
Our focus right now is still on making Imprudence 1.4 the best possible 1.x-based viewer we can make it. We know it will take a while to hammer Viewer 2′s UI into shape, so we want everyone to have a reliable, featureful viewer to use in the meantime. We are aiming to release Imprudence 1.4 by the end of this month, but we may push that back a bit if we need more time to make it really solid.
But! We will be including changes in Imprudence 1.4 (starting with this weekend’s Experimental) so it can take advantage of the new features in Kokua Sim. So, you will be able to enjoy the benefits right away!
Will we have to switch from Imprudence to Kokua when it is released?
No. We will never force anyone to switch to Kokua. Imprudence will continue to work into the future, we just won’t be updating it anymore after 1.4. We prefer to spend our energy on creating a modern viewer that people will really want to use. If we do our job right, most people will want to switch, so they can take advantage of the new features and improved UI.
That said, there have been vague hints that Linden Lab might block access to Second Life for “old” viewers at some point in the future. So if you’re a Second Life user, you may end up having to switch away from Imprudence and other 1.x-based viewers anyway. Hopefully by starting now, we will be able to have Kokua Viewer ready with a clean, usable UI before anything like that happens.
Will Kokua Viewer work with non-Kokua versions of OpenSim? Will Kokua Sim work with non-Kokua viewers?
Yes, absolutely. We are still very much committed to the broader metaverse, with all its various viewer and sim versions. Kokua Viewer will be able to connect to Second Life, vanilla OpenSim, and custom OpenSim setups like those used by InWorldz, 3rd Rock Grid, and others.
Likewise, Kokua Sim will work with other viewers, including Imprudence and other 1.x-style viewers. Of course, some viewers have better OpenSim support than others, so we can’t vouch for their stability, but we won’t be doing anything to intentionally “lock out” non-Kokua viewers.
Of course, the whole point of our project is to create a viewer and sim that work especially well together. So, there will be some viewer features that other sim software might not support, and some sim features that other viewers might not support. But, both the Kokua Viewer and Kokua Sim will be open source, so other viewers or sim software will have the opportunity to integrate those features if they wish to do so.
Will Kokua Sim be open source? Are you making a Kokua grid?
Yes, Kokua Sim is and will remain open source under the BSD license, the same license used by OpenSim. Like OpenSim, Kokua Sim will have the ability to run an entire grid, but we have no plans to set up a new grid service of our own.
Instead, we will be offering Kokua Sim as an alternative version of OpenSim to be used by other grid operators, as well as average users who want a “standalone” sim, or one connected to a grid like OSGrid, or one available via Hypergrid. And, because it is open source, existing grids will be able to borrow features and enhancements from Kokua Sim, and integrate them into their current infrastructure.
What is “Aurora”, and how is it related to Kokua Sim? (Updated)
There has been some confusion about the name, but Aurora and Kokua Sim are one and the same. It has been quietly developed since summer of 2009, and some people have known it as Aurora since that time. It will be developed as Aurora for a little while longer, while some wrinkles are ironed out and we set up the new Kokua website, then it will be rebranded as Kokua Sim. We decided to rebrand it to emphasize the fact that both the viewer and sim are being developed together as part of the same project, and built to work especially well with each other. We hope that everyone who have known it as Aurora will come to like the new name and what it stands for.
Won’t developing the sim software distract you guys from viewer development?
Not really. Although we will be working together as part of the same team, each developer will have their own focus. In other words, the team members who have been working on the Imprudence Viewer so far, will still be focusing mostly on the viewer in the future. (But, from time to time a viewer developer might work on the sim, and vice versa. Some developers might even split their time half-and-half. It’s up to each developer to choose what to work on.)
How is Kokua pronounced, anyway?
“Koh-koo-ah”. To help you remember, you can think about the sentence “Coconuts are cool and awesome!”
Technically, the word is spelled kōkua, with a macron (aka a kahakō), the line above the “o” which indicates that it is a “long O” sound (as in “go”). But like many Hawai’ian words, kōkua is often written without the macron, to make it easier to type on standard English keyboards. We will tend to spell it as Kokua, to make it easier to write and search for.
Any other questions?
If there is anything else you’re confused about or would like to know, just leave a comment and we’ll try to answer it!