Status Update (February 8)

I was waiting for some good news or progress to share with you guys, but unfortunately those things are in short supply lately. Simply put, we’re (still) struggling with low motivation, especially McCabe and me, and development is barely limping along.

So, rather than talk about the progress on the viewers (which isn’t much to speak of), I’ll tell you what has been going through my mind.

For the past several months, rather than writing code or contributing much to either viewer, I’ve been (or at least felt) bogged down with administrative duties. These are things that need to be done to keep the project afloat and sailing smoothly, but they do not provide any real forward momentum in and of themselves. Actually, they tend to sap my energy and dampen my enthusiasm to work on anything related to the project or viewers. And since I don’t have the energy to tackle these chores, they just keep piling up, sapping me more and more. It’s definitely not a good cycle to be stuck in!

The vacation in December provided a welcome reprieve, but didn’t solve the underlying problem. Somehow, I need to find a balance between administration and development, as well as a balance between Imprudence and Kokua, and a balance between this project and the rest of my life. I’m not sure yet how I’ll do that, but it’s something I’ll strive for.

I wrote in the January 21 status update that we were working on a bugfix release of Imprudence, version 1.3.1. I had hoped that we would be able to release it within a week. But, I decided that we ought to try updating to OpenJPEG 1.4, to see if it worked well enough that we could finally afford to disable LLKDU. Unfortunately, because of our motivational issues, we never got around to updating OpenJPEG, and that decision brought the release to a halt. I think we’ll have to postpone updating OpenJPEG until some later date, and just release what we have so far.

Imprudence 1.4 is in a similar state of limbo, due to the media system. Finishing and testing the VLC plugin is beyond our grasp at the moment, because of those same motivational issues. Instead, we’ll have to fall back on our old “friend”, GStreamer. But, at least it’s now a plugin, so it won’t crash the viewer when it breaks. Obviously, we’d prefer to have VLC, but getting Imprudence 1.4 finished and working (through whatever means) is vital to us regaining our momentum.

As for Kokua… yes, that’s also in limbo at the moment. It’s clear that our original plan to start releasing Experimentals in February isn’t going to happen. That plan was assuming we’d be able to release Imprudence 1.4 in December or January, which seemed realistic before the media system issues arose. I’ve often considered whether it would be better for the project to forget Imprudence 1.4 and just focus fully on Kokua. That’s certainly tempting, but currently we still intend to get the media sysem working and finish up 1.4.

So, that pretty much sums up the status of the project at the moment. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops, as you can see!

I’m sure many of you are wondering if this is the end for Imprudence/Kokua. I’ve wondered as much too, but I don’t think it is. I view this as simply a trial or crisis that forces us to take a look in the mirror and adjust how we do things. I’m confident that we’ll be able to learn a few lessons, get through this, and come out stronger than before.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we navigate these rough waters.

38 Responses to “Status Update (February 8)”


  1. Zauber Paracelsus

    Wish you guys the best of luck!

  2. Timo Gufler

    Sounds like there are too many things to do for too few people. We all like, what you have done by this far, and hope, that you don’t give up this wonderful project. My personal opinion, after reading your post, is that it might be best to concentrate on Kokoua and send the other viewer-related tasks to background. Best of luck to you! :)

  3. Moggs Oceanlane

    Thanks for the update and thank you for all of the amazing work you’ve done to date.

  4. zoebug

    Thank you for the very difficult update and also thanks for all your much appreciated work, wishing you all the best…whether its in viewer dev or not.

  5. Arkem

    I understand it is too much work for you. I think publishing what works and even forget the mutlimedia changes in 1.4 to return to the older one that worked very well (the stream, at least) should be better so you can breath and concentrate on kokua. We can use another viewer to watch videos when needed
    I would be very happy this way at least

    Take care of yourselves and thank you for your wonderful work

  6. Static

    Whatever happens please remember that you made the best third-party viewer and tens of thousands of people still use it daily and appreciate your hard work.

    You don’t have to rush with anything and stick to deadlines. If i may suggest anything I would say forget Kokua for now, V2 has nothing special to offer and it will require you to work for a year to make anything useful out of it, on the level of Imprudence, let others do that work, without mesh there’s no need to switch to V2.

    Anyway, thanks for everything you made. If you need any help, with code, donations, or anything else just let us know, we won’t let it die ;) you have support of many people.

  7. Gavin

    Sounds like you are suffering from a classic open source project burnout, where you typically try to take too much on your shoulders by identifying, testing and modifying components that fits with your license model or requirements. The task can be daunting.

    You have done some impressive work on the Imprudence viewer and I hope you find inspiration to keep going again.

    Not sure if I can provide any advice, but perhaps first get 1.3.1 out the door stable, then finish version 1.4 in a stable state with the bits that is working and bugs you know you can easily iron out. Don’t add features right now, unless you find great pleasure in doing so of course. ;-)

    Perhaps make it easier on yourself and use QuickTime and webkit for the media and web stuff wherever you can for the Win and Mac versions. Not sure where that leaves the Linux branch, but it might actually be easier to move forward accepting you will have to use different components based on availability for different operating systems.

    Let the community know how we can help you. Perhaps there are folks who can take the admin burden off your shoulders – there are actually people who enjoy that bit!

    Godspeed for the days ahead.

  8. Stryker Jenkins

    hmmm… if Administration stuff is the frustration isn’t it possible to “out source” that task to someone else whom you trust enough to do a good job. ( mind you I am not offering myself :) )

    But I have been suffering through the same issues with my SL experiences. Some one told me I got a SL-Depression. “Wanting to be online – but not wanting to do anything”.

    I would say tidy-up some loose ends on 1.3 and 1.4 then focus on Kokua. My 2 cents worth.

    Hang in there. It is always Sunny behind the clouds…

  9. Tara Li

    We’ll be here and waiting when you and McCabe and Armin and the rest get things back under control! Personally, I’m suspecting it’s at least part Seasonal Affective Disorder – EVERYONE seems to slow down this time of the year!

  10. Vanish

    Hi, I didn’t want to write anything here as I really don’t know how to help you with the current issues, so all I can say now is that for me, personally, it’s alright if you take a few months off. We all tend to put too much on our plates sometimes, and then we kinda get overwhelmed, so I’m not going to gripe about anyone not delivering 24/7 all the time. Look after yourself first, and when you feel up to it, work on the viewer. After all, this whole project is about being fun, not being a chore.

    I’m very happy for everything you did for us, and with how the viewer works currently. Of course I’d be sad if it were discontinued, but I’d be more sad if you devs were having issues because of it.

  11. Cinder Roxley

    At least McCabe has a nice new computer to screw around on while he’s staying unmotivated! http://blog.kokuaviewer.org/2010/10/06/mccabes-computer-is-dying/

  12. Dil Spitz

    oh, You are so honest, it’s great, even Your situation isn’t.
    What ever You decide to do or left behind, it’s the right decision. Because? – Because it’s YOUR decision. :)

    It’s the old point You will need to level out in a good way. Many of us know, some call it simply “work–Life balance”.

    What ever You and the hole team do and decide i wish You all the best and will love the decision You will have done :)

    look up! – the sky is so clear and a wonderful breeze is blowing. Lets sail and leave the work some back on the dock.

    Ciao
    Dil :)

  13. Justin Clark-Casey

    Sorry to hear about the motivational issues, Jacek (and McCabe). Sometimes one just needs a change from working on the same thing all the time. My advice, for what it’s worth, is to spend a month doing something other than Imprudence/Kokua, something that’s the most fun and admin-free project that you can think of.

    Then at the end of the month, you may know whether you just needed some intellectual variation and pure fun to put the tedious (yet necessary) admin work in its place, or whether you’re better off making a more permanent shift.

  14. Rema Quandry

    Years ago I was a software developer, so I feel your pain. When I used to hit one of these “burnout periods”, sometimes what worked to get me back on track was to spend some time looking at/playing with similar products–and not developing my software at the same time.

    Inevitably, I’d find myself imagining how I could do this or that feature which a competitor had in their program much better with *my* program. After collecting my notes from this kind of “software surfing”, I’d often find myself energized enough to press on with development of my product. The results were always good.

    Anyway, I hope you shake off the doldrums and shift your inertia back to developing your viewer which has tremendous promise. Remember: an object in motion tends to stay in motion; an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

    You need something to shift your inertia. I’d hate to see you lose your current status as one of the best viewers one can use, particularly for building, in SL.

    Anyway, my thanks for making such a fine viewer. It has saved me tremendous amounts of time in my SL building.

  15. Monica Balut

    I truly admire you and people like you who freely devote their time to such a project. I could never do it. It sounds like there are just not enough people to do the work needed. Perhaps you should consider joining up with another group doing a similar thing and merging your talents with theirs. Short of that, perhaps you could recruit others into this project. And, of course, taking time to replenish yourself could allow you to come back with renewed energy. Take care.

  16. Allen Kerensky

    I feel your pain. It’s something about the last few months I think, even the simple things seem to have become a grind for no good identifiable reason.

    We appreciate the countless hours put into Imp and Kokua, and while we clamor for new goodies – we do know that there’s not a “deadline” on this.

    Tinker with something fun. Catch up on some movies. Find your old D&D group and start up a new game with level 1 characters.

    Then, when your burnt crispy edges have been flaked away from doing something else, before you get back to dev, list out the admin junk that is less fun.
    Look for a way to drop the optional parts, automate what you can, and confine the rest to the smallest timeslice possible. Can all the admin bits be fit into 1 day every 2 weeks? 1 day a month?

    Maybe post a Help Wanted on the admin bits that eat the most time, or don’t thrill you?

  17. Lalo Telling

    I’m still a loyal user of the last Imprudence Experimental. It does everything I need it to, smoothly, in both InWorldz and SL — and feeding Winamp a parcel stream URL is a fine workaround to the audio problem.

    So… do what you need to do, and know that your followers are patient. :)

  18. Crim Mip

    It sounds like you could use a project administrator/coordinator; somebody to take care of the mundane tasks you obviously don’t like so you can get on with the development part which it sounds like you do. I don’t know how well staffed your dev team is, but if you don’t have enough, it might be worth looking for a few more to help.

  19. Robin Cifuentes

    really really hope you’ll continue guys! your work is much appreciated! best of luck to you!

  20. Marcus A. Link

    Jacek Antonelli wrote:
    “…administrative duties. These are things that need to be done to keep the project afloat and sailing smoothly,…”

    If you could write a draft/outline, which tasks have to be done/executed – community members could pick their own job/duty.

    * Can I haz Imprudence (v1.x) with Mesh, COLLADA im/export ? ^^

    Thx.
    Marcus

  21. D

    There’s nothing that I can say that will help get anything done any faster, but I’d like to at least say thanks for a great viewer. With all that happened with the Emerald viewer, I felt like Imprudence was a viewer I could trust. I like the features and hope that you don’t give up on it. Take your time. I’m sure those of us who enjoy your work won’t mind the wait. :)

  22. Livio

    Yes, close 1.4 working with whatever media system and work only Kokua, viewer 1 are finished.

  23. ssm2017

    hello
    your story is making me think about the same problem that the musical bands are living sometimes, there is a full motivation process and then after few years or months of touring they feel like “empty”, no more motivation and long term bands are the one that are able to pass this low level period.
    you have made maybe the best viewer and your ideas are very good, don’t let you catch by the quick release pressure and take your time to breath a little.
    i hope that you will learn from that and you will be able to overcome the situation :)
    thank you again for giving us a very good viewer

  24. Fabrixx Beck

    I hope Imprudence not stop developing,Imprudence x64 is only wiever that no have audio chopping on my Debian and i love all feautures like radar integrated minimap.

  25. Alex

    I enjoyed using Imprudence since Emerald went up in smoke. I now currently use 2.5 beta which despite what everyone says, is just fine. Most people who are vocal on SL just hate change but if you compare 2.5 to 1.3 (the LL versions), 2.5 is much better. Also, KDU has been updated so the rendering is faster and more efficient than previous versions. It isn’t perfect but it is better than 1.3. I’d love a long range radar which shows the status on the screen and also, that it would show the coordinates without you having to click the title bar.

    There are of course scripts for this. I am definitely all for development of the 2.x viewers once you get 1.4 finished. 1.3 is easy to develop on top of because the code base isn’t changing and hasn’t for a year or longer. 2.x viewers are which makes it a moving target.

  26. Paul

    I have been using Imprudence for around 5 or 6 months now for my own home VWorld. I have to say that Imprudence is the best TPV out there.

    How far it you have brought it from the original open source viewers is amazing (I used one the other day and the difference between it and Imprudence was just mind blowing).

    As an occasional programmer my self, I know how much effort you have been putting into it. However, the real hard part of any programming project is not necessarily the coding, but the motivation to continue. All projects have these motivational depressions, but it is the drive to get through them that can really make a project shine above the others (and Imprudence already gleams).

  27. LeoMaxx

    Imprudence Viewer is the healthiest viewer who exists at present. It isn’t the moment to give up, because a lot of people counts on you. In my opinion, you were too greedy by announcing too early t the Kokua project (but you also woke the enthusiasm of a big part of the community SL / OpenSim). In my mind, to support viewers two at the same time isn’t bearable for a small team…

    On your place, I shall drop the part development which seems to motivate you least: Imprudence. Concentrate on Kokua. In the worst, look you one month to take out an ultimate version of Imprudence, stable and functional then break to work on what packs you most!

    Your work is excellent, we count on you!

  28. Gaga Gracious

    You have been honest, Jacek and told us straight. You guys need to take a good long break and pick it up again when you really can’t stop yourselves. Enthusiasm will soon get you up to speed again. Rome was not built in a day, as the saying goes!

    Thank you for all the excellent work you have done.

  29. Optikal

    Sad to hear the motivational values are low, your work is very much appreciated; What goes around comes around `0′

  30. zoebug

    You really don’t owe anyone anything :)))
    None of us have paid for this project, even if we donated
    If its time to move on move on.
    Have Fun.
    When it comes fun again, rejoin, remix, start a fresh.
    But have fun :))))

    Thank you x
    Zoe

  31. Jacek Antonelli

    Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions. Your support really means a lot to us, and helps us keep going. :)

  32. Arwenna Stardust

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – for a wonderful viewer. The only one I now use and such a relief when I found it :) For your sakes (as well as ours!) I really hope you can get back to seeing it all as fun – take care of yourselves :)

  33. dontosaw

    In addition to words of encouragement and thanks, I would like to offer a suggestion. Perhaps you are simply spread to thin on this project. Perhaps there is someone out there who actually likes administration, is good at it and would like to help out. They might not be a programmer or very technically inclined, but can handle some of the administrative tasks so you can concentrate on the part that you really love, which is the viewer development itself. Just a thought.

  34. Micheil Merlin

    Admin stuff can get you down.

    But, I would think that there are people who might like to be involved in the project who can’t really contribute code. It would undoubtedly still take your time for awhile to bring someone up to speed on what and how things need to be done. But in the end, it could certainly leave more time for code development.

    I’ve always been impressed with the Imprudence project. Among other positive things, it has always seemed to be totally devoid of the politics that often plague similar projects.

  35. DD Ra

    Thanks for your work, and take a take a break if you have to.
    ^_^

  36. soror nishi

    I love the Viewer, and have no personal need for media on aprim. We all go through phases of low energy…make sure you get plenty of sleep…is my number one tip.

    Hugs for what you have already done.

  37. Paisley Beebe

    I always use Imprudence. I try out all the other viewers fom time to time and still come back to it. I also feel your pain, with motivation and burn out. Do you have a donation button on this site ? Not sure if that would help…

  38. Bliss Windlow

    Hey you got me to try it and it worked like you promised. You know the best things in life are worth waiting for. We will wait. :) Take the time you need, sleep well, eat well, laugh when you can. Allow yourself to do what YOU need to do and be gentle on yourself. Shutting down is the body and mind telling you that you need that time – take it. I hope you take comfort in the well wishes and offers of help here and know that you have impacted our SL experience in a good way and even if you never set foot in here again … it has been better because of you. I am sorry I did not say thanks sooner … I will try to remember to be more proactive with that cause I really do appreciate Imprudence and all you have done. You are a great man with a lot of integrity. Enough said.