As announced two weeks ago on JustinCC’s Open Simulator Blog, the 6 month development barrier between opensim and viewer code has been dropped in favor of a new policy.
The original policy was put in place near the birth of Open Simulator due to legal concerns over derivative copyright issues. The policy stated that no developer contributing code to OpenSim could have looked at or worked on viewer code within the last six months prior to submitting any code to the Open Sim project. This effectively divided the development community into those working on third party viewers like Imprudence and those working on OpenSim. This made it difficult for developers are the respective projects to squash bugs that not specific to the viewer or the server, but that bridged across both (For example the 4096 ‘hg’ bug). Now that this policy has been retired for something more liberal it will be possible for developers to look at and work on both the viewer and Open Sim server code to better optimize both projects.
According JustinCC, under the new policy developers on the Open Simulator project make interact with viewer code and still submit to the OpenSimulator project so long as the code is either under 100 lines in length (And strictly a bug fix not a new feature), or if a new feature or over 100 lines that the developer agree to a contributors agreement. Said agreement is modeled on the one developed by the Harmoney project, it asks for an explicit copyright license but not transfer of copyright ownership ant it further asks for a patent grant, like the vast majority of other such agreements out there. What this means for projects like Imprudence in the future is better integration and more stability with Open Sim and visa-versa, as well as possibly broader developer support as devs will no longer have to isolate themselves to Open Sim or 3rd party viewers but can now work on both at the same time. Now that this step has been taken there is no going back, as it would be nearly impossible to reverse course on a decision such as this, so developers need not be tepid about wading into the waters of the respective viewer or server projects. And while the effects from this may not be immediately felt, it is a very positive step forward for both Imprudence and other 3rd party viewers and the Open Simulator project itself.
It should be noted however that the 6 month exclusion policy was specific to the official Open Simulator project and competing projects did not necessarily have the same restriction. Other restrictions or policies may apply besides those listed here, this article is merely a summation of the recent changes to Open Simulator in relation to 3rd party viewers.