3rd Party Viewers & Open Sim’s 6 Month Barrier

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.

6 Responses to “3rd Party Viewers & Open Sim’s 6 Month Barrier”

  1. onefang

    Actually, the referenced “4096 bug” has nothing specific to do with hg or the server, it’s purely a viewer bug. The server part of the issue is that because LL decided they were never going to fix it (it does not affect them, none of their sims are that far apart), the OpenSim people decided to enshrine it as a limit in their server code.

    Now that there is a workable work around for that bug, and the possibility of an actual fix, it would be up to the server people to remove their limits. At least one of those limits has a config option to disable it. There may be more limits. None of these server side limits should be called a bug as such, since they basically are there to avoid a nasty viewer side bug.

    The rest of your post is good, you just picked a bad example. lol

  2. ZATZAi

    Bug, “feature”, or what-have-you, symantics aside it was cited by JCC and the team as an example of a problem listed in our issue-tracker that benefits from the new freedom. And it is already being newly looked at thanks to said flexibilty in the new policy.

    This matter was discussed at the weekly meeting on the 6th. The meeting logs are available on the wiki for anyone curious.

  3. onefang

    I wrote the patch attached to that bug report. I may know a little about it. I’ll stick to what I said before. That particular problem is viewer side. Anything on the server side was not part of the original problem, just deliberately added limitations to avoid it. It’s not any sort of example of something that will benefit from the new freedom. Once the work around (or any future bug fix) is common in viewers, OpenSim can remove the limits they imposed. Neither side needs to work closely on this.

    I’m the one that newly looked at this problem, and I’m the one that refined the two year old work around from hippo. This was before the new OpenSim policy, and had nothing to do with new policy.

    That bug has been a political football for years, with both viewer and server developers blaming the other side. About the only freedom we now have over this particular bug is the freedom to stop passing the buck and actually try to fix the problem. I think my patch is half way there already. I would actually be closer to a real bug fix by now (I know what the next couple of steps are), but RL work and medical problems have kept me too busy lately

    I did not want to detract from your original post, it’s all good. I was just pointing out that the example given is not a good example.

  4. Justin Clark-Casey

    Just to clarify, ZATZAi, the rules about Contributor’s Agreements for OpenSim (as detailed at [1]), apply to everyone, not just OpenSim developers who look at viewer code.

    [1] http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Contributions_Policy

  5. ZATZAi

    Yes, I would assume it would apply to anyone who wants to contribute to the OpenSim project, sorry if I wasn’t clear on that.

  6. Ener Hax

    thanks ZATZai, i enjoyed and understood your explanation =)