Path Forward – The Future

Readers of this blog will be aware of the previous postings in the Path Forward series where Nicky laid out his plans to scale down Kokua involvement to achieve his goal of taking a less active role to coincide with his 75th birthday and the completion of integrating LL’s Alex Ivy (64 bit) work into Kokua.

Originally Nicky had planned to scale back to a point where the only active development was on the non-RLV Second Life version of Kokua, however after various requests from the community the Second Life RLV version remained active too. The work on Alex Ivy also took longer than expected and while the 5.1 viewers are now available for PC and Mac there is still no Linux Alex Ivy version from LL upon which to base a Kokua version.

Kokua occupies a unique position in the TPV landscape. It incorporates Marine Kelley’s RLV features however its main origin is the latest current version of the LL viewer. Unlike larger projects like Firestorm which are forced to work on a formal release schedule Kokua has always had the agility from its smaller team size that allows it to make and implement rapid decisions about when to integrate versions, apply new features or generate releases. This means that historically Kokua has always been prompt in incorporating new releases from LL and Marine Kelley.

While Marine’s own viewer is the authoritative RLV implementation it is also very true to LL’s standard implementation with relatively few added features. In contrast Kokua is feature-friendly and provides a way for people to use Marine’s RLV implementation alongside the added features most Third Party Viewer (TPV) users have come to expect.

Earlier this year when it became apparent that no-one else had heeded the calls for new team members Chorazin Allen chose to become involved. Chorazin brings to the team project management, software development and build experience coupled with many years’ experience of inworld LSL scripting and working with RLV/RLVa although he freely admits his C++ is best described as ‘rusty’ – the original motivation for not volunteering sooner.

During the past few weeks Chorazin has been getting integrated into the team, setting up the necessary build systems and has reached the stage where the last few releases and build merges have been done by him rather than Nicky.

There is still quite a bit of integration to complete, like setting up accounts on the various Kokua websites, blogs, wikis etc. We will probably also move to new hosting in due course.

Kokua will continue to be actively developed and maintained as a Second Life viewer with both RLV and Non-RLV versions available. We have recently completed a behind-the-scenes exercise to realign these versions more closely with LL’s latest sources to make future maintenance easier and ensure we are closely based on the latest viewer.

Chorazin is now project prime and release manager as well as prime developer for both Windows versions and RLV/RLVa expert. Nicky continues with the Mac versions as well as tracking LL’s work towards an Alex Ivy linux 64 bit version. The Open Sim versions are not maintained.

While Kokua’s future is now secure, we must scale our activities to match our resourcing. The Windows and Mac Alex Ivy-based 64 bit versions will be fully maintained (RLV and non-RLV). No other versions will be maintained (aside from working towards a Linux Alex Ivy version). Open Sim versions will not be actively developed until/unless someone with strong Open Sim experience joins the team. We must also scale our various communication media appropriately.

The Kokua group within Second Life is the preferred medium for user-to-user support and will also be used for group notices about new versions or other significant developments. The Kokua wiki will continue to be used for viewer release notes (as seen in the viewer when a new version is launched) and for the summary of current versions and download sites. We will also continue with occasional announcements on this blog.

Other past communication media such as Twitter or IRC will no longer be supported (and in most cases have been in disuse for a while already).

The preferred method of communication to the team is via a ticket raised in Sourceforge against the Kokua Project. This allows us to formally track requests/bugs and ensures someone on the team is assigned the ticket and can respond to it.

As well as continuing with release parity to LL and Marine’s viewer there will also be occasional original features and continued integration of the best of other viewers’ features. In the past Kokua has imported features from other viewers (notably Firestorm) and this trend will continue.

We will also continue our policy of releasing fast and often, typically whenever we see a feature, bug fix or integration as significant enough to warrant a new release. There is a downside to this. Sometimes this will mean that integration errors or bugs will slip through. We accept this as a side-effect of our rapid release cycle and will generally get a correction out as soon as possible once we’re made aware of a problem. The upside of course is that Kokua users will usually have the very latest LL and Marine features at their fingertips combined with Kokua’s established integrations of additional and original features.

Finally, we should publicly note our gratitude to Nicky for his sterling, and often solo, work on Kokua. Without Nicky’s efforts and persistence, as well as his decision to stay with it until Alex Ivy was finished, there would be no Kokua today. Thankyou from the whole Kokua community!

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