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OpenSim is still alpha software! April 9, 2008

Posted by justincc in opensim.
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There’s been a huge amount of interest in OpenSim recently, ranging from organizations using it to form prototype grids, through to individuals looking to exploit it for educational purposes. For my own part, I love the idea of anybody being able to take our software and run their own grid for their own community.

However, amidst all the excitement, I think it’s important that we don’t forget that OpenSim is still alpha quality software, as stated on our frontpage. Lots of the features in the Linden client are not yet implented. Indeed, some may never be implemented, at least not by us – but that’s an entirely different blogpost. And sometimes features get broken in the course of development, which will always impact those using code taken directly from our Subversion repository.

In addition, some of the code is very much a first hack job to get certain functionality working. For my part, I very much like this iterative approach, but it does mean that OpenSim is currently inefficient and insecure in places. At some point, some of the code which is underneath our feet will need to be dug up and an entirely different set of plumbing buried, plumbing which is all the better for having been designed in light of our experience with more primitive algorithms.

At this point I could point towards the release versions. And they should generally be better, being effectively snapshots of the main line taken when the code seemed stable. However, because we don’t really do any quality assurance on these, they do contain bugs. For instance, 0.5.4 contains a bug where rezzing a prim to the environment will cause the rez to fail unless you’re using the OpenDynamicsEngine physics engine in OpenSim.ini.

So what am I saying? Well for me, this is really a request for patience 🙂 If you’re following trunk, sometimes it will break. As OpenSim is alpha software, I would say we tend to favour taking risks to make fast progress over conservative code changes. And this is good, but the downside is that things will break a little more often. So please feel free to continue providing bugs reports (and filing patches!) but don’t forget that we need sometimes need time and space to pin down what’s going wrong. Let’s not try and get the toddler to run before it can really walk.

Viva la OpenSim!

— justincc


About this blog April 9, 2008

Posted by justincc in opensim.
Tags: , ,
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Hello. I’m one of the core committers on OpenSim, an effort to build a modular virtual worlds server, which is currently best known for supporting a Second Life environment. I’m going to use this blog to publish information about the things in OpenSim that I have a reasonable knowledge about. My posts will probably alternate between the chin-stroking and the technical variety, hopefully more towards the technical 🙂