Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 HELP: HG: Clearing the kerfuffle: Firestorm needs help to keep compatible with OpenSim. HGProjects

Clearing the kerfuffle:  
Firestorm needs help to keep compatible with OpenSim
A report by Maria Korolov, a leading news source for Hypergrid and OpenSim, lead some people to think that Firestorm might be giving up on its support for OpenSim and HypergridA prompt  response from Firestorm leader Jessica Lyon, indicated that the Firestorm team wants to support these grids, but has trouble because it does not always get updating information from the devs.  I discuss some things the HG community could do to help Firestorm.  
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  • (More after the break)
  • Where is Arcadia?
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    The Kerfuffle

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    Response from Firestorm leader Jessica Lyon

    I would like to take a moment to respond to the post by Maria Korolov available at 
    Firestorm lead recommends Alchemy viewer for OpenSim [and] to address more directly Firestorm’s past and future involvement with OpenSim. In addition to responding to the post directly, I’d like to present an apology to the OpenSim community overall.
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    Parts of Ms. Korolov’s article take my words during my InWorld Review appearance out of context and risk leaving readers with several false impressions of Firestorm’s relationship with both Alchemy Viewer and OpenSim.
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    First, I would like to refute Ms. Korolov’s reference to Alchemy as a “rival” viewer to Firestorm. I have always been endlessly grateful that there are a plethora of alternative viewers out there for people to choose from. The illusion that there are “viewer wars” has persisted since the Emerald days. Firestorm’s priorities revolve around choice, options, and preferences, and these values apply not only to the options available in our own viewer but also with respect to users’ ability to choose the viewer that is best for their needs. Viewer development is best, as well, when it’s cooperative and collaborative, with each developer or development team working separately and together to provide the best experience for their own population of users.
    -
    Second, I would like to provide the full context in which my statements were made. I agreed to the interview with Mal Burns on his Inworld Review show in the hope of expressing that Firestorm needs better communication from OpenSim developers, grid owners, and communities in order for us to continue proper compatibility there. To offer an example of how this communication falters, a typical scenario might have OpenSim making changes to base or grid-specific code and then not informing us of them. In such a situation, we are likely to release a new viewer update that doesn’t work with those changes, which opens us up to the criticism that we are not trying to stay compatible with OpenSim. We are absolutely still committed to OS compatibility, but the responsibility for keeping us informed of grid- or system-level changes that affect compatibility rests with OS.
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    I stated that it would be extremely helpful for Third Party Viewers, especially us, if OpenSim could produce their own “vanilla” (i.e., standard or default) viewer in order to establish a development relationship more similar to that which exists with Linden Lab. If OpenSim maintained a base viewer, we would be able to compare ours to it so when they make a server change, they can make the corresponding viewer change. Then we would be able to see what they did and what we have to do in Firestorm to make it work.
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    I also stated that Alchemy is, at present, the viewer that is probably the most compatible with OpenSim and that it would be a good viewer to use when logging into OpenSim grids. Developer Cinder Roxley of Alchemy is actively involved with OpenSim and has more immediate access to information about server updates and about what kinds of related viewer updates are needed.
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    Recommending Alchemy, however, must not be interpreted as an indication that Firestorm has thrown in the towel on OpenSim. As I have noted above, we at Firestorm would love to develop a strong and lasting relationship with OpenSim that will facilitate greater and more immediate grid/viewer compatibility. In the meantime we are happy to acknowledge that another team — in this case, Alchemy — is likely to have quicker compatibility updates.
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    Finally, I feel that I should apologize to the OpenSim community for the confusion and concern this has created. I woke up this morning to an inbox full of emails and a lot of IMs from folks ranging from panicked to pissed off. But I am also pleased to say that since that interview we have already seen an increase in help and communication from a few grids. Littlefield has always been our strongest communicator, and the majority of our recent OpenSim bug fixes are a direct result of their efforts to work with us. More recently, Roddie from GCG (the Great Canadian Grid) and I have been in communication, and he has set me up with his developers’ contact info. But a visible example of what we can achieve when we collaborate is this JIRA, in which Jim Tarber recently helped us find the source of an issue with stranded Current Outfit folders: http://jira.phoenixviewer.com/browse/FIRE-17217. A read through the comments will show that this is exactly what we need and is a great example of the type of cooperation we need to stay compatible with OpenSim. Many other grids don’t provide this level of communication; it’s fine if they choose to use or work with a different viewer, but when we fall out of compatibility with them, it is not because we don’t care.
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    If we cannot establish effective communication with such grids, we may need to list only those grids in our grid manager with whom Firestorm does receive communication and collaboration so that it can continue to be a good, viable, and reliable viewer for OpenSim.
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    As a final statement, to make it as clear as I possibly can…
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    The Firestorm Project remains committed to do the best we can at remaining compatible with OpenSim. We will be able to do an even better job if the OpenSim community helps us maintain that goal.

    Sincerely,

    Jessica Lyon
    Project Manager
    The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc.


    ***

    My comments

    • Alchemy is not a good recommendation as a starter viewer in OpemSim.
    • I installed it and started it.  Second Life loaded.  I saw no way to get to OpenSim.
    • Any beginner would quit at that point.   I did too. 
    • I don't think Jessica ever recommended Alchemy for OpenSim.  
    • I think she just said it probably was more compatible because of closer contacts.
    • Ease of use almost always more important to me than compatibility.
    • Ease of use affects me all the time.  
    • An incompatibility probably affects some feature I may use once in a while.
    • Firestorm wins hands down on ease of use and probably on features, too.
    • This probably points to the need for an organization like a Chamber of Commerce
    • The HGProjects revealed!
    • Ann Tree Prenyour on a "Hypergrid Chamber of Commerce"--Or HGProjects
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    Suggestions for action 

    Commercial grid operators: make your customized viewer

    • It is in your interest to get your users into a viewer that is easy to use.
    • And when the inflow from Second Life dries up you need to be able to start novices.
    • That's novices with no virtual world experience.
    • That's novices who barely know what a url is and don't want to know what uri is.
    • Get with Firestorm and make up your own grid's version of Firestorm.
    • Firestorm-Kitely or Kitely/Firestorm.
    • Mostly the same as Firestorm except that it downloads from the Kitely page.
    • And it has Kitely-relevant setup.  
    • On first opening, it loads the Kitely entry page.  
    • The user never has to learn about connecting to all the other open-sim grids.
    • When Firestorm has a new release, you don't immediately offer it to your customers. 
    • You can do some testing on your grid first.
    • Since you are working with the Firestorm people about your grid's viewer version.
    • you can also talk to them about upcoming changes on both sides.
    • I just used Kitely because I think they could do it quickly.  
    • Any commercial grid could do it and some may see why it is in their interest.

    Create a Google community to develop action plans for remedy


    • Form a Google community to determine what is needed and how to do it.
    • Viewer planning for Hypergrid and OpenSimulator
    • I don't know enough about viewers to create that community
    • But I will join and publicize it.
    • I will run invited articles carrying the information it develops.

    The information could include:

    • upcoming changes in OS that could affect the viewers 
    • suspected bugs in the current viewers
    • information about a MANTIS for the viewers like we have for OS and scripts
    • recommended improvements in viewer functioning

    Related

    The HGProjects revealed!


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