Linden Lab has announced at the SLCC their continuing support of the open source efforts: the launch of Snowstorm, the project for a new viewer (based on the Snowglobe 2.X codebase) which will get Lindens and third-party volunteer developers working much, much closer together to develop what Philip Linden hopes to be the ultimate viewer, or, as he says these days, “to bring Linden Lab back to the lead in innovation and technology”. Tateru Nino has already commented a bit on the change of strategy; I have to humbly confess that I’m not familiar enough with the Scrum methodology to comment if it’s the best way to deal with a fast pace of development that includes a lot of external developers. Still, some things look interesting: for instance, in theory at least, the Emerald team could branch off one fork of the Snowstorm code to implement their spell-checking functions, manage it as if it were their own personal in-house project, release a build for open testing by any resident, and after a few weeks, commit it back to the main code — and this would become an “official” Snowstorm release (which will happen every other week). Sounds reasonable? Well, yes; it’s also a way to get more people to help out Linden Lab to fix bugs, now that they have fired so many developers (but they still have 175 working at LL on 15 different teams, says Philip).
On the other hand, the other major open source project at Linden Lab, intergrid connectivity, seems to have been dropped, possibly indefinitely. This is indeed bad news. Around this time, the IETF should have been able to come up with some relatively final standards for the intergrid protocol VWRAP. But if Linden Lab drops their commitment to it, the future is not very bright. On the other side of the coin, we have the OpenSimulator community with its amazing Hypergrid protocol, currently at its 1.5 incarnation, and which is simply mindboggling in the way it operates.
I had to try it out for myself 🙂