An open source community update

After we made the initial open source release of the viewer, we found ourselves in a quandary. Community members were sending patches in, but we didn’t have enough resources to keep up! Fortunately, over the past month, we’ve hired some great developers who are keenly interested in maintaining a vibrant open source community, and we’ve gone on a tear through backlogged patches.

Here are just a few highlights of work from the open source community that we’ve integrated recently. We’ve applied over 80 Resident-contributed changes to the viewer in the past month alone, so I can’t cover all of them. (You can be sure that we appreciate every one, though.)

Nicholaz Beresford has made a huge effort to find and plug a number of viewer memory leaks. Some of them were minor, while others were severe. As a side effect of working through the large number of patches he sent in, we discovered a number of other leaks internally, and have plugged those. Not content with stabilizing the viewer’s memory footprint, Nicholaz also squashed several crashing bugs as he went. Nicholaz also has a great viewer development blog.

Alissa Sabre contributed a number of changes that help us with the input and display of non-English languages. Coupled with some improvements we’ve made internally, Residents outside of the United States should now have a much better experience communicating in their native languages.

Open source contributors have made many user interface improvements. Tharax Ferraris added a date tooltip, to help residents on the other side of the International Date Line. Fremont Cunningham added a dialog that asks if you really meant to quit, for those of us who accidentally mash the wrong keys. Dale Glass made it possible to visually distinguish objects that are talking only to you from objects that can be heard by everyone in range.

Able Whitman made the “give money” dialog stand out visually from other dialogs, so residents will be less likely to click on it by accident. Thraxis Epsilon added time and date stamps to chat logs. Peekay Semyorka added the ability to upload textures in PNG format (they’re still converted to JPEG-2000, but you no longer need to do this by hand before uploading them).

Thanks also to the other residents whose patches we’ve had time to apply: Argent Stonecutter, Benja Kepler, Blakar Ogre, blino Nakamura, bushing Spatula, Drewan Keats, Duckless Vandyke, Dylan Haskell, Dzonatas Sol, Eddy Stryker, Gigs Taggart, Ginko Bayliss, Hikkoshi Sakai, Hiro Sommambulist, Iskar Ariantho, Jacek Antonelli, Joannah Cramer, Joghert LeSabre, Kage Pixel, Kunnis Basiat, Paul Churchill, Paula Innis, Ryozu Kojima, SignpostMarv Martin, Simon Nolan, SpacedOut Frye, Stevex Janus, Still Defiant, Strife Onizuka, tenebrous pau, TBBle Kurosawa, Zi Ree, and Zipherius Turas. If you’ve submitted a patch and you’re not on this list yet, don’t worry: we’ll get to your work as soon as we can!

I hope that our redoubled efforts to apply patches shows our appreciation for the work of everyone in the open source community, and our commitment to letting every Resident have a hand in improving the Second Life experience for all.

We intend to improve on this new pace of collaboration with the open source community over the coming months. As part of this effort, I’ll be posting periodic updates here, to let the Resident community at large know about the great work of our open source developers.

If you would like to contribute to the Second Life open source community, we welcome your participation. For more information, visit the Open Source Portal on the Second Life wiki. Thanks!

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77 Responses to An open source community update

  1. Tony says:

    Great to see your open source program proving once again just why open source is such a wonderful concept.

  2. So how many bugs, in total, has the open source community contributed fixes for?

    Compared to, say, in-house? I’m curious.

  3. Oryx Tempel says:

    This is awesome! Thanks so much to everyone out there, Lindens and open source programmers alike!

  4. Mimi says:

    wow it sounds wonderfull!

  5. @Lordfly: we’ve accepted patches for about a hundred bugs so far.

  6. Chance Unknown says:

    Thank all of these people, as they are not salaried employees to Linden Lab; each one of them contributes their time to understand an issue, make a proposed patch, and submit it for inclusion in order to make the viewer more stable for all of us.

  7. Greta Umarov says:

    When is the support portal going to be usable? Enter your name in the log in and it doubles your last name, and refuses you entry. When I use the email address as a login, I’m sent RIGHT BACK to the page I just logged in from.

    Phone calls are fun, too. I’m still told that the number is no longer in service, with no alternate number supplied.

    Has the Ivory Tower of Prims become the Ivory Tower of No Access?

    So much for technical support *makes a rude noise*

  8. Ann Otoole says:

    and with the upcoming changes that make it so viewer updates are not always mandatory (giving some lag time till you must upgrade), a skinned UI is closer to reality.

  9. Dirk Felix says:

    Not a bad idea in concept, but you should be looking into solutions vs patches and how does this really effect the environment. If someone doesnt take the time to see how any given patch works in a wholisitic environment.

    Is there code review of patches from management?

    Is this to be a band aide to more serious issues with platform?

    How many patches have caused other bugs to appear?

    From all the warts that are SL, I would expect the quality of the code to be better than it is. Tossing a patch up in hopes that it works isnt fair to those who have invested thousdands of dollars into this non-game.

    Considering the quality that Microsoft has established with the patch and rapid coding scenarios, I’m not confident this is a good long term approach. Good clean code needs to be the core of this product and patches were never meant to make this possible. Fix it right the first time and all in the nieghborhood will be happy. πŸ˜‰

  10. Trackieman says:

    Thank you for your hard work, contributors. The entire project has a bright future.

  11. Steve Crowley says:

    Great going guy’s and gal’s, I really appreciate the time and effert you all have been putting in, and it’s great to know that people can do something productive rather than just bitch and moan about how bad things are.

    Kudo’s to the LL Team and the Open Source Community.

  12. Brenda Maculate says:

    It’s great, that you’re willing to give credit where it’s due.

    Keep up the good work, guys!

  13. Ann Otoole says:

    Microsoft was built on a very sketchy framework. not a good comparison. i truly hope Linden Research never ever falls into the Microsoft model. or the PWC model. or any of the other (corporate) models that suffocate innovation.

    I attended Zero’s office hour on the very near future of the SL back end system. I must say I am very impressed by the professionalism and expertise involved. these people are not the buffoons those with a vested interest in the demise of SL so loudly proclaim using oh so many alts around these here parts.

  14. Zaphod Kotobide says:

    Well gee, I thought Open Source equaled Closed Society. Hope you’ve blown the lid off that silliness, Sardonyx, and a HUGE thanks to all of the Residents who have rolled up their sleeves and dug in. Peekay, you have a special place in my heart for the PNG patch. That will rock.


  15. An interesting fact imho: at least 9 of these residents have No Payment Info on File, and still they are contributing to the Second Life community in a wonderful way.

  16. Electron Cleanslate says:

    So with all of these heavy brains working why did these great new developers break the edit in the new verson so it crashes me? Plus other crashes. LL got what they wanted I switched to FL viewer to escape the latest and greatest. Why can’t these people fix something without breaking something else? Or is it just inadequate testing? Fire the quality control guy for this version!

  17. Oz Spade says:

    Yay for open source! This makes me really happy. I’m glad to see some of these contributions finally getting put in. Good work to all those who took the time to track down these issues or add new features! πŸ™‚ Some of these I’ve been wanting or been wanting fixed for awhile now as well.

    Any projected version on when these things will be put into production?

  18. Dirk Felix says:

    #11 Ann Otoole
    I do think that LL has the best engineering that they can affoard. I also feel that LL like all other software companies start out with the best intentions that then fall short with compromise after compromise. LL takes the same path of revenue as quickly as possible. I would do the same, but I would also make sure that the application was componentized and modular. If this approach was taken with a stable develpoment environment you would see more positive feedback here, in the press and in-world.

    For all that contrbuted, Kudos and you should get a stipen of 100k per month for life. I think we all understand the value of open source, we just want a world that values its customer base as much as they do the revenue.

  19. Grazel Cosmo says:

    @Oz – Just looking through the list of patches many of them are already in place and many more are in 1.18 from the release notes listed in an earlier blog post.

    While I’ve not contributed I have subscribed to the SL Dev list and read through it. It’s provided an interesting insight into both LL and the community.

  20. Livinda Goodliffe says:

    I, personally, would like to give kudos to Nicholaz Beresford for his availability of his own viewer available for download. Time and again, his own brand of viewer has outperformed the official viewer..IMHO. Many of the leaks and patches that he has developed are incorporated into his viewer, including the infamous “crossed-eyed” avatar syndrome. His viewer is available at

  21. Thunderclap Morgridge says:

    Thanks for not having any updates until after my vacation is over.

  22. Well, kudos to all the fellow open sorcerers who contribute to the viewer and spend their time and efforts to make SL better and also kudos to the Lindens who take the time to review and integrate the stuff (which isn’t always trivial … winks at Bryan :-)).

  23. Thanks Livinda for the praise! πŸ™‚

    )) including the infamous β€œcrossed-eyed” avatar syndrome ((

    To give credit where credit is due, that specific fix was made by Giggs Taggart … I just included it into my version.

  24. TigroSpottystripes Katsu says:

    congratz! (for the voluntary free labor on the side of the comunity and for the way LL is dealing with this πŸ™‚

  25. Simon Nolan says:

    @ Dirk:

    Is there code review of patches from management? Yes, the patches submitted are reviewed/QAed by LL before they’re accepted into the official viewer.

    Is this to be a band aide to more serious issues with platform? I don’t think so. For example, the new messaging and Het-Grid blogged about earlier are examples of work done by Lindens to address those kinds of issues. The important thing to remember is the open-source initiative applies only to the viewer code, not to the server code. That’s still the domain of Linden Labs. Open source contributors can do a lot with the viewer, and much more than just quick fixes. There are some seriously talented Residents doing just that.

    How many patches have caused other bugs to appear? I’m not aware of any bugs myself. I think maybe there have been some instances of user confusion when a patch changed the way things worked, like the inventory throttle patch.

    As for quality code, there are programmers far more talented that I, like Nicholaz Beresford, who are really digging into the viewer source and finding ways to improve it. I encourage you to take a look in JIRA at the work that’s being done by open-source contributors, and if you’re really curioius, subscribe to the SLDev mailing list where contributors are passionate about improving SL. None of them are interested in “just tossing up patches.”

  26. Lex Neva says:

    Good work, everyone! Let’s hope this is just the start of a new era of work toward stability in the SL client.

    Good on LL, too, for hilighting those folks like Nicholaz who have been slaving away at the viewer in the past few months. Great workers deserve accolades.

  27. Dirk,

    there may be a confusion about “patches”. When we talk “patches”, what is meant is a change to the source code. Patches in other areas sometimes sound like stitching things up, but with this project in particular, a patch can be a one-liner to fix something (and sometimes no more is necessary) to many of lines of code to change how something in the viewer works (like Able’s patch to avoid the debit spoofing or Alissa’s patch to enable handling of asian characters).

    Also, the patches (source changes) are reviewed and applied by Linden senior programmers and also peer reviewed by the open source folks.

    I have not seen a single patch submitted (much less applied) that would be detrimental to the overall quality of the code.

  28. Agree. Nice to see how open source feeds back into the application (especially after the SLorpedo post) and to hear some credit being given to those taking the time and putting in the effort.

  29. Rea Sands says:

    I have been crashing all day from verious reason I don’t understand.I click on focus and crash,I stand up after sitting I crash.The one place Platinum it has release keys after you sit to camp.I crashed after standing up,and was not paid for the hour i sat either.Oh well.I hope the helps and can be fixed.New bugs ay.

  30. Math Gazov says:

    Thanks to all who have worked hard and with genius.

    SL is reshaping the world so it’s in constant change. Sorry for those of you who see it as only bussiness, you’ll suffer with every rolling restart.

    Something far more important is at stake here, it’s freedom reinventing herself. The community is showing it’s power when given the chance to act. LL is right in promoting self support to users, it’s the only way for such a complex system as SL to work in the long term.

    We should go further still, till the day we’ll all host SL.

  31. Immaculate Sin says:

    Two topics that I would consider to make the second life experience more enjoyable, one being some sort of soft re-start, and refresh options, something for use when either you experience a complete lag out, though refrain from a total crash, and the other for when you may be disconnected, either removed from the SL server, or ones own personal ISP experiences technical difficulties, without having to quit, then start SL back up from a complete restart. OK that is sorta one topic, the other is if there is a way to mearly mute for a temporary period of time any and or all group IM’s without withdrawing from group memebership. Now, there may be a method to do each of these things, that I am just not aware of, though I thought this may/might be the appropriate medium to raise these topics ? if not … well feel free to indicate the appropriate channels, and pass the word along.

  32. Dirk Felix says:

    So LL, what about the 100kL per month for life?? πŸ˜‰

  33. Sanderman Cyclone says:

    I love to see this. Good work guys.

    Hoewever, I think that the community can do even better, if we had some kind of plugin architecture, this way users could change things without the need to download a custom viewer or to get it approved by LL. Look at Firefox.

    If the userbase and developers community grows, they will have a hard time dealing with all these patches, plugins would be a good addition. Hopefully things like the UI and stuff can be handled by plugins and the core with patches.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the experience (yet) to contribute anything, but this idea of mine.

  34. roblinden says:

    Anyone interested in learning more about the code submitted can look at the full list of contributions, along with links to the JIRA tasks, here:

  35. It’s very good to see how well you guys have been encouraged with the open source community to help fix bugs, increase performance, and even add a slight feature here or there. Having myself participated in a much smaller-scale open source project (also a migration from a proprietary application that became open source after a few years), our team at the time was very very encouraged to see all those contributions coming in. It was a delightful feeling.

    I sincerely hope you continue to get that magic feeling all the time, for years and decades to come, and congratulate yourselves on a good decision.

    For all the people who have contributed code β€” thank you, guys. Your efforts are truly appreciated. After spending 20 hours myself getting the source to compile and getting a fifth of the performance of the official viewer, I truly loved to appreciate the overwhelming effort required to understand enough about how all this works and even beat LL’s developers in fixing bugs and improving things. Your work has been excellent, for something that is only around for half a year or so!

  36. Tegg B says:

    Good work all those who fixed things πŸ™‚ Keep patting them on the back Lindens and everyone, the more help the better πŸ™‚

  37. Katrina Bekkers says:

    My deepest thanks to the OS contributors for their efforts.

    If there was ever the need for further evidence, this win-win scenario is why I think the FLOSS dev model (the “bazaar”) produces tangible results. And hats off to a company that understood the value of inclusion of talent, rather than closing itself in a cathedral development model.

    Thank you all.

  38. Deira Llanfair says:

    A big vote of thanks from me to all concerned – keep it up guys – you’re heros. πŸ™‚

  39. alexia cournoyer says:

    hear, hear! well done to all the OS contributors and thank you πŸ™‚

  40. FD Spark says:

    I am just curious what the png file will do. Anyone know?

  41. Psistorm Ikura says:

    wow, Im quite impressed about the numbers here! so far, open-source community patches havent been talked about too much, so Im really surprised they have made that large an impact – positively surprised, though πŸ™‚

    a huge thank you to all those who dedicated their time, its really appreciated!

  42. “patch” as a name for a change to a file comes from the name Larry Wall (the creator of Perl) gave to a utility he wrote to make such changes easy to apply. The word “patch” does have the connotation of a temporary or “cheap” fix–you sew a patch on a garment and avoid having to get a new one–but that connotation doesn’t, and shouldn’t, apply here.

    Thank you to all the people who have devoted such effort to improving the SL client. Perhaps it will drive home how Open Source in fact works.

  43. Becky Tardis says:

    Thank you all of you, I cant really say more, but thanks.

  44. Livinda Goodliffe says:

    Giggs Taggart: KUDOS on the fix for crossed-eyed avatar.

  45. Xor Jun says:

    Big thanks to all the contributors, especially for the memory leak bug fix (without it I was unable to run the client for more than 4 hours at a time). And thanks to the Lindens for opening up the source to the client!

  46. Trevor Langdon says:

    Kudos to all those non-LL techies for getting their feet wet, pouring in loads of their own time (solely for self gratification) and helping LL flush out some of those bugs and adding enhancements.

    Kudos to LL for being so responsive to the open source project.

    SL can only get better from these efforts!

  47. cnyreject codesmith says:

    My hats off, thumbs up and one huge LOAD HIP HIP HOORAY!! for open source and add a HI 5 to the very special brains who are the open source community that assists here in Secondlife. We truly appreciate all the time and effort you folks do to make Secondlife a better product.

    And take that! You nay sayers of open source. *sticks tongue out*

  48. Jopsy Pendragon says:

    Has anyone set up a collection/donation mechanism for these fab folks volunteering their time to make SecondLife a better place? πŸ™‚

  49. Drakimor Susenko says:

    I think this is a great way to improve the stability of the viewer! I am very much looking forward to seeing what the open source community can do in terms of reducing crashes and bugs as well as adding new functionality.

    Perhaps this will even mean we as a community can bring the Linux viewer out of Alpha as well πŸ™‚ I will personally finance the construction of a monolithic penguin to be placed in a public place for the release of a full Linux viewer should this happen.

  50. Aenea says:

    @ Jopsy, I’m tempted to go thru the list mentioned in the original post and tip them all πŸ™‚

    It may be peanuts, but they’re all worthy of recognition!

  51. Thank you to all of you who are taking the time and the effort to make sl better and more stimulating for all of us. Things like this remind of why sl should have a future way beyond simple entertainment, whitout giving up entertainment. Thank you so much.

  52. Montana Corleone says:

    There have been some good fixes, but at the same time, it seems the more of these patches that have been added, the more it’s caused other bugs, and worse performance.

    So my point is, that it’s great for sub-modules, and where there is a specific mistake, like a typo, or bad routine handling that causes a crash, but it reality is it seems to affect something further down the line.

    Just looking at this blog, you can see many more problems arising since LL started this policy. Last time I looked, computing was still a science, so you apply the scientific process: observation, deduction, experimentation (test), refine hypotheses, recheck against observation, becomes theory. When that process hs been repeated ad finitum, it becomes a law. Until then, everything is up for change and discussion.

    And @ Ann: I already have a skinned GUI on Mac lol. Sure I can’t change it, but TWO menu bars? We have bits of code that do use system APIs and bits where it seems the LL programmers know better or don’t bother using inbulilt OS routines but roll their own. Bad programming. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

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  54. Ann Otoole says:

    btw the recently fixed hair and attachments up the arse defect seems to have returned.

  55. Daedalus Young says:

    @Ann: I’ve never seen the attachments up your arse (or at least displaced) bug fixed at all.

  56. Rex Cronon says:

    @ 34: FD Spark, the “.png” is just another file format used to store images(like: bmp, jpg, gif,…). This will allow u to save your image as .png and upload it. The sl viewer will convert it to the jpeg 2000 format. Until now u yourself had to convert your images to one of the formats allowed.

  57. “There have been some good fixes, but at the same time, it seems the more of these patches that have been added, the more it’s caused other bugs, and worse performance.”

    I commend to people’s attention.

  58. Aimee Wuyts says:

    Hi since today i crasher always during TP is it Normal please help me !

  59. Aimee Wuyts says:

    Me again πŸ™‚

    No i have always this messag when i log in WAITING FOR REGION HANDSHAKE then i crash

    Thanks for help

  60. Muscrat Hesse says:

    Ahhh Much better this is the way it should work !!!

  61. Too bad their billing system isnt open source… Maybe someone could patch their paypal problems.

  62. Ann Otoole says:

    “Barry Walcher Says:
    June 27th, 2007 at 6:07 PM PDT

    Too bad their billing system isnt open source… Maybe someone could patch their paypal problems.”

    yea they would “patch it” alright.
    right to their accounts.

  63. Kenny Stinger says:

    ok Hear one i bought a 512 Today inStead of getting it
    It Went to governor lindon !!!! So purple Cow get my L$ Gov lindon Get my land i get no in world help or live chat & im out $20.00 US buck How fucked up is that ????

  64. LaeMi Qian says:

    @34 FD Spark:

    what PNG will do is take up much less space on my hard-drive than TGA files while providing a lossless way for me to store my textures before upload. πŸ™‚

    Only effects those who create textures for upload, not anything in the actual viewing of textured objects (which all use jpeg2000 internally)

    for more info on the PNG graphics format see:

  65. Ann Otoole says:

    sorry guys but the last week’s worth of effort appears to be a total wash. nothing but constant random crashes. doesn’t have the appearances of actual testing taking place. recommend you send your testers out to stressful sims and hang around for a while before thinking you have a valid build. all you have to do is stand there a while and you will crash.

    how is that crash log database doing? filling up? there is a reason.

    saying you won’t go back and support prior releases that actually work is a cop out. time to get a clue. there is a fine line between arrogance and stupidity. the combination of the two negates any high IQs in the house.

  66. Mircea Lobo says:

    I would like to ask something about open source; Open source means that everyone will be allowed to host their own sims on their own servers or computers, and not on the ones administered by linden. I would like to know if this means that on the sims hosted by residents on their own computers, linden labs will stop attacking and threatening us because of the content we host, if they will stop attacking and discriminating “underages”, and everything else in the category, as they are not responsible for the content as it is not any more hosted on their own servers. I would really like to know the answer to this question if anyone could give me an accurate one to it. Thank you very much.

  67. Flack Quartermass says:

    Thanks big time, contributers, it’s appreciated; Rock on.

    And good looking out LL, it’s nice to see you folks taking advantage of these contributions and giving credit where it’s due.

  68. Samantha Poindexter says:

    Oooh. The PNG patch also means you can upload textures with transparent areas without having to worry about alpha channels. This ROCKS.

  69. wandarich says:

    @55 – nope read it again.
    PNG will still get converted to jpg so its kinda pointless

  70. Samantha Poindexter says:

    @56 JPEG 2000, not JPEG. Two different things.

    I’ve already tested this out, and the PNG worked perfectly, without the need for the white-halo-squelching tricks one needs to go through with TGAs.

  71. Samantha Poindexter says:

    To clarify further, JPEG 2000 is the format used internally by SL for all textures, regardless of whether the source file is in JPEG, BMP, TGA, or now PNG format. Up until now, the only option for uploading textures with transparent areas was TGA, which would then be converted to JPEG 2000. From a content-creator standpoint, there are ways in which working in PNG format is easier (not to mention less disk-space intensive) than TGA format.

    In other words, this doesn’t allow you to do any new things with textures, but it does make it easier to do what you already could.

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  73. Ibnuyahya says:

    Wow, it’s great. Open Sourcing is always good.

  74. Mudpaws voom says:

    i have got all updates and am still havening all kinds of problems
    like whine i tellaport to a free site and start to do something i get
    dropped off SL i have ihspeed internet and a good pc ,,
    some one “HELLP”

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