[sldev] Plugin system - first code drop

Ryan Williams rdw at lindenlab.com
Wed Feb 28 13:00:29 PST 2007


Christian Westbrook wrote:
>> Nope!  The current First Look is just for texture pipeline improvements.
>>
>> -RYaN
> 
> Richard,
> 
> Thanks for the heads up on LLFloater and the mutability of the code
> in general.  I can't deny this is a little alarming but is certainly
> worth hearing, yet I think it sheds light on a larger issue, also
> illuminated somewhat by the discussion yesterday about attempting to
> protect plugin developers from changes via abstraction:  it's very
> difficult (some might say impossible) to develop meaningful  code on
> a codebase that is changing with only vague hints as to how it will
> be changing.  I understand and appreciate that LL is not [yet?] an
> organization that has completely accepted open source development,
> but firmly believe that there is a happier medium between a closed,
> proprietary software company and an open source platform -- happier
> for LL, the community, and third party/independent developers -- to
> which LL must move for any of these discussions about plugins, etc.,
> to bear fruit.

Absolutely.  I think robla has been pretty consistent about this being a
gradual process.  I mean, I didn't read this list really until the past
few weeks, and more and more devs are starting to get involved.  It's
individual choice whether someone decides to participate in sldev or not
-- LL is not a monolithic organization.

> It's been a full month since the last code drop of the "real" viewer
> source code.  First Look has been pushed out with some regularity
> throughout February, but was first done so with the caveat that it was an
> experimental branch that should not be incorporated into our trunk.
> It sure seems like all LL devs are working on FL -- when did this
> change?  Without any transparency, this feels like a simple bait-and-
> switch.

Only a few people are working on it, though the project, like all
projects it seems, is slowly extending its tentacles into everything
else.  I think it will be ready for release once everyone in the company
has touched one line of code for it.  :-)  But seriously, not all
developers are working on it, though we do expect it to be merged with
the trunk once it's ready.

> Please consider this a call to the LL dev team to come out and play!
> Even cognizant that some features like lip sync/VoIP will remain in-
> house only, there is a huge disparity between dropping code (at any
> interval) and developing *with* the community.  How can we all help
> push the metaversal envelope without compromising LL's business plan?

Well, I definitely feel that a major step will be achieved when we all
develop against a world-viewable source repository.  I don't think it's
a business plan thing, I think it's just a technical matter of
communicating code.  Example: I sent out my announcement of
viewer_manifest.py and it was sort of lame because no one could see the
code until today.  I guess I could have sent an attachment, but that's
awkward.

However, a public LL scm won't solve the problem of the codebase
changing underneath you, it will just close the loop quicker.  I don't
think any set of programmers can work on the same project for any length
of time without stepping on each other's toes or rearchitecting the
floor out from under each other.

To alleviate this, I think the most important thing code-wise is keeping
things as modular as possible.  The current viewer is pretty bad in this
regard, but there's no reason that new code can't be good about it.

-RYaN


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